Good morning to you if you are waking up on a Tuesday. For a lot of people it's the end of the holiday break.
It's back to your regular routine. We were expecting to be talking about what was the biggest game on the NFL schedule this weekend. There was so much build-up, so much excitement, a ton of hype around Bills and Bengals in Cincinnati at Pecor Stadium, but very early in the game it was halted by a medical emergency and there was no way that these teams were going to be able to resume a football game, even one with as much riding on it as there was. We do not have an update from the NFL about when they might reschedule this game or resume this game and maybe they won't.
I'm not sure how they can get around it, but there are people in the NFL league offices who are paid to look at all these scenarios and so they may not at this point be able to pick up the game because the Bills and Bengals also have games on their schedule for week 18 and we are now just days away from week 18. We'll talk about the NFL schedule coming up before the end of this hour because I know when we last were together on Sunday night into Monday morning we were still waiting for the NFL to release its schedule, so I do want to let you know what we have found out about week 18, but as we were wrapping up week 17, Bill's safety Damar Hamlin was making what appeared to be a routine tackle, T Higgins making a catch from Joe Burrow in the first quarter and he stood up after the tackle only to then fall backward and at that point the medical teams from both the Bengals and the Bills sprung into action. Like many of you who were watching, my first thought was a head injury, though it didn't appear as there was one, but sometimes it's hard to see or hard to tell when we are watching on TV and the cameras are only capturing a particular angle, but Damar briefly stood up and then collapsed backward and as he was falling backward, I don't know which bangle it was, he nearly took out a bangle who was standing right next to him and that bangle kind of hopped back or backward, excuse me, and got out of his way and then immediately we got this report from Sal Capaccio who called us when he got off the Bills team plane. Immediately the medical personnel were being beckoned onto the field.
It was evident that something very serious had happened to those who were standing right near Damar. Now for me, the first indication that this was different than concussion protocol or a blow to the head was when the camera started focusing on the faces of his teammates. And right away you could see some of his defensive teammates, extremely shaken, tears running down their faces. They're not only devastated but they're terrified. Josh Allen has got his mouth covered and he's got tears running down his face. Stephon Diggs is crying. The other thing that struck me and for those of you who were watching, maybe this jumped out to you too, the number of guys on the sideline with the Bills, and this is before they formed the ring around Damar Hamlin and the medical teams, they're walking up and down the sidelines and they're praying. And it's obvious that they're praying because they're speaking but they're not speaking to anyone, another human. And so you could see that with Sean McDermott, with Josh Allen, with Stephon Diggs, with others.
As the cameras are focusing on them in their emotion and in their shock and certainly in their fear, many of them are praying. And so after the ambulance and the medical team had loaded Damar into the ambulance and the ambulance starts to pull away, Sean McDermott got the entire Bills team together on the field, they knelt down, they had a team moment, a team prayer. Then it was up to not just the coaching staffs but also the NFL officials on site. Roger Goodell was not there in Cincinnati but they do have ops managers, they do have high-ranking league officials at every single one of these primetime games.
And actually they have league officials at every game but this was a very high profile game and for that reason they've got some of their best people on site, some of their top people on site. And so you heard the announcement initially, announcement, I'm not sure if that's the right word, you heard the announcers Joe Buck and Troy Aikman indicate that they had been given five minutes. According to Troy Vincent, that is ridiculous.
That's the word he used on the conference call. That there was never an indication from the NFL or from league officials that these teams had five minutes to warm up and then get back on the field. I don't know where that came from, I don't know who gave that information to the TV broadcast booth but according to Troy that was never the case. And that instead, and we've heard this report from Ian Rappaport as well as from Mike Petralia who covers the Bengals and who was there, also part of that Troy Vincent conference call, that Troy said right away they knew they were not going back to the game. That Troy himself was shaken, that others from the league offices were simply trying to figure out what to say, they were trying to get an update, they were in concert with the Players Association as well as the coaches. As much as it's easy to pile on the NFL and say how could you wait as long as you did to make an official announcement, what matters most is not their announcement to us, right?
