CHEEKTOWAGA, N.Y. — The AFC Wild Card playoff game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and Buffalo Bills will be played on Monday afternoon and will not be pushed back again, New York governor Kathy Hochul said in a press conference on Sunday.
The Steelers and Bills had originally been scheduled to play at 1 p.m. on Sunday at Highmark Stadium in Orchard Park, New York. A significant lake effect snowstorm foiled that plan by dumping two feet of snow on Orchard Park and the other towns to the south of Buffalo from Saturday night into Sunday.
Hochul announced on Saturday that they game would be pushed back to Monday afternoon, declaring a state of emergency and implementing a travel ban for Erie County. That ban remains in effect on Sunday, meaning that the Bills players and coaches and staff to help clear Highmark Stadium of snow were unable to drive into the facility on Sunday, leaving some to speculate that the game could be pushed back even further.
Hochul said that will not be the case.
“No, the game will not be pushed back again,” Hochul said. “I’ve spoken to the commissioner of the NFL several times today. I’ve spoken to the owner of the Buffalo Bills about their preparations. There are volunteers who have walked to the stadium who are helping clean it out. I would think by daylight hours tomorrow, it’ll be safe for people to drive there and bring there shovels. We have up until the fans start coming into the stadium late in the afternoon. If it was a morning game, it would be a little tougher.”
I’m in Cheektowaga updating New Yorkers on the extreme weather impacting New York. Watch live: https://t.co/MTEtrEOoSs
— Governor Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) January 14, 2024
Hochul did lift the travel ban in some communities north of Buffalo beginning at 3:30 p.m. A travel ban remains in place in Buffalo proper and communities directly to the south, including Orchard Park.
Weather conditions for Monday are still expected to be bitter cold, with single-digit wind chills, but without the threat of multiple inches per hour lake-effect snow.
“I’m not saying it’s going to be pleasant, but the conditions won’t be life threatening,” Hochul said.