The game between the Bills and the Bengals was interrupted due to the shocking event of Damar Hamlin’s sudden cardiac arrest. The match was never resumed afterwards and was cancelled later on. The game’s cancellation has raised important questions in different playing camps.
The Bills were sitting on top of the entire AFC league with twelve victories; now, that spot is taken by the Chiefs as they have won thirteen games. On the other hand, the Bengals were not behind either, with eleven victories and four losses- if they had managed to win the games against other Bengals, the two teams would have been sitting with the same number of victories and winning percentage.
How did the cancellation ignite conflict?
An AFC Championship game at a neutral site and a coin toss to decide the setting of a potential wild-card game between the Ravens and the Bengals have been proposed as solutions for the game’s cancellation, which goes against the rules of the 2022 rulebook (if the Ravens beat the Bengals on Sunday).
On page A78, the category of “Emergencies and Unfair Acts” and the specific rule “Competitive Policy for Cancelled Games” says, “If a game is cancelled, a team’s standing in its division or in its conference (e.g., qualification as a Wild Card in the playoffs or position in playoff seeding) shall be determined on the basis of its final record. When necessary, playoff tiebreakers shall be calculated according to per game average for all teams.”
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What did the owners decide and why?
On Friday, the owners of the teams were called to vote on whether they wanted to cancel the game, and they voted in favour of the cancellation proposed by Commissioner Roger Goodell and approved by the competition committee the day before.
Goodell hopes to “limit disruption across the league and minimize competitive inequities.”
Not finishing the game will have no effect on which teams make the playoffs. No team would make the playoffs or be eliminated based on the game’s result. Now the venue will be decided by a coin toss, and the teams are okay with it.
Chris Bumbaca (@BOOMbaca) breaks down the AFC playoff possibilities after the cancellation of the Bill vs. Bengals week 17 game.
— USA TODAY Sports (@usatodaysports) January 6, 2023
Yet teams would have liked to be in the No.1 seed and play in their home grounds.
Where is the game expected to be played?
The league is considering many possibilities, including both indoor and outdoor venues. There may be a scheduling conflict at the Indianapolis Colts’ home stadium, Lucas Oil Stadium, because of a volleyball tournament.