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Bengals Reportedly 'Livid' over Potential Coin Flip in Tiebreaker with Ravens

Adam WellsJanuary 7, 2023

TAMPA, FLORIDA - DECEMBER 18: Head coach Zac Taylor of the Cincinnati Bengals reacts after a play during the third quarter in the game against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers at Raymond James Stadium on December 18, 2022 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Julio Aguilar/Getty Images

The NFL's alterations to the AFC playoff format isn't sitting well with the Cincinnati Bengals.

Per ESPN's Adam Schefter, many people within the Bengals organization are "livid" they could lose a potential tiebreaker and playoff home game to the Baltimore Ravens via coin flip.

"While the league told the Bengals they should be happy they have been declared the AFC North winners, the Bengals were furious that the rules were changed on the fly and their playoff path has been intentionally altered," Schefter wrote.

The NFL announced the Bengals' Week 17 game against the Buffalo Bills that was initially suspended was canceled and wouldn't be made up.

As a result, seeding for the AFC playoffs had to be altered because the Bengals (11-4), Bills (12-3) and Kansas City Chiefs (13-3) were in the running for the No. 1 spot and a first-round bye.

On Friday, owners approved a resolution that included potentially playing the AFC Championship Game at a neutral site and the site of a potential Bengals-Ravens wild-card matchup being determined via coin flip.

The Bengals will officially be recognized as AFC North champions, regardless of the outcome of Sunday's game against Baltimore. If the Ravens and Los Angeles Chargers both win in Week 18, the AFC North rivals will play in the first round of the playoffs with a coin flip being used to determine if Cincinnati or Baltimore hosts the game.

Cincinnati head coach Zac Taylor spoke out against the league's decision to rely on a coin flip instead of using winning percentage as the deciding factor for home-field advantage in a postseason matchup:

"As far as I'm concerned, we just want the rules to be followed. When a game is canceled, you just turn to winning percentage to clarify everything so we don't have to make up rules. There's several instances this season when a club is fined or people in our building are fined and we're being told, 'Follow the rules. It's black and white. It's in the rulebook.' So now when we point out the rules and you're told, we're going to change that, I don't want to hear about fair and equitable when that's the case."

Running back Joe Mixon also voiced his displeasure about the situation by posting a copy of the NFL rulebook that states "a team's standing in its division or in its conference (e.g., qualification as a Wild Card in the playoffs or position in playoff seeding) shall be determined on the basis of its final record" if a game is canceled and winning percentage is used to break any ties.

⚡️Primetime!!!⚡️ @Joe_MainMixon

🤔So we not following the rules no more🐸☕️ <a href="https://t.co/AreAM1xAsp">pic.twitter.com/AreAM1xAsp</a>

The Bengals would also have to play the AFC Championship Game at a neutral site if they win in Week 18 and the Chiefs and Bills both lose, and the Bengals play either of those teams in the conference title game.

Buffalo and Kansas City would play the AFC title game on a neutral site if both teams win or tie in Week 18, or both teams advance to the conference title game. The neutral-site game is also in play if both teams lose in Week 18 and advance to the conference title game, but that scenario would also require the Bengals losing to the Ravens on Sunday.