Eight Simple Things About Thanksgiving and Football

It's that time of year again!  Unless you are a newborn, then I should tell you that it's a certain time of year that you have not yet experienced, where families get together to discuss how school is going and when are you going to get married?

Every year families are forced, I mean love, to get together around this time of year and catch up, eat food, make the same complaints and arguments as they do every year, and watch football.  It's interesting that football has become as important to Turkey Day as, well, turkey is, but it's not surprising.  Afterall, Thanksgiving is an American holiday and football is an American sport.  

The roots of Thanksgiving football go back further than you would ever imagine.  It's part of our culture, part of our life, but most importantly, Thanksgiving football is a valid excuse to get the hell away from your family and zone out while grunting to your uncle in agreement about some stupid play call.

The Seahawks play the Washington Redskins on Sunday, and normally I would preview something about our opposing team, but I couldn't find eight things about the Redskins.  I could only find a couple:

1. When I was very young I thought I was supposed to root for "Washington" and I did for awhile until finding out that it was a different kind of Washington.

2. They're the only team to never draft or sign a quarterback in NFL history, instead opting to play football without one.

3. What an offensive team name.

It's funny that the day before Halloween we played the orange and black Bengals and that three days after Thanksgiving we are playing the Redskins, in an effort to honor American history with a slaughter.  

Instead, most of us have the day off today, so why can't I too?  Here's some things you may or may not know about Thanksgiving.

Football on Thanksgiving Dates Back to 1887, Eleven Years After We Decided that the Lions Suck.

It is said that the first football game on Thanksgiving occurred between high schools Boston Latin School and English High School in Boston.  Latin won that day, 16-0, but in the end English won because we don't speak that dead language crap.

Latin has dominated the series, winning 37 of the last 39 contests between the schools, but nobody speaks that crap anymore so who cares?  The series is now played at Harvard University every Thanksgiving, meaning that at least some meaningful football happens at Harvard.

Professional Football Dates Back Nearly as Far

There was once a league called the National Football League that formed in 1902 with the help of Major League Baseball, but it was hardly national at all.  In fact, all three teams were from Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh Stars, Philadelphia Athletics, and Philadelphia Phillies.

They held their first championship game on Thanksgiving day to a scoreless tie and so all three teams declared themselves "champions."  It would really matter too, because the league would last only that one season.  The most notable players were baseball players like Rube Wadell and Christy Mathewson.  It was a complete disaster maybe, but it was still more successful than the XFL.

The Lions Have Been Sucking It Up on Thanksgiving for Ninety Years

The real NFL started in 1920 and much like most of the last ninety years, people didn't want to go watch the Lions.  (They have had different names and the franchise you know today started in 1930 as the Portsmouth Spartans, but the Detroit "Heralds" lost to the Dayton Triangles on Thanksgiving 1920.)  So, original owner G.A. Richards started the tradition of the Lions playing on every Thanksgiving as a gimmick in order to draw fans, so now you have somebody to blame.

Of course it worked because Richards knew that if you wanted to drive thousands of fans to the stadium, offer them a chance to get the hell away from their families for a couple of hours.  If you need irrefutable proof that people dislike spending an entire day with their in-laws, look no further than the fact that they'd rather watch the Lions than be there.

Then We Got the Cowboys

After the country slipped into a major depression because of having to choose between family and the Lions, the league finally started giving the Dallas Cowboys a yearly Thanksgiving game in order to give proper balance to the universe in 1966.

Between 1966 and 1985, the Cowboys missed the playoffs just twice.

Between 1958 and 1990, the Lions made the playoffs three times.

We needed some kind of compromise.

Though the Cowboys and Lions are as Thanksgiving as revealing secrets over your third bottle of wine, they never play each other. The deal is that Fox gets an NFC game and CBS gets an AFC game and now we get a night game too since 2006.  We now have all day to ignore our families.

It's College Football Rivalry Weekend

What a perfect way to follow-up the rivalries with siblings and other family members than to take it to the gridiron.  There is no shortage of football, but more importantly, no shortage of hate in the days following Thanksgiving.  It's a perfect way to vent and be angry and pretend you're directing it at the teams when you really want to direct it at your mom and dad.  Let it out.

We've got the Apple Cup, LSU-Arkansas, Auburn-Alabama, Oklahoma-Oklahoma State, Ole Miss-Mississippi State, and more.  

The Apple Cup is the one most of you will care about.  I am a Coug, so my only challenge on Saturday will be making it home with pants on.

Turducken

I miss you John Madden.  I know you're not dead, but now that Al Davis is officially gone, I'm starting to worry.  I will always have the image burned into my head of you introducing the world to Turducken and demonstrating how it's so juicy that you don't even need a knife to cut it.  You used your hand to go right down the center and separate it into two.  Can you at least return for Thanksgivings?

I wish I could take credit for this image, but I just found it.

John-madden-quote_medium

Seahawks on Thanksgiving

I hope this is correct, but I found three occurrences of the Seahawks playing on Thanksgiving:

Nov. 27, 1980 - Dallas Cowboys 51, Seattle Seahawks 7

Nov. 27, 1986 - Seattle Seahawks 31, Dallas Cowboys 14

Nov. 27, 2008 - Dallas Cowboys 34, Seattle Seahawks 9

Really?  We could never draw the Lions on Thanksgiving?

I remember that last game sort of, roaming around the house of a relative of my girlfriend at the time (I didn't know the extended family all that well, so I kind of hated it or at least felt uncomfortable) and then noticing that the Seahawks were getting their asses kicked so I didn't really mind that I couldn't just sit down and watch the game.  

Afterwards we went to go see Bolt 3D, and I'm much happier that I saw that.

The Seahawks are playing on November 27th this year, but it's not Thanksgiving.  Just as a note, the Redskins are 1-6 on Thanksgiving.  You'd think as karma, the Redskins would be given a break on that holiday, but nope. Still all bad.

Thanksgiving in Small Groups or Alone

Ever since I left for Pullman about eight years ago, I've spent many holidays away from family.  It's not a big deal and I'm quite used to it.  It will be no different this year, probably just grab a meal with my roommate and drink a lot.  So.. like any other day.

I came up with some tips and here are some pictures I took.

Use a Cornish Game Hen instead of a turkey, because I sure as hell don't want to attempt to cook a turkey.

Imag0307_medium

The British and their crazy slang.  Yeah, I truss you.

I've found that the easiest way to make single servings sides is using frozen dinners.  For .99 cents I can use this Banquet turkey dinner for side dishes like mashed potatoes, stuffing, peas, and.. turkey.

Imag0336_medium

I'm so food rich that my Cornish Game Hen has a side of turkey.

Finally, for appetizers, I use a childhood favorite:

Imag0326_medium

Thanks Lunchables.  You've saved the day again.  

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!  Go Seahawks!

Follow me on twitter @casetines

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