On a bizarre day when the Philadelphia Eagles were snowed out, they celebrated an NFC East Divisional championship. The NFL moved the Vikings at Eagles game from Sunday night to Tuesday because of a blizzard and driving winds that dumped about a foot of snow on Philadelphia. The game – the first on a Tuesday since 1946 – will be played at 8 p.m. EST. and televised nationally by NBC.
Sidelined by the storm, the Eagles went home and watched the Green Bay Packers beat the New York Giants 45-17 on TV. That gave Philadelphia its first division title since 2006 and sixth title in 12 seasons under Head Coach Andy Reid.
Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter declared a snow emergency as of 2 p.m. EST Sunday.
“We are urging all Philadelphians, please be careful, please be safe,” the mayor told reporters in a news conference at City Hall on Sunday morning. The decision to postpone the game came shortly after noon – before there was any snow accumulation in Philadelphia.
In announcing the postponement, NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said:
“Due to public safety concerns in light of today’s snow emergency in Philadelphia, tonight’s Vikings-Eagles game has been postponed. Because of the uncertainty of the extent of tonight’s storm and its aftermath, the game will be played on Tuesday night at 8 p.m. This will allow sufficient time to ensure that roads, parking lots and the stadium are fully cleared.” The postponement did not sit well with Gov. Ed Rendell, who told KYW-TV he did “not at all” agree with the decision.
“This is football; football’s played in bad weather,” Rendell said. “I think the fans would have gotten there, the subways work and the major arteries are still open, and other fans would have stayed home – but you play football regardless of the weather.” The governor, who does football commentaries after Eagles games, said the decision would be a “serious handicap” for the Eagles and was unfair to the team.
“I, for one, was looking forward to sitting in the stands in the snow and seeing an old-time football game,” Rendell said. “Doesn’t anyone remember the 1948 championship at Connie Mack Stadium?”
Asked what Vince Lombardi would say about the decision, Rendell said “he’d be mocking us.” Eagles Head Coach Andy Reid agreed with the league’s decision.
“We’re OK with it,” Reid said. “We’re organized and prepared for this, and we completely support what the league did from a safety standpoint for everybody. We got the guys out of the hotel and home, and they’ll come back for a walkthrough tomorrow and then to the hotel, and it will be just like a Saturday night before a Sunday game, just a normal schedule.”
The Vikings already have had two home games seriously affected by the weather this season. Their game against the NY Giants on Dec. 12 was postponed one day after Minneapolis got 15 inches of snow. It was then moved to Detroit when the Metrodome roof collapsed. The Vikings game against Chicago the following week was relocated and played at the University of Minnesota outdoor stadium because of the damaged Metrodome roof.
“What else can you say? Just add this to the list for the 2010 season,” Vikings defensive end Jared Allen said. “We have to remain together as a team and keep a positive mind frame. It’s important to be a professional and be ready to play on Tuesday night.”
Minnesota (5-9) is out of playoff contention, but the Eagles (10-4) have plenty at stake, despite clinching their division. Philadelphia needs to win their last two games and hope Chicago loses at the Packers next week to secure a first-round bye.
“We have every reason, because of the season, to say, ‘This is the last straw and I’m checking out,”‘ Vikings interim coach Leslie Frazier said. “This is the NFL and you can’t do that. You have to show up ready to play Tuesday night and that’s what we’re trying to get everybody to understand.”
NBC did broadcast the regular “Football Night in America” from 7 p.m.-8:30 p.m. EST followed by a “Minute to Win It” repeat from 8:30 to 10 p.m. and then a “Law and Order” repeat until 11 p.m. Disappointing for the ratings and the broadcast team. Al Michaels, Bob Costas and Cris Collinsworth remained in a virtually empty stadium overlooking the snow removal crew as they pontificated the merits of rescheduling the game. Perhaps they should have asked Gov. Rendell to join their discussion? 11 inches of snow + 40 MPH winds + 60,000 fans = Hell no.
The Eagles went to their practice facility for workouts and film study and then home. They’ll now have just four days off between the rescheduled Vikings game and Dallas (5-10) next Sunday in a game that could determine whether they get a week off. The NFL has announced that the Eagles-Cowboys game originally scheduled for 1 PM has been rescheduled for 4:15 PM.
“I don’t think it’s a problem,” Reid said. “I think we’ll be all right. We’ve had Monday games, Sunday night games, we had a Thursday game, so we’ve been through a lot of this already, which will help us. We’ll be fine.” Many players wished the game wasn’t moved. They made their feelings known via Twitter. The game originally was supposed to be played at 1 p.m., but was switched because of the flex scheduling for the Sunday Night Football broadcast.
There won’t be any conflicts with the Flyers or 76ers as both teams are on the road. However, a Disney on Ice show Tuesday night at the Wells Fargo Center was canceled.
HISTORY LESSON: For the younger fans and those not familiar with NFL history…
The NFL Championship game was played at Philadelphia‘s Shibe Park (later renamed Connie Mack Stadium) on December 19, 1948 during a blizzard. Thinking the game wouldn’t be played in the blizzard, Steve Van Buren remained home until Eagles coach Earle “Greasy” Neale called him and told him the game was still on. He had to catch 3 trolleys and walk 12 blocks in order to make the game on time. Van Buren made the game on time, mass transit was working and fans attended the game.
The attendance for the game was 36,309 and both teams played a scoreless game until early in the fourth quarter. The Eagles recovered a fumble that set up Steve Van Buren’s five yard touchdown at 1:05 into the fourth quarter. This game turned out be the Cardinals’ last appearance in any NFL Championship game in the 20th Century. The Eagles returned in 1960 against the Green Bay Packers.
What’s Next For Eagles? Playoffs? Favre?
About the Author
Written by Christopher Rowe
Contributing writer Comcast Sports, NY Times contributing stringer 1996-2000, Contributing writer Yahoo Sports (2001 World Series). Contributing writer Newsday Long Island (1992-1994, Jets Training Camp) and Newak Star Ledger. Freelance Copywriter, Editor/Founder Atlantic Times Weekly (1993-2003) fantasy football magazine, produced screenwriter and general humorist. Hofstra University grad, Marist College honorary alum, Salesian; Purveyor of the Value and Valor of Philadelphia Eagles 1960 NFL Championship; Adrent believer that Eagles could have won Super Bowl XV...and Super Bowl XXXIX...plus modern decade of Eagles 5 NFC Championships... Believer in the Broad Street Bullies and the 1983 Sixers... Witness to Philadelphia Phillies World Series championships 1980 & 2008, Suffered Phillies first pro sports team to reach 10,000 losses,witnessed "1980 Cardiac Kids," 1983 "Wheeze Kids," 1993 "Macho Row" and many, many, many not-so-memorable seasons in-between... until the Philadelphia Baseball Renaissance of 21st Century, Five NL East division titles 2007-2011, 3 NLCS appearances 2008-2010, 2 consecutive World Series berths 2008 & 2009. 2008 World Champions of baseball [miss ya Harry and Richie]; "collector" of MLB ballparks (42 stadiums including 15 which are gone); Fantasy Football & Baseball player since 1992. Always a sports fan... Tenui Nec Dimittam Contact me firstname.lastname@example.org