AP

Bills-Steelers playoff game moved to Monday amid forecast for dangerous winter weather

Jan 13, 2024, 11:10 AM | Updated: 11:10 am

The Buffalo Bills logo is displayed opn the field at Highmark Stadium before an NFL football game b...

FILE - The Buffalo Bills logo is displayed opn the field at Highmark Stadium before an NFL football game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Buffalo Bills in Orchard Park, N.Y., Sunday, Oct. 9, 2022. The Bills' wild-card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers that was scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 14, 2024, was moved to Monday amid a forecast for dangerous winter weather, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Saturday. (AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

(AP Photo/Gene J. Puskar, File)

BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — The Buffalo Bills’ wild-card playoff game against the Pittsburgh Steelers that was scheduled for Sunday was moved to Monday amid a forecast for dangerous winter weather, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced Saturday.

Hochul and other officials said they were making the change for safety’s sake. “We want our Bills to win, but we don’t want 60,000 to 70,000 people traveling to the football game in what’s going to be horrible conditions,” Erie County Executive Mark Poloncarz said at a news conference in the Buffalo suburbs.

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 4:30 p.m. Monday instead of 1 p.m. Sunday.

Hochul said she started talking with the NFL on Thursday about the possibility of having to reschedule the game. From her hometown of Buffalo, she closed her news conference by saying, “Go, Bills.”

The NFL and Bills issued a statement citing “public safety concerns” as the reason to push back the game by a day.

The forecast for the Buffalo area called for heavy snow and winds gusting as high as 65 mph (105 kph) Saturday, with 1 to 2 feet or more of snow eventually piling up. The National Weather Service issued a winter storm warning lasting through 7 a.m. Monday, saying that “travel will be very difficult to impossible at times,” with the combination of snow and very strong wind causing near-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.

The Steelers have pushed back their travel plans and will now head to Buffalo on Sunday.

The Bills are familiar with weather-related schedule changes. In 2022, a lake effect storm led to Buffalo’s home game against Cleveland being moved to Detroit in November. A month later, a massive blizzard forced the Bills to delay their trip home, forcing them to stay overnight in Chicago on Christmas Eve.

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

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Bills-Steelers playoff game moved to Monday amid forecast for dangerous winter weather