NFL Makes Decision on Buffalo Bills, Cincinnati Bengals Game After Damar Hamlin Injury

The NFL just made a decision on the Buffalo Bills vs. Cincinnati Bengals game that was called off due to the scary injury of Bills safety Damar Hamlin. The league announced on Thursday the game will not resume and has been canceled. The reason the NFL made the decision is the game didn't have an impact when it comes to clinching a playoff spot and it didn't want to push back the playoffs one week. 

"This has been a very difficult week," NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. "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."  

The cancellation of the game does impact the playoffs. Had the Bills (12-3) won the game, they would be the No. 1 seed in the playoffs heading into the final week of the season over the Kansas City Chiefs (13-3). The Bills have the tiebreaker over the Chiefs since they beat them earlier in the year. Owners will now vote to approve scenarios that involve a neutral site for an AFC Championship game. 

If the Bills and Chiefs win or tie this weekend, the AFC Championship game will be at a neutral site if both teams make it that far. If the Bills and Chiefs lose and the Baltimore Ravens (10-6) defeat the Bengals (11-4), a Bills-Chiefs AFC title game will be at a neutral site. The Bills-Chiefs conference championship game will be at a neutral site if the Bengals beat the Ravens on Sunday. 

One other note about the playoffs is if the Ravens beat the Bengals and those two teams are scheduled to play against each other in a wild-card playoff game the following weekend, the site for the game will be determined via coin toss. A win for the Ravens would also mean they have defeated the Bengals twice this year, but would not host a playoff game since the Bengals have a higher winning percentage. 

"As we considered the football schedule, our principles have been to limit disruption across the league and minimize competitive inequities," Goodell said.  "I recognize that there is no perfect solution. The proposal we are asking the ownership to consider, however, addresses the most significant potential equitable issues created by the difficult, but necessary, decision not to play the game under these extraordinary circumstances."