By Mason Walling - Following a dominant Syracuse 52-17 home victory over Tulane, there was a press conference, just like after any old football game. However, this particular press conference was anything but normal.
On the surface, there were plenty of reasons to praise the team. The Orange excelled on the football field in all three facets of the game. The team scored touchdowns on its first three offensive possessions, jumping out to a commanding 21-3 lead. The defense disrupted Tulane quarterback Nick Montana early and often, sacking him three times and intercepting him once. On special teams, the Orange blocked two punts and a field goal. It's safe to say that the game was a confidence builder all around.
Another high point to mention was that Syracuse earned its 700th program win, a milestone that only about twenty other universities across the nation have achieved. When asked about the accolade, Head Coach Scott Shafer joked that, "We've got a lot to do to catch Coach Boeheim." The atmosphere of the room was very laid back, very at ease. We all laughed together.
But then, a question arose that changed the emotions of the entire press conference.
Someone asked about the Edson family. Sue Edson is the assistant athletics director of communications at Syracuse, a job which she has held since 1997. A week before Saturday's game, Sue's husband Rob died of an apparent heart attack at the age of 45. Rob Edson was serving as the athletic director at Onondaga Community College. Before that, he'd been employed at Syracuse as the athletic department's chief financial officer and senior associate director of athletics. They have two children, Thomas and Tracey.
Unfortunately, I have not had the privilege of knowing Sue or her family intimately, and for that reason I do not feel qualified to speak on their lives. What I do know is the feeling of somber respect that went through the room as Coach Shafer spoke about the family. "We said we're getting number two for Sue," said Shafer. For a group of young men to go out and perform the way they did, to play with such purpose and inspiration, proves that sports can have so much more meaning than competition or entertainment. For a brief moment, it was about more than just football.
To listen to the full post-game interviews, click on the links below:
Full Game Highlights