This year’s AFC playoffs are going to take on a slightly different look, as the NFL’s 32 franchises have voted to make two major changes to the postseason.
After Thursday night’s decision to cancel the Bills-Bengals game, the NFL presented two proposals to change the AFC playoffs and those proposals were officially voted on Friday.
Under the first proposal voted on, the AFC Championship would now be played at a neutral-site game if any of the following three circumstances were met:
- Scenario 1: If Buffalo and Kansas City both win in Week 18, or both are tied, the Buffalo vs. Kansas City championship game will be at neutral site.
- Scenario 2: If Bills And Leaders Both lose in Week 18 and Baltimore wins or ties BengalThen the Buffalo vs. Kansas City championship game will be at neutral site.
- Scenario 3: If Buffalo and Kansas City both lose and Cincinnati beats Baltimore, Bills or Bengals vs. The Chiefs Championship game will be at a neutral venue.
If necessary, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell will determine the site of the game.
The NFL also gives Crows No matter what happens against the Bengals on Sunday, Baltimore’s chance to host the wild-card game is second in the AFC North. Even if the Ravens win, it would put them at 11-6, which would still be a half game behind Cincinnati, which would end with an 11-5 loss.
In that scenario, the Ravens would not win the division even if they swept the Bengals and had the best division record. To remedy that problem, the owners approved a plan to flip a coin to determine the host of a potential Bengals-Ravens wild-card game. A coin is flipped only if the two scenarios below are met:
1. The Ravens beat the Bengals on Sunday, and …
2. The two teams will face each other in the wild card round.
With both proposals now approved, the Bengals won’t host a wild-card game even if they win the AFC North. Not surprisingly, the Bengals were the only team to vehemently oppose both proposals. Katie Blackburn, the Bengals’ executive vice president, sent a memo to CBS Sports trying to get teams to vote against the plans..
According to multiple reports, 25 owners voted yes — 24 needed.
Because of the unprecedented nature of the situation, Goodell knew not every team would be happy with the solution the NFL ultimately came up with.
“As we consider the football schedule, our principles are to limit disruption and minimize competitive imbalances across the league,” Goodell said of why the league came up with the two plans. “I recognize that there is no perfect solution. We ask the owner to consider, however, the extremely important potential equity issues created by the difficult but necessary decision not to play the game in these unusual circumstances.”
The circumstances Goodell is referring to are those involving Tamar Hamlin. The Bills and Bengals played nearly nine minutes Monday night before the game was stopped after a Phils safety suffered a heart attack on the field. After CPR was administered, Hamlin remained He was taken by ambulance to the University of Cincinnati Medical CenterHe was listed in critical condition for the past three days.
Although things looked dire when he was taken to the hospital on Monday, Hamlin has made significant progress over the past 24 hours, the Bills announced Friday.And he even FaceTimed some of his Bills teammates.
“This has been a very difficult week,” Goodell said in a statement. “We continue to focus on Damar Hamlin’s recovery and are encouraged by his progress and the overwhelming outpouring of support and care for Damar and his family from across the country.”
With Hamlin’s health improving, the NFL finally sat down to figure out how to fix the AFC playoffs and the above plans are two of the solutions they came up with.