At some point, the NFL had to decide what to do about the suspended Buffalo Bills-Cincinnati Bengals game from Monday night.
It wasn't important in the context of the health of Bills safety Damar Hamlin, who suffered cardiac arrest on the field and had to have his heartbeat restored before he was taken in an ambulance to a local hospital. But the NFL season was going to continue.
The NFL announced Tuesday afternoon that after discussion with both teams and the NFLPA, the game will not be resumed this week. The NFL also said it hasn't made any changes to the Week 18 schedule. That opens up the possibility of the game not being played at all, or the start of the playoffs being pushed back. The league said no decision has been made on the possible resumption of the game at a later date.
The Bills-Bengals game was key in shaping the AFC playoff race. The Bills are 12-3 and the Bengals are 11-4. The Bengals would have clinched the AFC North with a win. The Bills, Bengals and 13-3 Kansas City Chiefs all still had a path to the No. 1 seed in the AFC.
The Bengals led Monday night's game 7-3 in the first quarter when Hamlin collapsed and the game was suspended.
It is rare for the NFL to cancel games. There were lost games in 1982 and 1987 due to player strikes. In 2020 and 2021, many games were rescheduled due to COVID-19 but all were eventually played.