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The NFL has already received one “no” in regard to the possibility of the AFC Championship being played at neutral site. It will not be held in Indianapolis.
Monday’s Week 17 matchup between the Bills and Bengals will not be resumed. The game, which was halted in the first quarter of action, was officially cancelled on Thursday night.
That could make things tricky come the playoffs. Seeding may be affected.
Thursday’s announcement means that Cincinnati is officially champion of the AFC North. It also means that there could be a tie atop the AFC between Kansas City and Buffalo.
The NFL outlined all of the possible scenarios in a statement on Thursday:
Should a tie for the top seed in the AFC come to fruition, and both the Bills and Chiefs are to meet for a rematch in the AFC Championship, it will be played at a neutral site. That neutral site will not be Lucas Oil Stadium, even though it is almost exactly halfway between Kansas City and Buffalo.
Indianapolis officials were asked by the league about hosting the game on either January 28th or 29th. They tried to make it work.
However, Lucas Oil Stadium is already set to host the Central Zone Invitational. According to the Indianapolis Business Journal, the national volleyball tournament is expected to draw as many 30,000 people downtown that weekend. Hotel occupancy is expected to exceed 7,000 rooms and will be at full capacity.
Thus, despite any efforts made, hosting the AFC Championship in Indianapolis simply isn’t feasible.
There will be nowhere for Bills and Chiefs fans to stay. Lucas Oil Stadium will be in use.
The NFL will have to go back to the drawing board. Should the Bills and Chiefs both reach the AFC Championship, they will have to play in one of the other 29 NFL stadiums.