Growing up I can remember looking forward to the Thanksgiving Day football games the way a fat kid would over a lifetime supply of Twinkies. Knowing that the games were coming up afterwards were the only way I could sit through those incredibly boring parades that Mom always loved to watch. As long as I could watch some football on Thursday I could put up with an handle anything.
If only that theory wasn't tested just about every Turkey Day. For some reason Mom would call us to the dinner table as the first game was winding down and the Cowboys were driving towards the end zone for the winning score. You'd think living in Texas you would know how important those moments were!
The NFL has had a large part in the creation of all sorts of memories. The vast majority have to do with so-and-so making some huge plays during the game on the field. Many of the most entertaining, interesting, and quirky ones were not game clips at all, but were of some of the odd and funny things that surround the game.
After completing some intense research I have compiled a list of five of the best things that have come from or courtesy of the NFL on Thanksgiving:
5. Music Videos
Thanks to YouTube the amateur film maker in all of us is able to feed his/her addiction as long as they know someone with a video camera. Many of them suck, but some--like this one--are awesome!
4. Color TV
Imagine how you'd feel if football games were suddenly broadcast in black and white only; no color, no high definition, or even no 3-D. Now take that intense sadness and do a complete 180. That may give you a slight idea of the elation that fans had when the first NFL game was broadcast in color on Thanksgiving Day in 1965 (bet you didn't know that one!).
3. John Madden, the Turkey Leg Awards, and Turducken
In his day John Madden knew his football. And even when he didn't he was still more entertaining than most commentators. Thanksgiving was when he was at his best. When he created the Turkey Leg Awards in 1989 (first recipient--the late, great Reggie White) he initiated the first award that football players actually wanted (they just got done playing a game; they were hungry).
If there was anything that Madden liked to talk about more than football it was the turducken on Thanksgiving.
2. The Infamous Coin Flip
If you didn't know better you'd think that this game was officiated by one of the replacement refs. Otherwise there is no rational explanation. In a nut shell what happened was the captains for the Lions and Steelers met for the overtime coin flip, Jerome Bettis called tails, the ref announced that it was tails, and then he awarded the ball to the Lions much to the bewilderment of Bettis and the Steelers.
To add insult to injury, the Lions kicked a field goal on the opening possession of OT to win the game.
1. Leon Lett
Mention that name to Dallas Cowboys fans and they will not think about the two-time Pro Bowler with 22 career sacks, seven fumble recoveries, or the 200+tackles he made in a decade of service to the team. They think of 'that play' he made on Thanksgiving that cost them the game.
Football; it's a great game that gives us joy in so many ways (like time with friends and family creating memories and forging bonds that will last a lifetime). Luckily, we don't have to pay for all of them!