When the NFL made the decision to cancel the Week 17 game between the Cincinnati Bengals and the Buffalo Bills after the terrifying injury to Damar Hamlin, it became clear that the league was going to need to alter its playoff format to make things fair for the teams still vying for home-field advantage. The NFL eventually decided that a potential AFC Championship game matchup between the Bills and the Kansas City Chiefs would be played at a neutral site. And we now know that site.
On Thursday morning, the league announced that a potential Bills–Chiefs AFC title game matchup would be played in Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia – the home of the Atlanta Falcons.
“We are heartened by the continued improvement and progress of Damar Hamlin in his recovery, and Damar and his family remain top of mind for the entire NFL community,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. “We are also grateful to Arthur Blank and the Atlanta Falcons for agreeing to host the AFC Championship Game in Atlanta should the Bills and Chiefs advance. We thank both of those clubs for their assistance in the planning process. We know, if necessary, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will provide a world class atmosphere for the competing teams, our fans and partners.”
Of course, the changes will only come into play if both the Chiefs and the Bills face each other in the AFC title game. Otherwise, the higher-seeded team will host the game, as usual.