Troy Vincent: There was some discussion of a neutral field for Bengals-Bills

AFC Wild Card Playoffs - Miami Dolphins v Buffalo Bills
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After the NFL canceled the regular-season game between the Bills and Bengals following Damar Hamlin‘s medical emergency, concessions were made that potentially helped the Ravens and the Bills.

For the Ravens, they were told that if they finished a half-game behind the Bengals in the standings and then faced the Bengals in the wild card round of the playoffs, a coin toss would determine whether that game would be played in Baltimore or Cincinnati. The thinking was that the Bengals might have lost that Bills game, and if so that would have deprived the Ravens of home-field advantage against the Bengals in the playoffs, so it was only fair to accommodate the Ravens. (The coin toss ended up not being necessary because the Bengals beat the Ravens in the regular-season finale.)

For Buffalo, they will get to play the AFC Championship Game on a neutral field, rather than in Kansas City, if the Bills and Chiefs both win this week. The thinking was that the Bills might have won that game against the Bengals, and if they had they would have earned home-field advantage ahead of the Chiefs, so it was only fair to accommodate them.

But no accommodation was made for the Bengals. If the Bengals had ended up winning the canceled game, which they led 7-3 in the first quarter at the time it was canceled, this weekend’s Bills-Bengals game would be played in Cincinnati. Because it was canceled, it’s being played in Buffalo.

Why not a neutral field for Bengals-Bills? Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations says that was under consideration but ultimately not proposed.

There was some discussion,” Vincent said, via the Buffalo News, “but membership thought it was best for [only] the championship game to be at a neutral site.”

That answer won’t satisfy the Bengals, who voted against the NFL’s decision to change the rules for playoff home-field advantage. A neutral site or a coin flip just as easily could have been the method to determine Bengals-Bills home field, but the NFL simply decided to play the game in Buffalo, to the detriment of the Bengals.

67 responses to “Troy Vincent: There was some discussion of a neutral field for Bengals-Bills

  1. Truth is playoff games ARE neutral sites: the average fan is priced out. It’s an entirely different crowd who are going to tell all their rich friends they went. The passion isn’t there anyway, it’s out in the parking lot

  2. They where winning the game and driving to up more when the game was called. Buffalo hasn’t been able to stop a 3rd string QB or the Patriots the week before that. Sure anything could happen but the most likely outcome would have been the Bengals winning that game. Bills D has been awful the last 4 or 5 games and it was totally unfair for the Benagls to lose a chance at having this game at home. The Bills are the ones that left town when they where told the game might be played on Tuesday.

  3. It’s because they were making it up as they went. Never a good idea if it can be avoided. Rules and precedent provide a known set of parameters for competition for all teams. Changing in this fashion will bear unwanted fruit down the line. And as for this instance theBengals have every right to feel as if this reshuffled set of chairs has left them without a seat or at least the seat the earned. IMO

  4. More teams should have voted against these rule changes. I feel like the Bengals received the short end of the stick for no valid reason. Buffalo did not want to replay the Bengals game so they should have been shorted. To be honest, not playing it should not have been an option. They could have played it Wednesday night. I guess I am insensitive or something but I agreed with not continuing the game that night but never with not playing it.

  5. The league probably didn’t want to be deprived of the bengals incessant whining, so they decided to give Buffalo home field.

  6. I do not blame the Bengals and their fans for feeling like they got the short end of the stick, because that is exactly what has happened to them!

  7. Nobody more credible to give this news than Troy Vincent. In a related story, Congressman George Santos has voiced his disappointment, because he was all set to sing the National Anthem at a neutral site.

  8. And if they would have followed the rules in place?

    ——-

    KC would host the championship game if they made it.

  9. The league didn’t “decide to play the game in Buffalo.” They let normal seeding decide where the game would be played and the Bills won more games than the Bengals. The Bills were also basically shut out of winning the 1 seed bye week. So they got screwed just as much as the Bengals did. Is what it is. Move on.

  10. The NFL could have kept this so simple but they will ALWAYS try to stretch an inch into a mile all in the name of $$$, even if the stretching makes absolutely no sense. Thus, here we are.

  11. As a Bengals fan, I’m actually ok with Troy’s response. Had the NFL just come out and said that initially, I could accept it. What I cannot accept though, is that they tried to force the coin flip scenario on us against the Ravens. It made us play our starters a week we didn’t have to, and we lost important players bc of it. They’ll never admit it, but the Bengals were punished for stopping that game. And let’s stop with the Bills narrative. That game was going to go on until Zac Taylor ran across that field to stop it. Not Sean McDermott. And that’s why the Bills got rewarded.

