The Curse of Paycor Stadium

Hamlin’s serious injury only 1 of 4 critical injuries on the Bengals field


Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Parker Lally, Writer

On Jan. 2,Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed at Paycor Stadium in Cincinnati after making a defensive tackle. 

Hamlin’s injury was nearly fatal. Medical personnel were on the field resuscitating the player for upwards of 10 minutes and once he regained a pulse he was taken in an ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center. He remains in serious condition, but as of Friday he was awake and responsive. Doctors have evaluated minimal neurological damage. The injury, and the fact that the game was postponed has had a huge impact on the football community.

This was one of the most serious injuries the NFL has ever seen, and it should not be taken lightly. American football is one of the most dangerous sports that is played, and injuries are not few and far between. In fact, four of the worst injuries to occur in the NFL have occurred at the Bengals field. 

Since Hamlin’s injury, the Paycor Field has been deemed “cursed” because of the lengthy injury history.

Just months ago Miami Dolphins Quarterback Tua Tagovailoa was tackled during a game against the Bengals which led his head to be smashed so hard into the ground that his fingers seized up and he laid on the ground for over 10 minutes before being loaded onto a stretcher and taken to a local hospital. He showed signs of neurological trauma, but he was able to return to playing just three weeks later. Although he had a quick recovery, it was still a scary experience  for fans and players alike. 

Not as recent but just as serious, Steelers Linebacker Ryan Shazier suffered a paralyzing back injury after making a tackle against the Bengals. This caused a spinal contusion and ultimately led to his early retirement. Shazier remained on the team after his injury in 2017, but announced his retirement from football in late 2020. 

While all of the other injuries were freak accidents and all games were being played fair, it wasn’t quite the same case in a 2016 game where Antonio Brown got injured. Like the other injuries, this one occurred on the Paycor field against the Bengals. Brown was playing for the Steelers at the time of the injury, where Vontaze Burfict ran across the field to target the player and hit him with his helmet, knocking him down to the ground causing him to sustain a traumatic brain injury. Burfict was suspended due to the cheap shot, and although Brown was able to come back and play the sport, his career and life were both changed forever.

Brown was in and out of the league with injuries and played for many different teams during his career, but he has not played football since he left the Buccaneers in 2021. Even as Brown continued to play the sport, the injury he sustained in Cincinnati sticks with fans to this day, especially since it is now seen as being in the sequence of unfortunate events to occur at the Paycor field. 

The crazy history of detrimental injuries on this specific field has raised questions about whether or not it’s the Bengals fault, or if it’s some kind of curse that the stadium holds. The Hamlin injury in particular was a wake up call for the NFL, because this was the only injury in this sequence that actually postponed the game being played. 

Hamlin has been discharged from the hospital and is home in Buffalo, recovering well.