Philadelphia Eagles game against the Vikings

Whether rooting on the University of Pennsylvania basketball team or analyzing the Eagles on a weekly postgame television program, Gov. Edward G. Rendell has long been an outspoken Philadelphia sports fan.Philadelphia-EaglesBut Rendell was perhaps the most vocal, and prominent, opponent of the N.F.L.’s decision to postpone the Eagles’ game against the Minnesota Vikings until Tuesday before the blizzard struck the Northeast. He called it the “wussification of America.”

Though Rendell’s view seemed sure to carry more weight than the game, the Eagles hurt their playoff position with an ugly 24-14 loss at Lincoln Financial Field. Their sloppy play meant they would be the third seed in the N.F.C., with no bye week.

The loss also hurt the Giants’ chances of making the playoffs. The Bears clinched the No. 2 seed, and some key starters may sit or play sparingly against the Packers at Lambeau Field on Sunday. If the Packers win, the Giants will be eliminated from playoff contention.

The timing of the postponement the game was as unexpected as the outcome. On Sunday morning, the league made the rare move to delay the game, citing public safety. But there was less snowfall than predicted, and nothing close to what fell on New York.

“Had we made the decision at 6 o’clock and broadcast it at 6 o’clock, we would have seen that the blizzard that was forecast wasn’t happening,” Rendell said Tuesday in an interview in his Center City office. “We would have seen that it was O.K. to get there, and we would have played a football game that would have made memories for everyone that was there for the rest of their lives.”

For the Vikings, the delay was the latest weather-related issue. The previous two weeks, the team played home games at Detroit’s Ford Field and the University of Minnesota’s outdoor stadium after the Metrodome’s roof collapsed under the weight of 17 inches of snow.

Although the Vikings (6-9) had sat in a hotel since Saturday, the Eagles (10-5) looked as if they were taking their regularly scheduled day off Tuesday.

In the first N.F.L. game on a Tuesday in 64 years, the Eagles accumulated 12 penalties and could not stop running back Adrian Peterson, who ran for 118 yards and a touchdown. Michael Vick was 25 of 43 for 263 yards and a touchdown but was sacked six times, lost two fumbles and threw an interception, looking uncharacteristically pedestrian.

“No excuses,” Eagles Coach Andy Reid said. “They played better than we did, flat out. All phases. Every phase wasn’t right. Penalties. Missed assignments.”

The good news at the Linc, though tempered by the result, was that there was hardly a hint of a blizzard.

The Eagles said 615 workers spent 47 hours preparing the stadium and shoveling it clean, removing 2.63 million pounds of snow in 1,300 truckloads. As much as 18 inches had been expected at the stadium, but there was only 12.

“I think it was better than expected,” Don Smolenski, the Eagles’ chief operating officer, said at halftime. “Me and the crew slept here Christmas night and Sunday night and went home Monday night to shovel our own driveways.”

Rendell watched the game Tuesday from his seats on the 50-yard line. In his mind, the notion of canceling a football game because of the threat of snow was emblematic of some of the things he sees in society, hence the “wussification” sentiment.

“This country was born on risk,” Rendell said. “We grew into the greatest nation in the world because we were bold; we had courage; we had a sense of adventure; we had a willingness to go forward and get things done. It seems like we lost that pioneer spirit that made this a special place.”

Rendell said his opinion, which he initially expressed Monday in a radio interview, came up while he was walking along slushy Broad Street and in line at the food court at his office. His office fielded inquires from international news media outlets, and at his desk Tuesday, he pulled out his cellphone and read text messages from amused friends.

On the Eagles, Rendell griped about how they now had less time to recover before facing the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday, made even more painful by the loss. Still, when asked for his prediction, Rendell confidently projected the Eagles to play the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl.

Then Rendell, a fan so ardent he refers to the Eagles inclusively, made perhaps his most controversial statement of the week.

“I don’t know if we can outscore the Patriots,” Rendell said. “If we need 31 points, Vick will get us 31 points. If we need 35 points, he’ll get us 35 points. But I’m not sure he can get us 50.”

Published by: nytimes.com

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