Bengals’ Joe Mixon seemingly takes issue with NFL postseason seeding changes following canceled game vs Bills

Cincinnati Bengals veteran running back Joe Mixon is apparently not a fan of the NFL’s solution to Monday night’s canceled game against the Buffalo Bills, which was initially suspended after second-year safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest after collapsing on the field. 

The league made the announcement Thursday night citing several factors including that the teams who qualified for the post season already would not have been impacted by the result of the game, but rescheduling it would cause the playoffs to be postponed by a week.   

Joe Mixon, #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals, runs the ball during the third quarter in the game against the Carolina Panthers at Paycor Stadium on Nov. 6, 2022 in Cincinnati.

Joe Mixon, #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals, runs the ball during the third quarter in the game against the Carolina Panthers at Paycor Stadium on Nov. 6, 2022 in Cincinnati.
(Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

“This has been a very difficult week,” NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said in a statement. 

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“We continue to focus on the recovery of Damar Hamlin and are encouraged by the improvements in his condition as well as the tremendous outpouring of support and care for Damar and his family from across the country.  We are also incredibly appreciative of the amazing work of the medical personnel and commend each and every one of them.”

Damar Hamlin, #3 of the Buffalo Bills, reacts after a tackle for a loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at Highmark Stadium on Oct. 9, 2022 in Orchard Park, New York.

Damar Hamlin, #3 of the Buffalo Bills, reacts after a tackle for a loss against the Pittsburgh Steelers during the first quarter at Highmark Stadium on Oct. 9, 2022 in Orchard Park, New York.
(Bryan M. Bennett/Getty Images)

While Mixon has been among the many players to celebrate the positive update on Hamlin’s health Thursday, he was seemingly annoyed with the NFL’s handling of their Week 17 matchup. 

“So we not following the rules no more,” Mixon wrote on Twitter with a screenshot from the NFL rule book on its policy for canceled games. 

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“If a game is canceled, a team’s standing in its division or in its conference (e.g., qualification as a Wild Card on the playoffs or position in playoff seeding) shall be determined on the basis of its final record,” the rule states. 

The NFL acknowledged that canceled game does create “potential competitive inequities in certain playoff scenarios,” which could be what Mixon is referring to in his tweet. 

The Bills-Bengals game had major playoff implications for the AFC. Buffalo (12-3) entered Monday night needing a win to maintain the AFC’s No. 1 seed. The Kansas City Chiefs (13-3) now hold that spot. The Bengals (11-4) had a chance to earn that top seed with two more wins and a loss by the Chiefs.

Joe Mixon, #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals, stretches prior to an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills at Paycor Stadium on Jan. 2, 2023 in Cincinnati.

Joe Mixon, #28 of the Cincinnati Bengals, stretches prior to an NFL football game against the Buffalo Bills at Paycor Stadium on Jan. 2, 2023 in Cincinnati.
(Kevin Sabitus/Getty Images)

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The NFL will hold a Special League Meeting on Friday to determine several different scenarios that may result in the AFC Championship Game being played at a neutral site. 

They will also discuss using a coin toss to determine the site for a potential Wild Card game between the Baltimore Ravens and Bengals in the event that Baltimore defeats Cincinnati this weekend and face each other in the playoffs. 

This means that, despite being named AFC North champions as a result of the canceled game, the Bengals are not guaranteed to host a home playoff game in the Wild Card round. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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