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NFL disputes what Joe Buck said about five minutes to resume Bills-Bengals game

Joe Buck smiles

Jan 14, 2018; Minneapolis, MN, USA; FOX analyst Joe Buck before the NFC Divisional Playoff football game between the Minnesota Vikings and the New Orleans Saints at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

The NFL is disputing what announcer Joe Buck said about plans to resume the Week 17 “Monday Night Football” game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals.

The league took criticism from many fans and media personalities for taking so long to officially suspend the game following the Damar Hamlin medical emergency (the league made the announcement one hour and six minutes after the injury occurred, according to ESPN). Further, many media figures on Twitter criticized the league for apparently wanting to resume the game.

The NFL has disputed that they wanted to resume the game after a five-minute warm-up period.

NFL Executive Vice President of Football Operations Troy Vincent held a conference call with reporters to discuss the postponement of the game. He was asked about the report that the players were given five minutes to warm up to resume the game.

“I’m not sure where that came from,” Vincent said, via Pro Football Talk. “Frankly, there was no time period for the players to get warmed up. Frankly, the only thing that we asked was that [referee] Shawn [Hochuli] 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 sure where that came from. Five-minute warmup never crossed my mind, personally. And I was 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 ridiculous. That’s insensitive. And that’s not a place that we should ever be in.”

Where did that come from? It came from what Buck said on the ESPN broadcast of the game.

ESPN went to commercial numerous times after the medical emergency, but they also brought back the broadcast team and allowed Buck to provide updates. On three separate occasions, Buck mentioned a five-minute warm-up period.

“The two head coaches you can see got together. And they’ll have five minutes to warm up,” Buck said the first time he mentioned the warm-up period.

The second time he mentioned the warm-up period, Buck said he was getting that word “from the league” and “from down on the field.”

“Lisa, as we said, they’ve been give five minutes to quote unquote ‘get ready’ to go back to playing. That’s the word we get from the league and the word we get from down on the field, but nobody’s moving,” Buck said.

The way Buck described things, it seemed like the NFL had plans to resume the game, but the coaches and players felt otherwise.

“Then when we got the update that within five minutes these players were gonna start playing football again, we saw Zac Taylor live walk across the field to Sean McDermott,” Buck said. “The players were being told that they would have five minutes to get back ready for play, and the players were standing around. We saw Zac Taylor walk across the field and talk to Sean McDermott.”

The game ultimately was never resumed.

23 minutes after Hamlin collapsed, the game was temporarily suspended. One hour and six minutes after Hamlin collapsed, the NFL announced that the game would not be continued that night.


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