Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 10
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Thanksgiving Football last Stronghold of Tradition

Every Thanksgiving is marked around America by food, family and football. Every year the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys host an affair, and a rotating third game was added a few years ago. This year was especially poignant for us here at Whitman as the Seattle Seahawks took on the San Francisco 49ers in the final game of the evening.

Thanksgiving might be the second biggest day of the football calendar, only behind the Superbowl. But it appears that Thanksgiving is more than just another day where people watch America’s most popular sport. It is the only day that seems to honor tradition over dollar signs.

The addition of a third game was clear ploy for viewers and advertising dollars, but the steadfastness of the NFL to keep Detroit and Dallas as the hosts for their annual games remains one of the final symbols of  “the good old days.”

This wasn’t always the case, though. The Lions were rumored to be in danger of losing their Thanksgiving game just a few years ago. Coming into the 2013 contest against the Green Bay Packers, the Lions had dropped nine straight games on the holiday, rendering it a real downer for fans around the country. The Lions won that game easily and have since returned to relevance in the league.

The Cowboys are a whole different story. They have been America’s team for a long time, and their annual showcase on Thanksgiving has to be a big part of their lore. Owner Jerry Jones has taken the Cowboys to heights unseen in the league previously, and his ability to keep this day special for the Cowboys is a symbol they will have to pry from his old wrinkly hands.

This year was different than recent history. The Lions (8-4) had the early game against Chicago (5-7), a division rival that has been struggling on defense. The Lions had been on a small skid of their own but were able to pull out the big win behind some amazing play from the passing game and running back Joique Bell.

Dallas (8-4) had a much less happy holiday as they were demolished by the Mark Sanchez-led Eagles (9-3). Dallas started out hot this year but has cooled significantly and will need to find their rhythm to get into the playoffs.

The most heavily-hyped game turned out to be the most disappointing to watch. The San Francisco 49ers (7-5) were shut down by the visiting Seahawks (8-4) 19-3. Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman made headlines earlier in the week after a bizarre press conference pointing out the hypocrisy of player safety by having players play twice in five days. This was an odd decision seeing as this is the one week that the Thursday game trend has been historic, not part of the new Thursday Night Football program that the NFL began in 2007-2008.

The Seahawks ended up with their lopsided win, but between sleeping off dinner and blowout games it would be hard to say how many people watched each game. Football might be getting a huge makeover in the next few years, but Thanksgiving football is here to stay.+

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