On film at least, the man had the most mangled hands I ever saw. He flew missions in a great war and was highly decorated. His later battles involved grappling with other tough men on muddy turf and frozen tundra. He is Hall of Fame champion Eagle Charles Philip Bednarik. And he still lives at age 85.
One can only guess what Chuck Bednarik, who played in his share of wintry contests, would say about a football game postponed due to snow. Maybe I'll ask him one of these days. I suspect he'd pause, look away, and mumble "Sheesh" or "Geez" or "Get out of here with that bunk." I suspect that, of course, because of Bednarik's history of slamming present-day pro players for being "pussyfoots." Or, "Concrete Charlie," perhaps the last NFLer to regularly play both offense and defense for entire games, would side with outgoing Pennsylvania governor and Eagles TV analyst Ed Rendell.
Sunday and Monday, Rendell hit the airwaves with his emphatic "Wussies" comment, as in "We're turning into a nation of wussies."
The Gov said Packers legendary coach Vince Lombardi "would be spinning in his grave" if he knew an NFL game was delayed two days because of the fluffy white stuff. Rendell added that the Eagles-Vikings game should have been played in the snowstorm because "It's football!" That's hard to argue. The prevailing side consisting of the NFL, The Eagles, Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, and various local sports mavens cited public safety. Also hard to argue.
So, what are we left with? We're left with the simple truth of living in a different time than that of Bednarik's. His was a time of pray, play, and no handshakes for your opponent on the field (and most times off, as well). Back then, grudges were carried for years, no apologies were offered, and no quarter given. Players, coaches, referees, fans, broadcasters, venders, and stadium workers sweated or shivered during the same game at the same time as a shared experience. Aside from lightning or a power failure, whether in searing heat or bitter cold, there was never a concern about legal ramifications, insurance entanglements, traffic ingress or crowd egress.
The games were played. Period. End of sentence.
Midwesterners have blogged that Philadelphia's snow postponement would never have happened in Green Bay or Chicago. They may be right. But, if Philly erred on the side of calling off the game to play another day (or Tuesday night), why fight it? If you're worried about the adjusted schedule forcing the Eagles to play three games in twelve days, don't be. Who among us hasn't had to work overtime or killer shifts from time to time? If you get paid, you show up.
Just ask "Concrete Charlie", the last of the sixty-minute men.