What matters most is not what they say publicly, at least initially. What mattered is what they were saying to the Bills and the Bengals and they were sent back to their locker rooms and they were just waiting for the announcement. Even before the announcement was out there on social media, before the NFL had released a statement, you could see that on both sidelines equipment managers were packing up and so they had the information before we did. The number of times I've heard tonight that this is something you've never seen before, something I've never seen before on an NFL playing surface at an NFL game, the reaction is something I've never seen before. Please remember that the NFL was also in uncharted territory, an unprecedented situation.
I'm not telling you that they did everything the right way, only that I can understand why they wanted to make sure they had all the information and they were also hoping to get some type of an update from the hospital. About 1.50 Eastern Time, so a few hours ago, we did see an update from the Buffalo Bills. It's been confirmed by our friend Sal Cappaccio who called us when he got off the team plane. The team plane landed it back in Buffalo around 2.45 Eastern Time. There were multiple members of the Bills traveling party who went to the hospital including Stephon Diggs, Sean McDermott, Brandon Bean, according to Sal and so when they got off the team plane, he was listening to us on our Buffalo affiliate WGR, AM 550 and he sent me a text and said, hey I'm in the car.
I can call and and we can talk about it. I can I can share with you what I know and so he did that and he said that the team plane was very quiet though that's not unusual and that Damar's family was there with him at the hospital. I'm so so glad.
Talk about being one of those situations where I absolutely believe that it was God. His parents were both in the stadium and so the Bills released a statement and it was confirmed by Sal that Damar did suffer a cardiac arrest following this hit. A hit that he applied, right?
So making a routine tackle, something he's done countless times over the course of his life. The Bills statement goes on to read his heartbeat was restored on the field and he was transferred to the UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment. He is currently sedated and listed in critical condition and that goes back roughly now two and a half hours ago but that's the latest. It's after hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio. You can find me on Twitter, ALawRadio. I know a lot of you are weighing in. I appreciate your support. A couple of you have said something along the lines of I can't imagine hosting a show in the wake of an event like this, in the wake of a scary situation like this. Well two things, it's not about me. It has nothing to do with me. My only role in this situation is that I want you all to be informed so that you know what's happening but also it's my journalism background and my training. It kicks in.
I've said this on the air before and it's not the exact same thing but it is an instinct that kicks in. I worked in news before I worked in sports. I'm grateful that I did. It taught me how to be objective, tell a story, present the facts.
It taught me how to keep my emotions out of any particular situation where information is vital. The last big news event I covered before I made the jump to full-time sports was 9-11 and I was working in Oklahoma City at the time. Oklahomans had gone through the Murrah Federal bombing a few years before that and so their perspective was so completely different. It was emotional, it was raw, there was fear there because they had been through it as a city and as a state. A tragedy like this, one that was the direct attack of a terrorist, right?
In their case it was a single person or a couple of men. In the case of 9-11 it was much more organized and coordinated but their reaction was so visceral and I remember that morning, that Tuesday morning, that all I really cared about was getting to work. I wasn't scheduled to work until the afternoon. I had an afternoon and evening shift at my news radio station but I actually went in five hours early because all I really wanted to do was to report and to offer information and that's how journalism kind of works. When you're a journalist at heart that's what comes naturally and so even tonight what I wanted to do was come to work. What I wanted to do was share with you what I know and to get a couple of reporters on the air so that we could give you the latest, their perspective and their insight. And so it's not about me, it's about making sure that you all are informed but also offering a platform and a forum where we can have a conversation about it.
And then just as a kind of a starting point is compassion. I know in sports radio that word is not used very often. Not at all.
Why would it be? We're all about games and outcomes and championships and certainly an element of misery and fixing our teams and this was a disaster and this was a failure and you know how it goes on and on. But none of that matters when we're talking about life or death.
Generally we're not, I mean the majority of our shows, the majority of time I spend here on my show has nothing to do with life or death, it's entertainment. These are human beings and the emotions that they were feeling and displaying out there on the field in Cincinnati hours ago really indicates this is something that they couldn't play through and I'm glad the NFL didn't ask them to, I don't think they would have anyway. But yeah it was one of those nights, one of those moments when sports don't matter. You'll hear me talk about them now and then. It's after hours here on CBS Sports Radio again on Twitter, on Facebook, the conversation is ongoing.
