Former Patriots Offensive Lineman Joe Andruzzi Reflects On Sept. 11

Sept. 11 has special meaning for three-time Super Bowl champion Joe Andruzzi, whose family saved lives at Ground Zero 

Zach Gelb
September 14, 2020 - 1:26 pm

Former New England Patriots guard and three-time Super Bowl champion Joe Andruzzi dropped by CBS Sports Radio last Friday to reflect on 9/11 and its impact on his family

Andruzzi’s father was a New York City policeman, and Andruzzi’s three brothers – Billy, Jimmy, and Marc – were New York City firefighters. Jimmy, in fact, found himself climbing the crumbling North Tower on his first day on the job.

Andruzzi’s brothers were honorary captains for the Patriots’ first game after the attacks.

“I didn’t think they’d be up for it – [and] they weren’t at first,” Andruzzi said on The Zach Gelb Show. “They didn’t want any publicity for themselves, especially my brother who was in the tower. He had a battle with survivor’s guilt, remorse, and it was a very tough time for him. Just being by his side and helping him through that . . .  I talked to him and I said, ‘God didn’t take you that day. God chose you to do more on this Earth.’ I said, ‘I don’t care if you go out there. It doesn’t matter to me . . . but it’s going to matter to a lot of people when you stand out there in your uniform. It doesn’t matter what your name is on your back. You’re standing out there and representing a whole lot more people than you can ever imagine.’”

Andruzzi’s brothers agreed to serve as captains. The Patriots hosted the Jets that day – Sept. 23, 2001. The Jets won, 10-3.

“Hopefully it’s the first and last time we ever see the Patriots and Jets fans holding hands,” Andruzzi joked. “We don’t want to see that again. But for me, it was a lot of butterflies – probably more butterflies and a different feeling that day than every Super Bowl I played in. It was tough to go out there. It was tough to get back out there. But I put it in my mind that these couple hours – three, four hours – I’m going to help people get their mind off things. They’re here to cheer us on. To represent [them] and to know we’re going to go out there and get their mind off things was rewarding for us to go out there and continue our work.”

Although the Patriots lost to the Jets to fall to 0-2, they finished 11-5 that season and won the Super Bowl. They won their last nine games of the year (playoffs included).

“There’s nothing more I cherish than going out there and having [my family] there for that Super Bowl win and holding that trophy up with them,” Andruzzi said. “They’re a part of that trophy as much as myself, my teammates, and their families. It’s a long, grueling season, but that season was especially long and grueling for me.”