KANSAS CITY, Mo. — The NFL announced announced Thursday night Monday’s game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals game won’t be finished.
It also outlined a plan to make up for resulting potential inequities in the playoffs.
The game was expected to figure into home field advantage for the playoffs. Now league owners will meet Friday to consider moving the AFC Championship to a neutral site should the game involve those clubs and the Kansas City Chiefs in certain scenarios.
Buffalo and Kansas City both win or both tie – a Buffalo vs Kansas City championship game would be at a neutral site.
Buffalo and Kansas City both lose and Baltimore wins or ties – a Buffalo vs Kansas City championship game would be at a neutral site.
Buffalo and Kansas City both lose and Cincinnati wins – a Buffalo or Cincinnati vs Kansas City championship game would be at a neutral site.
Perhaps an easier way to look at the situation, should the Chiefs end up with an equal number of losses but one more win than the Bills or Bengals, the game will be played at a neutral site if both teams advance to the AFC Championship.
At 610 Sports Radio Thursday afternoon phone lines were already lighting up about how the NFL should handle an unprecedented situation.
“We’re talking about adding playoff teams, we’re talking about taking away byes we’re talking about AFC Championship in Indianapolis,” Host of The Drive Carrington Harrison said.
Thursday’s announcement the Bills-Bengals game won’t be resumed after Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest in the first quarter came with good news Hamlin has made remarkable improvements of late and is now responsive and already writing questions.
Commissioner Roger Goodell said he made the decision after speaking with the Bills, the Bengals and NFL Players Association leadership.
The NFL is now in the unenviable position of trying to figure out what to do if the Chiefs end up with the same number of losses as the Bills or Bengals, but one more win.
“As far as the circumstances I understand it because it is what it is, no decision they made was going to be a good decision,” Chiefs fan Derric Griffin said.
“As it stands the Chiefs are the #1 seed. Do I like it? No, but this is a different circumstances than that’s ever happened,” Bills Backers of Kansas City President Jimmy Gaffney said.
Goodell and the Competiton Committee approved that plan Thursday to move the AFC Championship to a neutral site if the teams involved could have been had home field advantage if there was a Bills Bengals winner. NFL Owners will have a special league meeting Friday to decide on this resolution. One day before the Chiefs take on the Raiders in Las Vegas Saturday.
“It would be fantastic to have the game here and have the funds and the money coming into Kansas City and a Chiefs win,” Jamie Wiley said.
“To me finding the option where it just makes everybody a little bit mad is not a good option mad either,” Harrison disagreed with the league’s decision.
He still believes the one seed and all its usual benefits should be decided as always on winning percentage.
“The number one importance is the health and long term health of Damar Hamlin. But if we are going to continue playing football and we’re going to play the playoffs to me keeping the structure as close to what we agreed upon at the beginning of the season is the most fair thing to do,” he said.
The NFL did not immediately announce potential neutral sites. It said in the announcement it decided pushing back the NFL playoffs in order to allow for conclusion of the Bills vs Bengals wouldn’t have been in the best interest of all 14 playoff teams.