Wednesday, December 29, 2010
I Hate to be Tough, Ed, but SHUT UP!
In a comment that Joe Biden would have even been embarrassed by, Governor Ed Rendell of Pennsylvania turned a rather pedestrian and smart decision by the National Football League to postpone a football game into a national discussion on how this country has changed for, what he believes, the worse.
Let's take a look at the facts. The forecast for Sunday night was for 6-12 inches of snow to fall in Philadelphia and for blizzard conditions. The Mayor of Philadelphia, Michael Nutter, had declared a snow emergency. That means, essentially, STAY HOME. Winter driving experts will tell you that the safest thing to do IN A BLIZZARD is to STAY HOME. The safest thing to do IN A BLIZZARD where a SNOW EMERGENCY has been declared is not to have 68,582 people show up for a football game, it is to STAY HOME. So, the NFL had a decision to make. Put people in potential danger and essentially violate a city mayor's decree or postpone a game between the Philadelphia Eagles and the Minnesota Vikings at Lincoln Financial Field that, frankly, means nothing in the entire scheme and fabric of society. They postponed the game to last night, and I believe NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell chose wisely. Rendell does not.
Rendell went all "old school" in his criticism of the league. He used his bully pulpit to try to turn this into discussion about the U.S. becoming a "nation of wusses." We should all be insulted by these words,
The word wuss has a very perjorative connotation, and it's not accurate in this case. It's a slang term, and it really has no purpose coming from the mouth of a Governor, in my view.
What's really sad is how Rendell misses the point. NFL players would play this game in the parking lot of a truck stop that has been covered with ice and with large razor blades in either end zone. The players don't care. It's their job. This is about safety OF THE FANS.
Blizzard is a scary word, and there's really no justifiable reason for me to see for the NFL to have played that game on Sunday...especially given the declaration by the Mayor. Certainly, the safest place for the residents of Philly to be on the night of that blizzard was not at Lincoln Financial Field.
The job of the Governor is not to be a cheerleader. It's not to talk about Vince Lombardi spinning in his grave or how this decision to postpone a football game somehow shows we aren't tough anymore. One of the jobs of a Governor, I think, is to keep his or her people safe and promote safety. What Rendell did in his comments seems to go directly against that.
Rendell can keep flapping his gums, and it's his right. He's done it his entire career, and it's probably why he's never been considered a serious Presidential candidate despite his one-time popularity. Now, on this matter, he just needs to zip it, serve out his term, and enjoy his front row seat at Eagles games which, according to NBC, was filled with snow when he arrived at the stadium courtesy of the Eagles. Al Michaels reported that "a senior executive" with the organization was enraged by the Governor's comments.
The NFL's decision didn't prove anything but that we are becoming a more SENSIBLE nation, and I don't know when sensibility became a sign of weakness.