Later this week NFL fans the world over will have the chance to bask in the wonderful traditions of a football-filled Thanksgiving. From the early morning Turkey Bowl, to the late morning Detroit Lions/New England Patriots football game, followed by an afternoon feast in front of the television screen showing the Dallas Cowboys/New Orleans Saints, it doesn’t get much better than this. In prime-time, fans can grab their pumpkin pie and enjoy the antics of Rex Ryan and Terrell Owens as the Bengals visit the Jets.
This year we lucked out that the Lions and Cowboys, the cellar-dwellers of the league, will actually play two popular and exciting teams. Watching the incompetent Lions sans Barry Sanders and the “used-to-be-proudly-considered” America’s Team Dallas Cowboys has been painful the last few years. Am I the only person who gets tired of watching Jason Hanson kick field goals and Tony Romo throw picks?
The Lions, regardless of how bad (or worse) they are, have hosted a Thanksgiving game every year since 1934. The Cowboys have had the same honor since 1966. I think I speak for most in my age group when I say that with the exception of the Barry Sanders era, watching the Detroit Lions has never been something to look forward to. The only good that comes from watching Lions’ games on Thanksgiving is that it makes me thankful I don’t live in Detroit, and that I don’t have to be a Lions fan.
As for watching the Cowboys, it used to be a welcome event, but Tony Romo and Jessica Simpson have spoiled that. The days of Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin, Daryl Johnston, Jay Novachek, Leon Lett, Ken Norton Jr., Charles Haley, and Darren Woodson are long gone. America’s Team has been transformed into a bunch of prima donna’s who bring more ratings to TMZ and Entertainment Tonight than they do ESPN.
So why hasn’t someone in the commissioner’s office pulled the plug on the Lions at least? It’s not as if they are at all competitive or have a wide fan base, which is the only thing going for the Cowboys right now. As for change, the NFL has made some strides which they deserve credit for, though not all have access to them. In 2006, the NFL added a third game to be played in prime-time on the NFL Network, which anyone with satellite and an extra fee can pick up. (Good thing the Oakland Raiders didn’t get picked every year for this one – talk about an all-star lineup, geez.)
Thanksgiving time should be an opportunity to reflect on the wonderful blessings we have in our lives. It should not be a time for complaint and wishing for what might have been, yet I feel watching the Lions and Cowboys every year doesn’t allow me to experience this time of thanks as I should. I always spend this day in want of being able to view football teams that have talent and a desire to win.
Please Mr. Goodell, if you are listening, do us all a favor and tell the Lions and Cowboys to take the next few years off, and give us some teams on Thanksgiving that we can truly be thankful for. As for you fans – grab your plate, sit back in your recliner, and watch as the 2-win Lions and Cowboys give us a Thanksgiving celebration we’ll truly be thankful for – when it’s over.