As the East Coast battens down its hatches in preparation for the arrival of Hurricane Sandy, the NFL has already prepared itself for the same. Former NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue postponed the Tuesday appeal hearing for the four current and former New Orleans Saints players scheduled to take place in Washington, D.C., and though no games are set to be cancelled, what's been dubbed "Frankenstorm" is on the minds of those in the league.
"History is being written as an extreme weather event continues to unfold, one which will occupy a place in the annals of weather history as one of the most extraordinary to have affected the United States," Stu Ostro of The Weather Channel posted early Sunday afternoon.
A meteorologically mind-boggling combination of ingredients is coming together: one of the largest expanses of tropical storm (gale) force winds on record with a tropical or subtropical cyclone in the Atlantic or for that matter anywhere else in the world; a track of the center making a sharp left turn in direction of movement toward New Jersey in a way that is unprecedented in the historical database, as it gets blocked from moving out to sea by a pattern that includes an exceptionally strong ridge of high pressure aloft near Greenland; a "warm-core" tropical cyclone embedded within a larger, nor'easter-like circulation; and eventually tropical moisture and arctic air combining to produce heavy snow in interior high elevations. This is an extraordinary situation, and I am not prone to hyperbole.
Most recent reports have the storm hitting an area from the Mid-Atlantic coast up to New England. At New Jersey's MetLife Stadium, where the New York Jets are set to play the Miami Dolphins at 1 p.m. ET, precipitation is expected, and winds could be gusting at 30 m.p.h. or more. If you wanted a situation tailor-made for more Tim Tebow in the Jets' ground game, this might be it.
The storm could affect people all the way down to North Carolina, where residents are boarding up windows and preparing their emergency kits. Airlines up and down the coast have encouraged travelers to alter their plans in the next few days, and waived cancellation fees as a result.
New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie has told his constituents to prepare for 7-10 days without electricity, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg has said that his subways may close by 7:00 p.m. Sunday evening, and some train services from New York to Washington, D.C. have already been cancelled, per the New York Times.
The Redskins won't be in D.C. for that -- they're up in Pittsburgh, preparing to play the Steelers at Heinz Field, and the National Weather Service has posted a high wind watch and flood watch for Western Pennsylvania, including Pittsburgh. The meat of the storm's effects are expected to hit Monday morning, but heavy precipitation is expected through today's game.
That will also affect the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles, who are set to play today at Philly's Lincoln Financial Field. It's not just the possible gale-force winds that have people worried in the area -- flooding is possible over the next few days. In the Eagles' case, "Frankenstorm" could be an advantage to a degree -- the Falcons are an indoor team at home, their high-powered offense is more reliant on passing than running the ball, and we could see a lower-flying game than we would under friendlier conditions.
Any port in a storm, so to speak, for embattled head coach Andy Reid, who spent the bye week firing defensive coordinator Juan Castillo and deflecting more calls for his job from the Philly Phaithful then ever before.
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