We'll let you know if we hear anything else and if you miss my conversations with Mike Petralia from the Bengals perspective, it's his home stadium so he was there routinely covering a home game until everything changed and then from Sal Capaccio who joined us when he got off the team plane back in Buffalo, we are going to replay those conversations so you can get the latest in their perspective and I really appreciate that Sal was willing to tell us a little bit more about Damar Hamlin, 24 years old, a second-year Buffalo Bill who was thrust into a much more prominent role because of injury and boy has he attacked it and he's had a great season and part of the Pro Bowl conversation. Let's talk to John who's in Toronto, welcome to After Hours. Happy New Year, thanks for taking my call Amy. Of course. I listen to you all the time. I work here at the post office this afternoon so I come home and listen to you. I'll do the dishes.
I appreciate that. I can hear me in the background though so you have to turn down your radio. Okay, you know what, hold on, hold on, hold on, I'll hold on. Hey look, there I am. What's that? I said look, there I am. Yeah, I know, I got a problem. Can you walk away from the radio?
What's that? There we go, okay sir, go ahead. Oh, still there. No, I can't hardly walk, that's the problem.
Okay, well if you just real quickly tell us what you what you wanted to say. Okay, one thing the NHL had was a problem and they worked on equipment. I watched a lot of the games and the guys are hurt by the equipment. Way back when you had these football teams, the helmets back in you know 1920s or whatever were like made out of leather, right?
And other padding had some give to it, you know what I mean? Well thankfully that's not the type of helmet that they were using tonight but the upgrades to the equipment and the safety measures that are taken with football players when it comes to the medical teams, the first responders, those thankfully who were there in the stadium and were on the scene in minutes. Sorry John, that was just a little bit disconcerting with the show airing in the background and you hearing yourself and you hearing me 30 seconds later but I appreciate your support. The latest from the GoFundMe page set up by DeMar Hamlin and his Chasing M's Foundation. Wow, these numbers are incredible.
Three point one four million dollars. As of, I don't know, eight hours ago he was approaching his goal of 2,500. Can you imagine what this is going to mean to him and to his family? I applaud you all who have found his GoFundMe page and are doing the only thing really that you can do at this point and the sentiments on the page are also really powerful. Andrea, my son is a safety in Texas.
This has hit me deep. My heart goes out to you and your mom praying for your recovery. I saw a post from Pittsburgh. The whole Pittsburgh community is behind you. The Seahawks 12s are hoping for the best.
That's Jonathan. Victoria, prayers from Rochester, New York and someone also spending time in a hospital. Rich, 49ers fan, hoping for the best for you and your family. Number three, Eric, the Who Dat Nation is with you. Cynthia, Chiefs Kingdom is praying for you in our thoughts and prayers and I've seen really the post from all over the country. Another one from Texas. Prayers from South Carolina.
So yeah, I'm kind of scanning through. It's secondary of course to his health and right now he's sedated and listed in critical condition at the hospital in Cincinnati but wow. Can you imagine what this will mean to him and his family when at some point they recognize that people all over the country have been supporting him and lifting him up. So glad his parents are there. I know I've said it before but I feel like it's worth repeating.
On Twitter, A Law Radio, also on our Facebook page. It's strange to think about anything else or to talk about anything else but for the next few minutes looking ahead a little bit to week 18 because we do have a schedule for the NFL. You know a lot of you are big into college football.
I fully intended to spend a good hour on college football tonight. This is what happens a lot of times when you make plans for live TV and live radio and for those of you who did not hear our conversations with Mike Petralia. That was a Bengals reporter, longtime friend of mine who joined us in Cincinnati and then also Sal Cappaccio when he got home to Buffalo. We're gonna bring back just part of that so you can get their perspective since they were on the field surrounding this event that really changed everything for the NFL community a few hours ago.
