Tua Tagovailoa takes a merciless hit from a defensive lineman, and immediately manifests neurological trauma. The “war” comes to a screeching halt, the stadium grows quiet, and players, seemingly on cue, gather together and keep vigil as their gladiator hero is gingerly immoblilized and strapped to a gurney.

The Cincy fans offer polite applause in relief and appreciation, despite witnessing what they may have privately hoped they’d see—a key opposing player getting obliterated on the field. Football, or whatever this American version amounts to, is nothing but a basket of contradictions.

Fans in the stands and at home got to witness, perhaps, the end of a promising career before it had a chance to really get started. How much physical abuse, how many hits to the head can even a well-conditioned athlete safely(!) take?

I wonder if Teddy Bridgewater was thinking, “Hey, it comes with the territory. Let’s play ball,” or, if only briefly, it was more like, “Oh shit.”  

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