Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell Says "We've Become a Nation of Wusses." No Doubt.
OK, lemme see if I understand what happened in Philadelphia over the last couple days.
Mayor Michael Nutter declares a state of emergency Sunday at 2 p.m. and tells everyone to stay off the road. Philadelphia International Airport eventually reports 12.4 inches of snowfall.
The NFL responds by moving Sunday night's Eagles-Vikings match-up to tonight -- the first game on a Tuesday in 64 years (Presumably because primetime Monday was booked with the New Orleans Saints playing the Atlanta Falcons).
Ed Rendell -- the former district attorney and mayor of Philadelphia and noted Eagles fan -- appears on a local Fox affiliate around 10:20 p.m. Eastern time to address the weather conditions. Rendell's wrapping up his second and final term (term limits) as Pennsylvania's governor, most recently defeating former Pittsburgh Steelers wideout Lynn Swan in 2006.
Rendell says most of the state has "dodged a bullet" and stresses that there haven't been roadway incidents. It appears as though the station looses its connection with Rendell's cell phone, but thankfully he's still on the line when asked to address the cancellation of the Eagles game.
"I think it's a joke," he says.
Rendell argues with Fox 29 chief meteorologist John Bolaris about the Philly's reported snowfall before continuing his rant about the decision.
"I think the fans can make their own judgments about their safety," he says, calling football a "cold-weather sport" that should only be canceled by a blizzard.
"This is football. Good lord, Vince Lombardi would be spinning in his grave that we canceled the football game for the snow."
He wakes up yesterday morning and decides to chat with 97.5 FM.
The governor deflects whether his concerned stemmed from the Eagles having just four days in between their match-up against the Vikings and this Sunday's game against the Dallas Cowboys. He also says the NFL's decision not to play the game yesterday was based on "M-O-N-E-Y," and if it was really concerned about safety, the NFL would ban the sale of alcohol.
"We've become a nation of wusses," he says.
"If this was in China, do you think the Chinese would have called off the game?" Rendell adds. "The people would have been marching down to the stadium. They would have walked and they would have been doing calculus on their way down."
Dang. He had me until then. I'm not sure where the calculus comment ranks on the racial stereotyping scale, but I'm staying far away from that one. And just when he gets on a roll arguing in favor of free will, Rendell decides to compare the U.S. to a freggin' Communist country? Yikes.
But his overall argument is compelling. Football is, in fact, a cold-weather sport meant to be played in the snow. No NFL game has ever been postponed to another date because of weather. And despite the mayor's decision to declare a state of emergency, shouldn't folks be able to decide for themselves whether they can make it to the game or not?
Although I doubt it will change the outcome in Sunday's game, which has been moved from noon to 3:15 p.m., it's nice to have the advantage of playing the Eagles on short rest. But, more than that, this episode does contribute to the wussification of America.
Rendell's right. If fan safety was of the utmost concern to the NFL, they wouldn't let them get hammered before they hop in the car to head home. And the argument for allowing fans to drink alcohol is the same one to advocate playing the game two days ago instead of tonight: Sometimes you gotta let folks take care of themselves.
Get the This Week's Top Stories Newsletter
Every week we collect the latest news, music and arts stories — along with film and food reviews and the best things to do this week — so that you’ll never miss Observer's biggest stories.