It was not a typical week for anyone. What happened to Damar Hamlin on Monday night shocked all of us, especially NFL coaches and players, particularly those of the Bengals and Bills, of course.
The league could not think of anything other than the health of Hamlin who, according to reports on Thursday, has shown remarkable improvement and even asked who had won Monday Night Football.Hours later, the NFL made its stance on that game official: It’s cancelled.
Short of a meeting this Friday, this is the resolution recommended by Commissioner Roger Goodell and approved by the Competition Committee:
The AFC Championship Game will be played at a neutral venue if the participating teams played an unequal number of games and both were able to be the number one seed and play the Playoffs at home. Those circumstances imply either Buffalo or Cincinnati qualifying for the Championship on the road, so the NFL envisions the scenarios like this.
If Baltimore defeats Cincinnati in Week 18, it will have beaten the Bengals, a divisional opponent, twice, but it won’t be able to host a playoff game because Cincinnati will have a higher winning percentage for a 16-game schedule than Baltimore will for one of 17.
So if the Ravens defeat the Bengals and both teams must play a Wild Card against each other, the venue will be determined by a toss. If Cincinnati wins the Week 18 game or if the Ravens and Bengals are not due to meet in the Wild Card round, the venues will be determined by normal tiebreaker procedures.
By canceling the game between the Bills and Bengals, the NFL is not forced to change the dates of the Playoffs, including the Super Bowl.
Santiago de la Peña