9 Reasons Why We Love Thanksgiving Day NFL Games
Asking most Americans why they love Thanksgiving Day football is like asking most humans why they are so fond of oxygen. It’s been with us so long that we take it for granted. We just know that one special Thursday in November would be really strange without it. Not content with that explanation? Here are 9 reasons that we love football with our turkey.
9. There is NOTHING Else to Do
I’m not being dramatic here. If you’re not drinking wine or beer (or soda, if you’re an ex-addict or toddler) and posted up in front of the TV, what exactly are you doing? The only other activity on this day is cooking, which used to be almost the sole domain of the ladies. In this era of shifting gender dynamics, it’s feasible that men could be cooking as well. But there should be a TV in the kitchen, at least.
8. It Shifts the Focus From Family Interaction
Getting the family together is a wonderful thing. On paper. On paper, families are loving, understanding, and long for the comfort that only blood relations can provide. In reality, families are peppered with jealousy, smugness, and decades of passive-aggression. These emotions are suppressed until the third glass of wine, at which time one of the females in your family will cry. But with football, your liberal ass can sit down with your Tea Party cousin and ignore the elephants in the room while discussing how much fun it was to berate the Lions during the Matt Millen era.
7. You Feel Less Guilty about Falling Asleep in Front of Company
The last really compelling Thanksgiving Day game may have been when Leon Lett botched the blocked kick in the snow in 1994. However, tradition dictates that we spend every free moment in front of the TV watching football. Food + boring football + bottomless wine + couch = falling asleep in front of everyone. Passing out in front of company: It’s not just for college kids and grandpa anymore!
6. It Keeps You from Having Any Real Responsibility
While I mentioned changing gender roles a few items earlier, both men and women seem to be in agreement that men do nothing but eat and watch football on Thanksgiving. For some reason, this is still viewed as “quaint” and not “unbelievably lazy.” Which is totally neat. If you’re NOT watching football and eating those irresistible red and green M&M’s out of a bowl on the coffee table, you’re going to be put to work. Thanksgivings are a lot of work, but football fans would never know that.
5. If You’re Lucky Enough to Be in Dallas or Detroit on Thanksgiving, You Don’t Even Have to be in the House
That’s right. If you’re a football fan (and if you’re visiting this site, I’m guessing you are), you get to go to a football game for most of the day, then come home to an amazing meal. THat means minimal family interaction, and your biggest responsibility will be to pick up some beer and wine on the way home from the game. All upside. The bad news is that this season, you’ll have to watch either the Cowboys or Lions play in person, but even bad football beats most anything else.
4. The Halftime Wandering Ritual
The most comedic moments of any Thanksgiving are during the two halftimes and the break in between games when the football fans mill about the house, unsure of what to do. The following things will happen during these football-free times: they will get kicked out of the kitchen for being in the way. They will get kicked out of the kitchen for stealing food. They will get themselves another beer, forgetting they have one on the coffee table. They will step outside to throw a football around for 45 seconds until they realize they can no longer throw a spiral. They will refuse to change the channel to a parade, and they will ask how things are going in the kitchen without particularly caring what the answer is. This is the extent of interaction from football fans on Thanksgiving.
3. No More Madden
I understand this is a sore subject, so I will tread lightly. I loved John Madden. He still possesses a sharp mind for the game and will go down in history as one of the greatest commentators ever. However, late in his career, he was playing so much to his Thanksgiving persona, probably at the behest of his producers, that it was a little sad to watch this once-great man be reduced to sweat contests and mutant six-legged turkeys. He was like your adorable old uncle that everyone loves, only he was trotted out in front of America for all to see. I’m not saying it was criminal or anything, but now that he’s gone, I can go back to crucifying the announcers without feeling guilty about it.
2. Thanksgiving and Football Are Synonymous
Thanksgiving means two things, turkey and football. I’ve experienced three painful Thanksgivings without football, and they were weird. There was no unifying experience for everyone to participate in, even if it was something as strange as a Lions-Panthers match-up at 11 in the morning. No matter how different holiday guests are, the language of football transcends the differences between you and your jackass brother-in-law.
1. Awful, Awful Halftime Shows
All halftime shows are awful. That’s the law. But rather than teaming up Paul McCartney, Taylor Swift, and Pink like they would for the Super Bowl, the Thanksgiving games have less budget and are forced to use (shudder) creativity. I remember ,staring at the TV in slack-jawed disbelief as Creed played “With Arms Wide Open” while Cirque de Soleil dancers were sliding and wrapping themselves in silk banners and some branch of the military was marching in time with that horrible song. Oh yeah, and there were doves flying all over, for some reason. It was the most beautiful train wreck in the world, and reminded us all why we don’t like, but love, Thanksgiving football. ‘Cause we’re all there watching it together.