The latest though he's in critical condition, he's sedated, he did have life-saving measures that were applied on the field before he was taken to UC Medical Center and of course we're we're talking about DeMar Hamlin and a lot of us praying for him and believing that he's getting the best the best medical treatment available to him right now. It's after hours with Amy. With classes in crisis communication, influence and data presentation, Gonzaga University's Online Masters in Communication and Leadership equips you with the tools you need to communicate clearly and encourage creativity in any industry. Concentrations in digital media, strategic communication and global leadership allow you to customize your degree. Visit gonzaga.edu slash communication and learn why a master's degree from Gonzaga can help you take your career to the next level. That's gonzaga.edu slash communication or it's on CBS Sports Radio. You are listening to the after-hours podcast. Both have it third and 11 from their own 46 holes in a shotgun punch formation right three-step drop holes fires it intercepted by landing Collins down the left sideline Collins to the 20 15 10 5 touchdown Giants landed Collins with the pick six three receivers left one to the right now Jefferson in motion to the right out of the shotgun or the setback to his right here's the snap to Kirk Cousins he fires it over the middle and it's broken up incomplete intercepted on the deflection picked off by Darnell Savage down the left side of the 40 he's got an escort to the 20 15 10 5 touchdown Green Bay Packers my goodness Patriots start to crowd a lot of scrimmage Bentley back out there in the middle along with Duggar up behind the front four on a third and 15 snap they rush for Bridgewater is back to fire it right pass intercepted by Duggar left of the 30 outside of the 20 to the 15 to the 10 Duggar to the five this is after-hours with Amy Lawrence thinking about some of the humongous defensive plays from week 17 in the NFL because we need to choose our defensive player of the week sponsored by the Navy Federal Credit Union who proudly serves the Armed Forces DoD their members oh excuse me the Armed Forces DoD veterans and their families their members are the mission learn more at Navy federal org the Landon Collins pick six for the Giants against the Indianapolis Colts in a game that clinched a playoff spot for New York for the first time since 2016 that's Bob Papa on Giants radio before the Packers ever had 25 yards of offense they already had a special teams touchdown and a defensive touchdown and Wayne Larivie there on Packers radio Darnell Savage with a pick six off a tip ball from Kirk Cousins in the first quarter of that game at Lambeau and then finally the Patriots radio network and points had been hard to come by for New England until later in this game against the Dolphins but it was a Kyle Duggar pick six for the lead as New England kept its playoff hopes alive and actually put themselves in the driver's seat a victory week 18 over Buffalo and the Patriots will have that final wildcard in the AFC and so for that Kyle Duggar is our defensive player of the week and Bob Sosi Scott Zolak with the call on Patriots radio that's after hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio we had spent time kind of speculating about what the NFL would do with its schedule and now of course they will have something else they need to work out and decide will they go back to this game between the Bills and the Bengals and if they decide they are going to when because there really isn't time and space remaining on this schedule I'm not telling you it's important I'm just telling you the facts because this was a Monday night game and they were waiting until the Bengals and Bills had finished up this game presumably on Monday night they hadn't even scheduled a time for Ravens and Bengals which is supposed to take place in week 18 so as producer Jay and I were going over the NFL schedule for week 18 we realized that Ravens Bengals was still TBD so I don't know if they go back to this game yes it matters in terms of playoff seeding maybe maybe not I suppose that they could not finish this game we know that the Bengals and the Bills have already clinched their own playoff spots the Bengals are still in the driver's seat for the AFC North title the Ravens took obviously a step back and lost kind of their opportunity this past week against Pittsburgh so you have if the Bengals would beat the Ravens in week 18 the AFC North title would would become secure and week 17 would not matter as for the Bills what they're going for is that number one seed now against the Patriots if they win that game the number one seed is theirs because they're right now in a position where as long as they would win that game they're in control of their own path but certainly the Patriots are hoping to throw a wrinkle into all of their plans Kansas City stands to benefit if Buffalo does not win that game right now Kansas City is in a position they don't have the tiebreak against Buffalo but they do have the same I shouldn't say the same record they have the same number of losses right so there that's where I wonder what the NFL will do because Kansas City by virtue its victory over Denver this past weekend now has 13 wins whereas Buffalo is sitting on 12 same number of losses Buffalo has the head-to-head tiebreak over Kansas City so I don't know what the league will do I suspect that there is some consideration of not making up the game at all maybe by default I'm not really sure I guess I can't really speculate about that what they would do if it turns out that Buffalo's down a game and could have won that game and potentially had the top seed in the buy because the top seed and a buy is nothing to sneeze at it's