The NFL announced Tuesday that the Bills-Bengals game, which was halted Monday night after Buffalo safety Damar Hamlin collapsed and went into cardiac arrest during the first quarter, will not resume this week, and that the league’s Week 18 slate will continue as scheduled.
“The NFL continues to be in regular contact with the medical team caring for Damar Hamlin, and also the Bills and Bengals organizations and the NFL Players Association,” the NFL said in a statement. “After speaking with both teams and NFLPA leadership, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell informed the clubs today that the Bills-Bengals game will not be resumed this week.
“The NFL has made no decision regarding the possible resumption of the game at a later date. The league has not made any changes to the Week 18 regular season schedule. We will continue to provide additional information as it becomes available.”
For Bills-Bengals to resume at a later date than this week, it would likely mean that the first round of the NFL playoffs would have to be pushed back. The NFL has a buffer week in between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl, but it would be unprecedented to move the rest of the postseason back by a week.
Both teams have already clinched playoff spots, but the game had enormous ramifications for AFC playoff seedings. The Bills entered the game at 12-3 and the Bengals at 11-4. Along with the Chiefs, who are 13-3, both teams were alive for the top seed in the conference and a first-round bye. The Bengals were also still vying for the AFC North title with the Ravens, who are 10-6 and play the Bengals in Week 18.
The game also had numerous other derivative implications. Sportsbooks began announcing on Tuesday that they would refund unsettled wagers from the game. It was also the final matchup for the finals of many fantasy football leagues, which conclude on the penultimate week of the season so that championships are not won and lost with star players getting rested in Week 18.
Hamlin collapsed on the field after making a tackle on Bengals wideout Tee Higgins. He was administered CPR before being taken off the field in an ambulance.
As Hamlin continues to undergo treatment, fans across America have raised several million dollars for a toy drive that he launched in 2020, before he entered the NFL, which had an original goal of raising $2,500.