It was as predictable and comforting a ritual as the events of the week had been unpredictable. Reid received sustained applause after the moment of silence, and he returned a small wave of his baseball cap in return. There were hugs on the sideline before the game began, and a visit to the Eagles locker room by a Pittsburgh delegation before that. Everyone did as much as he or she could to show support.
"You want every day to be a better day in this situation," Reid said later. "There's been a lot of support, but it doesn't erase what took place. Life goes on, and this is one more step forward. We'll try to take another step tomorrow."
If the evening was meant to be cathartic, it succeeded on some levels. The tributes were pitch-perfect and tasteful. They were also proof that in the mix of family and football, the latter can help the former but not the other way around.
Not that the game was that horrible. The Eagles actually won the thing, 24-23, but only after their starters and top substitutes lost a ragged, 13-0 opening half.
Exhibition games can be like that and not mean anything for the future. You put the ugly ingredients into the meat grinder and hope that scrapple comes out the other end by the start of the regular season. Either that or you just get left with ugly ingredients.
The Eagles are probably going to be a good football team this year, but they weren't on Thursday night, at least not in comparison to the Pittsburgh Steelers. When Byron Leftwich can engineer a touchdown drive against you, that's not an indicator of a successful night.
"The 1s and 2s have some work to do," Reid said. "The execution was off. The tackling, blocking was off. We've got to focus and get better."
The evening could have come out a lot worse, of course. When quarterback Michael Vick banged the thumb of his throwing hand on the helmet of center Jason Kelce as he followed through on a pass, that was a moment when everyone in the organization held his or her breath.
Vick came off the field alternately shaking and clutching his hand, but the X-rays on the area didn't show a break, and everyone could breathe again. Nothing matters to the success of the coming season so much as the health of the quarterback. Having him break a thumb in the first exhibition game wouldn't have been an end to the season, but as omens go it wouldn't have been uplifting.
As much as people worry about Vick when he evacuates the pocket and takes off on another of his loose-legged runs down the field, when he does get hurt he always gets hurt in the pocket. All of his injuries last season took place there, and now his first close call of the new season was another freakish one in the middle of his protection.
The Eagles didn't catch many other breaks, and they didn't catch many Pittsburgh ballcarriers when the first and second teams were on the field. If one of the goals of this season is to plug the run defense, the results aren't apparent yet. The defense was operating without starting ends Jason Babin and Trent Cole, and without safety Nate Allen, so there are some asterisks worth mentioning.
It wasn't much of a night for the guys who remained, either. Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie did an homage to Asante Samuel by failing to wrap up several tackles. Safety Jaiquawn Jarrett, starting for Allen, struggled to get himself in the right place or lay a hit on anyone when he finally got there. He took a wrong step on the Leftwich touchdown pass to Emmanuel Sanders, or at least it looked that way since the Eagles ended up with three defenders on the tight end, which seemed excessive.
On the other side of the ball, since the idea was simply not to get anyone injured, the Eagles didn't try to do very much - and they still almost got burned. Vick's offense was three-and-out on both of the drives he quarterbacked. But he didn't break his thumb, so that was the only good news from the opening half.
And there's your exhibition opener. It was just sausage into the grinder and nothing more. The problems apparent in this game as well as its good points could easily change places in the next one.
It is just a matter of waiting to find out. Time can heal some wounds, and that was one goal undertaken on Thursday night after what has taken place this week.
Time doesn't bring with it a guarantee, though, even for football teams who hope a little more time and a lot more practice will heal them, too. We'll see how that works out.
Contact Bob Ford at email@example.com, or follow on Twitter @bobfordsports. Read his blog, "Post Patterns," at www.philly.com/postpatterns