Sunday will be a snow day for all, as the NFL has decided to postpone the Eagles-Vikings game scheduled for 8:20 Sunday night to Tuesday at 8:00 PM. This will be the first time in 66 years that the team has played a Tuesday game.
Fans with tickets will be able to use the original ticket for Tuesday’s game.
NFL commissioner Roger Goodell cited safety concerns for fans leaving the game as the chief reason for the switch.
“Due to public safety concerns in light of today’s snow emergency in Philadelphia, tonight’s Vikings-Eagles game has been postponed,” the league said in a statement. “Because of the uncertainty of the extent of tonight’s storm and its aftermath, the game will be played on Tuesday night at 8 pm. This will allow sufficient time to ensure that roads, parking lots and the stadium are fully cleared.”
This is the second time the NFL has flexed the start time of this game; it was originally scheduled for 1:00 Sunday, then 8:20 Sunday and now 8:00 Tuesday. This will also be the third consecutive week that Minnesota has not played at their scheduled time or venue, after the roof of the Metrodome collapsed following a snow storm in Minneapolis, forcing the Vikings to relocate for their last two games.
Eagles COO Don Smolenski said that the decision was made Sunday morning after communicating with members of the team’s gameday operations staff, the city, meteorologists and the league. Talks began Saturday morning, continued through the day and then culminated in the decision to postpone Sunday morning. He also echoed that “[public safety] was paramount.”
Smolenski said that the field is tarped and director of grounds Tony Leonard will look to get the tarp off as soon as possible to dry the field out. “The playing field itself will be in great shape and hopefully the weather conditions will be much different on Tuesday night and may make for a fun evening in Philadelphia,” Smolenski said.
Head coach Andy Reid spoke with a pool reporter on Sunday and said that he is not concerned that the time change will effect the team. He also noted that the Eagles are in full support of the league’s decision to ensure fan safety. The team left their hotel Sunday afternoon and headed home. They will have a walk-through Monday and then check back into the hotel for Tuesday’s game.
“We’re okay with it. We’re organized and prepared for this, and we completely support what the league did from a safety standpoint for everybody,” Reid said.
The postponement also means that the team will have a short week before taking on Dallas at home next Sunday for what should be a very important game for the Eagles to secure the number two seed and a first round bye in the playoffs.
Reid says he isn’t concerned about that aspect either: “I don’t think it’s a problem. I think we’ll be all right. We’ve had Monday games, Sunday night games, we had a Thursday game, so we’ve been through a lot of this already, and that will help us. We’ll be fine.”
After the game Tuesday, the team will have an off day Wednesday before having a more extensive practice on Thursday. Reid said Friday’s practice will be normal and the team will go to the hotel Saturday.
Comcast-Spectacor has also announced as a result of the postponement, that it will be canceling the Disney on Ice show scheduled to take place at the adjacent Wells Fargo Center. Those holding a ticket for that event can exchange it for any other scheduled Disney on Ice show.
It remains unclear whether the switch will effect the Vikings quarterback situation. Brett Favre, who suffered a concussion Sunday could certainly benefit from the extra two days. Adrian Peterson, who did not play last Sunday could also be in better shape to go.
“Hey, at least it’s another couple of days to heal,” Peterson said. “We just have to handle this like we have everything else that’s gone on this season. Coach [Leslie] Frazier told us to continue to stick together, to stay focused, and that’s what we’ll do.”
Football purists are up in arms about the league’s decision, but with increasingly bad driving conditions and an advisory from Philadelphia mayor Michael Nutter to stay inside, the call makes a lot of sense.