In his weekly “Factoidness” section of Monday’s “Football Morning in America” column for NBC Sports, well-connected NFL reporter Peter King brought some clarity to the league’s deliberations about requiring some AFC playoff matchups to be played at a neutral site.
1. If the Cincinnati-Buffalo cancellation happened, say, in Week 5 versus Week 17, I think it’s likely the league could have found the time and place to make the game up and would have done so.
2. There was a motion to split the proposal — vote on the possible AFC neutral site for the title game, and vote for the Cincinnati-Baltimore coin-flip possibility separately — but it failed.
3. No one argued against the neutral-site idea for the [conference] title game, if it is necessary.
4. The vote to approve the proposal was 25 in favor (24 were needed for a three-quarters approval) [with] four abstentions [and] three no votes. The Kansas City Chiefs, Buffalo Bills, Las Vegas Raiders and Los Angeles Chargers abstained. The Cincinnati Bengals, Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears voted no — all, presumably, on the basis of being against changing a rule eight days before the playoffs begin.
It had previously been reported that the Chiefs had chosen to abstain from the voting simply because they felt it was inappropriate for the team to vote on a proposal that affected them so directly. Meanwhile — at least among many Chiefs fans — it had been assumed that the Bills were among the teams voting for the proposal. But according to King’s report, they also chose to abstain. We could speculate that they did so for the same reason.
King’s report confirms that the Bengals voted no. This had been assumed, because it had previously been reported that Cincinnati was campaigning for other clubs to vote no. But for the first time, we now learn that the Ravens — another team that would have been directly affected by the proposed changes — voted yes.