it's important especially in a conference as competitive at the top as the AFC so I don't know what they will do but it doesn't necessarily matter in terms of division titles or in terms of the Bengals position because they still have a game against the Ravens though currently no time set for that one what we do know about week 18 is that Detroit and Green Bay got flexed to Sunday night football so it took until the very last weekend of the regular season but yes Dan Campbell did get his wish who says we can't get flexed we've been rooting for you Dan Campbell we believed that your team was worthy of a primetime opportunity and I'd said this and we'll find it before the week is up but I heard Dan Campbell talk about how this is all that you could ask for as a Lions fan as a member of the Detroit Lions who would like to end its playoff drought who is obviously rebuilding it's now one seven of nine still alive for the playoffs certainly can enhance their position with a victory at Green Bay on Sunday night you're talking Lambeau in January under the lights a divisional game and I heard Dan Campbell say you couldn't ask for much more but also it's Green Bay and they've essentially owned the division for years and so we'll prepare more for week 18 but I did want to let you know that Detroit and Green Bay got flexed to Sunday night football of course it that's perfect it actually makes me happy despite everything going on that makes me smile for the Lions the New England Buffalo game is set for one o'clock Eastern Time in western New York I don't know if that changes but that's the timing for right now that's a win and they're in game for the Patriots the other games that matter we know that Jacksonville and Tennessee is Saturday night and the winner of that game will have the AFC South Division title the Eagles are still right now with the nose in front for the top seed in the NFC and they are scheduled to host the Giants in a 425 Eastern Time slot so 425 Philadelphia time should they stumble the Dallas Cowboys could take advantage and potentially win the NFC Beast title they play at the same time so you've got the four NFC East teams playing all at the same time Giants in Philly Cowboys in Washington those are again 425 Eastern Time starts 425 local time start the other teams that are still alive and I kind of figured this is how the NFL would do it Seattle is the other NFC team along with Detroit and Green Bay that is still alive for a wild card so every other team in the NFC has been eliminated for a wild card except for these three they wouldn't want Green Bay and Detroit to play early and then Seattle would kind of be left out in the cold that would make no sense in terms of dramatic effect and so Seattle is hosting LA in that second window it'll be 125 Pacific time 125 Seattle time and then if the Seahawks beat the Rams they have to wait to see what happens right they have to wait to see like the rest of us do how Lions and Packers play out so right now that's what we know I don't know if it changes it might it's hard to figure out how the NFL could reschedule or resume this game though they're certainly not gonna ask the Bengals and the Bills to get on the field Tuesday or Wednesday and then turn around and play Sunday that's ridiculous and honestly you probably have the coaches not end up playing some of their top guys they're running out of time and that's okay it's okay if you well I should I could only speak for me I feel like it's okay if they didn't end up resume this game but they would have to figure out what would happen at the top of the AFC well let's hear a little bit from Troy Vincent and this conference call that we've referenced a couple of times and that both Mike Petralia and Sal Capaccio spoke about when they joined us earlier on after hours this idea that the teams were given five minutes to warm up and then get back out on the field it's made its way all over social media Troy responds to that and speaks for the NFL League offices you are listening to the after-hours podcast furrow back to throw on second and crossing route caught by Higgins he's at the 50 lowers the right shoulder and makes it to the Buffalo 48 safety to Mar Hamlin taking the hit from Higgins and now he's not getting up yeah 13-yard game so again the bills medical team has come out to take a look at a defensive player and they are calling for a cart or a stretcher I believe very quickly after he went down personnel began frantically waving to bring out a stretcher here comes the ambulance backing in from the tunnel onto the football field this is in the entire football team is off the sideline the entire Buffalo Bills football team is in a circle around the ambulance in their fallen teammate and looking away yeah and don't want to some don't want to see what's going on down there burrow in the shotgun three-step drop looks to his right wide open T Higgins underneath and running across the field up and over midfield before he's finally corralled by Damar Hamlin first down yardage and more as the Bengals are into bills territory and there's another injured player down on the field for Buffalo 558 left in this first quarter bangles with the ball but a more serious situation taking place down on the field I've never seen this the entire organization has formed a wall around him in a circle as they bring a ambulance out and basically so people can't see in and what's going on and how they're working on them so that's obviously not good news and scary the game has taken on a very somber tone as Damar Hamlin is being loaded into an ambulance they're not moving him just yet but we've seen players with hands on their heads players praying players taking a knee players visibly upset and crying this is this is tough stuff observations from the field