Monday, December 27, 2010

Eagles COO Don Smolenski on the postponement

On when the process of postponing the game began:
“When we left on Friday for Christmas eve, we were all kind of thinking that we had dodged a bullet. I walked my dog on Saturday morning, Christmas morning, at six o’clock. I got back at quarter of seven and looked at my phone. I had an email from [Eagles president] Joe Banner that said the storm has flipped. So I got about two hours there with the kids to open presents and from that point on I spent most of the day with our guys beginning our preparations.”

On the process of coming to the determination that the game would be moved:
“It mostly started yesterday with mobilizing [director of facility management] Jason Miller, [director of grounds] Tony Leonard and [director of event operations] Leonard Bonacci—the three guys who are in charge of running our building day to day. Talking to our partners, talking to our weather services, talking to meteorologists. It continued all the way into last night. We were in touch with the league, sharing information with the league. We were in touch with the city, sharing information with the city back and forth. We went to bed last night and said, ‘You know what, we’ll just check.’ We got on the phone this morning and that’s kind of when the conversation began.”

On whether the decision was mostly about the safety of fans and workers:
“I think the number one issue, absolutely, all along, was public safety and the safety of fans, workers, venders, suppliers, really everybody. In addition to 70,000 people, there are 3,000 workers. Trying to have people come down in the conditions that are out there now and what they’re calling blizzard-like, blowing winds, white-out conditions, 50 mile-per-hour winds. That just wasn’t safe. The discussions with the league were all about public safety. That was paramount. That, I think, in the end really was what drove the decision.”

On how influential NBC was in the decision to play the game on Tuesday:
“That’s probably a question for the league. Our conversations were really just with the league officials. It’s in the league’s hands and the league has those types of conversations. From our end, we just sort of give them an update on what’s happening here in our market with the building and with the city and the conditions. We kind of are separated from that.”

On whether his previous experience with bad weather affecting games has helped during this process:
“It seems like we never get small ones, we only get big ones. We had the 17 inches, we had 23 inches last year before the San Francisco game. With this one, the timing was such that it was much different than those. I think some concern about what the conditions might be like tomorrow in the region, I think that also weighed into the decision of whether or not to go tomorrow night or Tuesday night.”

On whether having an extra 24 hours to play the game is a good thing:
“To be honest with you, once the decision was made, it allowed us to really move forward with our plans, a firm plan. We already had 400 laborers in the stadium this morning ready to go. We let some of those guys go. We kept some operators on hand. We’re going to tackle it through the night with parking lots, ramps, sidewalks, concourses, head house plaza and the field. The goal, hopefully, is to just stay on top of that and then we’ll be able to bring labor in. Our work crews [will spend the day tomorrow with] American Winter Services and then we can assess and then revisit and see what we need to tackle on Tuesday morning.”

On the stadium’s field over the next two home games:
“The field is tarped and Tony [Leonard] will keep it clean all night. I think, in his mind, he wants to be able to try and get those tarps off as quickly as he can tomorrow to allow time for, hopefully, the calm that comes after the storm to dry the field out a little bit. 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.”

On whether he has any concerns with two games in five days regarding the stadium:
“That certainly was a part of the conversations. I guess it’s not unprecedented with the Sunday to Thursday turnaround with the games on Thursday late in the season. That was really secondary to fan safety and public safety.”
Post a Comment