REVEALED: Bills-Bengals MNF postponement after Damar Hamlin’s collapse ‘was down to the two franchises and NOT the NFL,’ claims a team official… before commissioner Roger Goodell made the final call
- The NFL called off Bills-Bengals game after Damar Hamlin had cardiac arrest
- But a new report claims it was the teams that drove the decision to stop play
- The league ‘left open the possibility’ of playing for ‘nearly an hour’ after collapse
- But Buffalo and Cincinnati were adamant that the game would not continue
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A new report has revealed the inner workings of the Bills-Bengals cancellation last week, and claims it was the two franchises – and not the NFL – that drove the decision to call off the game.
The Monday night matchup was officially postponed more than an hour after Damar Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest after tackling Tee Higgins, but that may not have been the resolution if not for the teams digging their heels in.
‘The league did not cancel the game,’ an unnamed team official told ESPN. ‘The Bills and the Bengals canceled the game.
Coaches Sean McDermott and Zac Taylor speak after a pause in the game last Monday night
‘We felt confusion and nonsense more than pressure,’ the official added.
‘They were still discussing things. In our mind there was nothing to be discussed. … If they would have said, “If you leave you’re forfeiting the game,” we’re still leaving.’
Outside the locker rooms, both coaches and other team officials stood with NFL chief football administrator Dawn Aponte, who was keeping them in contact with NFL executives at the league’s command center – led by NFL executive vice president of football operations Troy Vincent.
The final decision to postpone the game fell to commissioner Roger Goodell, who gave the OK
According to the team official, Vincent ‘left open the possibility’ of playing for ‘nearly an hour,’ while ESPN commentator Joe Buck repeatedly told viewers that the league planned to resume play after a five minute warm-up period.
Vincent has vehemently denied that characterization, while ESPN reported citing multiple firsthand sources that a senior NFL rules analyst inside the command center told ESPN officiating expert John Parry about the plan to resume play.
Parry then conveyed that information to the ESPN broadcast, and Buck has stood by his reporting.
‘If what I said on national TV with the eyes of the world watching was wrong in the view of the league, I would have been corrected — immediately,’ Buck said. ‘And I was not.’
Hamlin collapsed moments after tackling Tee Higgins and received emergency treatment
He continued, ‘We were on the air for another 40 minutes and no one corrected the idea that the game would resume,’ Buck said. ‘No one.’
However, NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told ESPN last week that the rules analyst in the command center was ‘adamant that at no time did he say anything related to a five-minute warmup period to John Parry. … John is just plain wrong.’
DailyMail.com has reached out to the NFL for comment.
The final decision to postpone the game lay with commissioner Roger Goodell, who noted the league would normally continue the game.
‘A standard practice would be to resume play, but when you get feedback that it may not be appropriate, that’s when Troy made the decision to suspend play,’ Goodell told Boston’s The Sports Hub last week.
‘Which was the right decision, and allow everyone to go back and let’s gather ourselves and get more information, which was clear we needed to do. So, and then I made the decision to postpone shortly thereafter.’
Hamlin has made an encouraging recovery from the incident and was moved to Buffalo General Hospital from Cincinnati on Monday to continue testing.
‘I can confirm he is doing well and this is the beginning of the next stage of his recovery,’ said UC Medical Center’s Dr. William Knight.