February 3, 2023

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The NFL will not reschedule the Bills-Bengals game, which is set to adjust the AFC playoffs

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The NFL will not reschedule the postponed Monday night game between the Buffalo Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, and the league said Thursday that it is preparing to adjust the game’s format in an effort to address competitive inequities arising from the cancellation.

Under the revised system, an AFC Championship match may be played at a neutral site, under certain conditions. These circumstances include the Bills or Bengals getting into the game as a road team.

The Bengals and Baltimore Ravens could also have a potential opening-round playoff meeting location determined by a coin flip, according to the proposed revised formula.

The NFL said the amendments were recommended by Commissioner Roger Goodell and approved Thursday by the Competition Commission to set the league’s rules. They will be considered on Friday by the league’s team owners, who are set to meet by videoconference for possible endorsement of the plan.

“As we studied the football schedule, our principles were to reduce disruptions across the league and reduce competitive inequality,” said Goodell. in the current situation. “I understand that no solution is perfect. However, the proposal we ask owners to consider addresses the most important potential fair issues that arose out of the difficult, but necessary, decision not to play the game under these extraordinary circumstances.”

The NFL’s deliberations over scheduling issues began after Monday’s game in Cincinnati was halted during the first quarter. Bills safety Demar Hamlin suffered an injury and cardiac arrest on the field. The match was postponed later that night. Hamlin doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said Thursday that he was infected He made great progress in his recovery.

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On Thursday, the league decided to announce the cancellation of the Bills-Bengals match.

“This week has been really tough,” Goodell said. “We continue to focus on Dummar Hamelin’s recovery and are encouraged by the improvements in his condition as well as the tremendous outpouring of support and care for Dummar and his family from across the country. We also incredibly appreciate the amazing work of the medical staff and commend each and every one of them.”

Doctors at the University of Cincinnati Medical Center said Jan. 5 that Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin was awake and could move his hands and feet. (Video: Reuters)

Doctors say Demar Hamlin is awake, and has made a somewhat remarkable recovery

These two teams will play 16 regular season games each, one fewer than any other NFL team. Match seedings in the AFC Qualifiers will be determined by teams’ winning percentages.

The elimination gives the Kansas City Chiefs a path to the top seed in the AFC playoffs, ahead of the Bills. The Chiefs can secure that with a win this Saturday in Las Vegas over the Raiders. Prior to the adjournment, the Bills were directly ahead of the Chiefs on tiebreaker advantage from a head-to-head win that season; They could have secured the No. 1 seed by defeating the Bengals on Monday and the New England Patriots on Sunday to end the regular season.

To address this, the league devised a system in which the AFC title game would be played at a neutral site if the Bills or Bengals are the road team and potentially host the game by winning Monday’s game. So this only applies to certain results under a complex formula that will come into sharper focus after this weekend’s results.

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If the Chiefs and Bills win this weekend, for example, and then meet in the AFC Championship game, the game will be played at a neutral site. Under that scenario, the Bills could have been the top seed if they beat the Bengals on Monday. But if the Chiefs win on Saturday and the Bills lose on Sunday, the Chiefs-Bills game will be played in the AFC title game in Kansas City. Under this scenario, the Chiefs would have been the top seed even if the Bills had won Monday’s game.

A person familiar with the plan said the NFL has not yet decided where the AFC Championship game will be held at a neutral site.

The possibility of a coin toss to determine the home team in a potential Ravens-Bengals game in the opening round of the playoffs only comes into play if the Ravens win Sunday’s game between the two teams in Cincinnati.

Once it was decided not to reschedule the postponed game, the NFL sorted out a host of possibilities. There has been speculation about the prospects of adding an eighth playoff team to the AFC’s post-season stadium. adding an eighth playoff team in both conferences; or having the AFC’s top-seeded team choose between a first-round prize or a home-play advantage in the conference title game.

DeMaurice Smith, executive director of the NFL Players Association, said earlier Thursday that the league would have had to bargain with the association to add a playoff team or teams. Smith said he had never received such a proposal from the NFL.

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A person familiar with the deliberations said the league had not considered adding an eighth team to the Asian Qualifiers.

“Everything is being considered,” Troy Vincent, the NFL’s executive vice president of football operations, said Wednesday.

As Bills safety Damar Hamlin remains in the hospital after suffering cardiac arrest, players and medical experts discuss his care and ways to make the game safer. (Video: Rich Matthews/The Washington Post)

The league could have rescheduled the Bills-Bengals’ resumption as a standalone game into an additional weekend in addition to the regular season, postponing the playoffs and eliminating the weekend between conference games and the Super Bowl. Instead, he would have played the remainder of the postponed game of the weekend including NFC matches while the AFC qualifiers were postponed by a week. Instead, the NFL chose not to visit the postponed game.

The league has had to deal with rearranging its schedule in recent seasons affected by the pandemic. This time, however, the postponement came so late in the regular season that there was little wiggle room without postponing the playoffs.

Vincent said Wednesday that the NFL’s scheduling decision may not be able to guarantee competitive fairness, given the circumstances.

“As we’ve seen, there is probably a lack of fairness, where it may not be perfect but it will allow the participants, who have had that right to play, to continue playing,” said Vincent.