Life on the road in the NFL is certainly an eye-opening experience. Different stadiums, different cities and different weather conditions are just some of the things that make it so hectic. KNBR radio host and 49ers sideline reporter Rod Brooks has been through it all, making him an expert on the subject. After each road game this season, Brooks will fill 49ers fans in on what his life on the road is really like in his "On the Road with Rod," column exclusively on 49ers.com.**
Now I have the chance to say I was part of a classic Nor'easter. Saturday afternoon, I braved the elements. I get outside and it's like standing in a snow globe. Snow is everywhere. I think I went to Independence Hall. I think. I couldn't see the Liberty Bell, because it was closed. But, I think I made it to Independence Hall. It looked like all the pictures I've seen, just with ten feet of snow surrounding it. It was surprising that in a major city like that, it was all shut down. I walked down the middle of Market Street, which is one of their more traveled roads through downtown, and I was literally walking down the middle of it. There was no traffic whatsoever. It's an eerie feeling. You feel like you're in a Twilight Zone episode where you feel like you're the only guy on the planet. I felt so sorry for the people who had to shovel sidewalks. I remember some story, I think its Greek mythology and I'm probably going to screw this up, but his punishment was to push a rock up a hill. Once he got to the top of the hill, it would go all the back down the hill. He had to do that for the rest of his life. Well, watching guys shovel snow is the same concept. Because, you're shoveling snow and it's being replaced in mere minutes. Making it worse, most of the time they would get a load on their shovel, they would got o throw it off, but it would blow right back into the spot they shoveled it away from. So you see people shoveling snow and the people out there are just miserable and they're making absolutely no headway.
I'm just glad I live in Northern California, because I'm never doing that, ever. I had my experience with the great Blizzard of 2009 and I had no desire to go back out there. Everything was closed up as well, so there wasn't even anywhere to go. So, I just stayed inside and watched it snow. It was one of the more amazing things.
Thank goodness that the weather gods decided to have it come through Saturday instead of Sunday. Could you imagine what the game would have been like? How could you watch a game in that weather, let alone play in it. You couldn't have even seen it on TV. It never would have happened. Everything was white. Two feet of snow in a day! Let me tell you though, the city of Philadelphia and its ability to plow snow on a 24 hour basis; I was stunned. I was stunned by how clean they got the major roads. When I went to sleep, the interstate right outside my window was covered in snow. The next morning it looked as though the road hadn't been snowed on. You could see all of the piles of snow along the side of the road. Whatever is said about municipal government in this country, sometimes they get the job done right. I was amazed by that.
I didn't do the Cheese steak thing when I was there. When I was out walking around I stopped and got myself a Hot Beef Sandwich. It was really good. I heard that Pat's was better than Gino's for the cheese steaks, but some people didn't like Gino's because they don't cut up the meat well enough.
I would have gone out to one of those places Saturday, but it was just too tough. I figured, we'd be back there again, sooner rather than later.
I've been doing this long enough that I know as a West Coast team you are going to get one weather game a year. I've been doing it long enough. You think that game got scheduled there by accident. Come on now. A West Coast team has to go and play an East Coast team late in the season, from November through the end of the season. Sometimes you get lucky and get to play Miami, like we did a couple of years ago. We went to Cleveland two years ago. We finished up in Denver two years ago. We went to Buffalo in November of last year. West Coast teams always have to travel east late in the season. You are guaranteed as a West Coast team to get a cold weathered game. All of that just makes your chances very high that you're going to get weather during one of those trips. It didn't happen in Green Bay and it didn't happen in Seattle. Naturally it was going to happen in Philly. It's common sense. Maybe the one thing that wasn't expected was that it was going to be the worst storm in 100 years for Philadelphia. Maybe I brought that on, predicting this game would be the one we encounter weather.
Our team photographer, Terrell Lloyd and I have a lot of fun taking the game day photos of myself. Terrell is not a photographer, he's an artist. He cares about getting the perfect shot. It's not like he says, hey, you stand there in front of some logo and we'll shoot the picture. Terrell being a master of his craft has to make sure the lighting is exactly right before we take a picture. I'm just imaging him like Michelangelo having everyone wait until the perfect time, then starting to paint. I am merely his subject orbiting the sun. He is God.
I had one snowball thrown at me. I saw the chump who did it. I took a step forward then actually remembered I was working and outnumbered. I informed one of Philadelphia's finest, who by the way just stood there and watched the clown throw the snowball at me, who by the way missed, so I guess he's pitching for the Phillies next year.
I've never been to Philadelphia for a football game. I've been there for a baseball game. I've always heard about the Philadelphia Eagles fans, but I always think it's a good practice to not judge someone on a stereotype that you've heard from someone else, certainly if you haven't had any practical experience with those people. Stereotypes, by in large, are silly and dumb. It's also silly and dumb for you as a person to help fuel that stereotype about your group or type of people. That's exactly what Philly fans did yesterday. In the third quarter, on cue, snowballs start raining down. There are plenty of YouTube videos of Niner fans literally getting assaulted by snowballs. And, some of these cretins found it to be funny. Philly police officers were just stood there and watched, unconscionable. I was disgusted. It's not funny. We're all adults. Would you want somebody doing that to you? If they were in New York, would they want Giants fans raining snowballs down on them? I was disappointed with some Eagle fans for their behavior. I like to think better of my fellow man.
I'll be a little surprised if I see the same thing in St. Louis to finish the season. Someone would have to go through a lot of effort to sneak a snowball in to their stadium.
It's going to be an important game for both teams to finish the season. The 49ers are going to try and finish the season at 8-8 over the next two weeks. They have taken strides in certain areas over the course of the season. Wining road games has been proven tough to do. They've only won one, in the beginning of the season against an opponent they know very well in Arizona. Some of those close road losses were very disappointing. There is still a ways to go as far as this team being able to go on the road against a team of Philadelphia's caliber. It's one thing if you just get your butt kicked, but it's another thing if you help kick your own butt. It wasn't for a lack of effort. It wasn't for a lack of trying. It wasn't for a lack of preparation. They just went out there and didn't play well.
Football's a learning experience. They can go out and win these next two games. Next year is when you put yourself in a position where you don't have to go to Philly to stay alive in the playoffs. Next year, make somebody come to you, and you can beat them to cement your place in the playoffs. That's the lesson from Philadelphia. Don't put yourself in that position. Put yourself in Philly's position, next year.