“Yesterday, really, for the primary time all week, the N.F.L. community collectively was in a position to exhale only a bit, perhaps give you the chance to smile just a bit of bit, as it seems that hundreds of thousands of prayers world wide have been answered,” Mr. Levy said before the sport. “Damar Hamlin turning a positive corner, making progress, on his way, all of us hope, to a full recovery.”
Dan Orlovsky, the analyst standing next to Mr. Levy, continued on the feel-good theme, saying that Mr. Hamlin “not only brought out one of the best within the N.F.L., he brought out one of the best in humanity.”
The sport coverage mirrored ESPN’s 75-minute pregame show.
“You see us all smiling,” said the host Sam Ponder, opening the show with a panel of football analysts sitting round her in a Latest York studio. “We didn’t know if that is how we were going to give you the chance to do that show earlier within the week. A collective sigh of relief after days of holding our breath.”
Ms. Ponder continued in that vein, saying, “Every week that began with plenty of darkness involves an end with a lot light, a lot hope and gratitude for answered prayers.”
Rex Ryan, the previous head coach of the Latest York Jets and Buffalo Bills and current ESPN analyst, began crying when he recalled Mr. Hamlin asking doctors — via pen and paper — if the Bills had won the sport on Monday. The sport was initially suspended and later canceled.
“He’s a dang legend,” Mr. Ryan said, his voice shaking. “Thanks. I needed it — as a dad, as a coach and as a fan of this game.”
“Numerous silver linings we’re finding,” Ms. Ponder said.
Steve Young, the previous player and current analyst, was one among the few to indicate that Mr. Hamlin’s collapse also underscored the violent nature of the sport, calling the incident “a referendum on the sport.”