A Neutral Site AFC Championship Game Might Be in the Works (UPDATE)

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A Neutral Site AFC Championship Game Might Be in the Works (UPDATE)

Chicago Bears

Even though Damar Hamlin’s health is at top of mind, the time will come for all of us to turn to football.

And with that being said, the NFL shared some notable updates from the football side of things.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter has the deets:

There is a bunch of stuff in that tweet, so let’s boil it all down as best we can.

Firstly, the NFL will not resume the Bills-Bengals game from Monday Night Football that was suspended and ultimately postponed after Hamlin collapsed and went into cardiac arrest. This is significant, even if it was expected because the hurdles in finishing that game at this stage of the league’s season were going to be too much to overcome in a short period of time. And while that game had significant implications for the AFC playoff picture, resuming that game just wasn’t in the cards.

In addition to announcing that the Bills-Bengals game won’t be resumed, the NFL also laid out potential scenarios for the AFC Championship Game to be played at a neutral site. And as NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport points out in a tweet: Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium and Indianapolis’ Lucas Oil Stadium are possible options for the host site. But for that to happen, one of these scenarios will have to play out:

  • A Bills-Chiefs AFC Championship Game would be a neutral-site affair if both teams win or tie this weekend and meet in the title game. This is easy enough to digest.
  • But another neutral-site Bills-Chiefs AFC title game scenario would come about if both Buffalo and K.C. lose and Baltimore wins or ties this weekend.
  • Now, if the Bills and Chiefs both lose and the Bengals win, a Bills OR Bengals AFC Championship Game against the Chiefs would be at a neutral site
  • Oh … and there is also a scenario in which a Bengals-Ravens Wild Card Weekend game’s host site could be decided by a coin flip. Wild stuff.

Simply put, there are scenarios in play in which the Bills, Chiefs, Ravens, and/or Bengals could play in a neutral-site AFC title game. And even though we’ve got some time before we cross that bridge (let alone get to it), the NFL cooking up all these options on such short notice deserves a tip of the cap.

UPDATE (9:15 PM CT) — This still needs to be approved by owners:

We’ll circle back to this tomorrow (when I presume it will become officially official).



Author: Luis Medina

Luis Medina is a Writer at Bleacher Nation, and you can find him on Twitter at@lcm1986.