SHOULD THE LIONS AND COWBOYS STILL HOST THANKSGIVING GAMES?
Every Week Back Sports Page asks Five Questions to staff and experts. The questions and answers are posted throughout this week on Backsportspage.com. Check Out today’s Question!!!
Should the Lions and Cowboys still host Thanksgiving games?
Ashley Mayle (Back Sports Page):I honestly think it is time for a change. Change is good right? Every year the Lions and Cowboys highlight the Thanksgiving Day games; the Cowboys, understandably so as they are “America’s Team”, so to say. The Cowboys feature Dez Bryant and Tony Romo, the Lions…Calvin Johnson? The Lions have been in the playoffs twice in the past decade and are absolutely abysmal this year; and often are more so a mess than functional to say the least. The Lions have only won two Thanksgiving Day games in the last ten years. Cowboys, a bit better with 6 wins in the past ten years. A change should definitely be on the horizon. How about playoff rematches from the previous year for a start?
JD Mowery (Back Sports Page): I feel like Dallas should stay but Detroit needs to go. The lions have not had an overly competitive team in a while. Although this is a tough year for the cowboys, historically they have been a lock for the postseason. If they want to continue to use the moniker of being America’s team then they should stay and have their opponents rotate.
Ryan Morik (Beast of The East Sports):You cannot mess with tradition. It’s always confused me how the Lions have hosted Thanksgiving, as they are one of the more disappointing franchises in the league, but it makes sense for the Cowboys to host. They have the most popular fan base in the NFL. I do like how the NFL added a third game, however, so we aren’t stuck with only the Lions and Cowboys.
Nicole Monique (That’s What She Says Sports): No, the ONLY turkey I want on Thanksgiving needs to be on my plate under tons of potatoes not on my television. But unfortunately two of the biggest turkeys in the NFL will be playing – yet again. This tradition is old and needs to change – especially when both teams suck this season. Thankfully the Cowboys will be playing the Panthers which will be exciting to watch
Ted Hicks (Baseball Beer BBQ): Football on Thanksgiving is a tradition – such as games being hosted by the Cowboys and Lions.
Todd Strauber (Back Sports Page): The Lions and Cowboys should definitely still play the Thanksgiving game. It’s a tradition. Can’t change it. Even if both teams are terrible, and they are, it’s just tradition.
Steve Saunders (Back Sports Page): Yes. The reason they host them now is because no one would host them decades ago. Good on em for their foresight. How many families in Dallas or Detroit have a turkey day tradition that involves going to the game. Why take that away?
Matt Berka (Back Sports Page):Absolutely. The Lions and Cowboys should keep hosting Thanksgiving Day games. Both teams are a fundamental part of a near 100-year-old tradition of Thanksgiving football; the Lions have been a part of that tradition for over 80 years, the Cowboys for over 50. To deliberately overuse the word, there is too much tradition to scrap the tradition of the Lions and the Cowboys hosting games.
Over the last decade especially, there has been significant chatter (Lamar Hunt) to allow other teams (Kansas City Chiefs) the opportunity to play on Thanksgiving. Part of the reasoning for this argument is grounded in the fact that as of late, the the Lions have been atrocious, which makes for a rather uneventful Thanksgiving Day game. This was especially true during the Lions’ 2008 0-16 season where the Lions lost to the Titans 47-10. While this is a reasonable argument, teams do not stay in the basement forever, unless you’re the Cleveland Browns, that is. While the Cowboys have not been great during the last decade either, “America’s Team” pulls a consistently large audience, which is ideal for the league and stations alike. The other line of reasoning on this issue is because teams simply want a piece of the (pumpkin) pie. It’s a fun, nationally-televised game that puts a team in the spotlight. Such voices were appeased when the NFL started having three games on Thanksgiving, and season-long
Thursday night games help the issue as well by allowing the previously ineligible AFC North to take part.
All this to say that there is not a good enough reason to end such storied and respected traditions. Football has become synonymous with Thanksgiving, and the Lions and Cowboys are important aspects of that.
Matt Berkson (Back Sports Page): I’m all for traditions, but only if they’re still working and there isn’t a better option. And in terms of the NFL games on Thanksgiving there is a better option and that option is to make the games completely random each year. The key piece of information to consider here is that the NFL now has a “Schedule Announcement Show” each April. No other sport has that or could have that given the nature of the NFL season and also the interest level in it. And the amazing thing about it is…We already know who every team is going to play. It’s just a question of when they are going to play them, and that alone garners enough interest to warrant a two hour show about it on both ESPN and NFL Network.
One small piece of the schedule release is the question, “So who will be playing the Lions and Cowboys on Thanksgiving?” The interest in the answer to that question is far down the excitement-ladder when comparing it to knowing almost all other elements to the NFL schedule. In fact now that the NFL has added a third night game on Thanksgiving, finding out who plays in that game is more noteworthy. Hell…Even learning when your team’s BYE is is more exciting than finding out who plays at Detroit and Dallas on Thanksgiving.
Thanksgiving football might be a tradition, but it stretches back much further than how long the Lions and Cowboys have been playing in it. If it can change once it can change again, and the general public would be a lot more interested in seeing new teams and venues each year as opposed to “Jerryworld” and perhaps the worst run organization in sports for the past few decades. The same way we would get tired of seeing the same two teams open up the season every year, giving us a great matchup of random teams on Thanksgiving would inject a good amount of life into what has essentially become “the TV on in the background.”
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