Bengals coach Zac Taylor relished his team’s divisional playoff game win over the Bills on Sunday, specifically addressing how his team ruined some fans’ travel plans. If Buffalo would have won, the AFC championship game would have been at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta between the Bills and Chiefs—a historic change to the NFL playoff format.
Thousands of tickets were sold in advance for the potential Bills-Chiefs matchup, but Cincinnati spoiled that storyline with its decisive win, and Taylor loved it.
“It is tough because they have to formulate the plans for coin tosses, formulate the plans for neutral-site games, and we just keep screwing it up for everybody,” Taylor said, per NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport. “I hate that for people who have to endure all the logistical issues, we keep screwing it up.”
There are no neutral-site games in the playoffs normally, but the scenario became possible because the Week 17 matchup between the Bengals and Bills was scrapped after Damar Hamlin’s collapse and hospitalization early in the game. Both teams were in contention for the top seed in the AFC, so the NFL found this to be the best way to account for the canceled game.
Taylor’s mentioning of a coin toss references the fact that a coin toss between the Bengals and Ravens would’ve been necessary to determine home field in the wild-card round if Cincinnati had lost to Baltimore in Week 18. Instead, the Bengals won that game and subsequently beat the Ravens again in their playoff opener.
Now, the Bengals are bound for Kansas City and a date with the Chiefs in the AFC championship game. After Cincinnati’s win Sunday, quarterback Joe Burrow had a message for the league regarding tickets to the neutral-site title game in Atlanta.
“Better send those refunds.”