  12. Stop sending this guy out to give half-baked answers. This was a mistake and not thought through properly otherwise there would be no more questions.

  13. Gee, Goodell helping the Bills and Ravens? What a shock! Troy probably wants an invite from Bisciotti down to Augusta.

  14. mike brown has a history of not always being aligned with his fellow owners and their ideas on improving the league and its revenue. perhaps when given the chance, the owners found a way to signal their irritation…

  15. “BuckyBadger says:
    January 19, 2023 at 11:57 am
    They where winning the game and driving to up more when the game was called. Buffalo hasn’t been able to stop a 3rd string QB or the Patriots the week before that. Sure anything could happen but the most likely outcome would have been the Bengals winning that game. Bills D has been awful the last 4 or 5 games and it was totally unfair for the Benagls to lose a chance at having this game at home. The Bills are the ones that left town when they where told the game might be played on Tuesday.”
    _______________________

    Did you watch the games last weekend? Every team that started out well ended up losing, or almost lost.

    We have no idea how the 1st match-up would have turned out. We weren’t even 10 minutes into the game. The Bills drove just as easily as the Bengals did.

    And it’s not like the Bengals had an easy time last week against a 2nd string QB.

  16. Still think Bengals got robbed, the NFL should make it up to them somehow (add a 7th round pick in the draft)
    Does it even really matter, neither team can win a Super Bowl if they go!
    I can see the Bengals beating the Bills this weekend.
    If it wasn’t for the bad refereeing the Bills would have lost last week.

  17. Of course, it should be on a neutral field. It was a money decision. They couldn’t take away two home playoff games from the Bills.

  18. The neutral field should’ve been in place only for the Bills vs Bengals game. The canceled game effected these two teams.

  19. bostonpat617 says:
    January 19, 2023 at 11:55 am
    Truth is playoff games ARE neutral sites: the average fan is priced out. It’s an entirely different crowd who are going to tell all their rich friends they went. The passion isn’t there anyway, it’s out in the parking lot

    ————–

    Uh… no. That’s not it at all in Buffalo. The fans would be there even if they had to sell a body part to afford it.

  20. jdubkc says:
    January 19, 2023 at 11:58 am
    And if they would have followed the rules in place?

    ——————

    Then the Chiefs would have been 1, the Bills 2, and Bengals 3, and we’d be doing the exact same thing we’re doing this week…preparing for a Bengals game in Orchard Park.

    Excellent point.

  21. How can the two teams who were playing the original game not BOTH get a neutral field in the playoffs? It’s so completely ridiculous to even argue against.

  22. bostonpat617 says:
    January 19, 2023 at 11:55 am
    Truth is playoff games ARE neutral sites: the average fan is priced out. It’s an entirely different crowd who are going to tell all their rich friends they went. The passion isn’t there anyway, it’s out in the parking lot – – – Not sure where you get your NFL, but in my experience playoff football has an atmosphere well beyond most regular season games. Fans who can afford season tickets usually can “scrape together” enough to buy playoff tickets.

  23. Who needs fair, reasonable or accommodating when it comes to Cincinnati? Amazing that every team was taken care of except the Bengals. If/when a questionable call goes against Cincinnati please expect much whining and conspiracy talk.

  24. The Bills are going to lose at any field. The Bengals defense will beat up Josh Allen and Burrow is going to carve up Bills defense.

  25. NFL did not want to lose out on the imagery of Hamlin walking out to the field before a playoff game.

  26. As a Buffalo Bills fan I would of felt better if they had given the game to the Bengals. Cincinnati helped us in our time of need I feel bad that they got screwed over. Thank you again for kindness that you showed!

  27. They should have stuck with the rules already in place, which were fair to everyone when the season started. Changing it to make it more “fair and equitable” only took from one and gave to another. And I’ll go ahead and say it: If the player who was injured had been on the Bengals, this would not have been the outcome.

  28. The league unofficially handed the Bills the win. Nothing more nothing less. They had nothing to base their “win” off of, and all they showed is that good deeds are not rewarded in this world. If Bills couldn’t continue, then they should have forfeited. No opposing team will ever agree to canceling the game out of decency and dignity again.

    League played their hand determining (out of pure hope) the Bills v Chiefs would the the Conference game. If I were the Bills, this would suck given the monster of motivation they created to the disrespected defending Champions.

