February 1, 2023

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NFL: Bills-Bengals won’t appeal; Playoff scenarios revealed

The NFL said Thursday it will not restart the Bills-Bengals game, which was suspended Monday night after Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin collapsed and went into cardiac arrest on the court.

The league said that some of the factors leading to its decision included that “failing to play the Buffalo-Cincinnati game to its conclusion will have no effect on which clubs qualify for the postseason. No club will qualify for the postseason and no club will be disqualified based on the outcome of this game.” “.

Also, the NFL said that playing the game between the Bills and Bengals would have required delaying the start of the playoffs by a week, and affecting all 14 teams that qualified for the postseason.

The NFL said its decision creates “potential competitive disparities in certain playoff scenarios”. On Friday, the League said in a special league meeting that the clubs would consider a decision recommended by the Commissioner and approved by the Competition Committee today.

Hamlin has shown what doctors treating him call “significant improvement over the past 24 hours,” the team announced Thursday, three days after the 24-year-old was resuscitated on the field.

The Bills-Bengals match-up had major repercussions for the AFC. Buffalo (12-3) went into Monday night needing a win to maintain the top seed in the AFC. The Kansas City Chiefs (13-3) now occupy that spot. The Bengals (11-4) had a chance to earn that top seed with two more wins and a loss by the Chiefs.

Scenarios approved by the Competition Committee include a possible neutral site for the AFC Championship match. The league is considering many locations, including indoor and outdoor stadiums.

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The decision presented to the clubs for voting on Friday is as follows:

The AFC Championship Game would be played on a neutral site if the participating teams played an unequal number of matches and both would have been the top seed and hosted the match had all AFC clubs played the full 17 matches.

These circumstances include Buffalo or Cincinnati qualifying for the game as a road team. If Buffalo and Kansas City both win or draw this weekend, the Bills Chiefs game for the AFC title will be on a neutral site.

If Buffalo and Kansas City both lose and Baltimore wins or ties, the Bills-Chiefs AFC title game will be at a neutral site.

If Buffalo and Kansas City both lose and Cincinnati wins, then the Bills or Bengals vs. Kansas City in the AFC title game will be at neutral site.

Also, if Baltimore defeats Cincinnati in Week 18, the Ravens will have two wins over the Bengals, a divisional opponent, but will not be able to host a playoff game because Cincinnati will have a higher winning percentage for a 16-game schedule than Baltimore will for a 17-game schedule.

Therefore, if Baltimore defeats Cincinnati and if those two clubs are scheduled to play a wild card game against each other, the location of that game will be determined by the toss of a coin.

However, if the Bengals win that weekend or if Baltimore and Cincinnati are not scheduled to play each other in the wild card round, game locations will be determined by normal scheduling procedures.

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“As we studied the football schedule, our principles were to reduce disruptions across the league and reduce competitive inequality,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “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.”

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Associated Press sports writer John F. contributed to this report.

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Follow Rob Maaddi on Twitter at https://twitter.com/robmaaddi

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl and https://twitter.com/AP_NFL