But each time the Patriots scored in the 41-31 loss to San Francisco, the soldiers in the End Zone Militia clapped their empty hands like the rest of the crowd. Elliott said the Patriots asked the group, which has been standing sentry at home games since the mid-1990s, to skip the ceremonial fire.
"Out of respect for those that were killed, we were asked yesterday not to fire the muskets, which we all agreed with," said Elliott, who is a manufacturing manager for a dental implant-maker. "It was just such a horrific thing. It's hard to put it into words."
The Sunday Night Football broadcast on NBC was moved to CNBC and the NBC Sports Network while President Barack Obama addressed the nation. The game returned to its regular channel after the president's remarks from Newtown.
The Giants, another popular team in southwestern Connecticut, affixed a decal with the school's initials — "SHES" — on their helmets.
"Being close to home, the players were greatly upset about it," Giants coach Tom Coughlin said. "Many of the players have young children so they can empathize with the parents who had young children killed."
Houston Texans defensive end J.J. Watt wrote "Newtown, CT" on one of the gloves he wore in warmups and on both of his shoes for the game.
"We're playing football, and there's something much bigger going on in this world," Watt said. "I just wanted them to know, and I wanted everyone to know, that our thoughts are with them. Nothing is bigger than that. We played our game today, but honestly our thoughts are with them, the families, the teachers, the friends, the first responders, who had to go see that. My dad is a first responder. They were just kids."