Toucher & Hardy

Toucher & Hardy

Toucher & Hardy

On Toucher & Rich, Andrew Callahan from the Boston Herald believes the players will ultimately decide if NFL Week 18 is played.

  • Rich Shertenlieb: So Andrew, this is a let’s just start off with, you know, on on Monday night how everything was handled. I know you obviously were very critical of what the NFL tried to do at one point and how they have denied tha they even told anybody that there was going to be 5 minutes and they were going to they were going to be able to play. Since then, it’s been a war of words. Joe Buck has said, I stand by what I was told. ESPN is standing by Joe Buck. What was your take on how everything was handled that evening?

    Andrew Callahan: I think it was just beyond disappointing. I think it was callous. And I understand that we’re all dealing with an unprecedented situation. Right? Like that was something that Adam Schefter said. I don’t know how many times it seemed like he was in shock when they pay you back to the studio, because it’s true. But the fact of the matter is, Damar Hamlin was down on the field somewhere between 9 to 10 minutes because his heart stopped and he was receiving CPR. And in that time that they put him back in the ambulance, down on the field and on the ambulance to send him away, there were conversations between the league and ESPN and not only the league and ESPN and Joe Buck, but ESPN Deportes and Westwood One, the national radio broadcast. And ten times it was said, according to Timothy Burke, that they were given 5 minutes to come back. So it’s not just Joe Buck versus the NFL. This is multiple networks, multiple instances. And then you see Joe Burrow warming up after DeMar Hamlin is taken off the field and the coaches convene with the league. 2 minutes later, the coaches can be on the road and just say, We can’t do this. So as far as what the NFL is doing right now, it seems to be, in my mind, completely false and all damage control.

  • Bills

    ORCHARD PARK, NY – JANUARY 03: Buffalo Bills fans attend a candlelight prayer vigil for player Damar Hamlin at Highmark Stadium on January 3, 2023 in Orchard Park, New York. Hamlin collapsed after making a tackle last night on Monday Night Football. (Photo by Timothy T Ludwig/Getty Images)

  • Rich Shertenlieb: Yeah, I mean, there’s no question. I mean, it seems to me as if they were told that and you could see the looks on the players faces as if they were like, are you you’re kidding me, right? There’s no way we’re going to do this. And good on the coaches to ultimately take everyone off the field, say, we’re going to handle this behind the scenes and eventually, thank goodness everyone came to the right decision and postpone this game.

    So what happens what happens now like football wise with the rest of these games? Like, what are you hearing? Are some of the scenarios that are laid out? I guess it’s good news for the for everybody that you had the slightest bit of positive news coming out of Cincinnati yesterday that his breathing is getting a little bit better. What happens next, Andrew?

    Andrew Callahan: Yeah, I wish I knew. But what I can tell you in conversations I had yesterday that people inside the Patriots building were just as shell shocked as at least I felt, and I’m sure a lot of people around the league did, whether you’re a player, coach, staffer or just a fan or radio host. And so they didn’t know if they’re going to play Sunday. They’re operating today as of 7:24 a.m. as if it’s a normal Wednesday as you get your Belichick press conference at noon, practice a little after that, and then players will meet with media. And I think their approach is just going to be we need to prepare for Sunday because this is out of our control and if the game goes on, we need to be ready for it. And if not, we got in some extra practices, some meetings against the team we might as well see in the playoffs. But it’s TBD because I think everything really hinges on the Bills here, whether or not they’re ready to move on without their teammate who you mentioned came down from 100% oxygen to 50%, which is great, but it’s going to be a very, as I understand it, slow and delicate process for what Demar Hamlin underwent with the cardiac arrest and the medical center in there in Cincinnati, getting him basically back to life continuously.

  • Josh Allen

    The Buffalo Bills gather as an ambulance parks on the field while CPR is administered to Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin (3) after a play in the first quarter of the NFL Week 17 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills at Paycor Stadium in Downtown Cincinnati on Monday, Jan. 2, 2023. The game was suspended with suspended in the first quarter after Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin (3) was taken away in an ambulance following a play.
    Xxx Sdsyndication The Enquirer 5533 Jpg Oh

  • Rich Shertenlieb: So what do you believe happens if the Bills players, you know, don’t believe that they’re ready to play on Sunday? What happens on this weekend’s games and what happens with the Patriots?

    Andrew Callahan: It’s a great question because I think there’s a real possibility that they are. And again, that’s me speculating. But I think, you know, then you go, okay, do the Bills officially forfeit a game then? And if you’re the Patriots, do you accept a forfeit? Because the team over there said we can’t play because our teammate is in the hospital and his heart stopped. And the last game that we played less than a week ago, because to me that seems unfair circumstances of which you just outright accept a win. Obviously it benefits the Patriots to do that because it would put them in the playoffs. But I think if they have any sort of empathy or take a second, which they’ve done lately, as you can tell, by their donations to DeMar Hamlin’s charity and you know, the way they’ve been tweeting and responding, if you take a second to put yourself in their shoes, you go, I don’t know if we would want to play either. So it’s just really difficult because these are our conversations within a closed facility, within closed doors, between all these guys that I think are going to happen today. So a lot rides today, whether the bills practice, whether they me whether they do anything in light of what happened Monday night.

