The football world was left reeling following the near-death of one of its players during the matchup between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals last Monday.

Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest after a collision with Bengals wide receiver Tee Higgins and nearly lost his life at the Paycor Stadium. 

The NFL has had its share of crises, however, it has never had to contend with the horrifying visuals of paramedics attempting to resuscitate a fallen player for over 10 minutes while his team wept.

Hamlin was back to focusing on team affairs after removing his breathing tube and, although he was still in critical condition, he continued to encourage his team via social media, urging them to keep their focus on the game season while providing assurances of his recovery. 

Following the traumatizing scene, Hamlin’s teammates and members of opposing teams have been seen paying homage to their fellow football player—donning jerseys, shirts, and sweatshirts with Hamlin’s picture or player number at games. 

In Jacksonville, members of the Jaguars and Titans football teams took a knee at the 50-yard line, praying for Hamlin’s recovery, whilst fans observed a minute of silence in respect. 

Hamlin has since been released from the hospital, over one week after he was admitted. 

Tom Pelissero NFL Network reporter has reported that “Bills’ safety, Damar Hamlin not only has been released from the hospital, he’s up, doing physical therapy, walking and tolerating a regular diet. Pretty incredible.”

“Headed home to Buffalo today with a lot of love in my heart. Watching the world come together around me on Sunday was truly an amazing feeling,” Hamlin also tweeted on Wednesday. 

“The same love you all have shown me is the same love that I plan to put back into the world n more. Bigger than football!”

It's been revealed that the league did not decide to cancel the match that night. Rather, the Bills and the Bengals were actually responsible for the termination. 

ESPN's Don Van Natter Jr. reported that chief football administrator Dawn Aponte was receiving demands from the  NFL executives concerning the continuation or cancellation of the game. 

“She [Aponte] was getting pressure. She was not getting consistent and direct messaging that she deserved to receive,” detailed a team official. 

Nevertheless, the cancelation of the match did affect the league, and given that the regular season was almost at an end, it called for risky navigation. 

The matches slated for Week 18 did proceed as normal, but the Bills and Bengals game was not replayed. Even so, football fans can remain hopeful in placing their wagers using New York sportsbook promo codes since both teams are still in the playoffs this year.

NFL executive and vice president of football operations, Troy Vincent stated that “all of the focus has been on Damar. 

"We have just begun to think through and talk through all of the different scenarios, where that game stands, whether to play it and so on," he said.

Football can be quite dangerous and injuries are inevitable, yet athletes are used to competing through pain. Despite seeing their teammates or opponents carried off the field due to debilitating trauma, they are trained to compartmentalize to continue performing. 

However, Hamlin’s injury was different. 

The league finally passed a resolution to change the AFC rules after the Bills vs Bengals incomplete game which ultimately altered both seeding and home-field advantages in the playoffs. The implications of this change directly affect the Bengals, and they are not pleased.

Many within the franchise felt penalized for a situation they had no control over, but the league countered by saying they should already be satisfied being named AFC North champions. 

Bengals executive vice president Katie Blackburn appealed to teams to vote against the NFL’s decision.

“The proper process for making rule changes is in the offseason,” she wrote in a memo

“It is not appropriate to put teams in a position to vote for something that may introduce bias, favor one team over another or impact their own situation when the vote takes place immediately before the playoffs.”

Albeit, there were many scenarios and manipulations at the league’s disposal, however, calling a cancellation seems like the path of least resistance. 

With everything up in the air, it may prove very confusing for the Bengals, and may inadvertently affect how they perform in their next matches, particularly following Hamlin’s incident from the last game. 

It may prove quite challenging to navigate such unsteady waters, nevertheless, the dreaded coin toss scenario has been avoided as they won their game against the Ravens on Sunday. 


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