‘Monday Night Football’ Turns Scary After Buffalo Bills Player Suffers Cardiac Arrest on Field

Posted on: January 3, 2023, 02:19h. 

Last updated on: January 3, 2023, 02:43h.

Update: Tuesday afternoon, the NFL released a statement regarding the status of the game. It said that the game will not be played this week, adding that the league has yet to make a decision on changes for Week 18, the last week of the regular season. Signed by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, the statement concluded that the league would provide further details as they become available.

Earlier: The Monday Night Football game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills should have been a routine contest to close out the NFL’s Week 17. Both teams entered with a determination to better their playoff aspirations. But things quickly took a turn for the worse when a Bills player went down hard in the first quarter.

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin
Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin reacts to a play on the field. The second-year starter suffered a cardiac arrest on the field during the Bills’ Monday Night Football game against the Cincinnati Bengals. (Image: Getty Images)

Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field with just over five minutes to play in the first quarter after suffering what was later determined to be cardiac arrest. Medical personnel immediately rushed onto the field and administered CPR before rushing him to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

The 24-year-old Hamlin, in his second year in the league, remains in critical condition, according to the latest from the NFL. As a result of the incident, the game was called off, with a decision on when or if it will be played still pending.

Scary Turn of Events

Cincinnati led 7-3 at the time the incident occurred. Hamlin apparently went down after tackling Bengals receiver Tee Higgins in a play that didn’t appear unusually violent.

Video shows that Higgins attempted to deflect the incoming tackle with his right shoulder, which hit Hamlin in the chest. The defensive back then wrapped up Higgins to bring him down.


Nothing seemed out of the ordinary as Hamlin got on his feet, adjusted his uniform, and headed back to his teammates. Just a few seconds later, he collapsed onto the turf. That was when medical personnel took over and rushed him to the hospital.

Initially, it was assumed that play would resume, with both teams showing signs that they were ready to take the field once again. Then, Bengals head coach Zack Taylor approached Bills head coach Sean McDermott and the refs before both teams walked off the field. Later, after discussing the issue among themselves and with league executives, they mutually agreed to suspend the game.

Hamlin, who played his college ball at the University of Pittsburgh, has been with the Bills since they picked him in the 2021 Draft. His role was as a backup to Micah Hyde. But he moved up when the latter exited this season following a neck injury in Week 2.

There’s been an outpouring of support for Hamlin across the league, both internally and from fans everywhere. His charity, Chasing M’s Foundation, has seen donations skyrocket. A GoFundMe page supporting a toy drive established by the charity has more than $3 million in donations, most of which came following the on-field accident.

What Happens Next

As devastating as this situation is, and even though the game and the league aren’t as important as Hamlin’s life, there are still certain considerations that have to be made. The game was to set the stage for the NFL and its postseason standings, and likely will still have to be played at some point.

The game’s suspension impacts the sports betting community as well. Most reputable sportsbooks will refund all wagers, even if they don’t have established rules. However, many books include in their terms and conditions that games must run for at least 55 minutes to be considered valid.

This is true of Station Casinos and South Point, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal. DraftKings, FanDuel, and others have similar guidelines.

Circa Sports and Westgate SuperBook expect makeup games to take place within eight days of their original date for any wagers to be valid. DraftKings and BetMGM explain on their websites that it will void bets if the game is not completed within 48 hours of the original date.

However, that only applies to games that are restarted from where they left off. If a suspended game is played in its entirety, DraftKings voids all of the wagers from the original game.

Some exceptions apply. Certain prop bets, such as who scores the first touchdown or whether the first series of plays ends in a field goal, may still stand.

The NFL has yet to announce what will happen. That decision could come at some point Tuesday. Depending on what the league decides, the outcome could also impact two major contests in Las Vegas.

The Circa Million IV contest won’t continue unless the Bills and Bengals finish their game by 1:59 a.m. Wednesday. The Westgate’s SuperContest has a deadline of midnight tonight.