J.J. Watt Questions Bills After Steelers Playoff Game Postponed

Buffalo Bills

Getty The Buffalo Bills huddle up during a snowy game.

J.J. Watt is looking for answers from the Buffalo Bills after their playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers was postponed in advance of a major winter storm.

New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced on January 13 that the playoff game scheduled for Sunday afternoon would be moved to Monday at 4:30 p.m., allowing the Buffalo region to focus on the storm expected to hit starting on Saturday.

After the announcement, Watt took to social media to question why the Bills would move the game when they made plans for a new stadium with no dome.

“Wasn’t the argument for Buffalo’s new stadium not having a roof that football is supposed to be played in the elements?” Watt wrote on X. “This is multiple games in recent years that have been rescheduled due to weather. Do we want the elements to be a factor or not?”

Bills Fans Respond to J.J. Watt

As some Bills fans explained to Watt, the game was moved as a safety precaution and not because of any effect the storm would have had on playing conditions.

“The game isn’t being moved because of the product on the field,” wrote Matt Bove, sports director for Buffalo’s WKBW. “It’s being moved because it’s unsafe for players, staff, & fans to get to the stadium. That wouldn’t change if there was a roof on the stadium.”

Other fans noted that dozens of Buffalo residents were killed in a major winter storm that hit just before Christmas 2022, one with conditions similar to what is predicted for this weekend

As Watt referenced, the Bills also moved a November 2022 game out of Buffalo and to Detroit in advance of a storm that was expected to ground traffic to a halt in the region. The Bills were also stranded in Chicago following a December 2022 game when the Buffalo airport was shut down, forcing the team to spend Christmas in Chicago before flying to Rochester in the morning and taking a bus from there to Buffalo. The team also moved a 2014 game to Detroit in advance of a storm.

Buffalo Under Travel Ban Ahead of Storm

Had Sunday’s game not been postponed, the Bills and Steelers would have played amid dangerous driving conditions. The storm is predicted to dump as much as 20 inches of snow in the suburbs south of the city of Buffalo, including the stadium’s location in Orchard Park.

As the Buffalo News reported, local officials said it would be unsafe for the game to be played at a time when first responders would be needed elsewhere to respond to weather-related emergencies.

“We want our Bills to win. But we don’t want 60 to 70,000 people traveling to the football game in what is going to be horrible conditions,” said Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz, noting that Erie County Sheriff’s deputies would have been stationed at the game but now are available for emergency response related to the storm.

The new game time could be advantageous to the Bills and their pass-heavy offense, as the original game time would have been played with winds expected to reach up to 60 miles per hour.

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