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Indianapolis turns down request to host AFC Championship Game

NFL: Scouting Combine
Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The AFC Championship Game is still a few weeks out, but there’s a lot of talk about where it might be played.

Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin suffered a medical emergency on the field during the team’s Week 17 outing against the Cincinnati Bengals. While Hamlin’s condition has since improved leaps and bounds, the game itself was canceled.

This set up the NFL changing its playoff format to include a neutral site for a potential Bills AFC Championship Game matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs. Buffalo played one fewer game than Kansas City. And while the Chiefs ended up getting a first-round bye, the league didn’t think it was fair for them to host a conference title game against Buffalo due to a situation out of the Bills’ hands.

With the league now looking at potential cities for a neutral site game, we can cross one option off the list.

Per the Indianapolis Business Journal, that city declined an NFL request to host the AFC Championship Game. The city already has an event on its calendar at Lucas Oil Stadium, where the game would be held. The event is a national volleyball tournament and is expected to draw roughly 30,000 people to downtown Indianapolis. Yeah, that’s an actual thing.

Related: NFL Playoff and Super Bowl predictions

Options to host AFC Championship Game

afc championship game
Jamie Sabau-USA TODAY Sports

The league will want to find a city capable of hosting a game that is somewhat in between Buffalo and Kansas City. This way, it wouldn’t be seen as unfair to either team.

Chicago’s Soldier Field and Acrisure Stadium in Pittsburgh could be options. Some have also talked about the famed Lambeau Field in Green Bay. All three would end up hosting a cold-weather AFC Championship Game, something the NFL likely wants.

There’s also a chance that the game could be moved indoors to the west coast. Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas or SoFi Stadium in Los Angeles would make some sense.

As it is, the Chiefs and Bills will have to advance through the divisonal playoffs for this to happen. As Kansas City awaits its opponent for that round, Buffalo is set to host the Miami Dolphins Sunday afternoon.