The NFL will eventually hold conference championship games at neutral sites. They nearly got to test it out this week, but the Cincinnati Bengals ruined those plans out of spite. A few hours before the Bengals beat the Bills, Sports Illustrated's Albert Breer published a story about how neutral sites are probably the future because - why else? - money.
Everyone hates this. Everyone. No one wants neutral site conference championship games. Not the teams. Not the players. Not the fans. Not the media. No one. Because literally the only people this benefits work for the NFL. It even takes money out of the pockets of owners who would lose a hard-earned home game and all the revenue that comes with it.
To summarize Breer's column, the NFL would probably sell naming rights, get bids from cities under the guise of evaluating Super Bowl sites, and keep all the ticket and suite money.
While I'm not here to cry over individual NFL owners losing any amount of money (tax them to death, please!), the other parts are are hilarious. The fan environments will be horrible - just like the Super Bowl. Plus calling them the Pets Dot Com AFC Championship and FTX NFC Championship will just look silly.
Then there's the idea that the NFL needs to scout Super Bowl sites in the 21st Century. Come on now. The NFL has had the same 32 franchises for nearly 30 years. There are like 30 stadiums and they each host at least eight games a year. SoFi Stadium, where the Chargers and Rams play, hosted 20 games during the 2021 NFL season, including the Super Bowl. About half the current stadiums have already hosted a Super Bowl. What fact-finiding mission do they need to go on to figure out if they want to visit Buffalo or Baltimore in February? If they build a new stadium the league will consider it.
Of course, the worst part is taking away home-field advantage in the championship games. It's a great environment to watch on television. The exact opposite of a Super Bowl. Teams play all year for home field advantage and with neutral site conference championship games the team with the bye hosts one game and then they're packing their bags.
Not to mention the fans. What if a fan does want to go see their favorite team in the conference championship? The game ends on Sunday and they need to make travel plans in another city for the end of the week.
It's just a hideous idea in every single way and it seems inevitable that the NFL eventually tries it because they are greedy and awful, but boy do we love football.