The Steelers-Bills playoff game has been moved to Monday amid forecasts of dangerous winter weather

The Steelers-Bills playoff game has been moved to Monday amid forecasts of dangerous winter weather

The Buffalo Bills’ playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, which was scheduled for Sunday, has been postponed to Monday amid forecasts of dangerous winter weather.

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Forecasts of a potential winter storm that could hit the Buffalo area over the weekend led the NFL on Saturday to postpone the Bills’ wild-card game against the Pittsburgh Steelers from Sunday to Monday.

New York Gov. Kathy Hochul and the NFL cited public safety concerns as a reason for the postponement, as up to two feet of snow is expected to fall on the Buffalo area over a 24-hour period starting Saturday night.

“The decision to move the game to Monday was made in consultation with New York Governor Kathy Hochul in the interest of public safety, and with the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers, as the region braces for the storm.” Bills said in a joint statement.

Hochul said she began talking with the NFL on Thursday about the possibility of having to reschedule the game because of what she called a “dangerous storm.” Hochul, who is from outside Buffalo, concluded her news conference by saying, “Go, Bills.”

Officials advised residents to stay off the roads starting at nightfall on Saturday, with a driving ban taking effect at 9 p.m. The game will now be played at Highmark Stadium at 4:30pm on Monday instead of 1pm on Sunday.

The Buffalo area forecast called for heavy snow and winds of up to 65 mph (105 kph) on Saturday, with 2 feet or more of snow eventually accumulating. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning lasting until 7 a.m. Monday, saying that “travel will be very difficult or impossible at times,” with a combination of snow and extremely strong winds causing almost 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.

Postponing the game frees up sheriff’s deputies, who are normally assigned to Bell’s Game-related duties, to handle storm-related emergencies, Poloncarz said. Officials were concerned about Steelers fans making the trip to Buffalo under treacherous conditions.

The Steelers themselves have postponed their travel plans and will now head to Buffalo on Sunday.

The Bills are aware of weather-related schedule changes. In 2022, a lake effect storm moved Buffalo’s home game against Cleveland to Detroit in November. A month later, a massive snowstorm delayed the Bells’ flight home, forcing them to stay the night in Chicago on Christmas Eve.

Although the NFL playoffs have been changed in the past for various scheduling reasons or to add tiebreaker games, this is only the third time weather has played a direct factor.

In January 2017, winter weather in Kansas City led the NFL to postpone the start of an AFC playoff game between Pittsburgh and the Chiefs from 1 p.m. to 8:20 p.m.

In 1932, the league added a tie-breaking “playoff” game in the standings between the Portsmouth Spartans and the Chicago Bears. Blisteringly cold temperatures and heavy snow forced the game to be played inside Chicago Stadium, where the Bears won 9-0 on the 80-yard field.

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Peltz reported from New York City. AP Sports Writer Will Graves in Pittsburgh contributed to this report.

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AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/NFL

(Tags for translation) Winter weather

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