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League to consider playoff scenarios at special meeting
The Buffalo Bills on Thursday night tweeted the following update on the team’s suspended game with the Cincinnati Bengals:
•“The NFL has announced that our Week 17 game against the Cincinnati Bengals will not be resumed and has been cancelled.”
•“The NFL has announced our Week 17 game will be a no contest. A special league meeting will be held to vote on the possibility of the AFC Championship game being played at a neutral site: http://bufbills.co/3Gn0Lx9.”
The NFL explained further in its own tweet:
“The NFL announced today that the Week 17 Buffalo Bills at Cincinnati Bengals game will not be resumed and has been cancelled.
“NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell informed all clubs of his decision earlier today, after speaking with the Bills, the Bengals and NFL Players Association leadership.
“ ‘This has been a very difficult week,’ Goodell said. ‘We continue to focus on the recovery of Damar Hamlin and are encouraged by the improvements in his condition as well as the tremendous outpouring of support and care for Damar and his family from across the country. We are also incredibly appreciative of the amazing work of the medical personnel and commend each and every one of them.’
“Among the key factors in arriving at this decision:
•“Not playing the Buffalo-Cincinnati game to its conclusion will have no effect on which clubs qualify for the postseason. No club would qualify for the postseason and no club will be eliminated based on the outcome of this game.
•“It would require postponing the start of the playoffs for one week, thereby affecting all 14 clubs that qualify for postseason play.
•“Making the decision prior to Week 18 is consistent with our competitive principles and enables all clubs to know the playoff possibilities prior to playing the final weekend of regular season games.
“Cancelling the game between the Bills and Bengals creates potential competitive inequities in certain playoff scenarios. In an effort to mitigate those inequities, NFL clubs will consider tomorrow in a Special League Meeting a resolution recommended by the Commissioner and approved today by the Competition Committee, consisting of two elements:
“1. The AFC Championship Game will be played at a neutral site if the participating teams played an unequal number of games and both could have been the number one seed and hosted the game had all AFC clubs played a full 17-game regular season. Those circumstances involve Buffalo or Cincinnati qualifying for the game as a road team and are listed below:
“Buffalo and Kansas City both win or both tie – a Buffalo vs Kansas City championship game would be at a neutral site.
“Buffalo and Kansas City both lose and Baltimore wins or ties – a Buffalo vs Kansas City championship game would be at a neutral site.
“Buffalo and Kansas City both lose and Cincinnati wins – a Buffalo or Cincinnati vs Kansas City championship game would be at a neutral site.”
The Bills and Bengals were in the first quarter of a “Monday Night Football” matchup when Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin collapsed to the field following a tackle on Cincinnati wideout Tee Higgins just before 9 p.m.
Hamlin suffered a cardiac arrest. Emergency personnel immediately came to his aid, and Hamlin’s heartbeat was restored on the field. He was transferred to the University of Cincinnati Medical Center, where he went into the intensive care unit. Hamlin was sedated and placed on an oxygen machine.
The game was postponed at 10:01 p.m.
Though still in critical condition, Hamlin has reportedly made significant progress in the early stages of his recovery. Doctors said he is now capable of communicating via writing.