I'm all for criticizing the NFL but I'll give them a bit of a break here. I think the 5 minute thing is SOP. It was SVP who said that the NFL was considering restarting the game. It should be noted that Van Pelt was reporting from. Washington and not the stadium. Someone might have read the NFL handbook and just started that rumor based on what the standard operating procedure is to restart play following an injury without consulting the NFL.
The other factor to consider is that the NFL has not had to deal with a life or death situation of a player in 50 years since the Chuck Hughes tragedy in 1970
In Hughes' case, it happened w/a minute to go in a close game and, believe it or not, they actually finished the game. Probably only another play or two, but I remember thinking at the time it was pretty crass to finish the ballgame.
On October 24, 1971, the Lions
hosted the Chicago Bears
at Tiger Stadium
. Late in the 4th quarter, with Detroit trailing 28–23, the Lions were driving into Chicago territory and Hughes, who entered the game as an injury replacement, caught a pass from quarterback Greg Landry
for 32 yards and a first down at the Bears' 37-yard line.
Three plays later, Landry threw a pass that tight end Charlie Sanders
dropped near the end zone. Hughes, a decoy on the play, began running back to the huddle with 1:02 showing on the clock. Suddenly, he dropped to the turf clutching his chest around the 20-yard line.
Hughes collapsed near Bears linebacker Dick Butkus
, who saw him begin to convulse violently on the field. Butkus motioned to the sideline frantically to get Hughes assistance.
Both teams' doctors and trainers, along with a physician who happened to be attending the game, ran to Hughes to try to save him. An ambulance was called for and arrived to take Hughes to Henry Ford Hospital
, where he was pronounced dead at 5:34 pm that afternoon. He was 28 years old. The game was played to its conclusion in front of a now-stunned silent crowd in Tiger Stadium, with the Bears' lead holding. The Lions awaited word of Hughes' condition after the game and the players were informed once word had broken that he was dead. "