Unpopular Opinion: Lions Should Be Jettisoned From Thanksgiving Day Games
Football being played on Thanksgiving Day dates back to a time when insults like "flapdoodle" and "mumbling cove" could get you called out to a duel to the death. The Thanksgiving holiday was favored by the brand new football league because they knew most Americans would be off of work that day and therefore, able to attend the games.
Now way before the Lions started playing regularly on Thanksgiving, it was a day owned by the University of Michigan taking on those dreaded Chicago Maroons. As a matter of fact, this rivalry was settled on the gridiron for 19 years on turkey day and is often cited as the beginning of Thanksgiving Day football.
This shouldn't surprise any Lions fan but did you know that the first owner of the Lions started the Thanksgiving Day tradition as a gimmick to get people to attend games? The tradition grew when the new owner negotiated a TV broadcast deal exposing the entire country to the woes of being a Lions fan. That was in 1934. This means when the Lions play the Houston Texans this Thanksgiving, the entire country will have been exposed to 86 years of Detroit Lions football on Thanksgiving Day. Just how thankful do you think America is for this? Now you know why Thanksgiving is constantly ignored and upstaged by Christmas every year.
I'm going to jump on a political theme for just a second..."it's time for change".
The Lions have tried everything to become a Super Bowl champion. They have changed general managers and coaches, drafted some of the best players on the planet in Barry Sanders and Megatron and even ownership changes and leadership changes within the ownership could nudge this team closer to a championship. Nope, nothing has worked.
Now think about this for a minute...the only thing that has remained consistent in Detroit Lions history as a professional football team, has been the annual Thanksgiving Day games.
Lets kick a tradition right square in the arse and see if we can shake up an organization that quite frankly, needs a good kick in the bum to get motivated. Motivated into becoming a consistent quality product week in and week out, instead of a team that seems to find the oddest ways of losing (and winning) games.
Lets take a page from the league's beginnings when they realized that most people have Thanksgiving Day off and on that day off, we want to see best quality football games on our TV. Can't we force the NFL to revamp the Thanksgiving Day scheduling and put the best match ups on Thanksgiving Day? Lets match up teams that have earned their way to a national audience and are worthy of our time gathered around the screen with our belly full and our eyelids heavy.
In the meantime and I'm just spit-balling here, but what if we brought back Michigan Football to Thanksgiving Day? How about the annual Michigan vs Michigan State game is scheduled annually to be held on Thanksgiving Day? Com' on now, who is with me?