IN THE END, after two days of nonstop talk, nonstop hype, you couldn't pay people to stay inside Lincoln Financial Field.
Fans began streaming out of the stadium last night long before the Eagles' 24-14 loss to the Vikings was officially in the books. They left deflated, dejected and just plain cold.
But you know who hung around until the end? Ten-year-old Preston Spruance and his dad, Tom, 63, of Wilmington. The game was a Christmas present for Preston. "Tickets on the 50-yard line," said Tom. "They just didn't come to the game. The Eagles do that sometimes."
Preston, wearing homemade wings and a homemade Eagles head, sighed heavily. "I'm sad," the boy said. "I don't think we're going to the Super Bowl."
Before the game, the great masses of Eagles fandom had wrestled over the question like a lost fumble, all across the great frozen tundras - er, parking lots:
Wussy move, or not?
Yeah, yeah, Eagles fans were still debating the NFL's decision to postpone Sunday's game because of a snowstorm, even as they stood in the cold and the darkness outside the Linc waiting for the rescheduled game to start.
There was no real consensus, not really. Some folks were firmly behind Gov. Rendell, who has said that the postponement was just part of a bigger "wussification" problem plaguing the country.
Others said the NFL did the right thing, the smart thing, because nothing good would have come of making thousands of fans drive home in heavy snow and staggering winds.
Bern Donahue, a longtime season-ticket holder from Reading, was about halfway to Philadelphia on Sunday when he found out the game had been canceled.
"I was a little disappointed, yeah," he said last night, huddled with some pals in front of his 38-foot RV, which sports a built-in flat-screen TV on the passenger side.
"It was a good move in the end because the weather here was horrible. It would have been hell getting home. How many accidents would there have been on the Schuylkill?"
Jim Murnane, 25, of Conshohocken, said he felt as if "Santa gave me presents on Christmas, and took them away the next day," when he learned that Sunday's game had been snowed out.
At the edge of a parking lot at Darien Street and Pattison Avenue, Kate Selfridge, 31, and Natalie Sheeran, 27, leaned against a small school bus painted Eagles-green as they lamented Rendell's ongoing criticism of the decision to reschedule the game.
And on a sidewalk in front of the Linc, James Woods, a street musician, eyed a group of rosy-cheeked fans streaming toward the stadium. Woods, 50, said he thought the controversy was overblown.
The only thing worth talking about, he said, was the team. "They're going to do good things, man," Woods said.