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December 27 Philadelphia Daily News columnist John Smallwood:
“WE SHOULD NOT have been surprised.
In an improbable season, this was just the latest unlikely development.
The Eagles‘ game with the Minnesota Vikings last night was postponed until tomorrow, with the announcement coming nearly 8 hours before the scheduled kickoff and before yesterday’s pending blizzard had actually began to blizz.
“Due to public safety concerns in light of today’s snow emergency in Philadelphia, tonight’s Vikings–Eagles game has been postponed,” NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. “Because of the uncertainty of the extent of tonight’s storm and its aftermath, the game will be played on Tuesday night.”
Hey, why not cancel a game because of snow before the first flake had fallen? It was apropos for this Eagles year.
The one thing we’ve learned in this bizarre, whacked-out season for the Birds is the only thing to expect is the unexpected.
The game in which the Eagles had a chance to clinch the NFC East title against a depleted Vikings team that likely would have been quarterbacked by some rookie named Joe Webb gets postponed because Mayor Nutter had visions of last year’s actual blizzard dancing in his head and declared a snow emergency starting at 2 p.m yesterday.
Apparently that frightened the NFL – which has routinely let games in Green Bay, Chicago, New England, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, New York, Minneapolis, Cleveland, and yes, even Philadelphia be played with snow covering the field and 5-foot snow piles in the corners of the end zones – into postponing a game for 2 days because of a forecast.
As one of the 67,000 slugs who would have had to slog home through the snow, slush and ice after midnight, I should be thankful to the mayor and the NFL for thinking of our safety.
But as I made a U-turn to drive back home, I couldn’t help but think: This is football. This is winter in Philadelphia, and Philadelphia is in the Northeast. Do you really cancel a game because of snow?
It’s not as if the city and the surrounding areas don’t have any experience in dealing with heavy snow conditions.
They do it almost every year.
December 27 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Rich Hofmann:
“COULD THEY have played?
Was the postponement wrong?
Let us begin there.
Faced with the prediction of a blizzard, the National Football League postponed a football game last night between the Eagles and the Vikings. They will now play tomorrow.
Yes, Tuesday. Based upon the reaction of some people, you would have thought we all had just witnessed the commission of some kind of high-level sacrilege.
But this is not religion, despite all appearances to the contrary. This is a commercial enterprise that opens its doors to 70,000 customers. Probably two-thirds of those 70,000, and likely more, would have had no way to get there and to get home other than in their cars. Check the regional rail schedules, especially for the last train at night, if you have any questions about that.
Given that reality, and given the need to make the call before people began to make their trek, the decision was entirely reasonable – and that’s true even if there were only a few inches on the ground at the scheduled kickoff time.
And this I can guarantee: A majority of the people complaining about the postponement are the same people who complained when Major League Baseball decided to stop (but not when it decided to start) Game 5 of the 2008 World Series at Citizens Bank Park.
Because, you know, everybody’s an idiot.
Anyway, the last time the NFL played a Tuesday game, it was 1946. It was a simpler time. There was no Doppler, no Jim Cantore. The reason then was rain; talk about wimps.”
December 27 Philadelphia Daily News columnist Will Bunch:
“THERE IS NOTHING more magical than football in the snow.
If you grew up anywhere in the wintry half of this country, you probably have fond memories of hiking up your snow pants and sloshing around with your buddies and your Pete Rozelle-signed football in the backyard drifts – and the only thing that comes a close second to playing football in the snow is watching a classic NFL matchup in a furious downpour of the white stuff.
In 1948, the Eagles won an NFL championship at Shibe Park in a raging blizzard, a game that was never forgotten by the 36,309 die-hards who didn’t think twice about braving those conditions to watch history in the making. Then there was the “Snow-Plow” game in New England and the Pats’ memorable playoff victory over Oakland in a snowstorm years later, and the frigid 1967 Ice Bowl in Green Bay. To paraphrase Frank Capra this Christmas season, for a true football fan it would not have been as wonderful a life had those remarkable games never been born.
That’s why the decision by the NFL and the Eagles, with input from the city of Philadelphia, to postpone last night’s game because of a snowstorm that isn’t really all that (we might get 11 inches in the city – not exactly Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer territory, not even close) is more than downright disappointing.
This is the height of wimpiness, and the girly-men who made this sad decision should be ashamed of themselves. The NFL has been rightfully called the No Fun League for a number of years, but this takes that to a whole embarrassing new level. In fact, let’s name names here: NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell, Eagles‘ owner Jeff Lurie and president Joe Banner, and Mayor Nutter – you are the Wimps Who Stole Christmas from football fans in Philadelphia.
Honestly, it never even occurred to me that postponing the game (until tomorrow – a decision that also hurts the Eagles‘ chances of getting a coveted bye in the first round of the playoffs, but we won’t go there, not now) was something they’d consider. Around noon yesterday, I got an e-mail from a Daily News colleague (I’m the night city editor on Sundays – by the way, it took me the same amount of time to drive to Center City from Delaware County as it does on a sunny 70-degree afternoon, possibly less) about production plans for putting out the paper, including if the Eagles‘ game were canceled. I laughed when I read that. Hah! Doesn’t she know, I thought, that unless there’s a roof collapse or Hurricane Katrina they don’t cancel NFL games? Period.
December 27 Philadelphia Inquirer columnist Phil Sheridan:
“The Eagles, who once won the National Football League championship while playing in a blizzard, last night won a division championship while not playing because of a blizzard.
They went from Snow Bowl to No Bowl when the NFL announced that their scheduled Sunday night game against the Minnesota Vikings would be postponed until Tuesday night.
With the tundra at Lincoln Financial Field too frozen for football, the eyes of Eagles fans turned to the original Frozen Tundra of Lambeau Field, where the Green Bay Packers hosted the New York Giants.
When the Packers defeated New York, 45-17, the Eagles officially clinched their first NFC East title since 2006. When they take the field Tuesday evening for their postponed date with the Vikings, the Eagles will be division champions with a home playoff game penciled onto their brand-new 2011 calendar. But they still have much to play for: If they can win two games in five days – they host Dallas Sunday afternoon – and the Chicago Bears lose their season finale in Green Bay, the Eagles will earn a first-round bye.
All of that is business as usual at this time of year in the NFL. The way Sunday unfolded, however, was remarkably unusual.
The elements have always played quirky roles in football history. One of the most memorable games of all time, the 1967 NFL championship between the Packers and Cowboys, was dubbed the Ice Bowl – and not because of the contents of the tailgaters’ coolers. And then there was the 1948 title game between the Eagles and Chicago Cardinals at Shibe Park. Steve Van Buren’s 5-yard touchdown run was the only score on a snowy afternoon.
Some 36,309 braved a blizzard to attend that game. Nearly 70,000 held tickets for Sunday night’s game. After Mayor Nutter declared a snow emergency, the Eagles and the NFL decided the forecast was too dire and announced the postponement early in the afternoon.
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