Tom Matte was a former Baltimore Colt and former Ravens color commentator on the radio.
He joined Ed and Steve to talk about the JFK assassination and the NFL.
Steve: Tell us about your experience during the Assassination
Tom: We were on our way to play the LA Rams, maybe about half way across the country. We didn’t even know whether the President was alive or dead. It wasn’t until we landed that we had found out he had passed. Our team had some strong connections with the Kennedy family because of our close proximity to Washington D.C. It was a very difficult time, our team was pretty shook. We were all thinking that the game was going to be canceled and I believe it should have been canceled.
Ed: There was some violence in the NFL post assassination during the Redskins and Eagles game, can you tell us about what the NFL was like right after the assassination?
Tom: Well when we played LA there was a crowd in the stadium but it was silent. There was not really any noise, it was a game that seemed to just be going through the motions. We just kind of wanted it to be over. Kennedy was a special guy and we as an organization had a lot of tie-in’s to the president and his family so it was very tough for us.
Ed: Did sports after the assassination provide any solace for the American people. Do you think it provided any relief?
Tom: Well when they played the national anthem in LA it was very emotional. I think America turns to sports as an outlet in difficult times.
Steve: What was it about Kennedy that made him so special? Was he as beloved as history judges him to be?
Tom: He was very charismatic, he was something new and fresh and a lot of people liked him. I had a lot of respect for him, he made his mistakes but so does everybody, he was a great politician and was deservedly loved.