Lthe owners of the NFL approved a plan that leaves open the possibility of an AFC Championship Game at a neutral site and could determine the home field for a wild card game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Baltimore Ravens with a coin toss.
as a result of the cancellation of the Bills-Bengals game On Monday, the following scenarios based on the results of Week 18 were approved to hold the title game at a neutral site:
- If Buffalo (12-3) and Kansas City (13-3) win or tie, the Bills-Chiefs championship game will be at a neutral site.
- If Buffalo and Kansas City lose, and Baltimore wins or ties, the Bills-Chiefs championship game will be at a neutral site.
- If Buffalo and Kansas City lose, and Cincinnati (11-4) wins, a championship game between the Bills or Bengals vs. Chiefs will be at a neutral site.
If the Ravens beat Bengals on Sunday and they face Cincinnati in an AFC wild card game, The site will be determined by tossing a coin.. If Cincinnati wins or if the two teams do not meet after a potential Ravens win, regular scheduling procedures will be used.
A three-quarters majority (24 of 32) of owners was needed Friday to approve the changes, which the NFL said in a resolution would be in effect only for the 2022 season.
Possible neutral sites have not been determined. The seeds will be maintained during the playoffs. If Buffalo and Kansas City win this weekend, the Chiefs will have direct access to the divisional round. If Buffalo wins and Kansas City loses, the Bills will be the No. 1 seed and get the bye, and they won’t enter the Wild Card Games.
The Bengals coach against the decision
The planned changes were made Friday over the apparent objection of the Bengals, and coach Zac Taylor He said his team felt it was disadvantaged by the proposal.
“It’s important for the team to know that because someone has to fight for you. He clearly isn’t coming from the league,” Taylor said Friday. “It’s nice that our owners and front office support the players like they have. That’s important to us.”
Monday’s game between Buffalo and Cincinnati was suspended with less than six minutes left in the first quarter and the Bengals led 7-3 when Bills safety, Damar Hamlin, suffered a cardiac arrest after making a tackle. His heart rate was restored in the field before he was transported to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center.
The keys of the NFL
Announcing the decision to cancel the game on Thursday, the NFL He cited three key factors: the result would not influence which teams qualified for the postseason; playing the game would have upset the playoff schedule for the remaining teams; and not playing the game will allow all teams to know their postseason chances before the start of Week 18.
Bengals Executive Vice President Katie Blackburnis in the competition committee, which approved the scenarios on Thursday.
In a memo obtained by Seth Wickersham de ESPN, Blackburn urged the teams to vote against the scenarios. His reasoning originated at the time of a rule change that moved away from the standard of winning percentages used in this scenario.
“The proper process to make a rule change (sic) is in the offseason,” Blackburn wrote. “It is not appropriate to put teams in a position to vote for something that may introduce bias, favor one team over another, or affect their own situation when voting takes place immediately before the playoffs.”
Taylor also repeatedly stressed Friday the need to follow the current rules.
NFL Commissioner, Roger Goodellhad acknowledged in a statement on Thursday that he acknowledged that “there is no perfect solution.”
“In considering the soccer calendar, our principles have been to limit disruptions in the league and to minimize competitive inequalities,” he said.
The Bills announced Friday that Hamlin had had a breathing tube removed and had begun talking to his care team, family and teammates.