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April 23, 2014

Time for the NFL to end a Thanksgiving tradition

by Allison Waldman, posted Nov 28th 2008 2:32PM
NFL LogoIf you're like a lot of other American families, Thanksgiving dinner included not only turkey, cranberries, stuffing and pumpkin pie. You also had the TV on and the football game playing.

Every year there are two games that are locked in -- by tradition -- to the Thanksgiving game, the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys. Well, it's time to end tradition and end it now. While Dallas has remained a national favorite -- whether you like them or loathe them, they're relevant -- the Detroit Lions are not. There aren't many times a year when family gets together and TV viewing is a big part of it. It's fun to watch the NFL with family and friends, but the game has to be potentially a good one. Some of my favorite memories are of watching football on TV on the holidays.

This season they are winless and looking at their schedule, not likely to notch a single victory the rest to the way. They are awful and unwatchable. Yesterday the Detroit Lions were trounced 47-10 by the Tennessee Titans and the game was over in the first quarter, ruining the viewing for the entire nation. It had to be an embarrassment for the people of Detroit!

Attention, NFL! It's time to stop forcing the Lions down our throats. And I'm not the only one to say so. ESPN and sports radio have been buzzing about it all day. The NFL is the perfect game to watch on TV -- it's made for the dimensions of the screen, the color and pageantry works, all the cameras and slow motion bring out the nuances of the game. The NFL has thrived as TV has, so it's imperative to broadcast the best of the league.

The Lions have traditionally played a Thanksgiving game because they came up with the promotion in 1934. Back then -- pre-TV -- nobody believed that fans would attend a professional football game on a holiday. Since the advent of TV, though, we've come to look forward to celebrating the holiday with football to watch. Unfortunately, the Lions are the worst team in the NFL this season and have not been a playoff caliber most of this century. They were 9-7 in 2000. In the past 20 games, they are 1-19. In two words -- they stink.

Here's my suggestion, and I'm including Dallas in this even though they have been competitive and popular: the NFL should come up with a flex schedule for the Thanksgiving games. Including the one broadcast on the NFL network, that's three games that should be earmarked for the best match-ups using the same kind of flexible scheduling that they instituted in 2007 for Sunday games from weeks 11-17. That should include Thanksgiving. What do you all think?

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Bill

Mr.Ford Please Sell The Team. It's our only hope! If you support this idea then you should support this crazy website http://www.pleaseselltheteam.com

February 02 2009 at 1:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
cray

Too much of a deal is made over this. Thanksgiving doesn't entitle itself to have an exciting NFL game. shut the TV off and enjoy family, because you'll see them again on Christmas and likely watch more football together.

The problem isn't scheduling, its the fact that Lions are not very appealing team right now. This could change in a year's time as Lions are destined to receive the #1 draft pick. Many scouts think Matt Stafford will go number 1 in the draft, who is a quarterback. If you know anything about football, a very good quarterback can really change a team from losers to winners.

So next year the Lions might actually be interesting to watch.

November 29 2008 at 9:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to cray's comment
Edward

Do you really want to give $60 million plus to a rookie quarterback? How about paying half that amount to Matt Cassel and spend the rest on improving the rest of the team? Cassel to Calvin Johnson? The Lions need an offensive line and a defense. That should get them to 10 wins.

November 30 2008 at 10:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Zach

I'm sick of all this talk. Yes they are absolutely horrible but the fact is that they are not even considered for Monday or Sunday night football, this is the only time they get any national attention. Hopefully Thursdays game will convince Mr. Ford to sell the team. His ownership is the reason they have continued to suck. The Thanksgiving game is Detroit tradition, good team or no. Sports are cyclical but unfortunately we live in a day and age where nobody can think outside of a four year window. There was a time in the 80's when the Patriots were pretty bad now look where they are. Just by scheduling different teams does not guarantee competitive games. STFU and be thankful that you aren't a Lions fan, it hasn't been fun.

November 29 2008 at 11:41 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
sdm

I am a long suffering Lions fan of nearly 30 years. I say take the game away from them. They deserve to have every last bit of dignity stripped from them, just like the dignity of the fans has been stripped away.

