THE BLOG
11/22/2013 12:00 am ET Updated Jan 25, 2014

Ex-NFL Players Reflect on Decision to Play Two Days After JFK's Assassination

Today marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle made the tough decision to keep the NFL schedule intact, and on November 24, games were played. At the time, some believed that to be the wrong decision, and Rozelle, too, reportedly grew to regret the call. At the time, Newsday editors were critical of the league's decision to not delay. The rival AFL decided to cancel its slot of games. "The NFL learned its lesson. The league postponed all games scheduled for the weekend after the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001," wrote Dan Shaughnessy in The Boston Globe on Thursday. Here's a look at what some former NFL players are saying this week as they look back:

"It was an eerie, eerie atmosphere,'' Vikings' quarterback Fran Tarkenton told the Pioneer Press. "I never played a game like that in my life because it was just so silent. No loud screaming. It was like a ghost town. I don't think much was said between the players. It was just very somber, very unemotional.''

"Kennedy represented someone to us who we felt was pushing for change with civil rights and all the things going on in the country," Browns' guard John Wooten told USA Today.

"It was probably the toughest game I ever had to play," 49ers' defensive back Kermit Alexander told the San Jose Mercury News. "It was very traumatic. It was the worst situation I'd ever been in in the game. It was like having an open cavity in your tooth and having to talk and eat without benefit of relief."

"They were two bad teams," Redskins' quarterback Sonny Jurgensen told The Washington Times (Washington was 3-8, while Philadelphia was 2-8-1). "Everybody was like, 'Let's just get this over with and get out of here.' Everybody would have been better off if they had not played that day."