Bills S Damar Hamlin collapse is latest of NFL’s frightening moments

Jan 2, 2023, 8:40 PM | Updated: Jan 3, 2023, 8:16 am
Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Spencer Brown (79) pauses as Damar Hamlin is examined by medical sta...

Buffalo Bills offensive tackle Spencer Brown (79) pauses as Damar Hamlin is examined by medical staff during the first half of an NFL football game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Monday, Jan. 2, 2023, in Cincinnati. (AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)

(AP Photo/Emilee Chinn)

The NFL is a horrifying place. That became abundantly clear on Monday night, when paramedics frantically performed CPR on the Bills’ Damar Hamlin, who absorbed a vicious hit to the chest while attempting to make a tackle.

Hamlin stood up, and immediately collapsed. And so began one of the most nauseating, stunning, sobering viewing experiences in recent memory, the worst ending imaginable to a weekend full of breathtaking, high-stakes football.

Hamlin’s status was not clear as he left the field in an ambulance. But those who watched it all unfold will never forget the anguish on the Buffalo sideline, the looks on the faces of his teammates and brothers.

It was the nightmare the modern-day NFL has long dreaded, the fear of a player dying on the field, from the legalized violence the sport encourages and demands.

Hamlin was in critical condition approximately an hour after the incident, the NFL said in a statement.

It’s been a rough year. Concussion protocol is under fire, fueled by the surreal visuals of Tua Tagovailoa convulsing on the field, his fingers locking up in trauma response. Over the weekend, Giants defenseman Kayvon Thibodeaux made snow angels on the field, right next to a writhing Nick Foles, the player Thibodeaux had just injured.

The NFL doesn’t want this. It tries hard to protect its quarterbacks, and yet 64 of them have started games this season alone. It spends big money on research and development for safer working conditions and has practically legislated dangerous kickoff returns out of the game.

But as we’ve seen far too often this season, it cannot control the escalating violence inside a sport that keeps getting bigger, stronger and faster.

Reach Bickley at dbickley@arizonasports.com. Listen to Bickley & Marotta weekdays from 6 – 10 a.m. on Arizona Sports.

Dan Bickley

(Jeremy Schnell/Arizona Sports)...
Dan Bickley

Tom Brady set an impossible standard for all QBs to come

Tom Brady’s closing act was stupendous, right down to the heartfelt message he posted on social media on Wednesday.
5 days ago
Arizona Cardinals quarterback Kyler Murray scrambles for a late first-half touchdown against the Lo...
Dan Bickley

Cardinals’ Kyler Murray must learn from moxie of Championship Sunday QBs

Kyler Murray is on the record. He said he wants to win Super Bowls with the Cardinals. Let’s hope he spent the weekend taking notes.
6 days ago
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy speaks at a news conference after an NFL divisional pla...
Dan Bickley

The Valley, even Cardinals fans, should root for the 49ers and Brock Purdy

The Cardinals became the first team in three seasons to miss out on a homefield championship. In their place, we should cheer for the 49ers.
13 days ago
Arizona Cardinals GM Monti Ossenfort speaks with reporters during his introductory press conference...
Dan Bickley

Cardinals’ hiring of GM Monti Ossenfort is sign of progress, step in right direction

It proves that owner Michael Bidwill is not afraid to open his organization to outsiders, handing a high level of control to a fresh set of eyes.
20 days ago
Head coach Sean Payton of the New Orleans Saints on the sidelines before the game against the Atlan...
Dan Bickley

Sean Payton is the remedy to Cardinals QB Kyler Murray’s struggles

Imagine what an authentic, innovative, alpha male, Super Bowl-winning coach like Sean Payton might do for our slow-growing franchise QB.
24 days ago
President and owner Michael Bidwill of the Arizona Cardinals before the NFL preseason game against ...
Dan Bickley

Arizona Cardinals’ Michael Bidwill at own crossroads with changes looming

The Cardinals need an overhaul. They need an owner smart enough to look in the mirror and brave enough to step outside his comfort zone.
28 days ago
Bills S Damar Hamlin collapse is latest of NFL’s frightening moments