We witnessed history last night, but it wasn’t history any of us wanted to witness.

I think all of us, to one degree or another, have all come to terms with Football as violence and have found ways to push those worries aside to continue enjoying the game as much as we do. Deep down though, I think we all feared a moment like this. This is about as close to the worst case scenario we can imagine. As of writing, it isn’t. Damar Hamlin remains in critical condition, but he is still alive. I do not know what tomorrow brings. He’s in the best hands he could be right now. All we can do is hope.

It isn’t even something that we can particularly blame on the nature of football, to be honest. Football’s relationship with violence is an ongoing discussion that I won’t have here but this incident feels like a freak accident. It was almost as routine a tackle as you see on any given play, dozens of times every game. It was maybe a harder shot than average, and Hamlin hit the ground a bit hard, which is why I think most of us probably assumed concussion at first glance after he collapsed. But it was wrong. Tee Higgins hit Hamlin with his shoulder as Hamlin wrapped him up, they go to the ground, Hamlin stands up…and just falls backwards. So much sports injury footage is spine-tinglingly gruesome to watch as limbs bend and break and smash against the unforgiving ground. This wasn’t like that. This was almost mundane. It’s not gruesome to watch. The actual horror came later, as the reactions of everyone nearby slowly drove the point home that this…this was different.

We’ve seen horrific limb breaking, players crying, and players unconscious before. It’s never fun. Your heart goes out to the guy and you hope for the best. But the instant we found out CPR was being administered the entire atmosphere changed. It wasn’t injury anymore. It was a literal fight between life and death. When we realized we may have just watched a player die on the field football stopped mattering in the slightest. Only humanity was left. I think the shots of the players struggling to keep it together will haunt me more than the actual footage of Hamlin collapsing. They had the same distant look as the people you see in footage of disaster aftermath in documentaries.

I’ve gone on endlessly about how badly the NFL has handled safety and the like, but for the most part I actually think this entire scenario was handled pretty well. The broadcast mentioned that the teams were given 5 minutes to compose themselves and prepare to resume play, but there seems to be a lot of confusion over who said that. The NFL reps deny giving any order. Many think the refs, who were just as shellshocked, may have given that in a mentally unwell state, because right after the broadcast mentioned it the game got postponed. If anyone genuinely did try to get the game to resume, they are ghouls. That game was over the instant CPR was needed. No one on that field could have possibly played football after that. Massive credit to Zac Taylor, who walked over to McDermott to talk. A lot of people (it is not confirmed as of now) assume that was both of them making the decision to end this game.

It took a bit longer than it should have but the NFL eventually did the right thing and postponed the game for the night. I was worried they’d try to play the game tonight (Tuesday) but the NFL released a statement saying that it will not, and a new date for the game has not materialized. The game probably should not be played, period. Give the players a chance to go somewhere else, to reset their minds, to rest. Call it a draw, give both teams a tie in their record (or simply do not update their records at all).

As for Hamlin, if you are the type who prays, then send as many as you can his way. If you aren’t the type who prays, you can also add a donation to his toy charity, which has already garnered an astounding level of support.

Whether or not I make another comic this week depends on how this plays out. If we get good news, hopefully, I’ll feel like making funny jokes again. As for now, Im just hoping for the best. Hug your loved ones, friends. Thanks for reading.