Neutral site AFC Championship Game would be played in Atlanta

Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes...
Buffalo Bills quarterback Josh Allen (17) and Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes (15) shake hands after an NFL football game Sunday, Oct. 16, 2022, in Kansas City, Mo. Buffalo won 24-20. (AP Photo/Ed Zurga)(Ed Zurga | AP)
Published: Jan. 12, 2023 at 11:04 AM CST
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KANSAS CITY, Mo. (KCTV) - Contingency plans have been made for a possible AFC Championship Game matchup between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills.

The National Football League announced that if the Chiefs and Bills meet up on Jan. 29, the game will be played in Atlanta at Mercedes-Benz Stadium, home of the Atlanta Falcons.

NFL clubs came up with a resolution that resulted in a neutral-site playoff game in the event that two teams would meet in the AFC Championship Game with a difference in games played and a win-loss record disparity of less than one game. A disparity in games between the Chiefs and Bills exists because of the cancellation of the Monday night contest between the Bills and Cincinnati Bengals, after Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest early in the first quarter of the game.

READ MORE: NFL owners approve playoff plan after Bills-Bengals canceled

“We are heartened by the continued improvement and progress of Damar Hamlin in his recovery, and Damar and his family remain top of mind for the entire NFL community,” said NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. “We are also grateful to Arthur Blank and the Atlanta Falcons for agreeing to host the AFC Championship Game in Atlanta should the Bills and Chiefs advance. We thank both of those clubs for their assistance in the planning process. We know, if necessary, Mercedes-Benz Stadium will provide a world-class atmosphere for the competing teams, our fans and partners.”

The AFC Championship will be the night-cap of championship Sunday, and will kick off at 5:30 p.m. CT on Jan. 29 regardless of where it is played. During the previous two seasons, the Bills and Chiefs have met in varying rounds, with Patrick Mahomes and Kansas City taking down Josh Allen and the Bills in each game.

“As part of standard NFL contingency planning, Atlanta was designated a possible backup host site for postseason games prior to the start of the 2022 season and is almost equidistant from both potential participating teams’ cities,” the league announced Thursday. “All other potential AFC Championship Game matchups would take place at the home stadium of the higher seed.”

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas tweeted his appreciation for the city of Atlanta’s willingness to host the event should Chiefs-Bills be the matchup.

Arrowhead Stadium is 794 miles away from Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Highmark Stadium in Buffalo is 886 miles away from Mercedes-Benz Stadium. Flights from Kansas City and Buffalo to Atlanta are both roughly two hours in length.

Season ticket holders for both organizations will have first priority to purchase championship game tickets.