Bill de Blasio kicks off Super Bowl Sunday by fumbling Staten Island Chuck

Mayor Bill de Blasio hangs on to a

Mayor Bill de Blasio hangs on to a squirming Staten Island Chuck Sunday, Feb. 2, 2014, at the Staten Island Zoo. The New York City mayor was wrangling Chuck who was supposed indicate whether the city will see six more weeks of winter. It will, Chuck is said to have seen his shadow. (Credit: Patrick E. McCarthy)

Staten Island Chuck -- New York City's resident weather-predicting rodent -- squirmed and escaped from Mayor Bill de Blasio's hands during a Groundhog Day ceremony Sunday, prompting the mayor to compare its maneuvers to those of Seattle Seahawks running back Marshawn Lynch.

"Staten Island Chuck was very rowdy this morning," de Blasio told reporters, noting that Groundhog Day was coinciding with Super Bowl Sunday for the first time. "I think that was Staten Island Chuck doing his Marshawn Lynch impression."

De Blasio, who was pulling for the Seahawks in the big game, dropped Chuck several feet in front of the rodent's "log cabin" pen just moments after he lifted him from his handler's arms at the Staten Island Zoo event.

Chuck, whose full name is Charles G. Hogg, saw his shadow during the ceremony and predicted six more weeks of winter to disappointed sighs and groans from the crowd.

Five years ago, Chuck bit former Mayor Michael Bloomberg on the finger, drawing blood.

But de Blasio, of Brooklyn, issued Chuck a warning: "In Brooklyn, we bite back."

Still, the mayor was prepared, donning thick protective gloves. The groundhog, back in his handler's arms, eventually calmed down and allowed the mayor to pet him, barehanded, while delivering the news.

"Chuck likes the polar vortex. Chuck says more winter," de Blasio said. "Chuck has spoken. It's a cold, hard reality."

advertisement | advertise on newsday

Newsday on social media

@Newsday

advertisement | advertise on newsday