NFL announces AFC Championship Game could be at neutral site

Kansas City Chiefs vs Cincinnati Bengals, 2022 AFC Championship
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With the NFL having officially canceled the Bengals-Bills game from Monday night, the league had to figure out how to fix “potential competitive inequities in certain playoff scenarios.”

That means the Bengals and Bills each will play 16 games. Every other team will play 17.

The Competition Committee met Thursday and approved the AFC Championship Game being 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 hosted the game.

Owners will vote on the resolution Friday in a special league meeting.

Here are the scenarios that would result in a neutral site for the AFC Championship Game:

Scenario 1: Buffalo and Kansas City both win or both tie this week. Then, a Buffalo vs. Kansas City championship game would be at a neutral site.

Scenario 2: Buffalo and Kansas City both lose and Baltimore wins or ties this week. Then, a Buffalo vs. Kansas City championship game would be at a neutral site.

Scenario 3: Buffalo and Kansas City both lose and Cincinnati wins this week. Then, a Buffalo or Cincinnati vs. Kansas City championship game would be at a neutral site.

“As we considered the ball schedule, our principles have been to limit disruption across the league and minimize competitive inequities,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “I recognize that there is no perfect solution. The proposal we are asking the ownership to consider, however, addresses the most significant potential equitable issues created by the difficult, but necessary, decision not to play the game under these extraordinary circumstances.”

40 responses to “NFL announces AFC Championship Game could be at neutral site

  1. This is getting way too complicated. The bills need to accept the forfeit, that is what happened. Then everything is fine. How is this not the easiest solution? The bills at best end up with a tie so they lose the #1 anyway. But now the bengals may have to sacrifice their shot at the 1 seed and now maybe home field advantage for the division title? Not to mention messing up every other afc playoff teams schedule. This is getting beyond ridiculous.

  2. Let us not allow a 5th consecutive AFCCG possibly going through Kansas City.


    Can’t have Mahomes/Reid winning out

  3. A bunch of hot air to dance around the obvious decision to screw buffalo & give KC an unearned bye week

  4. Um, what?

    They canceled the game? This is outrageous. That’s an advantage to Cincy and Buffalo, plauing 1 less game each.

    That’s the solution?

  5. BS! If KC wins this weekend they are outright #1 seed. The commissioner needs to grow some gonads and play the Buf/Cin game and let the chips lay where they are. Regardless, someone in the AFC gets screwed whether it’s KC, Buffalo or Cincy. Perhaps it comes down to 2 wildcard teams in the AFCCG.

  6. Stop over complicating this.
    1. Play all games as scheduled this week
    2. Have Bill’s at Bengles game on Thursday.
    3. Then Sunday is a bie week.
    4. Playoffs then begin with no week off between conference championship and superbowl.

    This gives all playoff teams 14 days off and Bill’s and Bengles 11 days off

    Problem solved

  7. Not ideal, but they’re trying to make the best of a no good, awful situation. Can’t be too critical of the approach.

    One thought on the neutral site. Atlanta could be ideal. Fair, indoor track. Optimal airport and central location to get in and out of for fans. Hopefully some good comes out of this tragedy. Let’s have a great playoffs!

  8. Okay so Buffalo and K.C. both win. Who gets the bye? That would seem more important than the neutral field.

  9. Under the premise of “Bills/Bengals is cancelled”, whether you agree with that premise or not, this is a really sensible solution.

  10. How does scenario make sense for the Chiefs? KC should not lose ground in the standings/seedings to both Cincinnati and Buffalo. Scenario 1 and 2 make sense. But in #3, KC finishes the season with 13 wins. Buffalo finishes the season with 12 wins, could be 13 if they would have beat Cincinnati. Cincinnati finishes the season with 12 wins, could be 13 if they would have beat Buffalo. That means only Buffalo or Cincinnati could have tied the Chiefs with 13 wins, not both. We can’t assume both teams would have won the week 17 game against each other. Why would KC have to play a neutral site game against both of them?

  11. Neutral sites for teams that didn’t earn a neutral site game is just wrong. Both for the cities that would host, the lost revenues, the fans of that city and the competitive advantage any of the first three seeds would have at home.

    I still think they should have continued the game. If not later that night, within the next two days after. Even Hamlin thought the game went on.

  12. Dumb. Call the Bills/Bengals game a tie (or give it to the Bengals, who were ahead when play was stopped) and compute the seedings using that scenario. So simple. No moving the schedule around, no neutral sites, no endless debate about how to make it fair. The Bills likely won’t care, I’m sure they’re just happy Damar is doing better. (As we all are.)

  13. I’m sorry this is all getting ridiculous. The game was forfeited. End of story. It’s unfair on a lot of levels but it should count as a win for the Bengals and a loss for Buffalo. And everything else should just move forward as normal. This whole making things up and changing the rules as we go is really pathetic.

  14. There are a lot of dumb things the NFL owners do (or tell Goodell to do for them). But this proposal isn’t dumb. There’s no perfect or even very good solution to the playoff seeding situation. For all the dumb things the NFL does, no one on the NFL wanted Damar Hamlin to nearly die on the field.

    Football is just entertainment. It’s not family or close friends. No reason for anyone to get overly upset whether the Bills, Chiefs, or Bengals get to host playoff games or play at a neutral site. A young man nearly died on Monday night. Thank God he didn’t. I’m sure Bill, Chiefs, and Bengals fans will still enjoy the playoffs even if their favorite team doesn’t get a home game.

  15. Seems like a fair proposal.

    But obviously if KC were to win this weekend and Buffalo loses, no neutral field for a potential AFC championship game would be needed as the result of the bills bengals would not have changed the Chiefs earning the #1 seed outright in this scenario. That scenario is probably unlikely though. I think the bills will handle their business in week 18. Truth is I am more worried about KC vs Raiders. Will be a tough one, no guarantees there.

  16. Considering the Bills beat the Chiefs in the regular season, they should get homefield advantage. (Provided the Bills win this weekend)

  17. Someone is fighting for life while NFL is trying to “minimize competitive inequities” What a joke

  18. One of the reasons NE always got to the Super Bowl was they usually hosted the championship game in Foxboro during January, often against a warm weather team. I imagine Buffalo is just as miserable

  19. The only losers here are the fans that support their teams and do not reap the benefit of watching a home championship game.

  20. Why is Cincinatti not considered in this?

    Monday’s game implicated for Cincinatti anything from the 1 seed all the way to the 6.

  21. How about this? The score was 7-3. The team with 7 gets 7 balls, the team with 3 gets 3. Draw a ball, that’s the winner!

  22. If the Chiefs lose to the raiders and the bengals beat the ravens, that means that the bengals could have also had the 1 seed. So regardless of the bills game, if the bengals win and chiefs lose on Sunday, then if any of these teams play each other, they should all be at neutral sites. Bengals are getting the shortest end of the stick for being the good guys and agreeing to suspend the game against the bills in a show of compassion

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