November 27th, 2002

I Wanted To Say This

I Wanted To Say This Yesterday. . . But Page 2′s Greg Easterbrook beat me to it:

The birds are in the oven, and once again the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys will be hosts for Thanksgiving Day games. The ‘Boys have been hosts on Thanksgiving since 1966 and the Lions, who started the idea, almost every season since 1936. Why does the league grant these franchises an annual turkey-day home game? There’s no rule, just a tradition — a tradition that should end.

Easterbrook basically makes the argument that this tradition gives both the Lions and the Cowboys what amounts to a half-game advantage in the standings every season — an advantage that during some seasons has meant the difference between a playoff spot and going home, or a division title or a Wild Card.

But while I think it’s unfair too, I think a little tradition in a league that does such a careful job to chronicle its history and frame it for the future good of its product is probably a good thing.

Which is why we should let the Lions continue the tradition, and blast the Cowboys back into the pack, and rotate hosting the other Thanksgiving Day football game among the other 31 teams.

After all, the tradition of Thanksgiving Day football started in Detroit:

Since 1934, the Detroit Lions have made NFL football a Thanksgiving Day tradition. A brainchild of Lions’ owner G.A. Richards, the initial Thanksgiving Day game pitted his team against the World Champion Chicago Bears, coached by the legendary George Halas and powered by the running game of Bronko Nagurski. The Bears won 19

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