    We may not be allowed to ever see highlights of the game on Jan 2nd, and the league was sure to erase it all from the record books. Regardless millions witnessed it and remember the Bills being dominated by Burrow, who looked like he was set to take the MVP…. Now you get him aggrieved…

  29. When this first happened, I said KC would get #1 seed & the Buf/Cincy game & AFC championship game should be played on a neutral field. Shame on the few of you that down voted me.

    Cincy got screwed because they’re a small market team!

  30. bengaljuice says:
    January 19, 2023 at 12:41 pm
    How can the two teams who were playing the original game not BOTH get a neutral field in the playoffs? It’s so completely ridiculous to even argue against.

    I don’t seem to understand why people have such a hard time seeing this. Bills accommodated because they beat Chiefs. Ravens (had chance to be) accommodated because they beat the Bengals. Even Bengals had chance to be accommodated with neutral site AFCCG if Chiefs lost their final game. Bengals did NOT beat the Bills = no accommodation to neutral site, go by your win%. Its actually very simple.

  31. touchbutt6 says:
    January 19, 2023 at 12:38 pm
    jdubkc says:
    January 19, 2023 at 11:58 am
    And if they would have followed the rules in place?

    ——————

    Then the Chiefs would have been 1, the Bills 2, and Bengals 3, and we’d be doing the exact same thing we’re doing this week…preparing for a Bengals game in Orchard Park.

    Excellent point.

    —————

    And if the rules in place were followed, and the chiefs and bills both win this weekend?

  32. billsrthefuture says:
    January 19, 2023 at 12:22 pm
    “BuckyBadger says:
    January 19, 2023 at 11:57 am
    They where winning the game and driving to up more when the game was called. Buffalo hasn’t been able to stop a 3rd string QB or the Patriots the week before that. Sure anything could happen but the most likely outcome would have been the Bengals winning that game. Bills D has been awful the last 4 or 5 games and it was totally unfair for the Benagls to lose a chance at having this game at home. The Bills are the ones that left town when they where told the game might be played on Tuesday.”
    _______________________

    Did you watch the games last weekend? Every team that started out well ended up losing, or almost lost.

    We have no idea how the 1st match-up would have turned out. We weren’t even 10 minutes into the game. The Bills drove just as easily as the Bengals did.

    And it’s not like the Bengals had an easy time last week against a 2nd string QB.

    ———————–

    Bills drove just as easily? They scored a FG and where about to go down 14-3. Lets talk factual here.

  33. A coin toss to decide the winner of the Bills-Bengals game would have been the most mathematically fair scenario. Bengals win = divisional round game in Cincinnati. Bills win = Bengals@Chiefs and Jaguars@Bills divisional round games. The no contest took the chance (and benefits) of the above scenarios and gave it all to the Chiefs; no contest for that game was literally the best outcome the Chiefs could have hoped for.

  34. More incentive for the Bengals to win this game — which they will. Allen too reckless with the ball, Buffalo defense very suspect. Home field issue becomes a non-issue by halftime.

  35. Put your money on the Bills.
    The National Fixed League is doing everything right out in the open!
    That`s why I will never spend a penny on the NFL.

    Yes, I watch football for enjoyment on free over the air TV.

    NFL is as fixed as a slot machine.

  36. NinerOutsider says:
    January 19, 2023 at 12:00 pm
    More teams should have voted against these rule changes. I feel like the Bengals received the short end of the stick for no valid reason

    ———

    Why were NFC teams even given a vote? Why were AFC teams that were already eliminated from the postseason given a vote

  37. How can the two teams who were playing the original game not BOTH get a neutral field in the playoffs? It’s so completely ridiculous to even argue against.

    ——–

    An argument against: do neutral sites for both games and the Bills, that were the rightful and legitimate one seed going into the week, would have lost all advantage of BOTH the 1 AND 2 seed. How fair is that? The Bengals and Bills both played the same number of games…the Bills had the better record. Did the Bengals potentially get hosed? Yep. But guess what…the Bills potentially get hosed too. There was no perfect solution to this problem.

  38. I mean this was clearly a case where there was sympathy for the Bills. It’s the only thing that makes sense because there is no logic to any other explanation. It’s just that the NFL can’t admit it for obvious reasons.

    If it was unfair for Chiefs to host against Bills because the Bills didn’t have a chance to play and win that game, then it is unfair for Bills to host Bengals because Bengals also didn’t have a chance to play and win that game. The ‘it’s the championship’ game spin is really a bad reason. Either it’s fair to have a neutral site game or it isn’t.

  39. snappingturtle says:
    January 19, 2023 at 1:56 pm
    I mean this was clearly a case where there was sympathy for the Bills. It’s the only thing that makes sense because there is no logic to any other explanation. It’s just that the NFL can’t admit it for obvious reasons.

