Update: Sean McDermott apologized to his players for his 9/11 analogy, according to ESPN. However, the World Wide Leader said the Buffalo Bills head coach “regretted mentioning 9/11 in my message,” though Go Long reported that he cited the hijackers as “a group of people who were all able to get on the same page to orchestrate attacks to perfection.”
Alaina Getzenberg said that “multiple players” on the team at the time confirmed it, while others “did not recall it.”
“It was mentioning 9/11 in the context of the team meeting,” McDermott said.
“The goal of the team meeting was the importance of communication and being on the same page as a team.”
In a week full of bad analogies, Buffalo Bills head coach Sean McDermott has taken the crown and run with it.
Independent journalist Tyler Dunne released a three-part investigative feature on his Go Long newsletter titled “The McDermott Problem,” detailing the cultural problems that exist within the Bills organization. The work, based on 25 conversations Dunne had with anonymous players and staffers, spans the entirety of the McDermott tenure.
One of the anecdotes that’s publicly circulated online took place during the Bills’ 2019 training camp. To create an analogy about teamwork and togetherness, McDermott cited the terrorists who orchestrated the Sept. 11 attacks as “a group of people who were all able to get on the same page,” in Dunne’s words.
McDermott asked individual players specific questions about the orchestrators of the terror attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.
“What tactics do you think they used to come together?”
“What do you think their biggest obstacle was?”
Players who spoke anonymously to Dunne were taken aback by the “horrible, horrible reference.” One coach added that McDermott “doesn’t have bad intentions. He’s just so clueless that he couldn’t believe that it was a big deal when the players were losing their minds.”
Other players tried to rationalize it from McDermott’s perspective. “In his brain it was, ‘If evil can accomplish this, then imagine what we can accomplish’ doing things the right way. The message was just f—ked up.”