Decision to ground Eagles slammed, explained

Some Philadelphia fans are still fuming about the NFL’s decision to postpone the Eagles-Vikings game scheduled for Sunday night.

League officials say they were responding to concerns voiced by the Eagles.

The phones lit up this morning on sports talk station WIP with callers like Wally, who remembers when football was played by real men:

Caller Wally: We played in a snowstorm with Steve Van Buren and Boss Pritchard, for the championship, before the Super Bowl, and it was snowing all day that day.

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Host Anthony Gargano: Yeah, but you didn’t have the traffic then.

Wally:  Ah, like the other guy said, they’re a bunch a chickens. It’s a city of chickens.

The caller referred to the 1948 NFL championship game, played at Shibe Park, and won by the Eagles 7-0.

More coverage:

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Report a snow problem to City Howl
Photo Gallery
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Eagles-Vikes game postponed; travel plans snarled
Six-word Snowcast: Sum up the storm


But NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said the Eagles were worried that the timing of the storm would put fans in danger.  He also said that Mayor Nutter and city officials did not play a role in the NFL’s decision.

“There was real concern that fans would have their cars in the parking lot for four, five, six hours and come out and be stranded in the middle of what was essentially a blizzard,” he said.

Rendell also criticized the decision.

“It underestimates the intelligence of the fans,” he said. “If fans were concerned about their safety, they would have stayed home and watched the game on televison. But there were many of us, myself included, who were looking forward to the experience of a lifetime to see a pro football game played in that type of weather.”

Eagles president Joe Banner says a number of fans have called to thank the Eagles for postponing the game.  He said the concern was not so much about what happened during the game, but afterwards:

“We would have had people in the building, literally at 11 or 12 o’clock at night, either stranded or waiting for very extended period of times in below zero wind chill factors with nowhere to go and no place to stay warm.’

SEPTA says the Broad Street subway was running last night, but there major delays on many of its other routes.

Aiello said while weather postponements in the NFL are rare, they are not unheard of. 

“We’ve had games postponed and kickoff times moved for weather reasons many times,” he said, “whether it’s been wildfires, earthquakes, hurricanes, Katrina, 911- which wasn’t weather of course – but there are situations where we have to adjust.”

Aiello says the decision to move the game to Tuesday, not tonight, was based primarily on concerns about traveling conditions today, and not about the Eagles-Viking telecast competing with the regular Monday Night Football game (Falcons vs. Saints) on ESPN.


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