DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Fans that were at Paycor Stadium say that the atmosphere went from competitive banter to a moment of silence in a matter of minutes Monday night.
“Everyone was quiet, nobody was talking the entire way out, not even in the stands. Just lots of hush,” lifelong Bengals fan Ben Carson said.
He and other fans described last night’s game with words like ‘somber’, ‘silent’, and ‘tense’ after they realized just what took place at the game.
Another lifelong fan, Andrew Pettit actually received his tickets to the game from a 2 News viewer yesterday after he was scammed out of real tickets, and he and other spectators say they did not expect Damar Hamlin’s injury to be to the degree that it was.
“It was 2 minutes go by, 3 minutes go by now it was 5 minutes and next thing you know, I saw a lot of players holding their jerseys and just crying so much. and it was just one of those things where then i think the fans were like wow, this is something serious,” Pettit added.
Sara Stephens has been a Bengal’s ticket holder this season and fan for over 10 years and she felt the shift in atmosphere when they realized that this was not a regular NFL game but instead a health emergency.
“UC Health comes driving on the field, and it’s like okay this is something we’ve never seen at an NFL game before. You can just completely feel the energy just deflated, it got really somber in there,” Stephens said.
The Bills and the Bengals were playing for a position in the playoff, though this was a vital game for both teams. Fans are commending the NFL for the decision to suspend the game and swiftly working on Damars health. Lifelong fan Azell Rustin added that he did not even want to see the rest of the game after witnessing such a traumatic incident.
“It was no way I could see the Bills players continue this game, even the Bengals players, even the fans, it was just the atmosphere was dead. At that point I just wanted to go home. football was entertaining, it’s an entertaining sport but it’s a life we’re dealing with,” Rustin said.
NFL fans from all over are praying for the recovery of Damar Hamlin.