ATLANTA — The AFC Championship Game will be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta if a neutral site is necessary, the NFL announced on Thursday.
A neutral site would come into play if the game winds up featuring the Buffalo Bills and Kansas City Chiefs. It would be played on Saturday, Jan. 29 at 6:30 p.m. ET.
Atlanta will not be necessary as a neutral site if either Buffalo or Kansas City fail to make the AFC Championship.
The NFL said in a release:
NFL clubs approved a resolution last week to mitigate the competitive inequities created by the cancellation of the Week 17 Buffalo-Cincinnati game, which included playing the AFC Championship Game at a neutral site if the participating teams played an unequal number of games and both could have been the number one seed and hosted the game had all AFC clubs played a full 17-game regular season.
Therefore, if Buffalo and Kansas City advance to the AFC title game, it would be played at Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta. 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. All other potential AFC Championship Game matchups would take place at the home stadium of the higher seed.
"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."
Additional details, including ticket information, will be announced at a later date. Buffalo and Kansas City Season Ticket Members who previously committed to purchasing championship game tickets will have first priority.