The NFL said Thursday it will not resume the Bills-Bengals game that was called off Monday night after Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin collapsed and went into cardiac arrest on the field.
The league said some of the factors in making its decision included that “not playing the Buffalo-Cincinnati game to its conclusion will have no effect on which clubs qualify for the postseason. No club would qualify for the postseason and no club will be eliminated in depending on the result of this game”.
In addition, the NFL said that playing the game between the Bills and the Bengals would have required postponing the start of the playoffs by a week and affecting the 14 teams that qualified for the postseason.
The NFL said its decision creates “potential competitive inequalities in certain playoff scenarios.” The league said Friday that the clubs, at a special league meeting, would consider a resolution recommended by the commissioner and approved today by the competition committee.
The Bills-Bengals game had major playoff implications for the AFC. Buffalo (12-3) entered Monday night needing a win to retain the AFC’s top seed. Kansas City (13-3) now occupies that spot. The Bengals (11-4) had a chance to earn that top seed with two more wins and a loss by Kansas City.
The venues approved by the competition committee include a potential neutral site for the AFC championship game. The league is considering several sites, including indoor and outdoor stadiums.
The resolution that is presented to the clubs for their vote on Friday is as follows:
The AFC Championship Game will be played at a neutral site if the participating teams played an unequal number of games and both could have been the No. 1 seed and host the game if all AFC clubs had played a full regular season of 17 games.
Those circumstances mean either Buffalo or Cincinnati qualify for the game as the road team. If Buffalo and Kansas City win or tie this weekend, the Bills-Kansas City AFC title game would be at a neutral site.
If both Buffalo and Kansas City lose and Baltimore wins or ties, the Bills-Kansas City AFC title game would be at a neutral site.
Also, if Baltimore beats Cincinnati in Week 18, the Ravens would have two wins over the Bengals, a divisional opponent, but won’t be able to host a playoff game because Cincinnati will have a higher winning percentage for a 16-game schedule than Baltimore. . will for a schedule of 17 games.
Therefore, if Baltimore defeats Cincinnati and if those two clubs are scheduled to play a wild card game against each other, the site for that game would be determined by a coin toss.
However, if the Bengals win this weekend or if Baltimore and Cincinnati are not scheduled to play each other in the wild card round, the playing sites will be determined per regular scheduling procedures.
“In considering the football schedule, our principles have been to limit disruption to the league and minimize competitive inequalities,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said. “I recognize that there is no perfect solution. However, the proposal we are asking ownership to consider addresses the most significant potential equity issues created by the difficult but necessary decision not to play the game in these extraordinary circumstances.”
LOOK l The sight of Hamlin’s collapse renews doubts about the safety of the game:
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