I’m a Philadelphia sports fan. I don’t think much of the New Jersey Devils, or the Yankees, or least of all, the New York football Giants and their overrated, overpaid, overpampered QB Eli Manning. Nope, I root for the losingest baseball team in the major leagues, the Phillies; the team that Larry Brown abandoned, the Sixers; and, as soon as they get back on ice, Jeremy Roenick and the Flyers. But most of all, I live for the NFC Champion Philadelphia Iggles, which is why I can hardly wait for this Sunday (you know, Sportsfest aside).
All Philly sports fans are peeing their pants for a crack at the New England Patriots in the Super Bowl this Sunday. Perhaps the most notable of them is Ed Rendell, who hosts a show on the local Comcast sports network after Eagles games. He also has another job: governor of Pennsylvania. He has also worn other hats, such as mayor of Philadelphia and chair of the Democratic National Committee.
On Tuesday, Feb. 8, Gov. Rendell was slated to give his annual budget proposal. Last week, he asked the state legislature to bump it back a day “in consideration of potential scheduling difficulties for those traveling out of state during the days immediately preceding Feb. 8.” Translation: “Tough break, Republicans and Steelers fans. You can wait a day on me. There’s a victory parade to be had!” For a guy whose team hasn’t won an NFL Championship in 45 years, 24 hours doesn’t seem like too much to ask.
Now, it may seem crazy that any sporting event could take precedence over a matter of government. But this isn’t the president throwing out the first pitch on opening day. This is a guy who lives and dies by Eagles football. He’s passionate. I’m pretty sure if given the choice between coach of the Eagles and governor, he’d happily give up his current title. Call it an unreasonable love of a game, but I for one think it’s kind of refreshing to see a politician care so much about something, even if it doesn’t affect policy. There’s no hidden agenda, no spin. When he talks about violations of weapons bans during the NFC title game against Tampa Bay two years ago to lessen the sting of the loss, he doesn’t start talking about bringing freedom to the city when they finally get to go to an election…er, Super Bowl.
Maybe it is a bit rash to move a major speech on account of a game. But it’s not like he’s going to take a month off and come back only to see the Liberty Bell and Pat’s Steaks destroyed by angry terror cells from Dallas because he was ignoring the warnings. But screw the Cowboys anyway. And here’s to more somewhat crazy, brutally honest pols like McCain, Dean and Rendell.
Patrick Gibbons can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.