Turkey and Football: Thanksgiving Classics
Thanksgiving and football go together like mashed potatoes and gravy. In homes across the country, people spend as much time watching football on Thanksgiving as they do eating stuffing and pie. Many football fans even find themselves rooting for teams they never normally follow simply because the excitement of the Thanksgiving day games is so intense.
History of Thanksgiving Football
Football has been played on Thanksgiving for almost as long as the sport has existed. The first Thanksgiving football game was played in Philadelphia in 1869 just two weeks after the sport is most commonly believed to have been invented. On that first holiday game, Rutgers played Princeton University in a game that few of us would recognize as football.
Professional football has been played on Thanksgiving since the 1890s. Before the formation of the NFL, some early leagues even held their championship game on Thanksgiving. The Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys have played a home game every Thanksgiving since 1934 and 1966 respectively. Today, they are the two professional teams most widely associated with Thanksgiving day football.
Memorable Thanksgiving Day Games
Thanksgiving day games tend to be high stakes, coming as they do towards the end of the season. Teams are often fighting for a spot in the playoffs when they take the field at the end of November. That is why there have been so many thrilling, nail biting, and unforgettable games over the years. These are just a few of the most famous.
- The Detroit Lions kept the Green Bay Packers from having an undefeated season when they defeated them 10-0 in the 1962 game.
- In 1976, O.J. Simpsons set the single game rushing record when he ran for 273 yards for the Buffalo Bills
- A dramatic 1993 game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins came down to a last second field goal that was blocked, setting up one of the most famous plays in NFL history.
- Jets quarterback Marc Sanchez became infamous for the “butt fumble” when he ran headfirst into his own offensive lineman and lost the ball in a 2012 Thanksgiving day game.
Football at Home
The link between Thanksgiving and football goes beyond merely watching games on TV. At many holiday gatherings, a friendly game of touch or flag football is a yearly tradition. Friends and families take advantage of the crisp weather to play a game they might only play one day a year. There is a connection between the sport and the holiday that goes beyond their long history together. On the last Thursday in November, people expect to enjoy football just as eagerly as they expect to enjoy turkey.
If your station is open on Thanksgiving, make sure that you are stocked up, and carry items that cooks might need at the last minute like bagged ice or brown sugar. Also, be sure that you put a Holiday greeting up on your LED sign, and if the hometown team is playing football on that Thanksgiving, show your support.
Image Source: commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Thanksgiving_1900.JPG