Damar Hamlin

Football unites people like no other. This has always been true of the game, but there was no better example of the power the game has to bring people together than this January when the NFL community rallied behind Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin. On Jan. 2 in a game against the Cincinnati Bengals, Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field following a hit to the chest, leading to one of the most terrifying moments in NFL history. After being resuscitated on the field and given medical treatment, Hamlin was transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center for emergency treatment. In the immediate wake of Hamlin's industry, fans across the league rallied behind the young Safety with $5.5 million in donations coming through to Hamlin's toy drive. Fans organized vigils and messages of support came flooding in from across the league. Rather than walking away from the game, Hamlin persevered and achieved his goal of returning to the field less than nine months after his injury, a comeback made possible by Hamlin's resilience. Along the way, Hamlin used his story to help advocate for access to defibrillators in public elementary and secondary schools and continues to be an inspiration both on and off the field.
- Cody Schultz
FanSided Entertainment & Lifestyle Director

What emotion defined this fandom this year?

Determination and resilience. After his injury, many never expected Damar Hamlin to play another snap of football; however, Hamlin never wavered in his determination to make it back to the game he loved. Through his resilience, Hamlin proved that anything is possible when you chase your dreams and put in the work.

Best fan moment of the year

Football has always had a way of bringing people together, but there was no better example of this than in January when NFL fans from all corners of the league rallied behind Damar Hamlin. In less than 24 hours after Hamlin’s injury, fans donated more than $5 million to Hamlin’s The Chasing M's Foundation Community Toy Drive.