NFL head coach cites 9/11 hijackers as positive example of teamwork

As if the Buffalo Bills don’t have enough problems, the team is now faced with a scandal over head coach Sean McDermott’s bizarre remarks praising the 9/11 hijackers during a motivational speech.

It’s a real head-scratcher why anyone would cite the al-Qaeda suicide squad that used airliners as flying missiles to destroy the World Trade Center, resulting in nearly 3,000 deaths, as a positive example of teamwork, let alone a National Football League coach, but that’s what the embattled McDermott did according to a bombshell report that dropped on Thursday.

In a lengthy Substack article titled “The McDermott Problem,” Tyler Dunne wrote of the 2019 training camp incident in which the coach used the peculiar – and outrageous – reference while giving a pep talk to his players.

“At St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, N.Y., McDermott’s morning address began innocently enough,” the author wrote. “He told the entire team they needed to come together.”

“But then sources on-hand say, he used a strange model: the terrorists on Sept. 11, 2001. He cited the hijackers as a group of people who were all able to get on the same page to orchestrate attacks to perfection,” the article reads, according to excerpts published on social media.

“One by one, McDermott started asking specific players in the room questions. ‘What tactics do you think they used to come together?’ A young player tried to methodically answer. ‘What do you think their biggest obstacle was?’ A veteran answered, ‘TSA,’ which mercifully lightened the mood,” according to the author.

McDermott was forced to address the mushrooming controversy over his poorly chosen words, telling reporters that he planned to address the article with the team while trying to explain why he could have possibly seen mass-murdering Islamist fanatics as being someone to aspire to.

“My intent in the meeting that day was to discuss the importance of communication and being on the same page with the team,” he said. “I regretted mentioning 9/11 in my message that day and I immediately apologized to the team.”

The controversy is absolutely the last thing that the disappointing Bills need as they head into a must-win game on Sunday against the world-champion Kansas City Chiefs before a howling, tomahawk-chopping crowd on the road in Arrowhead Stadium.

On the short list of Super Bowl hopefuls before the season began, the Bills badly tumbled from the ranks of NFL contenders, laying an egg on Monday Night Football in the season opener against the New York Jets in a game during which superstar former Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers was lost for the season on the first drive.

Despite the catastrophic, morale-crushing loss, Gang Green thumped McDermott’s team with Buffalo QB Josh Allen turning the ball over four times in an ugly 22-16 loss that was a sign of things to come. Now looking like a longshot to make the playoffs with Allen having badly regressed, the Bills sit at 6-6 heading into Sunday afternoon’s nationally televised contest.

The story about the coach’s comments couldn’t have possibly come at a worse time.

Chris Donaldson


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