When I was a little kid, Thanksgiving was never about Pilgrims and Native Americans. I was always savvy to the shady way us white folks took control of this country and I was raised to recognize that this day isn’t the celebration I was taught in school. So this day has never been about making paper mache hats or centerpieces with maze. It always has been and will be about family, and how the family bonded was over football.
People talk about Thanksgiving and tradition but to me football has alway been that tradition, end of story. There was always something special about getting three games in the middle of the week, one of which started before noon in my hometown (oh how European). It’s kind of like getting christmas gifts early, and while my favorite team never played on Thanksgiving, that never mattered. To me, when the Packers and Lions don’t play on Turkey Day, something’s off.
Maybe that’s me, but that’s my tradition. It has nothing to do with mistakingly celebrating the theft of land from a culture and a people, it’s far from being about making a masterful meal of turkey, stuffing and potatoes. I’m not saying this because I write about and follow sports for a living, we all have our traditions we pass down form generation to generation.
My father passed down this special day to me and I have vivid memories of wishing Mike McMahon threw a miracle touchdown pass for the Lions in 2001 so I could stay at my Grandma’s in Duluth just five minutes more. And who can forget Jerome Bettis’ heads/tails coin flip call, or Randy Moss and his incredible day against the Cowboys?
That’s tradition, that’s family, that’s Thanksgiving. Enjoy.
All games are nationally televised on your local station affiliate.
Houston Texans at Detroit Lions
Jim Nantz/Phil Simms
Washington Redskins at Dallas Cowboys
Joe Buck/Troy Aikman
New England Patriots at New York Jets
Al Michaels/Chris Colinsworth