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NFL won’t resume postponed ‘Monday Night Football’ game this week

Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, as it appeared in 2017.
Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, as it appeared in 2017. (Photo by Jon Ridinger via Wikimedia Commons, Graphic by The Desk)

The head executive at the National Football League (NFL) says a postponed “Monday Night Football” game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals will not resume this week following a critical injury of a player on Monday.

In a memo sent to the NFL’s 32 team clubs on Tuesday, NFL Commissioner Roger Goddell said Bills safety Damar Hamlin was still listed in critical condition at a Cincinnati trauma medical center after he collapsed on the field during the first quarter of Monday’s game.

Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest and was given CPR by medical personnel at Paycor Stadium before being taken by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit in critical condition.

The game — a much-anticipated match in the NFL because it has playoff implications for both teams — was part of ESPN’s Monday Night Football telecast. It was widely seen by much of the country because ESPN’s broadcast was carried on the ABC network.

For more than a half-hour, ESPN and ABC Sports commentators and reporters questioned whether the game would continue, before NFL officials announced the game would be indefinitely postponed.

On Tuesday, Goddell said the game would not resume at all this week, and affirmed mental health resources were being made available to players at the game in Cincinnati and across the league.

The game was the final in the NFL’s penultimate week before the league transitions to playoffs. The final week of the season begins on Thursday. Goddell said the league has not announced any changes to the remainder of the Week 18 schedule, though the statement left open the possibility that the NFL could amend it before Thursday, or even later.

On a conference call with reporters Tuesday morning (Monday evening PT), NFL executives said their first priority was on the health and wellness of Hamlin and the players who witnessed a traumatic event during Monday evening’s game.

“It wasn’t about proceeding with the game,” Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, said on the call. “Frankly, the aspect never crossed my mind, never cross our mind internally.”

When asked by a reporter to address a statement made by ESPN’s broadcasters that the players on both teams were told to warm up in anticipation of the game resuming, Vincent said he wasn’t sure where those reports originated.

“It never crossed our mind that — to talk about warming up, to resume play,” Vincent said. “That’s ridiculous, that’s insensitive, and that’s not a place that we should ever be.”

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is the publisher of The Desk and reports on the business and policy matters involving the broadcast television, streaming video and radio industries. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, Disney-ABC, Tribune Broadcasting and McNaughton Newspapers. Matthew is based in Northern California, has won numerous awards in the field of journalism, and is a member of IRE (Investigative Reporters and Editors).