Thanksgiving football a holiday tradition we can all get behind

Programming note: I realize there was no “The Afternoon After” this week. The reason is simple: I didn’t see any games except for some of the Thursday night Dolphins win over the Panthers, and even that was in a bar, so I didn’t get as much out of it as usual. Especially considering the Patriots-Saints Monday Night game, that’ll be back in business this week.

Somehow, these people appeared to have a better dinner on some table in the parking lot of a stadium than I had in a semi-legitimate house. I do, however, also drink "Fuze" 

Thanksgiving is not my favorite holiday, to say the least. I’m not a big eater (though, you know, I’ll have some turkey and stuffing) and don’t generally prefer pies. I just don’t even get it. The only thing we seem to be celebrating in earnest is gluttony; nobody’s sitting there with their gravy-soaked meat discussing the pilgrims or whatever.

I do like the Macy’s Parade, specifically the Spider-man and Snoopy balloons, but I’m rarely up in time to actually watch it. The best part of the holiday for me is going for a nice, long run; no cars are on the road because everyone’s, uh, eating.

Actually, I like very few holidays. I’m Jewish, so Christmas and Easter are out. I don’t particularly like Chanukah either. I’m not Irish or a drunk, so St. Patrick’s Day doesn’t do it for me. I sort of like July 4 and New Year’s but I could do without them. Even my birthday – well, I’m doing all I can to stop the aging process.

Basically, it’s all Halloween.

But one thing has always fascinated me about Turkey Day – the football aspect of it. Whenever you talk to someone about what they have planned for Thanksgiving, it’s always the same thing: having the family over, eating way too much, and watching football.

Thanksgiving Parade

Now, I didn’t watch a minute of football yesterday. It’s not that I don’t like football, because I do. It’s not that I’m un-American; I consider myself to be somewhat of a patriot. I just didn’t really see any compelling games on the schedule.

Sidebar: I have no problem with the perpetually terrible Lions continuing to play in a tradition that dates back to 1934. It’d be yet another slap in the face to Detroit, which has been decimated by the economic downturn, and I’m something of a traditionalist.

All that said, I had no interest in the actual games. With the Lions-Packers mismatch, the horrible Raiders playing the Cowboys and a less-than-compelling Giants-Broncos game between two reeling teams, nothing kept me glued to the screen.

The thing is, the NFL didn’t need to put on a great slate of games to get massive ratings. Football is always there. It’s an indelible part of the country’s fabric on this holiday. This is what you do to bond with – or get away from – your family. You put the games on.

Better than anything he's done on the field

I remember last year, while the Cowboys destroyed the Seahawks, 34-9, my father and I escaped the rest of the family to watch the game. My dad isn’t really a football fan, and the game was pretty lousy and didn’t mean a whole lot. But we still enjoyed discussing the merits of Tony Romo, pointing out to each other the breakneck running style of Marion Barber – basically, it didn’t matter what the game was, we just felt good sitting together as father and son and watching a game.

And of course, I like hearing about when people like Charles Woodson (above) visit hospitals and things like that and bring a little bit of cheer to people who need it, using their fame and ability to instill some good in the world.

And I guess that’s what it’s about. Football on Thanksgiving is just… right. Even if you don’t watch football, or enjoy the holiday, there’s just something to be said for simply sitting with your loved ones and watching a football game.

Maybe it’s something that you can’t really explain, but just don’t have to.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone.


One Comment

  1. Thank you for an article that puts “football” in the perspective of family, overeating, oven baked turkey, talking with family, baked goods, a lot of food, love, and more love…of the game, of family, of life.

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