The NFL playoffs are setting as much as create one of many strangest convention championship weekends in latest reminiscence — at the least, within the AFC.
Ought to the Chiefs and Bengals play within the AFC championship recreation, it would not be held at Arrowhead Stadium, regardless of Kansas Metropolis’s AFC-leading 14-3 document. Nor wouldn’t it be held on the Highmark Stadium, regardless of the very fact Buffalo holds a head-to-head victory over the Chiefs.
As an alternative, it will be held at a impartial location: an imperfect answer to an unprecedented scenario in NFL historical past.
The situation? Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.
In fact, this might all be rendered moot: If both the Chiefs or Payments lose to the Jaguars or Bengals, respectively, then the convention championship recreation would play out as regular.
If each Kansas Metropolis and Buffalo advance to the AFC title recreation, nonetheless, The Sporting Information breaks down every thing it’s essential to find out about a possible neutral-site AFC championship recreation:
Why Payments vs. Chiefs can be performed at impartial website
Any matchup between the Chiefs and Payments within the AFC championship recreation can be performed at a impartial location because of the end result — or lack thereof — of the Week 17 “Monday Night time Soccer” recreation between the Payments and Bengals.
As a result of the sport was canceled due to the injury of Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin, the NFL determined “mitigate the aggressive inequities created by the cancellation of the Week 17 Buffalo-Cincinnati recreation.” Particularly, that the Payments and Bengals have performed one fewer recreation than different groups in competition for the highest general seed.
With the league’s official cancellation of the Week 17 Cincinnati-Buffalo recreation, it created a necessity to deal with an AFC title-game assembly between the Payments and Chiefs, neither of which might have “earned” the highest seed of the AFC on account of the sport’s cancellation.
The Chiefs have the higher document by taking part in yet one more recreation, although the Payments have the head-to-head tiebreaker by beating Kansas Metropolis 24-20 in Week 6. Had the Payments performed out the rest of their recreation vs. the Bengals (and received), they might have earned the highest general seed.
The Bengals, in the meantime, had been out of competition instantly following the NFL’s modification. They’d have wanted wins in each Weeks 17 and 18 whereas seeing the Chiefs lose in Week 18 (Kansas Metropolis beat the Raiders 31-13, regardless).
All three groups ended up profitable in Week 18, establishing the highest three seeds within the AFC as such:
- Chiefs (14-3)
- Payments (13-3)
- Bengals (12-4)
The place will AFC championship be performed in 2023?
The NFL in the end settled on Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium after contemplating Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. Per a statement saying the league’s choice:
Due to this fact, if Buffalo and Kansas Metropolis advance to the AFC title recreation, it will be performed at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. As a part of commonplace NFL contingency planning, Atlanta was designated a doable backup host website for postseason video games previous to the beginning of the 2022 season and is sort of equidistant from each potential collaborating groups’ cities. All different potential AFC Championship Recreation matchups would happen on the dwelling stadium of the upper seed.
Mercedes-Benz Stadium is listed as 792 miles away from the Chiefs’ Arrowhead Stadium, and 887 miles from the Payments’ Highmark Stadium. (Lucas Oil Stadium is 475 miles from Arrowhead Stadium, and 495 miles from Highmark Stadium; nonetheless, the venue will host the Central Zone Invitational, a nationwide volleyball match, on the weekend of the AFC championship).
How will impartial website AFC championship recreation work?
As a result of the Chiefs have the highest general seed, they might select what jersey they put on in a possible matchup vs. the Payments. Likewise, Buffalo would get to name the coin toss forward of the sport, identical as a visiting crew would do.
Particulars nonetheless must be ironed out, together with what opposing finish zones and the midfield emblem at Mercedes-Benz Stadium would appear like. It is possible the sport can be handled a lot the identical as any neutral-site recreation (learn: Tremendous Bowl) in that each groups would have participant introductions and celebratory songs play over the audio system.
Methods to purchase AFC championship recreation tickets
The NFL has already knowledgeable the Chiefs and Payments to “start promoting tickets from their allotment, in preparation for a situation by which a impartial website recreation would happen.”
Season ticket-holders for each groups who’ve opted in to buy convention championship tickets can have a presale alternative to purchase tickets at 10 a.m. ET on Wednesday, Jan. 18. All different followers can register to enroll to obtain a passcode to take part in presale, starting on the identical time on Friday, Jan. 20.
Ticketmaster, an official ticketing companion of the NFL, would promote the remaining tickets on Monday, Jan. 23. The NFL limits six tickets on any purchases. Ought to the sport not embody the Chiefs-Payments — thereby negating the necessity for the sport to be performed in Atlanta — any purchases can be refunded.