Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Inquirer Daily News

Rich Hofmann: Eagles-Vikings to play NFL's first Tuesday game in 64 years

Lincoln Financial Field was covered in snow throughout the day and night yesterday. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)
Lincoln Financial Field was covered in snow throughout the day and night yesterday. (Yong Kim/Staff Photographer)

COULD THEY have played?

Yes.

Was the postponement wrong?

No.

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  • Let us begin there.

    Faced with the prediction of a blizzard, the National Football League postponed a football game last night between the Eagles and the Vikings. They will now play tomorrow.

    Yes, Tuesday. Based upon the reaction of some people, you would have thought we all had just witnessed the commission of some kind of high-level sacrilege.

    But this is not religion, despite all appearances to the contrary. This is a commercial enterprise that opens its doors to 70,000 customers. Probably two-thirds of those 70,000, and likely more, would have had no way to get there and to get home other than in their cars. Check the regional rail schedules, especially for the last train at night, if you have any questions about that.

    Given that reality, and given the need to make the call before people began to make their trek, the decision was entirely reasonable - and that's true even if there were only a few inches on the ground at the scheduled kickoff time.

    And this I can guarantee: A majority of the people complaining about the postponement are the same people who complained when Major League Baseball decided to stop (but not when it decided to start) Game 5 of the 2008 World Series at Citizens Bank Park.

    Because, you know, everybody's an idiot.

    Anyway, the last time the NFL played a Tuesday game, it was 1946. It was a simpler time. There was no Doppler, no Jim Cantore. The reason then was rain; talk about wimps.

    From the New York Times:

    BOSTON, Sept. 30 - A deluge of rain that drenched downtown Boston throughout the morning today brought about the postponement of the Boston Yanks' opening league game of the season with the New York Football Giants, scheduled for Braves Field tonight . . .

    Announcement of the postponement came at the first weekly meeting of the Boston Yanks Marching and Chowder Club, held at the Parker House at noon today . . .

    Back in 1946, there was weather and there were unspoken commercial concerns - undoubtedly the fear was that the rain would hurt the live gate - and there was a postponement until Tuesday. Sixty-four years later, there also is weather and there also are unspoken commercial concerns - that is, the notion that ESPN was kind of screwed 2 weeks ago when the Giants-Vikings game was moved opposite "Monday Night Football" after the roof collapsed in Minneapolis, and that maybe, just maybe, they didn't want to screw ESPN again by putting another big-market/big-ratings game up against "MNF."

    Again, that is unspoken. The official explanation concerned the uncertainty about when the snow will stop and blah, blah, blah. But it's really about giving NBC and ESPN their exclusive windows - and the teams will just have to adjust (the Vikings to room service and the Eagles to the idea of needing two wins in 6 days to have any chance at a first-round playoff bye).

    It is possible to argue that the blizzard would have equalized two unequal teams and therefore hurt the Eagles. It is also possible to argue that the 2-day delay will bring Brett Favre into the equation and hurt the Eagles. It is just that, though: an argument, just like the postponement decision.

    If you want to say that Vince Lombardi is turning over in his grave, knock yourself out. And if you want to say that Philadelphia is a panicky place when it snows, you wouldn't be wrong. And if you want to say that watching a football game in a blizzard - on television - would have been spectacular, it very well might have been.

    And if you want to kill the NFL, go right ahead. Because, you know, everybody's a chowderhead (even if they aren't a member of the Marching and Chowder Club).

    But it was a tough call, and it was not an unreasonable decision given the forecast and the potential for people stranded in the parking lots after the game. And now, denied a wintry spectacle, the Eagles will have to settle for history instead:

    Tuesday Night Football. Imagine.

    Send e-mail to

    hofmanr@phillynews.com,

    or read his blog, The Idle Rich, at

    http://go.philly.com/theidlerich.

    For recent columns go to

    http://go.philly.com/hofmann.

     

    Rich Hofmann Daily News Sports Columnist
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