    If it was unfair for Chiefs to host against Bills because the Bills didn’t have a chance to play and win that game, then it is unfair for Bills to host Bengals because Bengals also didn’t have a chance to play and win that game. The ‘it’s the championship’ game spin is really a bad reason. Either it’s fair to have a neutral site game or it isn’t.
    —————
    The Bengals never beat the Bills! The Bills beat the Chiefs. Why is this so hard to comprehend?!

  40. People commenting on if they had followed existing rules we would still have Bengals at Bills here’s the problem, they didn’t follow existing rules

    they made out of the way accommodations to potentially help:
    Ravens
    Bills
    Chiefs

    But never any potential alterations for the Bengals who have been punished for the game being cancelled if these 2 had to meet again. Were the Bengals fine with not playing that Monday night? yes

    Did they assume the game would be played at some point? Very likely. if they were told that game would never be played would they have forced the issue? Forced a forfeit? maybe..who knows?

    It doesn’t matter if we ended up at the same result there was never anything laid out for Cinci for the impact to a potential Bills Bengals game.

    Cinci did get an accommodation that had a window of about 24 hours in that if the Chiefs lost that Saturday and Buf lost and Cinci won there would be a neutral field but never any ruling to address a “rematch”

    I just cant understand why they floated this to Balt for Balt v Cinci but not for Cinci v Balt

    Cincis stance on all the alterations is that if youre going to cancel though unusual follow the rules as a result as defined for any other cancelled game

    BUT if they decide to make things up to all teams affected you cant leave teams out especially not ones that went above and beyond in the situation

    There was potential for Buf to rest their players vs Pats and let Pats in. Can you imagine many other teams reactions to the Pats sneaking in? And does resting players allow that to happen often at end of season? Yes but the issue would have been Buf could have been resting people as a result of the cancelled game. They had motivation to play vs the Pats because they knew
    a) winning got them to not have to go to KC or if KC eliminated gave them a home game
    b) they knew they would have homefield in Cinci which..if the cancelled game was played may not have been the case

    So much messiness that came about from getting wacky after the initial occurrence. The best outcome options once that happens are
    1) Just follow the rules, winning % dictates seeding and homefields (best IMO)
    2) If you make adjustments they have to be done for ALL teams ALL potential playoff games

  41. I still insist one of the best suggested plans was

    If Chiefs faces Bills at any point have the game in Cinci
    Bills v Bengals have the game at KC
    Bengals v Chiefs have the game at Buf

    You get neutral fields
    Cities that may have lost revenue still get it

    To be clear its not a perfect plan but made a lot of sense

  42. mike brown has a history of not always being aligned with his fellow owners and their ideas on improving the league and its revenue.+
    ————————————–

    “improving the league and its revenue” are mutually exclusive, it’s one OR the other unfortunately with this clown show.

  43. Could the Bengals have beaten the Bills and been the 2 seed and played this game in Cincinnati? Certainly. But they didn’t beat the Bills. And they finished a game behind them.
    The Bills BEAT the Chiefs. The complaints from Bengals fans would be the equivalent of Bills fans being angry they didn’t have a first round bye and playing the Jags. Its VERY simple. The Bills “could have” passed the Chiefs, and they BEAT the Chiefs; they get a neutral site game. The Bengals “could have” passed the Bills, but the DIDN’T beat the Bills; they do not get a neutral site.

  44. They can send Troy out to say whatever they want. Does anyone who follows the NFL believe for 1 minute that if the Bengals were owned by Jerry Jones instead of Mike Brown they would`ve came to the same “fair and equitable” decision? It was nothing but politics! They put a rule in place when no one was effected that was fair to everyone and then when some owners were effected they had Goodell collect votes for favors to change a rule 2 days before a game!

  45. Some pretty ignorant statements on this subject. The Bengals players came to the Bills players ( captains ) and agreed that after the death and subsequent recovery of Damar Hamlin the players on both teams agreed not to continue playing. Because the Bengals were up 7-3 many fans want to claim victory. They forget that the Bills moved the ball right down the field just like the Bengals did. They kicked a field goal at the three yard line. If they knew the game would be stopped after 7 minutes and the score mattered they probably had a good chance to score a TD from the 3. This seems like it the Cincinnati’s fan major talking point. Its idiotic. There were 53 minutes left in the game and both teams moved the ball down the field. Who knows what would have happened. I guess only Cincinnati fans know.

