Reusse: Everything stopped but the NFL following JFK assassination

  • Article by: PATRICK REUSSE , Star Tribune
  • Updated: November 21, 2013 - 11:56 PM

Pete Rozelle called it his biggest regret as commissioner.

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marcus100254Nov. 21, 1310:44 PM

I was in 3rd grade at the time and Fred was our neighbor. His son is still my best friend to this day. I was young but can still recall the profound sadness of the adults. We saw JFK motorcades (2 or 3 TC visits??) come through our neighborhood on West 7th as it was the main way to get downtown St. Paul from the airport back then. I remember lining the street to see him come past and as they did, I looked into the car, and 10 feet away, waving at us was the President. When I hit my teenage years, and considering all else that was going on with the war and so forth, my awareness of the world increased and it hit me then, the gravity of the event. My mom bought a copy of the Warren Report and gave it to me, and I still have it. When I watched the Oliver Stone JFK movie, no matter what you think of it, the movie, its characters and the footage of the event hit me pretty hard. I'll never forget that weekend either... ever. Have always hoped that before my time comes that it will be known what really happened and why. Thx, for the story Pat. I remember Fred having to go out to the ballpark that day and our usual Sunday routine was shattered...

smith03Nov. 21, 1311:27 PM

minor point. the cheerleaders in 1963 where not the st Louis park parkettes. they started in 1064, but the "Vi-Queens". The Vi Queens was group hired by the team from 61-63.

patrickNov. 22, 13 4:33 AM

Dear Smith03: Paul Flatley told me he recalled Parkettes not being in attendance. I took his recollection at face value, since I only knew of Parkettes as a Vikings' cheerleading crew at Met. What I couldn't find out from 'CCO was if the Big Neighbor actually broadcast game. Sunday Morning Tribune of Nov. 24 said the decision had not been made. The Lions did not have radio broadcast of game back in Detroit.

smarterthanuNov. 22, 13 5:22 AM

He would have wanted it that way.

minneg56Nov. 22, 13 6:04 AM

I remember the nuns telling us the president was shot - then nuns marching us from the school to the church to pray for him and being dismissed at about 1:30 to go home ... to 'stay at home' moms. Scared as hell adults stands out. There were very few times as a kid you ever felt your parents concerns let alone fears. The Cuban Missle Crisis and the Kennedy assasinations were the 2 times and both left imprints on a generation. Stirs up thoughts of 50 years ago. Thanks for a well crafted piece on that sad weekend Pat.

kleinerpNov. 22, 13 6:25 AM

Another stupid decision by the NFL-a league with a long history of cover ups and stupid decisions. Watch PBS's "League of Denial" some time.

fishanhunt2Nov. 22, 13 7:36 AM

"The show must go on"? 50 years ago today was a very sad day for all of the USA. Like 9-11, most of us alive at that time will never forget where we were and what we were doing. It is still shocking to remember even today.

bblylevenNov. 22, 13 7:37 AM

Kennedy espoused the political ideal "Put your country first" when making any judgement on an issue. That ideal died with him.

espresso2goNov. 22, 13 8:36 AM

Well written piece, Pat, with an interesting angle that brings it home. On the day the Vikings played, my father, an immigrant from Iceland, lost his only blood relative in the US - his uncle Jon. The double loss that weekend of the president and his beloved uncle quite nearly killed our father with grief. Thanks, Pat, for putting such a powerful local spin on this story.

richnpoorNov. 22, 13 8:42 AM

A great story. All of us living at the time remember where we were when we heard the news of the shooting. I was in the 6th grade and our class basically was in shock the rest of the day. At home that weekend we were glued to our TV for news of the assassination and the NFL was not even a blip on our radar. Even my dad, a huge Vikings fan and a Republican, was focused on Kennedy that weekend. Thanks for putting football into perspective, Patrick.


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Date/Opponent Time W L Score
2013 preseason     
Aug 9 - vs. Houston 7 pmX27-13
Aug 16 - at Buffalo 6 pmX20-16
Aug 25 - at San Francisco 7 pmX34-14
Aug 29 - vs. Tennessee 7 pmX24-23
2013 regular season     
Sep 8 - at Detroit NoonX34-24
Sep 15 - at Chicago NoonX31-30
Sep 22 - vs. Cleveland NoonX31-27
Sep 29 - vs. Pittsburgh (in London) NoonX34-27
Oct 6 - Bye
Oct 13 - vs. Carolina NoonX35-10
Oct 21 - at. NY Giants 7:40 pmX23-7
Oct 27 - vs. Green Bay 7:30 pmX44-31
Nov 3 - at Dallas NoonX27-23
Nov 7 - vs. Washington 7:25 pmX34-27
Nov 17 - at Seattle 3:25 pmX41-20
Nov. 24 - at Green Bay Noon26-26
Dec 1 - vs. Chicago NoonX23-20
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Dec 15 - vs. Philadelphia NoonX48-30
Dec 22 - at Cincinnati NoonX42-14
Dec 29 - vs. Detroit NoonX14-13




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