BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) — The Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals game that was suspended Monday night will not be resumed and has been canceled, the NFL announced Thursday.
Additionally, a neutral site will be considered for a potential AFC championship game between the Bills and Chiefs. Owners will vote Friday on potential scenarios listed below.
The Monday night game was suspended after Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed and went into cardiac arrest.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell informed all clubs of the decision after speaking with the Bills, Bengals, and NFL Players Association leadership, according to a news release.
The NFL said that cancelling the game creates potential competitive inequalities in certain play off scenarios. In an effort to mitigate the potential inequalities, the organization said the scenarios will be discussed in a meeting where, they say, the commissioner will recommend a resolution, approved by the competition committee.
The resolution consists of two elements:
- 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 hosted the game had all AFC clubs played a full 17-game regular season.
There are three scenarios in which circumstances involving Buffalo or Cincinnati qualifying for the game as a road team:
- Buffalo and Kansas City both win or tie — a Buffalo v. Kansas City championship game would be at a neutral site.
- Buffalo and Kansas City both lose and Baltimore wins or ties — a Buffalo v. Kansas City championship game would be at a neutral site.
- Buffalo and Kansas City bother lose and Cincinnati wins — a Buffalo or Cincinnati v. Kansas City championship game would be at a neutral site
2. If Baltimore defeats Cincinnati and if those clubs are scheduled to play a wild card game against one another, the site for the game would be determined by a coin toss. If Cincinnati wins the Week 18 game or if Baltimore and Cincinnati are not scheduled to play one another in the wild card round, the game sites would be determined by the regular scheduling procedures.
According to the organization, there were multiple key factors in coming to the decision to cancel the game.
Some key factors include:
- Not playing the Buffalo v. Cincinnati game to conclusion having no effect on which clubs qualify for the postseason, no club would qualify for the postseason and no club would be eliminated based on the outcome.
- It would require postponing the start of the playoffs for one week.
- Making the decision prior to Week 18 is consistent with the competitive principles and enables all clubs to know the playoff possibilities prior to playing the final weekend of the regular season