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Did the NFL overreact to a little snow?

12/27/2010

You had to see this coming. The moment the NFL postponed Sunday night's Eagles-Vikings game to Tuesday, you knew the snowstorm wouldn't be quite as bad as expected. And sure enough, the weather at the previously scheduled kickoff time wasn't all that frightful.

There are a fair amount of Eagles fans who think NFL commissioner Roger Goodell overreacted to the blizzard warnings. According to a Philly.com poll, in which 1,972 readers participated (at last count), 57 percent of the folks (1,124) felt like the league made the wrong call by postponing the game. Will Bunch, an editor for the Daily News, wrote a column underneath the subtle headline, "The Wimps Who Stole Christmas."

"If we're not 'a nanny state,' then we've become a nation of overcautious risk managers, also known as wimps," writes Bunch. "They don't play American football in China, but I believe that if they did, not only would they have played this game, but 300,000 fans would have marched barefoot through the drifts for 15 miles to get to the stadium, drilling each other with advanced calculus problems as they walked.

"In a few years, they'll come here and conquer what's left of America while we huddle on our TV-room couches to keep safe and warm, watching 'A Christmas Story' on TBS for the ninth time after a forecast of flurries has canceled the entire NFL schedule."

Rich Hofmann, a level-headed columnist from the same newspaper who has admitted to reading this blog on a daily basis, thinks the league made a "reasonable" decision given the information it had at the time:

"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. ...

"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."

Hofmann's point is that the league didn't have a hidden agenda for postponing the game. There was legitimate concern about folks traveling to and from a football game that was going to be played in blizzard conditions. While folks were still in their warms homes, it was important to go ahead and make a decision one way or the other. Now, we'll be treated to four consecutive days of NFL games on TV.

I could probably think of worse things.