John Smallwood: Snowout makes perfect sense in Eagles' improbable season

On the bright side, parking was easier to find than usual.
On the bright side, parking was easier to find than usual.
Posted: December 27, 2010

WE SHOULD NOT have been surprised.

In an improbable season, this was just the latest unlikely development.

The Eagles' game with the Minnesota Vikings last night was postponed until tomorrow, with the announcement coming nearly 8 hours before the scheduled kickoff and before yesterday's pending blizzard had actually began to blizz.

"Due to public safety concerns in light of today's snow emergency in Philadelphia, tonight's Vikings-Eagles game has been postponed," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said. "Because of the uncertainty of the extent of tonight's storm and its aftermath, the game will be played on Tuesday night."

Hey, why not cancel a game because of snow before the first flake had fallen? It was apropos for this Eagles year.

The one thing we've learned in this bizarre, whacked-out season for the Birds is the only thing to expect is the unexpected.

The game in which the Eagles had a chance to clinch the NFC East title against a depleted Vikings team that likely would have been quarterbacked by some rookie named Joe Webb gets postponed because Mayor Nutter had visions of last year's actual blizzard dancing in his head and declared a snow emergency starting at 2 p.m yesterday.

Apparently that frightened the NFL - which has routinely let games in Green Bay, Chicago, New England, Cincinnati, Pittsburgh, New York, Minneapolis, Cleveland, and yes, even Philadelphia be played with snow covering the field and 5-foot snow piles in the corners of the end zones - into postponing a game for 2 days because of a forecast.

As one of the 67,000 slugs who would have had to slog home through the snow, slush and ice after midnight, I should be thankful to the mayor and the NFL for thinking of our safety.

But as I made a U-turn to drive back home, I couldn't help but think: This is football. This is winter in Philadelphia, and Philadelphia is in the Northeast. Do you really cancel a game because of snow?

It's not as if the city and the surrounding areas don't have any experience in dealing with heavy snow conditions.

They do it almost every year.

Judging by the irritated chatter on radio and the Internet, a lot of Eagles fans feel somebody jumped the gun on the snow call.

Perhaps they know that the manhood of the city will be ridiculed in every region of the country that isn't in the Sun Belt or Southern California.

A guy from Boston asked a guy from Green Bay if he knew what happened in big, bad Philadelphia yesterday.

A guy from New York cut in and said, "Yeah, they canceled a NFL game because somebody might get a snowflake in his eye."

After 5 decades, I guess Santa Claus finally took his revenge on Eagle fans for throwing those snowballs.

Ridicule is far worse than a lump of coal.

For the record, Nutter said it was not the city's decision to postpone the game and said the city was ready to deal with having a game.

Last year, the city cleared the way for the Eagles to play San Francisco 3 hours after the final flakes of a 30-inch snowstorm fell.

Of course, the NFL's reasoning that 48 hours will be needed to "ensure that roads, parking lots and the stadium are fully cleared" is ridiculous.

But that's why it makes perfect sense that it would happen to the Eagles this season.

Think about the twists and turns that have already happened.

Quarterback of the Future Kevin Kolb gets bopped on the head in the season opener.

Michael Vick, the quarterback no one thought could return from his self-inflicted mortal wound to his career, takes over and plays like no one had ever seen him play.

Kolb is ready to come back but is shockingly told his future is on hold again.

Vick gets hurt. Kolb steps in and wins two of three games. Vick comes back.

With starters dropping like flies around him, Vick leads the Eagles on a 6-1 run culminated by last week's historic rally to beat the New York Giants.

Oh, and don't forget the coup de grace.The Eagles won the NFC East while sitting indoors after Andy Reid sent them home from the team hotel for the day.

With the Birds all at home drinking hot cocoa, the Green Bay Packers blasted the still-shellshocked Giants, 45-17, at Lambeau Field.

If you can get to the Linc through the winter wonderland, you can buy NFC East Championship merchandise starting today.

Of course, this wouldn't be the 2010 Eagles season if there was not still a hitch.

The Chicago Bears beat the New York Jets at Soldier Field amid 4 inches of "lake-effect snow" off Lake Michigan, which canceled 180 airline flights, to maintain control of the No. 2 seed and a first-round bye in the NFC playoffs.

The Eagles still need to beat the Vikings tomorrow and then come back on 4 days of rest and beat the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.

Of course, even if they do that, they'll still need the Packers to beat the Bears.

There's even a slight chance for a combination of things to happen - starting with the Atlanta Falcons losing tonight to the visiting New Orleans Saints - that would give the Eagles the No. 1 overall seed and homefield throughout the playoffs.

In this most strange season of improbable happenings, no one can be sure it won't happen.

Send e-mail to

smallwj@phillynews.com.

For recent columns, go to

http://go.philly.com/smallwood.

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