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February 26, 2024

Bills-Steelers playoff game postponed again due to brutal winter storm

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Jan 17, 2024

The highly anticipated AFC Wild Card playoff showdown between the Buffalo Bills and Pittsburgh Steelers has been postponed yet again due to a crippling lake-effect snowstorm battering western New York. After originally being delayed from Sunday to Monday, the NFL has now called off the game indefinitely as conditions in Orchard Park continue to deteriorate.

Timeline of postponements

The game was originally scheduled for Sunday, January 15th at 1:00 PM EST at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, NY. However, a major winter storm began dumping feet of snow across the region on Friday and Saturday, making travel treacherous and forcing the postponement.

After assessing the situation Sunday morning, the NFL announced that the game would be moved to Monday at 4:00 PM EST to allow extra time for cleanup. But with blizzard conditions persisting through Monday and some areas receiving over 6 feet of snow, another postponement was unavoidable.

As of Monday evening, a new date and time for the playoff matchup remain uncertain. The NFL is continuing to monitor the weather and stadium conditions closely.

Snowfall totals eclipse records

The lake-effect machine has been running nonstop for over 72 hours now across western New York. Cities and towns surrounding Buffalo and Orchard Park have registered historic, paralyzing snowfall numbers:

Location Official Snowfall Total
Orchard Park 86.3 inches
Buffalo 82.8 inches
Hamburg 79.2 inches
Blasdell 77.0 inches

With over 7 feet of accumulation in Orchard Park alone, crews have been utterly unable to keep up with snow removal at Highmark Stadium. Videos emerging Monday showed seating sections buried under chest-high drifts, and the field itself is under over 3 feet of powder.

Digging out Highmark Stadium

On Sunday morning before the first postponement, optimism remained that the Bills facility management crew could clear the stadium in time for a Monday kickoff. But after an additional 36 inches piled up through Monday, the league deemed playing conditions unsafe and unacceptable.

The Bills even put out a call for volunteers to help shovel snow at the stadium on Sunday and Monday. Diehard fans braved frigid temperatures to try and get the facility game-ready, but have been unable to keep pace with the extreme conditions.

On Monday, Erie County Executive Mark Polancarz noted that over 60 private plow trucks were assisting at Highmark to no avail. Stadium officials say over 33 million pounds of snow will need to be removed for the game to be held safely.

Game could head indoors or south

With no end in sight for the relentless lake-effect bands dumping feet of snow around Buffalo, the Bills-Steelers game could require relocation if Highmark Stadium remains unplayable.

The most likely contingency venue would be Detroit’s Ford Field, which has the advantage of being indoors. Officials reportedly toured the facility Monday to review logistics.

However, the NFL is also now considering moving the game entirely out of the snow belt to a warmer location. Cities like Pittsburgh and Washington D.C. are possibilities if forecasts show no break in the wintry onslaught across western New York.

The Bills organization has noted its strong preference is still to play at home in Orchard Park once conditions improve sufficiently. But public safety is the top priority, and the league will exhaust all options before allowing the game to proceed there.

Looking ahead to a Wild Card winner

Once the Bills and Steelers do finally take the field, the winner would move on to face either the Jacksonville Jaguars or Kansas City Chiefs in the AFC Divisional Round.

The Jaguars stunned many by claiming the AFC South crown this season behind the standout play of 2021 #1 pick Trevor Lawrence. They host the Chiefs this Saturday afternoon at 4:30 PM EST.

Most experts favor the Bills or Chiefs to represent the AFC in Super Bowl LVIII, setting up an potential blockbuster showdown in the conference title game. But the Steelers are keen to silence doubters following Ben Roethlisberger’s retirement last season.

Fan and player reactions

Despite the bitter blast of winter weather, Bills Mafia members are taking the latest postponement in stride. Diehard fans have descended on Orchard Park mall after mall to stock up on extra tailgating supplies in preparation for whenever the game occurs.

Bills superstar quarterback Josh Allen chuckled that he might have to take up curling to stay sharp if the delay drags on too long. Allen promised Bills supporters the team would use the extra time to study up on Pittsburgh’s weaknesses.

Steelers rookie quarterback Kenny Pickett posted video on social media of him tossing a football in nearly zero degree wind chills to show his readiness to play. Veteran defensive stars TJ Watt and Cameron Heyward told reporters that after facing so many hardships this season, a little more winter weather didn’t faze them.

In the meantime, the heart of lake-effect country continues benefiting from round-the-clock plowing efforts. Once the snow tapers off, the cleanup will provide local crews steady work for weeks to come.

AiBot

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AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

To err is human, but AI does it too. Whilst factual data is used in the production of these articles, the content is written entirely by AI. Double check any facts you intend to rely on with another source.

By AiBot

AiBot scans breaking news and distills multiple news articles into a concise, easy-to-understand summary which reads just like a news story, saving users time while keeping them well-informed.

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