Sunday Night Football has become Tuesday Night Football, with the Norwegian Nomads facing the Eagles in Philly in prime time on NBC. And as the game approaches, the debate continues regarding whether the right decision was made.
On Monday, Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell continued to attack the decision to postpone the game from Sunday, a decision ostensibly made in the interests of public safety — not player safety.
“We’ve become a nation of wusses,” Rendell told Mike Missanelli of 97.5 The Fanatic on Monday. “The Chinese are kicking our butt in everything. If this was in China do you think the Chinese would have called off the game? People would have been marching down to the stadium, they would have walked and they would have been doing calculus on the way down.”
The term that first rose to prominence in the late 1970s or early 1980s as a mash-up of “wimp” and “puss” became the buzz word for Rendell’s remarks.
“My biggest beef is that this is part of what’s happened in this country,” Rendell said. “I think we’ve become wussies. . . .
“What do you think Lombardi would say? He would say that we’ve become a nation of wusses.”
Rendell’s broader point? The question of whether people wanted to risk venturing into the elements should have been deferred to the people, a decidedly small-government approach that potentially could have resulted in a big-government effort to rescue and/or heal folks who guessed wrong about whether they could tolerate the weather.
Judd Zulgad of the Minneapolis Star-Tribune has provided a more reasoned view of the situation, pointing out that hockey games were played on Long Island and in New Jersey on Sunday, even though the New York/New Jersey took the brunt of the blizzard. Zulgad continued a theme that Cris Collinsworth of NBC articulated during Sunday night’s Football Night in America, the first-ever prime-time pregame sans game. The decision, as Collinsworth explained, sets a precedent. Moving forward, the question is whether and to what extent the precedent will be honored.
Our concern is that criticism from folks like Rendell will resonate with the league, and that the next time a blizzard is bearing down on a pro football game the powers-that-be will err on the side of playing, which then will lead to a serious public-safety mishap that will result in even greater criticism of the league.
Though the storm that hit New York was much worse than the storm that struck Philly, the conditions I experienced while walking a handful of blocks from 30 Rock to the hotel on Sunday night were unlike anything I ever had experienced. So I can understand why the NFL opted to pull the plug. Given the rarity of such winter storms, hopefully the league won’t be faced with the prospect of another direct blast from a blizzard for years if not decades.
Finally, we’ve detected a vague sense in the media that the delay has actually hurt the home team. Baloney. Bad weather closes talent gaps, and the Eagles have two of the most talented and electric players in the league. Though the delay complicates Philly’s preparations for Week 17 against the Cowboys, it will now be easier for the Eagles to win the last game of Week 16.
Either way, the last game of Week 16 will be played tonight. And the Eagles need to win the game in order to maintain their chances at scoring a postseason bye week.