Dolphins coach Brian Flores, a native New Yorker, reflects on 9/11
On the morning of Sept. 11, 2001, six firefighters from Brooklyn Heights’ Ladder 18 responded to the World Trade Center.
They rushed into the South Tower to save lives.
They sacrificed their own.
Theirs is one of dozens of such stories of heroism from the worst terrorist attack in American history.
But none is as personal to Dolphins coach Brian Flores, a Brooklyn native whose uncle Darrell Patterson was part of that company, which included the father of “Saturday Night Live” star Pete Davidson.
Ladder 118’s last ride — speeding across an empty Brooklyn Bridge toward the burning towers — was captured in a now-iconic photograph.
Flores, asked about his memories of 9/11 on the 18th anniversary Wednesday, shared this story:
“First thing I think about was my uncle,” Flores said. “My uncle Darryl Patterson, he actually got me into football. He was a fireman. During that time he was on sick leave and he was part of Ladder 118 in Brooklyn, which was the first truck to go in. Nobody came out from that group. He was on sick leave, he had cancer. He was obviously devastated from the loss of all of those guys in his firehouse.”
Flores continued: “I spent a lot of time in that firehouse. 9/11 brings back those memories. I was in college [at Boston College] at that time. Obviously, it was a tragic attack. I remember football bringing a lot of people closer. That’s what I love about the game. It unites, even in times of when there’s anger, pain and distress, displeasure, the game and teams unite people. That’s one of the things I love about the game.”
Flores then brought the message back to the Dolphins, who were hammered 59-10 in their season opener.
“Take us for example. There were guys that were disappointed. There were players that were disappointed, there were coaches that were disappointed. There were calls that we wish they had back, there were plays that they wish they had back. But the good thing about the game is you’ve got 52 other guys, a bunch of coaches, they’ve got your back. Despite your flaws, they take care of you and they still love you. That’s the beauty of the game. It’s why it’s so near and dear to me. That’s why I love going out there.”