The Buffalo Bills will host the Pittsburgh Steelers in the Wild Card round of the 2024 NFL playoffs. The matchup itself is set, but could the location be up for discussion? The weather forecast this weekend for Orchard Park, New York, isn’t exactly “football weather,” so will the NFL move or postpone the game?
Update — The Bills-Steelers Wild Card game has been moved to 4:30 p.m. ET on Monday due to inclement weather. The Governor of New York Kathy Hochul announced the decision just a day before the game. This has some big implications for fantasy football but shouldn’t really alter much. It will be interesting to see if the extra day means Gabriel Davis might be able to get back on the field. We’ll be on the lookout for any additional updates.
Orchard Park is currently under a Winter Storm Warning and is expected to get one to two feet of snow between Saturday and Monday. The weather forecast at AccuWeather reads “very windy with lake-effect snow and intense squalls, accumulating an additional 6-10 inches; colder; travel will be extremely difficult and dangerous.” While moving a playoff game would be a big ask for the NFL, given all that goes into it, the forecast is enough that the league at least has to consider it for the safety of fans and for the teams even to be able to actually play the game.
What will the NFL do?
Moving or postponing an NFL playoff game will be no easy feat. For one, they would likely need to make the decision early so that the visiting team wouldn’t travel to the host city and so that the home team would be able to now go on the road unexpectedly. They also need to find an open NFL stadium that isn’t booked and has a much better weather forecast. The Bills had a game moved in 2022 due to a massive snowstorm, but five feet of snow fell to prompt the change.
The NFL postponed a playoff game in 2017 between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Kansas City Chiefs. Granted, it was a minor postponement from a 1:05 p.m. ET kickoff time to 8:20 p.m. ET kickoff due to an ice storm. The Bills hosted the Indianapolis Colts in a 2017 game that saw nine inches of snowfall during the game. Buffalo won the game 13-7 in overtime.
As of 2 p.m. ET on Friday, the NFL only said they were monitoring weather conditions as they do with every game. For now, kickoff remains set. The weather forecast doesn’t improve throughout the day or get better on Monday, so the idea of postponement doesn’t seem like much of an option. It seems the NFL will just keep the game as played and hope for the best with the weather forecast.