The NFL’s “ Thanksgiving Classic “ currently consists of three games scheduled throughout the day during the national holiday. The NFL has been having turkey day games since the 1920’s. Most people reading this article, will think of the games as a traditional showcase of the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys playing against various opponents. In 2006, a third primetime game was added, featuring different teams each year. The Detroit Lions, much to the chagrin of many, have played more times on Thanksgiving than any other team. There have been organized protests by fans, tired of watching the Lions get beaten regularly. The Lions record in the “ Thanksgiving Classic “ is a below average, 33-37-2. I would’ve guessed it would be worse than that, as they have not won since 2003.
When I was nine years old, I began to follow the NFL. In those primitive times, we had the three major networks and a few local stations on television. They would show regional football games. So living in Indiana ( before the Colts arrived ), I got the Bears games against the Black and Blue NFC Central Division. For some reason, I began to root for the Lions. I remember names long forgotten by time…Greg Landry, Lem Barney, Charlie Sanders. More recent players also come to mind, like Barry Sanders, Eddie Murray, Andre Ware, and Chris Spielman. My Thanksgiving memories are marked by disappointing losses by those teams.
(I finally jumped ship and began a lifelong, bittersweet love affair with the Oakland Raiders in 1974. Though the Raiders excelled during the Madden/ Stabler and Flores/ Plunkett years, they too have had a long string of losing seasons in recent history. I’ve often wondered if long ago, a gypsy curse was placed on my great-grandfather, causing all his chickens to lay rancid eggs and dooming his descendants to forever cheer for losing football teams. ) I remember vividly, the 1980 contest between the Lions and the Bears. After valiantly battling to tie the game and send it into OT, the Lions gave up a 95 yard kickoff return to Dave Williams. Game over. Pack up the leftovers.
The NFL on Thanksgiving has become as much a part of the holiday festivities as turkey and cranberry sauce, to most sports fans. I think that recently the league is making an effort to make the games more exciting for the fans. Last years games were good match-ups, and this year’s games look interesting, too. The Lions were expected to fare much better than they have so far this year, although their play has improved over the last few weeks. They take on the Houston Texans this Thursday. Many project the Texans to be Super Bowl bound, but they struggled mightily vs. the Jaguars this past Sunday, needing OT to pull out a win. The Lions are a team that boast the exciting QB-WR tandem of Matthew Stafford and Calvin Johnson. They also have the meanest player in the NFL ( according to an NFL poll of the players ) in Ndamukong Suh. The other two games involve bitter rivalries. The Cowboys and the Redskins play in the second game, whereas the Patriots and the Jets face off in the primetime contest.
From 1989- 2001, CBS commentator John Madden would present a turkey leg to the top stars of the game. Madden at times used a “ Turducken “ ( a chicken -in a duck- in a turkey ) to have enough legs to distribute to the deserving players. Thanksgiving has a way of bringing out the best in some players. Here are the top fifteen players that may be deserving of special recognition on Thursday, and therefore should be in your fantasy team line-up, if you have them.
1. Tom Brady, Patriots QB
2. Calvin Johnson, Lions WR
3. Arian Foster, Texans RB
4. Andre Johnson, Texans WR
5. Dez Bryant, Cowboys WR
6. Matthew Stafford, Lions QB
7. Aaron Hernandez, Patriots TE
8. Stevan Ridley, Patriots RB
9. Wes Welker, Patriots WR
10. Matt Schaub, Texans QB
10. Jason Witten, Cowboys TE
11. Tony Romo, Cowboys QB
12. Alfred Morris, Redskins RB
13. Dustin Keller, Jets TE
14. Robert Griffin III, Redskins QB
15. Miles Austin, Cowboys WR
I hope all of our readers enjoy a happy Thanksgiving ! I hope you have as many things to be thankful for as I do. I’m thankful for my friends and family, of course. I’m also …..
1. Thankful that I drafted Matt Ryan as my second QB, after Michael Vick.
2. Thankful the bye weeks are over !
3. Thankful that Erik Kuselias is no longer on ESPN.
4. Thankful that Stephania Bell still is.
5. Thankful for all the idiot fantasy owners who don’t check out injuries or bye weeks.
6. Thankful for “ Fantasy Football Now “ on ESPN. A great source for game day final decisions and injury updates.
7. Thankful for DVRs, so I don’t miss Kat Dennings in “ 2 Broke Girls “ on Monday nights !
8. Thankful I grabbed the Broncos defense when I did.
9. Thankful for “ NFL Red Zone “, for when there is no certain game I’m interested in.
10. Thankful I’m not the guy who has to keep Dez Bryant out of trouble.
11. Thankful I’ve never sat on a plane next to Andy Reid.
12. Thankful I have fantasycpr.com to dispense my invaluable knowledge.
13. Thankful the NFL is not on strike, like the NHL is.
14. Thankful for beer of all kinds.
15. Thankful for Faith, Hope, and Charity. ( Three strippers in Louisville. )