- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 12, 2001

The Washington Redskins' home opener against the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday could be postponed because of the terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon yesterday.
NFL officials said they were not sure whether the league would play this weekend's schedule of games but that they would decide in the next two days.
"Regarding Sunday's games, we will make no decision today," spokesman Joe Browne said. "We'll gather information and speak to several parties within the next 24 to 48 hours."
The chief concern is airline travel for teams. Domestic air traffic was halted yesterday for the first time in U.S. history, and it is not clear when travel will return to normal. The Federal Aviation Administration said the ban would not be lifted until at least noon today.
Teams typically travel the day before a game by chartered planes or trains, so they don't have the same security concerns as commercial airlines. The NFL likely would need to make a decision by Friday for this weekend's games to be played. If the FAA has not lifted the ban by then, they probably would be forced to cancel or postpone.
Game officials, television crews and media also travel to games one or two days in advance.
It would be difficult for the NFL to make up any games postponed this weekend. The league does not have a two-week gap between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl, so it can't simply push back the entire schedule one week. It could be forced to cancel the games all together or eliminate one round of the playoffs. It likely would prove too tough to move the Super Bowl back one week to allow makeup games.
The decision-making process was hampered by the fact that NFL headquarters is near the site of the World Trade Center in midtown Manhattan. NFL officials spent much of their time yesterday helping employees, who were sent home after the attack, and their families.
"We're just focused on taking care of our people in our office today, most of whom have left," said Greg Aiello, the league's vice president of public relations.
"It was devastating. It was shocking," Aiello said. "Everything came to a halt. People were just focusing on television and communicating with people and trying to figure out what's going on. We were just helping our people get through it and making sure everyone had a place to go. That was the focus."
Meanwhile, the Redskins said they will review security for Sunday's game. The Redskins have several hundred stadium personnel, Prince George's County police, Maryland state police and members of several federal agencies on hand for games at FedEx Field.
The Baltimore Ravens had been given yesterday and today off because of Monday night's game against the Minnesota Vikings at PSINet Stadium.
* This story is based in part on wire service reports.



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