It certainly seems like the Cincinnati Bengals are getting the short end of the stick with the NFL’s proposed changes to the playoff format, following the cancellation of their Week 17 game against the Buffalo Bills.
When asked about it Friday, Zac Taylor made his position and that of the organization very clear:
Bengals coach Zac Taylor on the proposed playoff changes: “It seems like there’s positives for a lot of teams and negatives for us.”— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) January 6, 2023
Bengals coach Zac Taylor, on EVP Katie Blackburn’s memo to teams to vote against the proposal, said someone has to advocate on Cincinnati’s behalf since it’s certainly not happening from the league’s side.— Ben Baby (@Ben_Baby) January 6, 2023
Zac on playoffs: We want rules followed. Go by winning percentage. We’ve been fined several times this year and told we broke the rules. We just want rules followed. We have to turn our focus to control what we can control.— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) January 6, 2023
Zac Taylor said any conversations about rule changes, regarding home field advantage and coin flips.— Charlie Goldsmith (@CharlieG__) January 6, 2023
"Let us play 7 home games and 9 road games and then try to take a home playoff game away... that's what this team is built for."
Zac : Awesome for ownership to have our back…. The standard is rules are changed in the offseason. Not two days before a game.— Geoff Hobson (@GeoffHobsonCin) January 6, 2023
As I pointed out yesterday, the Bengals have won the AFC North, but could potentially lose out on a home playoff game, should they lose to the Baltimore Ravens and match up with them in the Wild Card round. The site of the game would be determined by a coin flip, leaving a 50/50 chance the Bengals have to travel to Baltimore to begin the postseason.
If that scenario plays out, the Bengals get all of the negatives from a division crown, without the positive. The Bengals will play a first place schedule in 2023, due to winning the division. They will also have a later draft pick as a result. The main positive to winning the division is a home playoff game, which the Bengals could lose.
There is one way to eliminate this scenario and that is to beat the Ravens on Sunday.
The changes also mean that if the Bengals were to make the AFC Championship game, it is more than likely to be played at a neutral site.
This was a no-win situation for anyone, but it certainly seems like the new plan hurts the Bengals a considerable amount more than any other teams involved.
Let us not forget that when Sean McDermott voiced to Zac Taylor that he felt he shouldn’t be coaching the game, Taylor and the Bengals respected his wishes to stop the game. Not that they would, but the Bengals could have been harsh and demanded the game be played, as it seems that was the initial plan from the NFL.
Bengals running back Joe Mixon is also pretty unhappy with the NFL changing its own rules on the fly.
So we not following the rules no more ☕️ pic.twitter.com/AreAM1xAsp— ⚡️Primetime!!!⚡️ (@Joe_MainMixon) January 6, 2023
We cannot lose in the discussion the severity of the situation with Damar Hamlin, but it does raise questions. What if the Bengals insisted on the completion of the game?
Bengals ownership is advocating for no votes to the new plan, and the head coach is on the same page.
The Bengals did the right thing, and it seems like they’re being punished for it.