NFL was right to cancel game with Hamlin injury

Jonah Bostick, Sports Editor

If there is one thing that the NFL does consistently, it’s making sure all games are played and finished. 

When Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest during a game, the NFL had no choice but to cancel the game.  

On Monday, Jan. 2, the Bills took on the Cincinnati Bengals in a late-season matchup. Midway through the first quarter, Hamlin tackled Bengals receiver Tee Higgins. When Hamlin got up, he started to stumble before completely collapsing on the field in an unconscious state.

The Bills athletic training staff gave Hamlin immediate CPR before he was carted off the field and taken to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center where he was placed under critical condition. Hamlin is now stable and has been released from the hospital where he is with his teammates.

As Hamlin exited the field, the NFL made the decision to cancel the game.

The cancellation of the game not only respected the Hamlin situation, but it also allowed the two teams to properly recover from the incident. It’s impossible to play a football game following a player almost dying on the field, especially for Hamlin’s team.  

The NFL canceling the game outright is a significant move. It’s the first time in NFL history that a game has started, been paused and never resumed. It’s also the first time since 1935 that some teams have played more games than others. 

Canceling the Bills vs. Bengals game didn’t come without issues. The game was crucial for the race for the No. 1 seed in the AFC as both teams, along with the Kansas City Chiefs, fought for the spot. The Chiefs received an advantage thanks to the cancellation. 

The NFL also relocated the AFC championship game to Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta at the chance that the Bills and Chiefs played in the game. 

Despite the new challenges that the league has to face with canceling the game, nothing is as important as the state of Damar Hamlin. It’s a good look for the league in respecting Hamlin and putting the physical and psychological needs of the players first.