The firing of muskets by the New England Patriots minutemen is one of the traditions at Gillette Stadium in Foxboro, Ma.
Today those muskets and long rifles will be silent in honor of the 26 victims, including 20 children, killed during a shooting spree at an elementary school near Newtown, Conn. on Friday. The Patriots represent six Northeastern states. Newtown is approximately 150 miles from Foxboro.
Earlier this month, NBC commentator Bob Costas drew attention for using his forum to call attention to gun control after a murder-suicide involving Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher. A Patriots spokesman said the decision to not fire the minutemen's guns ultimately was made by owner Bob Kraft.
Players on the Giants and Jets players had a decal with the initials S.H.E.S. (Sandy Hook Elementary School) on the backs of their helmets.
As was the case in the other NFL games today, the 49ers and Patriots will observe a moment of silence before the game. Twenty six white flares will be launched from the highest point in the stadium before the game, and the Patriots will wear a decal of the Town of Newtown emblem, a rooster, on their helmets. The team's cheerleaders will wear black armbands.
In addition, the Patriots will donate $25,000 to the town.
- Matt Barrows