In a video on Twitter, the Falcons announced their helmets would sport special decals featuring the initials of different fallen veterans because “it’s bigger than us.”
“It’s our way to honor fallen heroes for families that we want to show and demonstrate our respect to,” head coach Dan Quinn said on camera. “On that day we wanted to let their families know that we’re playing for their fallen hero.”
Ahead of the game, punter Matt Bosher posted a photo of his helmet to Instagram and wrote that he was “proud” to play for veteran William “Billy” Koprince Jr. and his “amazing mother and father.”
“Thank you for everything your family has given to our beautiful nation,” his caption said. “Here is to keeping his amazing memory and ultimate sacrifice alive!”
Quarterback Matt Ryan will bear the initials of 29-year-old Capt. Joshua Byers, who was killed in Iraq on his mom’s 50th birthday.
“He was known for making his soldiers laugh and providing morale boosts despite the chaos of war around them,” Ryan said in a video posted to Instagram.
As the players walked out of the tunnel and onto the field, 64 white circle stickers with black initials shined from the back of their helmets:
According to Atlanta NBC affiliate 11 Alive, the Falcons and AT&T will present the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, which supports grieving military families, with a $100,000 donation.