  46. “BuckyBadger says:
    January 19, 2023 at 1:35 pm
    billsrthefuture says:
    January 19, 2023 at 12:22 pm
    “BuckyBadger says:
    January 19, 2023 at 11:57 am
    They where winning the game and driving to up more when the game was called. Buffalo hasn’t been able to stop a 3rd string QB or the Patriots the week before that. Sure anything could happen but the most likely outcome would have been the Bengals winning that game. Bills D has been awful the last 4 or 5 games and it was totally unfair for the Benagls to lose a chance at having this game at home. The Bills are the ones that left town when they where told the game might be played on Tuesday.”
    _______________________

    Did you watch the games last weekend? Every team that started out well ended up losing, or almost lost.

    We have no idea how the 1st match-up would have turned out. We weren’t even 10 minutes into the game. The Bills drove just as easily as the Bengals did.

    And it’s not like the Bengals had an easy time last week against a 2nd string QB.

    ———————–

    Bills drove just as easily? They scored a FG and where about to go down 14-3. Lets talk factual here.”
    _____________________________________

    They drove down to the 10. And why are you assuming the Bengals would have 14? They were at mid-field on the 2nd drive.

    You assume, but allow no assumptions. Sorry. That game could have ended up a Bills blowout for all we know. Cincy has been a one-half team all season.

  47. You clowns can stop with the Cinci was about to win, or Cinci was about to go up 14-3. It’s like you never saw a football game before.

    This weekend proved that first 10 minutes means very little. Cinci drive for 2 scores on a terrible Baltimore team and prob loses if they don’t fumble 6.

    The bills were up 17-0, should a been 21-0 if Knox makes a relatively easy catch. Both those games game down to the wire but sure 8 minutes in we all know Cinci was winning. Ok run your narrative.

    I kinda was ok with the Bengals but the fans and now the players are a bunch of bluegrass and whiners. If you’re team was so good we’ll then I guess you’ll just run the bills outta their own stadium.

    It’s not even gonna be close but not the way you all are hoping

  48. You can’t find a more neutral site than 1st Energy Stadium. It is almost exactly between both Cities.

  49. Roger finally listed to Cris Carter’s advice and got himself a Fall Guy …named Troy Vincent

  50. I guess the moral of the story is that if an opposing team has a player catastrophically injured such that the opposing team does not feel up to continuing the game after a break, you should tell the opposing team that your team will be out on the field and that they can play or forfeit.

  51. Let this be a lesson to ALL…. If your opponent has a player go down in a drastic situation like the Bills/Bengals game did, FORCE that opponent to either forfeit or continue the game…. Problem SOLVED!!!
    OBVIOUSLY trying to do the right thing can only hurt you so be steadfast & put the onus on the team with the injured player to decide their fate, play of forfeit…. Take the NFL OFFICES OUT OF THE EQUATION!!!!

  52. I read somewhere that Mike Brown, Bengals owner, is routinely a thorn in the side of other owners and often is the sole NO vote on proposals. He’s not well thought of in league circles, and that maybe this is a way the other owners can stick it to the Bengals for years of pettiness (reacting with more pettiness). Essentially, he is not an influential owner and so the others railroaded him.

  53. Bills drove just as easily? They scored a FG and where about to go down 14-3. Lets talk factual here.

    —-

    Factual…lol. About to go down 14-3…

    The Bills drove down to the CIN 7 with ease. Yes, they kicked a FG on 4th & 3…because it was so early in the game they took the points. Were the game on the line, no doubt they would have went for it. Might they have been stopped? Possibly, but odds would probably favor a conversion there…

    On the following drive CIN was moving the ball and they were at MIDFIELD. Might they have went on to score a TD? Maybe. But maybe they only get a FG… Maybe they get stopped and punt… Maybe they turn the ball over… It’s entirely speculation.

    I mean…factual.

  54. The rules say that an abandoned game has to be completed within 48 hours. So if they had followed the rules the game would have been played and we would have avoided this whole mess.

  55. Bills had a better conference & divison record plus they had a 73 point advantage in differential. That’s 4.5 per game! Big Cats don’t whine they scratch & claw regardless of the turf. Cheers Bengals. And Go Bills!!!

  56. Could’ve, Should’ve, Would’ve! Everyone saying at the time just cancel the game! Next time complete the game a couple days later like you should have!

  57. So Bengals voted for Bengals @ Bills. Which is what it would have been if they didn’t change the rules. Why all the bellyaching?

  58. jdubkc says:
    January 19, 2023 at 11:58 am
    And if they would have followed the rules in place?

    —-

    The Bengals win Thr afc North period. No coin flip bs. They rest players. Cappa is not injured. Who knows

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