Eagles receiver Tommy McDonald, another Hall of Famer who later played one season for the Atlanta Falcons, said he and his Philadelphia teammates were extremely emotional during the National Anthem before their game. "When they got ready to kick off, I was still bawling like a baby," he remembers.
"The game was the strangest thing I've ever been involved in," Eagles QB King Hill said. "It was emotional for me because I was from Texas and I was ashamed to be from Texas. After the game, I went out to my car, which had Texas plates, and somebody had smashed the windows."
The Dallas Cowboys also dealt with the backlash from the assassination taking place in Dallas. When they played in Cleveland that Sunday, one fan carried a sign saying the city of Dallas "killed the president."
Cowboys executive Gil Brandt said the team was careful in Cleveland. "They didn't want us to mention Dallas. We were introduced on the playing field before the kickoff as the Cowboys, not the Dallas Cowboys."
New York Giants Hall of Fame linebacker Sam Huff also didn't agree with the decision to play Sunday. "That was the only game I ever played on any level that I didn't care about at all," he said many years later. "There was no desire, no determination. I kept thinking. This is America? America was a safe haven. Then, all of a sudden, it wasn't." Huff had campaigned for Kennedy in 1960.
CBS did not televise any NFL games that Sunday, opting to go with continuous coverage on the assassination.
President Kennedy had planned to attend the game and sit on the Army side for the first half and the Navy side for the second half.