0-16 is the bottom this team & franchise deserves. Then, MAYBE they will clean house & hire some people who know what the hell they are doing.

sdm

November 29 2008 at 10:31 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GL

I just can't seem to get uptight about this. Every week some games just aren't very interesting (for a variety of reasons) and it's not that easy to determine ahead of time.

November 29 2008 at 3:00 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
StillBash

Funny thing I found is that you mean "teams" not "games" that are locked in.

Because locked in games would mean 4 preset teams.

This way or the other, if you ask me, a real football fan watches this anyway. So I don't get your complaint at all. What's the problem? It's football. It's Thanksgiving. Either watch it or don't, but don't pretend as if you could predict how good a game will be just because of which teams you chose.

To be honest I myself like games that end with high numbers because there's movement on the field. Then there are others who think that a virtual stalemate between two teams with highly efficient defenses is just as interesting, with a result of 9 - 3 well within the desireable range just as long as those 4 Fieldgoals were earned hard - maybe even with a 50 yard fieldgoal in there.

Chosing teams doesn't guarantee you interesting games. And all the other teams play within the next three days anyway.

November 28 2008 at 10:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
eleran

Funny that NO ONE mentioned this last year when the Lions came into the game 6-4 and playing pretty well before a late season collapse.

If you don't like the game the TV has other channels.

November 28 2008 at 7:49 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to eleran's comment
Edward

It's the Curse of the Kitna Guarantee (Lions winning 10 games)...

November 28 2008 at 9:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
scott

How about a mid-season Super Bowl. The current top teams from the AFC & NFC meet on Thanksgiving Day for a game.

November 28 2008 at 5:11 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
yatesy

you know, not everyone wants to see new york (or other big city teams) play every big game. there is a rest of the country too. and while detroit might suck this year, you never know, with a good draft pick and a decent coach, they might turn it around.

it is virtually impossible to predict a good game unless both teams are fantastic.

i went to the eagles game last nite and it should have been not only a snoozer but a arizona win. if you watched the game, you saw that the eagles beat the crap out of arizona. this is what im saying, you never know. any given sunday (or holiday for that matter).

this being said, i hate dallas so feel free to strip them of everything, haha.

November 28 2008 at 4:24 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to yatesy's comment
Edward

Having the previous season's Super Bowl winner (Giants and Colts would have hosted the past two years) play a divisional game would have lots of excitement, as barring major injuries, the team would probably be in contention at the very least.

From the network's point of view, having a big market team would be golden for ratings as that will capture the largest core audience for the game.

November 28 2008 at 5:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
aaron

"you know, not everyone wants to see new york (or other big city teams) play every big game. there is a rest of the country too. and while detroit might suck this year, you never know, with a good draft pick and a decent coach, they might turn it around."

Agreed, not everyone wants to see big city teams, but ratings are still important to the league. They have shown no strides to turn it around.

"it is virtually impossible to predict a good game unless both teams are fantastic."

A game? You're right on that. But you can predict at least a good matchup but only NBC/NFL has that power and NBC's football is not on Thanksgiving.

"i went to the eagles game last nite and it should have been not only a snoozer but a arizona win. if you watched the game, you saw that the eagles beat the crap out of arizona. this is what im saying, you never know. any given sunday (or holiday for that matter)."

I got the point earlier but still right. With McNabb, you never know who will show up.

"this being said, i hate dallas so feel free to strip them of everything, haha."

It's easy to hate Dallas if you are a Eagles fan, but if you are a Cards fan...really? If you are Eggles fan, have fun Kevin Kolb. That's what you get for not supporting McNabb for years.

November 28 2008 at 7:06 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tim

I say schedule last year's wild card teams on Thanksgiving. Pit the two 6th seeded playoff teams from last year against each other, while allowing the 5th seeds from each conference to host a game.

Using last year's playoffs as a guide, this system would have produced Thanksgiving Day home games for Jacksonville and the New York Giants.

The night game would have featured the Titans against the Redskins.

November 28 2008 at 3:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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