As Damar Hamlin laid unconscious on the field, ESPN broadcaster Joe Buck stated on air that the two teams were told they had five minutes to warm-up before play would resume. Shortly after the Monday Night Football game was postponed, NFL Executive VP of Football Ops Troy Vincent said that wasn’t true.
Someone is lying.
“I’m not sure where that came from,” Vincent said on a media conference call early Tuesday morning, per Pro Football Talk. “Frankly, there was no time period for the players to get warmed up. Frankly, the only thing that we asked was that [referee] Shawn [Smith] communicate with both head coaches to make sure they had the proper time inside the locker room to discuss what they felt like was best.
Tough Situation for Everyone
Like in a lot of ‘he-said, she-said’ instances, we’ll likely never hear the truth. But it doesn’t take a genius to figure out the likely event here is that the NFL informed the Bengals and Bills that play would resume after a brief warm-up. Then after the game, once they saw the backlash from fans, went into damage control.
The one critical piece of information needed to know is how much did the NFL know of Hamlin’s condition prior to allegedly telling the teams the game will shortly continue?
Did they know CPR was being performed? Did they know how dire the situation was?
It’s incredibly easy to assume that, of course, they did. But in reality, things are moving much slower for us viewers at home on our couch than for those at the stadium.
For the medical professionals, coaches, referees, NFL personnel at the stadium, the only thing that mattered was Hamlin. Communicating with NFL officials in a different state is a distant second. The person who allegedly made the five-minute warm-up call did not know how serious Hamlin’s condition was.
Don’t Lie About It Though
One thing I think many fans fail to truly grasp is how rare that situation was last night. For a player to need resuscitation on the field, that just never happens. Some people have lightly compared it to the Reggie Brown case from 1997. But that was 25 years ago. I think we can collectively consider something happening once every quarter century as extremely rare.
When something that is frightening and uncommon happens, people make mistakes. Even if there are contingency plans in place.
I’m certainly not excusing the NFL for allegedly telling teams they had five minutes before the game would resume. It’s bad whether they had all the information or not.
I simply want to mention that while not extremely likely, it is plausible that the seriousness of the situation might not have been communicated to NFL HQ before that alleged decision was made.
What’s worse is that the NFL is lying to all of its fans that they made no decision on resuming the game, allegedly, of course.
If they told the teams to warm up, just admit it. Say you didn’t have all the facts on Hamlin’s condition, and own up that a mistake was made. Make up some bullshit that you’re going to review policy on resuming games after injury.
But don’t lie that you didn’t tell the players that game was going to be played, come on. Does the NFL really think we’re that stupid?
No they don’t. But they know next Sunday all sixteen NFL stadiums hosting a game will be sold out. And at the end of the day, we know that’s all that matters.