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Report: Indy turns down chance to host AFC title game

Mar 4, 2022; Indianapolis, IN, USA; A general overall aerial view of Lucas Oil Stadium, the home of the Indianapolis Colts and site of the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Indianapolis reportedly turned down a request from the NFL to serve as a potential neutral site for the AFC championship game.

The city cited “scheduling conflicts” as the primary reason for not hosting a game at Lucas Oil Stadium on Jan. 28 or 29, the Indianapolis Business Journal reported Saturday.

A national volleyball tournament at Capitol Sports Center is expected to draw about 30,000 people to the downtown area that weekend.

The NFL reached out to Indianapolis and other locales after the cancellation of Monday night’s game between the Buffalo Bills and host Cincinnati Bengals. That contest was halted after Bills safety Damar Hamlin went into cardiac arrest on the field.

On Friday, NFL owners voted to approve several neutral site AFC playoff proposals. The AFC title game would be played at a neutral site if any of three possibilities occur:

–If Buffalo (12-3) and Kansas City (13-3) both win or tie this weekend, a Bills-Chiefs championship game would be held at a neutral site.

–If the Bills and Chiefs both lose this weekend and the Baltimore Ravens (10-6) win or tie, a Buffalo-Kansas City championship game would be played at a neutral site.

–If the Bills and Chiefs both lose and the Bengals win, a Buffalo-Kansas City or Cincinnati-Kansas City AFC title game would be held at a neutral site.

Indianapolis is not the first city to decline the NFL’s request. NFL Network reported that Detroit’s Ford Field is not available because of a scheduled change-out of the turf.

Allegiant Stadium in Las Vegas is also under consideration, per multiple reports. Raiders owner Mark Davis said the venue would be available. “We are here for the NFL if they need us,” Davis told the Las Vegas Review-Journal on Friday night.

–Field Level Media