The NFL announced today that the Buffalo Bills’ Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals will not resume and has been canceled.
After speaking to the Bills, Bengals and NFL Players Association leadership, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell announced his decision to all clubs today.
“It’s been a really tough week,” Goodell said. “We continue to focus on recovery Tamar Hamlin and are encouraged by the developments in her health and the overwhelming outpouring of support and care for Tamar and her family from across the country. We are incredibly appreciative of the amazing work of the medical staff and appreciate each and every one of them.”
Key factors in making this decision include:
- Not playing the Buffalo-Cincinnati game until its end has no effect on which clubs qualify for the postseason. No club will qualify for the post-season and no club will be eliminated based on the outcome of this game.
- The start of the playoffs has to be postponed by a week, affecting all 14 clubs that qualify for post-season play.
- Making a decision earlier than Week 18 is consistent with our competition policies and allows all clubs to be aware of playoff possibilities before playing the final weekend of regular season games.
Canceling the game between the Bills and Bengals creates potential competitive imbalances in some playoff situations. In an effort to alleviate those disparities, NFL clubs will consider a resolution recommended by the commissioner at a special league meeting tomorrow and will be approved today by a two-component competition committee:
1 – The AFC Championship Game will be played at a neutral site, if the participating teams have played an unequal number of games, both are in first place and all AFC clubs have played the full 17-game regular season. Buffalo or Cincinnati qualify for the game as a road team under those circumstances and are listed below:
Buffalo vs Kansas City Both Win or Both Tie – Buffalo vs Kansas City Championship Game will be at neutral site.
Buffalo and Kansas City both lose and Baltimore wins or ties – Buffalo vs Kansas City Championship game at neutral site.
Buffalo and Kansas City both lose and Cincinnati wins – Buffalo or Cincinnati vs Kansas City championship game at neutral site.
2 – If Baltimore beats Cincinnati in Week 18, it would have beaten Cincinnati twice but not make the playoffs because Cincinnati has a higher winning percentage in the 16-game schedule than Baltimore does in the 17-game schedule. Schedule.
If Baltimore beats Cincinnati and those two clubs are scheduled to play a wild-card game against each other, the site for that game will be determined by a coin toss. Game sites will be determined by regular scheduling procedures if Cincinnati wins a Week 18 game or if Baltimore and Cincinnati are not scheduled to play each other in the wild card round.
“As we consider the football schedule, our policies are to limit disruption and minimize competitive imbalances across the league,” Goodell said. “I recognize that there is no perfect solution. We ask the owner to consider, however, the extremely important potential equity issues created by the difficult but necessary decision not to play the game in these unusual circumstances.”