The massive snowstorm that blanketed the area yesterday compelled the Eagles to push back the start of today's game against the San Francisco 49ers from 1 p.m. to 4:15 p.m.
Don Smolenski, the Eagles' senior vice president and chief financial officer, said the move was made to give the team, the city, and PennDot more time to clear snow from Lincoln Financial Field, as well as the parking lots and roads surrounding the stadium.
"We're encouraging fans to use public transportation," Smolenski said. "Given the volume of snow, there will be reduced parking spaces."
Both the parking lots and the stadium gates will open later than usual, and Smolenski said the pregame activities in the Eagles' Head House area will be curtailed. The stadium lots, which typically open seven hours before the game, will not open until noon, and the stadium gates, which typically open three hours before the game, will open at 3 p.m.
The game will still be televised by Fox29 at 4:15 p.m. The locally televised 1 p.m. game on the network will be the Atlanta Falcons at the New York Jets.
Smolenski said that the Eagles' preparations for inclement winter weather were made months in advance and that about 1,000 workers were on the job shoveling out the stadium.
Stadium crews had covered the playing surface with a tarp prior to the storm and were clearing the field after every few inches of accumlation.
Smolenski and team spokesman Derek Boyko said the snowstorm had little impact on the Eagles' preparation for today's game against the 49ers. Boyko said the Eagles went through their weekly walk-through workout at the NovaCare Complex on time, albeit indoors.
"I think the only change for the team is that they'll be spending more time in the hotel," Smolenski said.
San Francisco team spokesman Bob Lange said the 49ers arrived for the game ahead of the storm Friday and were also able to hold their walk-through at the NovaCare Complex yesterday.
"We will just push our schedule back three hours on Sunday," Lange said.
That could be a benefit for the 49ers, who are 1-8 on the road over the last three seasons in 1 p.m. starts against East Coast teams. The 49ers are 0-4 this season in games that have started at 10 a.m. Pacific Standard Time.
The 49ers also played Monday night, a 24-9 home victory over Arizona, so they have had less time to prepare for this game than usual. San Francisco coach Mike Singletary gave his team off from practice Wednesday because he thought the players needed rest after their win. This is the first time since the 1998 season that the 49ers have played a Monday night game and then had to play Sunday on the East Coast in the following game.
The Baltimore Ravens also changed the starting time of their game against the Chicago Bears today. As the Eagles did, the Ravens moved a scheduled 1 p.m. start to 4:15 p.m.