"USA! USA! USA!"
The cheers rang throughout Citizens Bank Ballpark when the 40,000 plus fans in the stands found out the shocking news that Osama Bin Laden had finally been killed. These impromptu cheers sent chills up the spines of the players on the field and the thousands of people watching the game at home, reminding us all of the beauty of sports and patriotism.
The unprecedented show of patriotism at Citizens Bank Park was minuscule compared to the opportunity that Bin Laden's death has provided for the NFL. On September 11, 2011—the ten-year anniversary of the single greatest tragedy in American history—the NFL schedule offers two games guaranteed to be filled with overwhelming emotion and patriotism.
The two games include the New York Giants at the Washington Redskins and the Sunday night prime-time game where the New York Jets host the Dallas Cowboys. The two cities impacted most by the tragedies that took place on 9-11 hosting football games offers a unique chance to draw a record audience and gain some much-needed favorable publicity.
These games will be extremely emotional and a way to pay respect to those who suffered a loss because of the events that transpired on September 11, 2001.
However, these games are slated for Week 1 of the NFL season, which is in jeopardy because of the current NFL lockout. To miss this opportunity would be a PR nightmare for the NFL—a league that is already coming off as the bad guys because of the lockout in the court of public opinion.
The death of Bin Laden adds leverage to the NFLPA's side of the lockout. Missing out on these games and special moments would be a public relations nightmare for the NFL and could cause irreparable damage to its' reputation.