JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – For the Jaguars in 2001, Sept. 11 was a game plan day. The team was in meeting rooms preparing for its next game.
Tom Coughlin, who was then the Jaguars head coach, had no idea what was unfolding in New York.
“And all of a sudden the phone’s ringing, and it’s my daughter saying, “Dad, do you know what’s going on?’” Coughlin told ESPN during an interview in 2011.
That is when Coughlin ran to a television and saw the tragedy unfolding in New York at the World Trade Center. Panic started to set in.
At the time, his son, Tim, worked in an office on the 60th floor of the World Trade Center Two. He dialed his son and got a busy signal.
As reported by ESPN, Tim had been on the 44th floor when the blast occurred and was going down the stairs. He was passing the 30th floor when his phone finally rang. It was his brother on the other end -- the first to reach him.
“He answered the phone when he was just about on the ground,” Coughlin said in a previous interview. “He told me he was on the ground and he was heading for an exit, and I said, ‘Be very careful, you don’t know what you are coming out into. You don’t know.’ He said, ‘Dad, we only have one way to go. We are being directed that way.’”
Coughlin said that he spoke with his son again later in the day when he found his way to a safe place.
“Our personal story was a happy ending,” Coughlin said. “I only wish that could be for all Americans.”
The NFL canceled games that Sunday and many other major sporting events were rescheduled. One of the few colleges to play a football game in the country that following Saturday was Jacksonville University’s football program.