NFL explains why it decided not to reschedule canceled Bills-Bengals game

    NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed Thursday night that the league will not reschedule its Week 17 game between the Buffalo Bills and the Cincinnati Bengals.

    That game began Monday night, but was called off midway through the first quarter after Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsed on the field and went into cardiac arrest. Hamlin remains hospitalized in Cincinnati, but awoke Thursday morning and is showing signs of improvement.

    The game had been hyped as one of the biggest of the season for two teams jockeying for playoff position atop the AFC.

    So why not reschedule the game? The league Thursday offered three main reasons.

    One, the result of the game wouldn’t be the determining factor for any teams making or missing the playoffs.

    “No club would qualify for the postseason and no club will be eliminated based on the outcome of this game,” the league said in a press release.

    Two, rescheduling the game for next week would mean postponing the start of the playoffs another week. That would impact all 14 teams that qualify for the playoffs.

    And three, the decision was made ahead of the Week 18 games, allowing every team to know the playoff possibilities heading into these final games of the regular season.

    “This has been a very difficult week,” 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.”

    Canceling the game, however, creates problems for seeding in the playoffs. The league is considering several options to resolve those issues, which will depend, in part, on who wins and who loses this weekend.


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