Monday, December 27, 2010

Tuesday Night Football - The Politics of Snow Removal

"Vince Lombardi would be spinning in his grave", said Pennsylvania Governor Edward Rendell, in an on-air rant about the NFL's decision to postpone the Vikings/Eagles game, scheduled for Sunday night, to Tuesday. Rendell and Fox-29's John Bolaris even went at it about the actual number of inches of snow (paging Dr. Freud) that actually fell on and around Lincoln Financial Field, the home of the Eagles.

Here in the Mid-Atlantic states, a major snowstorm is almost always a no-win situation for local government and their limited resources. Places like Buffalo experience storms like this on a regular basis and are able to justify ample snow-removal capabilities in their budgets. In places like the Philadelphia area, it is impossible to predict, on a winter-by-winter basis, what the snow removal needs will be, so they do their best when budgeting for snow emergencies.

On Sunday morning, after careful review of all the meteorology available to him, Mayor Michael Nutter urged the NFL to postpone the game. NFL diehards immediately cried "wimp!", but the Mayor's decision, in this writer's opinion, has merit. Imagine the outcry if the full force of Philly's snow removal efforts was focused on getting ready for a football game, while the neighborhoods were neglected, snowed in, and residents were unable to get out of their homes.

It would not only have been necessary to clear all the snow from the parking lots and surrounding roads, but every flake would have had to be removed from the inside of the stadium. Did we really need another spectacle of snowball-throwing Eagles fans on national TV?

Here in New Jersey, such a decision did not need to be made, as the Jets and Giants were both away on Sunday. NJ State Senate President and acting NJ Governor Stephen Sweeney, who is currently holding the position after the Governor and Lt Governor both got out of  Dodge for simultaneous vacations, called a state of emergency in NJ due to the blizzard.

Back to the Eagles - Interesting that they are scheduled to play the Vikings, a team from a city well-prepared to deal with snow emergencies, except when the roof collapses on their domed stadium. The Birds managed to clinch the NFC East title anyway, thanks to the Giants' horrific loss to Green Bay Sunday. 

And so, after more than a bit of griping, Eagles fans will head to the Linc or tune in to NBC-TV Tuesday night to enjoy the game, with visions of an NFC Conference title once again dancing in their heads. And life will go on.

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