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Wimps and Wusses


"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!

Snow Removal in Philadelphia
Heavy snow forced the postponement of the PHI/MIN game until Tuesday.
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 uncomfortable.

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 Spartacus.

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 promises.

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 instruments.

PA Governor Ed Rendell
Governor Ed Rendell called the nation a "bunch of wusses" after whining about the heavy snow in Philadelphia.
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 clause!"

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 Philadelphia.

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 the past

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 safety hazard.

If the public has to stay home, they stay home. It comes with being a fan. Will this happen again?

You gotta be kidding!!