Sam Donnellon: Be thankful Vick, DeSean weren't playing in the snow

Jackson
Jackson
Posted: December 28, 2010

HAVE TO ADMIT, I was elated when they banged Sunday's prime-time game between the Eagles and Vikings at the Linc on Sunday.

But it had nothing to do with my safety or that of the 70,000 fans traveling to the game.

Had nothing to do with whether my town got a foot of snow (it did), whether the Jersey Shore got 2 feet (it did), or whether the Pennsylvania roads weren't in nearly as good shape as Gov. Rendell phoned them in as.

(Hopefully, he wasn't on them.)

Honestly, I was concerned about the safety of one man.

OK, maybe two.

Michael Vick.

DeSean Jackson.

The day after Philadelphia's half-baked blizzard produced a blizzard of half-baked opinions on the matter, most amazing was how few people factored those two players into their support or outrage over the NFL's decision to push the game until tonight.

Instead, folks lined up across from one another as if preparing for a snowball fight. This newspaper seemed downright schizophrenic, in fact - our front page labeled the mayor, Eagles brass and the NFL commissioner as "wimps," while a column supporting the decision included the word "chowderheads" in its headline to describe those who wanted the game played.

Earlier in the day, by the way, when there was barely a dusting on the ground, both of the city's newspapers announced all deadlines would be pushed up a few hours.

Not that we're wimps or anything.

Really, the whole debate was more entertaining than an 8:20 game between a Brett Favre-less and moribund Vikings team and an Eagles team denied the use of its best offensive weapons would have been.

Especially to those unfortunate ticketholding souls living southeast of the city who had to choose between a risky ride to and from South Philly to watch - or try to - two teams slip and slide around . . .

As snow blew sideways into their faces and the thermometer dropped as the game regressed amid zero visibility.

The governor said fans should have been allowed to decide for themselves.

Especially New Jersey fans.

OK, so he didn't specify them, but it sure seemed implied.

And to think some in the Garden State once heralded him as presidential material, or at least vice presidential.

Even Joe Biden doesn't put his foot in his mouth as often.

Anyway, the hell with Jersey, even if I live there. My real concern was the Super Bowl. It's dangerous enough to the Eagles' chances each time Vick is forced to run for his life from the pocket. But if that's his only option? Factor in the 45-mph swirls that dominated the hours in which the game would have been played. Factor in an offense with no real Plan B, and a coaching staff that historically does not or cannot alter its game plan for the weather, and what do you get?

The potential for a snow-induced disaster that would have flipped the results of Monday morning polls.

(By the way, it says here that the governor voted more than once.)

Yes, yes, real men don't whine about the weather.

Unless it leads directly leads to their MVP-caliber quarterback suffering a season-ending injury. Then we're talking precipitation and lots of it.

A foot, maybe 2 in the suburbs.

Maybe more in Montgomery County.

Had that occurred, the governor would, of course, rip the league, the network, the referees, and maybe even interrupt Ray Didinger a couple more times. He would demand an investigation. Instead of a state of emergency, he would declare a state of mourning.

That's assuming he remained rational.

Admit it. You too would be all over the NFL today and yesterday if they played that game in a blizzard, in front of a smattering of ticketholders from parts of Delaware and Montgomery County, and your meal ticket banged up ribs, ankles or - perish the thought - knees running around on snow for 35 plays instead of 10.

It's why, while several of his players tweeted criticism from warm homes, Andy Reid said he was "OK with it."

More important, so was his quarterback.

"Just a few more days to get ready," Vick tweeted.

Playing on a clear night tonight with little wind gives the Eagles their best shot at beating the Vikings. Maybe it even gives them a chance to rest their quarterback and big-play receiver, further reducing the risk of injury.

But yes, yes, playing the Cowboys 5 days later is a little more risky, with less time to recover from tonight's game. Still, Sunday's forecast calls for temperatures near 50 degrees with a chance of showers.

No 45-mph winds, no unnecessary endangering of Jersey people or your quarterback.

Monday morning, Tuesday morning - it still seems the best way to go.

Even if you're not from Jersey. *

Send e-mail to

donnels@phillynews.com.

For recent columns, go to

http://go.philly.com/donnellon.

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