Monday, December 27, 2010

The Continuing Wussification Of The American Male, NFL Style

It has to be said that last night's cancellation of the National Football League's game between the Minnesota Vikings and the Philadelphia Eagles is but another in the continuing wussification on the American male.
Now, I realize that there was a blizzard yesterday in the Northeastern United States. I should know because last Wednesday we were getting the rain version of the blizzard here in So Cal.
But football is meant to be played in such conditions.
Note that when there are deaths in football that are weather related at any level, it is more often than not due to heat.
Almost all programs whether it is high school up to the pros start in summer. In August. When in many parts of the United States, it can be up to and over 100 degrees.
Remember, the reason that the game was cancelled was due to the weather.
Yet some of the greatest NFL games have been played in worse conditions than yesterday in the City of Brotherly Love.
Does anyone remember the Ice Bowl?
That was the NFL Championship game between the Dallas Cowboys and Green Bay Packers at at Lambeau Field. Or as Sen. John Kerry referred to it as Lambert Field.
The temperature at game time was a nice -13 degrees Fahrenheit. The wind chill factor was an even balmier -36 degrees Fahrenheit.
The Packers were playing before a packed house at Lambeau Field and won the game, 21-17 and went on the defeat the AFL champs, the Oakland Raiders in Super Bowl II.
But that was not the coldest game played on record.
The 1982 Freezer Bowl between the Cincinnati Bengals and the San Diego Chargers goes down as the coldest game played.
It was for the AFC championship and it was played at the old Riverfront Stadium.
Game time temp was nice, warm -9 degrees Fahrenheit. And the wind chill was an even warmer -38 degrees Fahrenheit.
Regrettably, the Bengals won the game and played in the Super Bowl against the San Francisco 49ers. And the 49ers promptly dispatched the Bengals in the first of the championship run during the 1980s.
So, my point is, NFL players can play in worse conditions that a driving snow storm
But, how can they play in a driving snowstorm?
Easy, the way they have played in every other season before this one.
For instance, a classic game was played between the then Baltimore Colts and Pittsburgh Steelers at old Three Rivers Stadium in 1978. In a blizzard.
At the same site, I found the San Diego Chargers played the Denver Broncos on December 27, 1987. In, guess what? A blizzard! So shocking. I mean, snow in Denver. Who woulda thunk it?!
The point is that this column by Will Bunch of the Philadelphia Daily News is spot on.
We are a nation of wimps.
And the American male is allowing this wussification without batting an eye.
Football, especially pro football, can and should be played in these kinds of conditions. It makes for an exciting game for the players and the fans. Yes, there is risk involved. In playing a game in bad weather. For fans trying to get to the game. Oh, but as Mr. Bunch pointed out, the is an underground subway in Philadelphia. You know, to avoid the s n o w.
Most important is this sets a precedent.
What about if there is a rainstorm such as that which hit So Cal last Wednesday? Should a football game be cancelled because of that? Then one would not be able to talk about the 1977 Mud Bowl between the Los Angeles Rams and Minnesota Vikings.
It had rained three straight days and nights in So Cal and the field was awful. And the Vikings won the game.
What if it is too hot to play a game? Can a football game not be played because it is too hot? Well, I suppose that is a possibility now.
The image conscience NFL has had a hard time since they went ahead and played ball the weekend after then President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas in 1963.
So many criticized the move, yet it may have been a welcome diversion to the national grief. After all, there was nothing but essential 24/7 coverage of the events of President Kennedy's assassination. And this was way before the 500-channel universe.
It was a tough decision, but the commissioner, Pete Roselle, made it. And I think it was the right decision then.
And the wussie "leaders" that called off last night's game made a huge mistake.
And while the game will be played tomorrow, it is caving in to some notion that we live in a no-risk age.
Everything has a risk.
Just playing football at any level is a risk. And one that should be had no matter the weather. Especially in the cold and snow.
The NFL is another in the long list of enablers to the wussification of the American male.

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