    Rich Shertenlieb: Well, if that is a scenario I didn’t even think about, like if it just is the bills saying we’re going to forfeit. So you think that that there’s going to be a moral question within the Patriots as to if we accept this win, this is going to make us look awful even though it’s our ticket to the postseason.

    Andrew Callahan: Well, I think it’s we’re getting a couple steps ahead of ourselves there. Right. You know, might be. Possible that the bills get better news today. And they’re assured from the doctors in Cincinnati that as his oxygen continues to come down, as far as what he’s relying upon, the ventilator there in the ICU, you know, they’re assured that, okay, there’s a really good chance he’ll be able to pull this out. Do you will they say, okay, we’ll practice Thursday or Friday, get ready to go Saturday and play on Sunday? I just think there there’s a world of possibilities here on the table. And as critical as that was the league and I think fairly so, the timing from a purely onfield business sense could have been worse because of how complicated this is and not only affects the league office, but but the Patriots as well.

  • Bills

    CINCINNATI, OHIO – JANUARY 02: Joe Burrow #9 of the Cincinnati Bengals and Jordan Poyer #21 of the Buffalo Bills react following the injury of Damar Hamlin #3 during the first quarter at Paycor Stadium on January 02, 2023 in Cincinnati, Ohio. (Photo by Dylan Buell/Getty Images)

  • Rich Shertenlieb: Andrew I saw Boomer Esiason yesterday float out the theory that he thought one of the possibilities that is realistic is that everything get moved back a week and that that week between usually the championships and the Super Bowl end up being used. Do you see any chance of that happening?

    Andrew Callahan: I love that idea. I think it’s best for everyone to kind of take a minute and reflect in. And that goes for teams that are not involved, not the Patriots and Bills and just the Bengals. And I think that’s why there’s precedent, as I’m sure Boomer mentioned, for the Patriots first Super Bowl win, which came obviously in the months after 911 where the NFL took a week and then pushed everything back. So they only had one week between beating the Steelers that year and January 22 to facing and going down and playing the Rams in February. So, yes, I think it’s on the table. I mean, the NFL wants to do that. But ultimately, you know, just as we saw Monday night, that was a decision made by players and coaches not to play what happens at least in Buffalo on Sunday. I think it’s still going to be up to those bills and coaches players.

  • Syndication

  • Ryan Johnston: Andrew, The NFL has had tragedies in the past. Randi This is different because it’s on the field, it’s on national TV. The players are standing there seeing, you know, a friend of theirs and a teammate of theirs get CPR on the field. But they’ve had some pretty horrific things happen over the years off the field that they have played through with the exception of 911. You know, we mentioned Sean Taylor earlier. You know, the Chiefs, a Twitter follower, brought it up. The Chiefs had a guy literally commit a murder suicide and killed himself in the parking lot of Arrowhead Stadium the day before a game and they still played the next day. Is the NFL really in a position where they would take one guy and say, we’re going to we’re going to bump the entire league back a week because of one incident that happened on the field?

    Andrew Callahan: Look, their history, as you outlined, would suggest. No. I think there are a couple of different questions here. Will they should they is another one, which is a personal opinion. And then third is could they? And so I think from the NFL, just like anything else, they will not show any sort of leadership or humanity until they’re forced to. The good news is they can be made to follow, as we saw them U-turn after three or four years supporting Black Lives Matter and Colin Kaepernick, when silently he just kind of went out the door. So it really depends on, I think, the pressure internally and it starts from Buffalo from their players and coaches. Will they want to play or not? How open and defiant are they about that? Were the Bengals at all upset that they were told, 5 minutes, you need to go warm up? And we all saw Josh Allen and Joe Burrow near tears because their strong leadership out there in Cincinnati, one of their captains is Ted Cares, a former offensive lineman here with the Patriots who is well-regarded, character wise, anyone in the league. So it just to me, it’s a matter of the next 48 hours. And it depends a lot on the players and coaches and how much they want to flex that power because they have it, whether they know it or not. And how fast if that spreads across the league, I’m not saying it will or even gets close, but the league I think will be made to do things if it feels the wind going a certain way. It’s just a matter of how strongly is that wind blowing.


  • Nick Gemelli is a Producer for the Toucher and Rich program and contributor for you can follow Nick at @NickGemelli on Twitter.

    Follow @Toucherandrich on Twitter, @Toucherandrichofficial and @fredtoucher on Instagram to keep up with the show!

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