5 Fun Neutral Site Options for 2023 AFC Championship Game


Getty Could Yankee Stadium host the 2023 AFC Championship Game? (Photo by Jamie Squire/Getty Images)

These will be unprecedented NFL playoffs.

In the aftermath of Buffalo Bills safety Damar Hamlin collapsing on the field after suffering cardiac arrest in Week 17 against the Cincinnati Bengals, the league will not continue the teams’ contest and the AFC Championship Game will be played at a neutral site if either the Bills or Bengals match up against a team that played 17 games.

So, where will the AFC Championship take place if the Bengals or Bills wind up making championship Sunday against the Kansas City Chiefs, Baltimore Ravens, Los Angeles Chargers, or any of the other teams currently in the hunt, with a Super Bowl berth at stake?

The easiest solution would be to pick one of the league’s available domes, but as Ian Rapoport of the NFL Network reports, an outdoor stadium remains a possibility.

Here are five potential options, some likelier than others, to host a neutral-site AFC Championship Game in 2023:

Caesars Superdome – New Orleans, Louisiana

Preface this by saying every Super Bowl should be played in New Orleans.

The vibe of the city of New Orleans, the party atmosphere of Bourbon Street, and a renovated Caesars Superdome make the Big Easy an easy choice to host the AFC Championship Game as a neutral site.

Because the New Orleans Saints will miss the postseason this year, there is no risk to the Superdome being occupied on championship weekend, and it would offer the atmosphere of a Super Bowl-caliber weekend for fans making the trek into town for the game.

Yankee Stadium – New York City, New York

Just over 64 years since the 1958 NFL Championship Game between the New York Giants and Baltimore Colts, dubbed “The Greatest Game Ever Played,” it would certainly be poetic for the NFL to return to Yankee Stadium.

Now, of course, it is a new Yankee Stadium. But, the theater leading up to an AFC Championship Game possibly featuring Joe Burrow and the Cincinnati Bengals aiming to take down Patrick Mahomes and the Kansas City Chiefs for a second consecutive time, or Josh Allen and what could be viewed as a team of destiny looking to get past Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens into the Super Bowl, in the NFL’s return to the Bronx would be incredible.

Yankee Stadium plays host annually to the Pinstripe Bowl, as well as clashes between Lehigh and Lafayette as well as Rutgers and UConn, since opening in 2009, so it is not unprecedented for football to be played there.

Mercedes Benz Stadium – Atlanta, Georgia

If there were ever a building made for marquee events, it is Mercedes Benz Stadium.

Home to the busiest airport in the United States, access to Atlanta would be relatively easy for any of the AFC fanbases in the mix for the AFC Championship Game.

Mercedes Benz Stadium has already hosted a Super Bowl in 2019, is the annual home to the SEC Championship Game, and has been the site of multiple College Football Playoff Games and a College Football Playoff National Championship Game in 2018. So the state-of-the-art venue is capable of handling a big stage.

It would certainly work in Atlanta’s favor to host the game that inclement weather both for travel purposes and during the game would be non-factors.

Michigan Stadium – Ann Arbor, Michigan

If the NFL wants to turn the AFC Championship game into an event, there might not be a bigger spectacle than staging the game at The Big House.

By official capacity, Michigan Stadium is the largest stadium in America, holding 107,601 fans, there is the potential that the game could house enough fans to hold the capacity of nearly both teams’ stadiums.

Additionally, because Ford Field is unavailable to host the game, as new turf is being installed during January, putting the game in Ann Arbor would still allow for the ease of travel through Detroit Metropolitan Wayne County Airport.

Besides, how captivating would the television product be with AFC Championship Game being held on a college campus, with the potential for snowfall, in a storied venue?

Lucas Oil Stadium – Indianapolis, Indiana

Update: Fox59 reported on January 6 that the City of Indianapolis turned down the league’s request to host the AFC Championship Game due to an “already-scheduled event, a national volleyball tournament hosted by Capitol Sports Center called The Central Zone Invitational, is expected to draw as many as 30,000 people downtown.”

Make no mistake, Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis would appear the runaway favorite to host a neutral-site AFC title game.

Indianapolis annually hosts the NFL Scouting Combine, has hosted a Super Bowl, and would offer relative ease of travel for fans, with the control of a dome for the NFL to remove any concern over a snowstorm impacting the playing of the game itself.

At 4-11-1 heading into Week 18, the hometown Colts pose no potential scheduling conflicts either.

Read More