The NFL paid tribute to the victims of the Connecticut elementary school shooting during Sunday's games. The Patriots had a pregame tribute featuring 26 flares in honor of the 20 children and six school employees who died Friday. The team's End Zone Militia silenced the guns that they normally fire after the Patriots score.
"Out of respect for those that were killed, we were asked yesterday not to fire the muskets, which we all agreed with," End Zone Militia sergeant Bob Elliott said. "It was just such a horrific thing. It's hard to put it into words."
Some teams darkened their scoreboards and lowered their flags to half-staff, while the players (including those on the Patriots) wore helmet decals with black ribbons.
Giants receiver Victor Cruz, whose team lost to the Falcons in Atlanta, wrote the name of 6-year-old victim Jack Pinto on his cleats and gloves with the words "My hero," "This one is 4 U" and "R.I.P." Cruz spoke to the child's family on Saturday night after learning that the boy was a big fan of the standout receiver.
"There are no words that can describe the type of feeling you get when a kid idolizes you so much that they want to, unfortunately, put him in a casket with your jersey on," said Cruz, a former UMass star. "I can't even explain it."
Cruz heard about the boy's admiration for him via Twitter and contacted the family Saturday night.
"I was in the hotel [in Atlanta] and as I was talking to them I was fighting back tears," Cruz said. "You could hear everybody in the background crying as well. It was tough to listen to."
Texans defensive end J.J. Watt wrote "Newtown, CT" on his shoes.
"We're playing football, and there's something much bigger going on in this world," Watt said. "I just wanted them to know, and I wanted everyone to know, that our thoughts are with them. Nothing is bigger than that. We played our game today, but honestly our thoughts are with them, the families, the teachers, the friends, the first responders, who had to go see that. My dad is a first responder. They were just kids."
Read more about that story and others, plus check out videos, trivia and more, at Monday's Morning Mashup .