NFL: Kansas City Chiefs at Pittsburgh Steelers
Jason Bridge-USA TODAY Sports

Steelers-Chiefs playoff time change is an NFL first

This will be the first time a playoff game has changed time, but it changed location once, per the NFL.

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By now everyone knows our Sunday playoff plans have gone from an afternoon soiree to an evening affair, as the Steelers-Chiefs game moved from 1:05 p.m. ET to 8:20 p.m. ET.

The NFL released a statement on the decision, which was due to an ice storm hitting the greater Kansas City area this weekend.

Due to public safety concerns in light of the forecasted storm this weekend in the Kansas City area, Sunday’s Steelers-Chiefs Divisional Playoff game on NBC has been moved to 8:20 p.m. ET.

 

Moving the game from the original 1:05 p.m. ET start time will provide local authorities more time to clear roads in the area as the weather is expected to improve throughout Sunday.

 

The decision to make this time change was made in consultation with state and local officials as well as the Chiefs and the Steelers.

This is unprecedented.

The NFL has never had to move a playoff game due to weather issues.

Not the Ice Bowl.

Not the Fog Bowl.

Not anything.

We reached out to the NFL to verify that this will be the first time the league has changed a game time for weather in the playoffs and, per NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy, it is.

McCarthy said the league office is double-checking with the Pro Football Hall of Fame to make sure, but per their records, no playoff game has changed before in the history of the league, officially dating back to 1932.

McCarthy did, however, share with us the story of the first ever playoff game, which was moved in location, not time. In 1932, the first NFL playoff game became an indoor affair.

In 1932, the first playoff game was played indoors at Chicago Stadium due to poor weather. The Bears won the league championship by beating the Portsmouth Spartans, 9-0.

 

A blizzard with deep snow and sub-zero wind chill blew into Chicago and made it impossible to play the game at Wrigley Field. So, the game was moved indoors to Chicago Stadium and played on a modified field — only 80 yards long and 30 feet narrower. The end zones were not regulation size and the sidelines butted up against the stands.

 

The game, witnessed by 11,198 fans, included a number of modifications to the playing rules to accommodate the cramped playing surface. As a result, the game became an earmark for a new era in pro football. Several rule changes were instituted the following season.

After that season, goal posts were moved up to the goal line and hash marks were used to spot the ball on every down. And, following the game, the use of the forward pass was legal anywhere behind the line of scrimmage.

In addition, since that was the first time a championship game was needed in the NFL, rules were written to create two divisions, with a championship game between the winners of each taking place every year.

The first official NFL Championship began the next year, in 1933.

Something tells us there won’t be that many rules changes after this game. Still, an 80-yard field would be fun.