in Cincinnati on Monday night early in what was supposed to be the best game of the weekend obvious implications for the upcoming NFL postseason but quickly became not just secondary but unimportant in the wake of an injury to Damar Hamlin and it didn't start out to be a play that would be notable for any particular reason you hear the call on the Bengals radio network and then the Bills radio network Damar Hamlin made a tackle on T Higgins following a completion by Joe burrow and he stood up momentarily before falling backward and nearly taking out a bangle who was standing right behind him and so as the bangle bounces out of the way one of the bills teammates realizes immediately something is wrong with Tamar think initially as we were watching it I thought head injury and you know it happened so fast you're not necessarily looking for the point of impact we've seen this multiple times this year head or neck injuries ones that require help for the player assistance for the player to get up to get off the field to a comes to mind Dane Jackson we talked about him earlier on the show and and these are just singular examples in this case what tipped me off that this was very different was the reaction of the players now there are times we've seen gruesome injuries take place on the field really on the court on the ice we see it in sports every now and then where an injury is so gruesome and is so at the time not only it's one of those where you can tell right away it's so immediate that something is wrong or the reaction of the player who has gotten hurt whether he's yelling or he's in agony whatever it is his teammates react immediately and the reaction is visceral so again not something that we've never seen before but the fact that it was the entire team and as the cameras are focusing on the faces of Stefan Diggs who's got tears running down his face members of the bills defense Josh Allen who initially had his mouth covered for several minutes Sean McDermott before he was out there on the field is marching up and down the sidelines clearly praying and then it wasn't just bills but it was also a bangles who formed a very tight ring around the medical personnel who were working as we now know to administer CPR and also oxygen to Damar Hamlin the stadium went quiet and you can hear that in those highlights as well highlight sorry that's the wrong word in that reaction on the two radio networks it's after hours with Amy Lawrence on CBS Sports Radio just wanted to offer you the update from the Buffalo Bills organization this was actually while the bills were flying home to Western New York the bills issued a statement indicating that Damar suffered cardiac arrest and that he was revived on the field that his heartbeat was restored and that he is now sedated and is in critical condition at UC Medical Center for further testing and treatment is what the statement indicates but cardiac arrest is not something we hear a lot about in a football game so then what happened we were told on the broadcast I don't know where the information came from it's not as though Joe Buck would make this up so don't fault the broadcaster he was fed information about a five-minute warm-up period but Troy Vincent who is part of the NFL brain trust with the NFL league offices did a conference call a couple hours later with reporters and he denies that there was ever any type of a warm-up period and a warning for the teams to get back on the field I'm not sure where where that came from frankly there was no no time period for the players to to get warmed up frankly the only the only thing that we asked was that showing communicate with both head coaches to make sure they had the proper time inside the locker room to discuss what they felt like was best so I'm not I'm not sure where that where that came from five minutes warm I've never never was never crossed my mind personally and I was the one I'm saying I not to be selfish but the one that was communicating with the Commissioner we never frankly it never crossed our mind to talk about warming up to resume play that's that's ridiculous and that's insensitive and that's not a place that that we should ever be in so that's Troy Vincent who is an executive VP with the NFL doing a conference call in the wake of the game being postponed now postponed is the word they're using of course the NFL would like to get this game in but the bills have gone back to Western New York they certainly weren't gonna finish it on Monday night and now time is of the essence these are all things by the way that do not matter nearly as much as tomorrow Hamlin I'm not telling you that this is important stuff only wanting to pass along what we know the game certainly does have implications when it comes to the AFC North title when it comes to the top seed and when there's only one by it matters teams play all year and and put together a body of work and a record and a resume to try to earn that top seed and again not telling you it's the most important thing but if you are the bills thinking about going into Kansas City or the Chiefs thinking about going into Buffalo it matters where a potential AFC championship game would take place or think about last year the divisional round 13 seconds on into overtime right those games last year people call it the greatest NFL playoff run we've ever seen the greatest NFL postseason we've ever seen how many of those games were decided in overtime or in the final few seconds right so the home field advantage matters if we're talking about Buffalo if we're talking about Kansas City if we're talking about Cincinnati so nothing yet from the NFL but I'm sure that they are trying to figure it out it's after hours with Amy Lawrence CBS sports radio
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