"You Gotta Be Kidding!"
by Mickey Charles, CEO Sports Network
That is what we witnessed this past weekend in the City of Brotherly Love,
Philadelphia. There was so much love being tossed about that everyone was
concerned a few snowflakes might spoil their individuality and basic humanity.
There was a football game slated to be played there, an NFL one, where men who
bench press Volkswagens for exercise, work themselves into a lather before
every game and have braved elements that would force others to provide CIA
secret documents to the New York Times to get relief decided to sit by the
fire because of some snow.
You have to be kidding!
This is a game intended to be played in any sort of weather, lightning strikes
aside. The fans in this town are frenzied, fanatic and obsessed. They are a
wild and uncontrolled lot. They don't attend games, they attack them. What
took place with the postponement is indefensible, inexcusable and lays the
groundwork for other teams, in the future, calling games and speaking of
impending snow, sleet, rain, heat or whatever might make the players and fans
snow forced the postponement of the PHI/MIN game until Tuesday.
This announcement was made before any serious flakes had touched the ground.
As a matter of fact, the only "flakes" out there were those gathering
together, placing calls, sending e-mails and contributing to this outrage. The
fans who disagreed tried to forgive once last night?s parody was underway but
the loyal turned to vindictive, as is the usual case in Philadelphia, soon
enough. Their intended exoneration and acquittal had them wondering why the
game was postponed since they might have won in the snow after all.
They could have had plows on the field long before the game started and kept
it clean by plowing every hour or so, determined by the degree of snowfall.
How tough a decision would that have been? Oh, the fans could not drive down.
Spare me. They would walk. These fans would go through fire for their Eagles,
walk on hot coals and swim icy rivers naked to get there. These are the same
folks who paint their faces and bodies, then remove shirts and let the beers
they have consumed insulate them from anything and everything. These are the
same folks who pelted Santa Claus with snowballs at a game years ago, who
cheered when a player from the opposition was carried off on a stretcher.
These are the descendants of those who filled the coliseum to cheer on
You want a tailgate party? That is why you have a driveway, a garage. Have it
there before the game starts. Trouble getting to the stadium and will miss the
atmosphere? Open the windows at home, let some snow in, strip down to your
waist, or further, and discover your giant flat screen in high definition.
Really want to be there? Walk if within distance. Take a train if any are
running. NFL games are not postponed for weather. Unheard of. That is why they
get the big bucks ... to brave the elements. You realize, of course that the
mail carrier promises to do more than these guys ... and delivers on his
The Governor of Pennsylvania, Ed Rendell, a true sports fan in his own right,
was correct when he said we have become "a nation of wusses" -- that other
populations, like those in China, would have formed a parade and marched to
the game. Heck, you can wager that the Mummers would have made it if they were
supposed to entertain before or during the game ... with outfits and
Think of it this way: What might the Vikings have said if they had a team of
the past, the Eagles were what they have been in the past and this game was
made for Minnesota, given the weather? I doubt it would have been the
Philadelphia approach of "What, snow? Does my contract say I have to play in
the snow? I do that with my kids, not when I play. Let me see that weather
Governor Ed Rendell called the nation a "bunch of wusses" after whining about
the heavy snow in Philadelphia.
It was done for the fans; they could not make it to the game, to see their
beloved heroes. We must protect the fans at all costs, those who paid for the
tickets. Spare me! You purchased the ticket and this is one of the hazards
that comes with that ... bigger and worse than most hazards, but it goes with
being a fan. If it is a torrential downpour and you can drive to the game, do
you go and sit with rain gear and umbrella shivering your you-know-what off?
Maybe yes, maybe no. It's an easier decision, but a decision nonetheless. If
going with your young son, easier to decide. Into the den and relax.
By the way, the prediction for this week?s contest against Dallas is for rain.
Big decision coming up.
Sorry, but this is not a fan situation, with a pity-the-poor-fan attitude. The
same fan who pays for overpriced tickets, food, parking, programs and
paraphernalia. The same fan who gets dumped on from every position possible by
the league and teams but, suddenly, receives an outpouring of sympathy and
concern. Get serious. It was not the weather and the fans' inability to get
there. It was the revenue lost from sales of anything and everything at the
game. It was the potential of a grand gesture by the team to play and give
credit for one game next season to season ticket holders and refunds to
others. The multi-billion dollar NFL could have afforded that as quickly as it
takes a breath.
The game on Sunday never should have been postponed and hiding behind the
facade of doing it for the fans was utter nonsense. Wusses and wimps, for all
concerned, is a deserved description. For the fans who agreed with it, join
the club and wear the label proudly if you can muster the courage to do so.
Big girls don't cry but, apparently, big boys do and many of them live in
It boils down to two points of view: 1) Whether it was smart to cancel the
game due to public safety; or 2) Football is a game that can and should be
played under extremely inclement weather conditions, as has been the case in
No one talked about postponing the Ice Bowl or the 1981 AFC title game, which
featured the Chargers and Cris Collinsworth's Bengals playing in Arctic wind
chills. If the fans wanted to show up, they would have showed up. If they
wanted to stay home, they would have stayed home. Buying a ticket to a
football game includes the inherent risk of bad weather. The game ultimately
is played, in all conditions except those entailing the random presence of
periodic 54,000-degree bolts of electricity.
The bigger question is whether the NFL will make a similar decision under
similar circumstances in the future, or whether a higher bar will be utilized
before taking the drastic step of postponing a game. The league has screwed up
and it is not the first time, nor will it be the last.
The biggest problem right now is this: The criticism of the decision will
persuade the NFL not to postpone a game the next time it appears, based on the
forecast, that postponement should occur, setting the stage for a true public
If the public has to stay home, they stay home. It comes with being a fan.
Will this happen again?
You gotta be kidding!!