Still the Lions and Cowboys on Thanksgiving, really?

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.

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.

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  • Am I wrong? Or should my attitude be: Football is football, doesn’t matter who is playing.

      • Every other team had the chance to take this game and didn’t. NOW they want it? the article is horrible. dallas has been painful to watch the last couple of years? in the last 3 years, dallas has been 33-15. they still are the biggest draw on tv no matter how bad they are. the patriots have been irrelevant up until the recent history of the nfl. too bad soo sad.

      • Joe, according to my math the last 2 years (year and a half) they are 14-12. Hardly anything to write home about. The point of my horrible article was to see if people think tradition should reign supreme or if a flex schedule on Thanksgiving would appeal to some, ie, the most relevant teams that year would play.

        Obviously Cowboys fans aren’t in agreement with this idea. But I wouldn’t have expected anything less. Thanks for your comments.

  • The only good thing about the Lions and Cowboys on Thanksgiving is the nap I take while the games are on. Then I can wake up and have room for my wife’s great apple pie.

  • Umm…I guessed you missed the memo. Romo won’t even be dressed out. No need to bash him right now.
    But really, this guy just sounds like a whiner. Who also doesn’t know what’s happening in football.

    • Kay, thanks for the comments. Sorry to insult your boy Romo for horrible Thanksgivings of the past. I do realize he hasn’t been playing, and won’t be for the next few weeks.

      You’re right, I am whining. I think I have good reason to though. NFL fans deserve better than watching garbage teams on their holiday off.

  • Wow Ben it sounds like you are one of those fans whose team has never really been good but have managed a couple of good seasons lately (Saints maybe?) Now you feel obliged and justified in getting on your high horse and complaining because you can finally lump the Cowboys with the lions who I admit have been terrible for a long time. Man you sound bitter. Get over it, have another piece of pie next thursday and enjoy the games.

    • Hey footballfan, thanks for the comments. Actually I suffered through 20 years of futility with the Pats, but the last 10+ have been great. I’m glad to see them play this year on Thanksgiving, albeit against the Lions. If we could compromise, and just get rid of the Lions on Turkey Day, I’d be ok with the Cowboys as long as Garrett can keep them playing like they have the last 2 weeks.

  • Well be glad those pats are doing good lately, because once Brady is gone they will fade into obscurity. This will mainly happen because Robert Kraft is a tightwad and doesn’t want to pay players. For the most part, the Cowboys are a winning team with a, as you have already stated, very wide fan base. I seriously doubt they will ever lose their Thanksgiving contract. Now the Lions I can give you. It’s really sad that, even with Barry Sanders, they really never amounted to anything.

    • Chris, thanks for the comments, and yes, I realize the Pats days are numbered once Brady is gone. However, Kraft has learned his lesson. He gave big money to Wilfork this offseason and is taking note of the fact that he’s being viewed as a cheapskate.

  • yeah, I agree that lions are boring and have to go, but the cowboys are interesting. The cowboys do have a huge fan base so they can stay.

  • Believe it or not there are fans out there that don’t want to see the Jets, Colts or Vikings yet again.

    It’s actually nice to see a few other teams play for once.

    If Stafford ever stops getting hurt the Lions will be a very fun team to watch. You can’t just bag tradition because the lions have had a bad stretch (a very long one)…But there are fans around the country that don’t get to see a team like the Lions ever, so once a year isn’t too much to ask.

  • yo dude your right. I dont care that teams didn’t want to do it in 1966. That was 34 years ago when the NFL wasn’t as popular and not as profitable. I’ll i care about is watching good football during primetime hours and thats what the NFL should be worried about too. They should just have 3 good games instead of giving certain teams the rights year in and year out

  • If you follow a team that doesn’t play on turkey day then you will always feel like you do. Tradition is tradition. When you go and change it then you no longer have tradition.

    I feel the Cowboys and Lions should always play on thanksgiving. If I were to change it I would give them a fixed team to play every year. Say the Redskins for the Cowboys and the Bears for the Lions. Then, have them switch every year with home games. Division games are always the best.