Governor Ed Rendell sounds off

Updated: December 29, 2010, 1:21 AM ET
ESPN.com news services

The city of Philadelphia hosted the NFL's first Tuesday night game in 64 years, and Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell couldn't be more upset about it.

"It goes against everything that football is all about," Rendell said Monday on radio station 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia.

Rendell was rankled by the league's decision to move the Philadelphia Eagles' home game against the Minnesota Vikings from Sunday night to Tuesday evening.

We've become a nation of wusses. The Chinese are kicking our butt in everything. If this was in China do you think the Chinese would have called off the game?

-- Ed Rendell, governor of Pennsylvania

The NFL cited the winter storm that wound up slamming most of the East Coast as the reason for the change, but elected to postpone the game before any snow had even accumulated. About a foot of snow fell on Philadelphia, though less than 5 inches was on the ground before the scheduled 8:20 p.m. ET Sunday kickoff.

Rendell viewed the NFL's decision as a referendum on the toughness, or lack thereof, of the United States.

"My biggest beef is that this is part of what's happened in this country," Rendell said.

"We've become a nation of wusses. The Chinese are kicking our butt in everything," he added. "If this was in China do you think the Chinese would have called off the game? People would have been marching down to the stadium, they would have walked and they would have been doing calculus on the way down."

But Eagles president Joe Banner said the team has been getting calls from fans and ticket-holders supporting the NFL's decision.

"Based on the feedback we got on this decision it is one of the most popular decisions we have ever made," Banner told ESPN's Sal Paolantonio Tuesday.

For his part, Vikings tight end Visanthe Shiancoe also was surprised by the league's decision.

"The roads are bad for East Coast standards," Shiancoe said. "But if this was in the Midwest there would be no way that this would be delayed. No way it would be delayed in the Midwest. No way. ... It's something that baffles me. But I'm not here to make decisions on when games are played."

"People are free to have their opinions on whether or not last night's Eagles game should have been postponed," Banner said Monday. "That decision was ultimately made by the NFL. Any criticism of the mayor, who was not involved in this decision, is completely unfair."

Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, who called a state of emergency for the city six hours before the originally scheduled kickoff, told ESPN Sunday that the choice to move the game was not the city's decision, but the league's.

Obviously, that decision has not sat well with the governor.

"What do you think [Hall of Fame coach Vince] Lombardi would say?" Rendell asked Monday. "He would say that we've become a nation of wusses."

The Eagles lost the NFL's 23rd Tuesday game, falling 24-14 to the Vikings. The game was originally scheduled for 1 p.m. ET Sunday, but was shifted because of the NFL's flex scheduling.

Information from The Associated Press and ESPN's Sal Paolantonio was used in this report.

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