Bills’ wild-card game vs. Steelers moved to Monday due to expected dangerous weather


The Buffalo Bills’ wild-card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers scheduled for Sunday was moved to Monday amid a forecast for dangerous winter weather, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Saturday.

Hochul said she started talking with the NFL on Thursday about the possibility of having to reschedule the game. From her hometown of Buffalo, she closed her news conference by saying, “Go, Bills.”

The NFL and Bills issued a statement citing “public safety concerns” as the reason to push back the game by a day.

The forecast for the Buffalo area called for heavy snow and winds gusting as high as 105 kilometres per hour Saturday, with 30 to 60 centimetres or more of snow eventually piling up. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning lasting through 7 a.m. Monday, saying “travel will be very difficult to impossible at times,” with the combination of snow and very strong wind causing near-zero visibility.

Much of the storm was expected to be concentrated in a narrow band of lake-effect snow hovering over Buffalo’s southern suburbs, which includes the Bills’ home in Orchard Park.

The Steelers have pushed back their travel plans and will now head to Buffalo on Sunday.

The Bills are familiar with weather-related schedule changes. In 2022, a lake-effect storm led to Buffalo’s home game against Cleveland being moved to Detroit in November. A month later, a massive blizzard forced the Bills to delay their trip home, forcing them to stay overnight in Chicago on Christmas Eve.

Chiefs, Dolphins set for frigid temperatures

The hometown Kansas City Chiefs and Miami Dolphins were set to play one of the coldest games in NFL history on Saturday night, yet that didn’t stop hundreds of fans from lining up outside the parking lots of Arrowhead Stadium more than 12 hours before kickoff.

The snow wasn’t the problem in Kansas City, though more was falling Saturday morning — it was expected to finish long before the Chiefs and Dolphins kicked off. Rather, the concern was what the National Weather Service called “dangerously cold” wind chills, which could make the forecasted temperature of minus-18 C at kickoff feel like minus-24.

There have been only four post-season games played in subzero temperatures in NFL history, the most recent the 2007 NFC title game between the Giants and Packers, when it was minus-19 at kickoff. New York won 23-20 at Lambeau Field in a game perhaps best remembered for the images of Giants coach Tom Coughlin’s frozen face on the sideline.

The coldest game in league history remains minus-25 for the 1967 NFL championship, when the Packers beat the Cowboys at Lambeau Field in a game that came to be known as the Ice Bowl. The wind chill that day was minus-48.

“We definitely had that initial shock when we looked at the forecast,” said Chiefs season ticket holder Keaton Schlatter, who was driving down from West Des Moines, Iowa, for Saturday night’s game. “We thought about maybe posting our tickets for sale and if they don’t sell, then we would go. But we decided that it’s all part of the experience and we didn’t want to miss it.”

The Chiefs are planning to have numerous warming stations throughout the stadium, and they’ve bent some of their rules to help fans deal with the cold. They are allowed to carry in blankets, provided they have no zippers or compartments, and they can use portable chargers to power the kind of heated apparel that Schlatter was bringing to the game.

The coldest game ever played at Arrowhead Stadium was minus-17 at kickoff, set during a game against the Denver Broncos on Dec. 18, 1983, and matched during a game against the Tennessee Titans on Dec. 18, 2016.

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