To the dismay of many Cincinnati Bengals fans, their team is headed to Buffalo on Sunday to face the Bills for the right to play in the AFC title game next weekend. On the surface, it sounds like a good thing for the third-seeded Bengals, but many of those fans don’t believe the game should be held in Buffalo, even though the Bengals face the second-seeded Bills.
It all comes down to the Week 17 game that was canceled when Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered cardiac arrest on the field and needed immediate CPR. Hamlin was transported to a local hospital in critical consition. He has since made a remarkable recovery and is out of the hospital.
At the time of the incident, the Bengals led 7-3 in the first quarter. Had the Bengals won, the teams would have had identical records, but the Bengals would’ve had the tiebreaker over the Bills and would have been the higher seed. Since the game was canceled, the Bills maintained the higher seed and host Sunday’s game. While that doesn’t sit well with the Bengals, what seems to bother them more is the quick sale of tickets for next weekend’s AFC Championship Game.
The Cincinnati Bengals travel to face the Buffalo Bills on Sunday
The canceled game between the Bengals and Bills was unprecedented and caused some seeding quirks that affected both the Bengals and the Bills. Heading into the Week 17 matchup, the Bills held a one-game lead over the Bengals and were tied with the Kansas City Chiefs, but owned the tiebreaker over Kansas City.
Had the Bills won their last two games, they would have earned the top seed in the conference. If the Bengals, who entered as a 1.5-point underdog, pulled out the victory, they would have vauled past the Bills in the seeding. Instead, the game was canceled. The Bills and Bengals played one less game than the Chiefs. Even though the Bills and Chiefs both had the same number of losses, and the Bills defeated the Chiefs in the regular season, the Chiefs were awarded the top seed.
There wasn’t a whole lot the NFL could do with one week left in the regular season. With Hamlin’s life in danger, football wasn’t important. It wasn’t right to continue the game the following night, so NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell canceled the game.
Now, the teams meet up in Buffalo on Sunday with much more than seeding on the line. The winner advances to the conference title game next weekend, but both teams need to step things up after last week’s performances.
Josh Allen turned the ball over three times, and the Bills struggled mightily against the Miami Dolphins, who came to Buffalo with their third-string quarterback as the starter. Buffalo escaped with a 34-31 win. The Bengals needed a miraculous 98-yard defensive touchdown to pull out a 24-17 win over the Baltimore Ravens, who also played without their starting quarterback.
Former and current Bengals players have a problem with AFC championship ticket sales
When the NFL canceled the Bengals and Bills game, there was a plan in place to try and make things fair during the AFC Championship Game. Since the Bills and Chiefs had the same number of losses but the Bills played one less game, it was announced if they met up for the conference championship, the game woud be played at a neutral site.
Technically, the Bengals could have a small gripe about this week’s game not being at a neutral site, but that’s not what they players are upset about.
They feel they are being disrespected.
Ticket sales for that potential championship game between the Bills and Chiefs (to be held at Atlanta’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium) went on sale this week. Bengals running back Joe Mixon took exception to that, feeling like his team has already been written off.
“To be honest, it’s disrespectful, but we’re not worried about that s***,” Mixon said, per Russ Heltman of SI.com. “We got a game to play on Sunday right? Like I said we are gonna go out there on Sunday and we’re gonna do what the hell we got to do to come back with that W. And then we’re going to see what they’re talking about.”
Mixon wasn’t alone. Former Bengals safety David Fulcher posted the message about tickets sales going on sale this week on Facebook and had the same reaction as Mixon.
“How disrespectful is this,” Fulcher wrote. “Turn it up. WHO DEY.”