The postponement of an NFL game, a lunar-eclipse-rare moment that has occurred but seven times in the league’s history, is not something to be taken lightly. So it should be no surprise that the decision to postpone Sunday night’s game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings stirred up a good bit of backlash.
The game was called off in the late afternoon hours Sunday. By game time, less than five inches of the white stuff was yet on the ground in the Philadelphia metro area, though the concern was the transportation of 70,000 spectators and over 300 workers home in the wee hours of the morning.
Overnight, the snowfall increased to around a foot, coupled with sustained winds and gusts up to 45 miles an hour, producing blizzard conditions.
Nonetheless, the first objector was Visanthe Shiancoe, the Vikings tight end who experienced Northeast winters when he was a New York Giant. Perhaps with his nerves a bit frayed after the Vikes’ second postponed game in three weeks, or simply with the tolerance of a region that measures major storms by the foot, not the inch, Shiancoe let loose on the decision in a conference call:
You know what, the roads are bad for East Coast standards. But if this was in the Midwest, there would be no way that this would be delayed. No way. No way. It’s kind of weird to me that the game has been canceled. It’s something that baffles me. But I’m not here to make decisions on when games are played. But I just want to share my opinion.
I’ve never seen a game canceled because of snow. I do understand fan safety. But we had a game in Minnesota. It wasn’t canceled because of fan safety and it was way more snow than this.
Others were more demure on the matter, with defensive end Jared Allen saying, “What else can you say? Just add this to the list for the 2010 season,” and running back Adrian Peterson relishing the extra days to heal.
The Eagles’ reactions were hardly as inflammatory, with running back LeSean McCoy tweeting, “This sucks man,” though clinching a division title without having to lace up your cleats will tend to dampen anger.
Also in discord with the Eagles’ decision was outgoing Pennsylvania governor and former Philadelphia mayor Ed Rendell. Rendell was irate at the decision to postpone the game, even getting into a heated verbal exchange via teleconference with WTXF-Fox 29’s chief meteorologist John Bolaris and remarking that the decision would cause “Vince Lombardi [to] be spinning in his grave.”
Putting the icing (no pun intended) on the cake was the ever-creative editorial team at the Philadelphia Daily News, who lambasted the decision by team owner Jeffrey Lurie, team president Joe Banner, current Philly Mayor Michael Nutter, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell. All four are labeled as wimps at the bottom of the page, beneath the headline “Say It Ain’t Snow.” The reference to Rich Hofmann’s even-handed and sensible column to the contrary didn’t seem to hamper the enthusiasm.
As a resident of the Philly suburbs, and someone who endured Philadelphia’s delayed and frantic responses to last winter’s record-setting storms, Nutter and company were right on the money to postpone. As Deadspin has shown with these pictures, things got nasty quickly. Now just imagine life for stadium workers whose narrow streets in South Philly won’t be touched by plows or passable by anything larger than a dogsled for a week (there’s no hyperbole there, it really happens!)
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