The game that started it all, that Turkey Day classic between the Detroit Lions and the undefeated Chicago Bears was broadcast in 1934 on a paltry 94 radio stations. The young Detroit Lions sold out their 26,000 seat stadium that year, and even though they lost the game, they have played on Thanksgiving Day ever since. The Dallas Cowboys joined the day’s lineup in 1966, pretty much for the same reason, to boost their popularity, and General Manager Tex Schramm ran with the opportunity.
America’s team, and its cheerleaders, still grace television screens for happy fans. They’ve only missed that Turkey Day game twice in the intervening years. The Cowboys host the Oakland Raiders at 4:30 p.m. ET Thursday, Nov. 28, on FOX.
This Thanksgiving, the Lions meet Green Bay for the first game of the day beginning at 12:30 p.m. ET, broadcast by CBS. The prime-time slot this year will be filled by the Pittsburgh Steelers/Baltimore Ravens contest, slated for 8:30 p.m. ET on NBC.
A Twist on Thanksgiving Tradition
As you embrace the football tradition this year, why not have hearty sandwiches as your primary Thanksgiving feast, instead of waiting for the leftovers?
The most important preparation you can make is to arrange for plenty of comfortable seating in front of the big-screen. If you’re currently a subscriber to direcTV, you already have the basic ingredients for a great party. You probably already know about the advantages of NFL Sunday Ticket — it’s not just football, you know. If you don’t have Sunday Ticket, there’s time to contact www.Direct.tv to activate your service before the big day.
How to Feed the Crowd
For the best possible pigskin party this year, you can plan to eat all day — provide plenty of grazing options and let guests cruise past the food tables as their appetites dictate. But save yourself the hassle of preparing a “sit-down” dinner, and eliminate the L-triptophan-induced stupor that too much food produces.
Instead of roasting a turkey, try smoking one. Slice smoked turkey for do-it-yourself-sandwiches on a variety of rolls and breads for a hearty, crowd-pleasing twist on a traditional favorite. It can be served warm or cold and can be served as a buffet. Perhaps add a spiral cut ham, or sliced brisket as well. With a choice of mustards, pickles, onions and cheeses, no one will go hungry. Hearty salads and some traditional sides would be a welcome addition. Check out Southern Living’s distinctively non-traditional recipes.
If you’re a traditionalist at heart, by all means serve pumpkin pie and pecan pie; or go for brownies and apple crisp with cinnamon ice cream. