Comeback Season: Sports After 9/11

Jin Lee

This Sept. 11, ESPN has teamed up with the 9/11 Memorial & Museum to celebrate its newest exhibition, "Comeback Season: Sports After 9/11," which explores how sports helped to unite a nation after the 2001 terrorist attacks. As a complement to the powerful stories of hope and resilience represented in the exhibit, now open to the public, we've compiled our own collection of noteworthy features here.


The Small, Good Thing
Seventeen years after the 9/11 attacks, Tom Junod explores how sports continue to unite us in the wake of tragedy. Read more


The day after: A Jets decision
Sept. 12, 2001: As America was mourning the tragic events of the day before, so too were the New York Jets players in the locker room. Herm Edwards and Vinny Testaverde document the decision before them ... to play or not to play. Watch

Brothers in arms
When Army faced Navy on Dec. 1, 2001, in their annual football showdown, many of the players knew that in just a few months, their on-field opponents that day would very likely be their brothers in arms on the battlefield. Watch

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s memorable and emotional victory lap
In the first NASCAR race post 9/11, the son of a legend tells the story behind his emotional victory, colored in red, white, and blue. Watch

9/11 Memorial & Museum sports exhibit
Mike Greenberg takes a tour of the new sports exhibit, "Comeback Season: Sports After 9/11," at New York City's 9/11 Memorial & Museum. Watch

Patriots' Andruzzi and his brothers recall the events of 9/11
Former Patriots offensive guard Joe Andruzzi and his three brothers, all NYC firefighters, detail where they were on that fateful day in 2001. Watch

Former Giants Toomer and Cross remember 9/11
Amani Toomer and Howard Cross recall in vivid detail what it was like to wake up on September 11, 2001 to a city in chaos. Watch

The day a Mets game was about more than baseball
On Sept. 21, 2001, baseball returned to New York for the first time since Sept. 11 as the Mets hosted the Braves in a game unlike any other. Watch

In times of crisis, athletes have answered the call
Tom Junod explains how athletes help ease our sense of helplessness in the face of disaster and how faithfully they've answered the call. Watch


Sudden death
Steve Wulf examines how heroism and villainy in sports became redefined in the days following 9/11. Read more

Bailey's big smile
The Bailey family couldn't forget 9/11 and they couldn't put the memories of Ace Bailey's death behind them. But they've kept his spirit alive through the eyes of the children at Ace's Place. Read more

Post-9/11 healing began at Dover
Ryan McGee looks at how Dover International Speedway roared back to life as America mourned. Read more

A letter to my father, 10 years later
ESPN reporter Kieran Darcy writes to his father, a New York Giants fan who perished in the North Tower of the World Trade Center. Read more

A whole new game
Ten years after the attacks, Eli Saslow explores how 9/11 forever changed the way we see our games. Read more

How we find healing through sports
Do sports have the power to heal us? Not entirely. But they give us protection and time, writes Tommy Tomlinson. Read more

After the fall: An inner-city girls' basketball tournament finds new life after 9/11
The founder of a girls' basketball program died getting co-workers out of the World Trade Center. Instead of dying with him, Slam Jam flourished. Read more


The man in the red bandana
Tom Rinaldi joins Bob Ley to remember "the Man in the Red Bandana," who died heroically saving lives in the World Trade Center. Hear the podcast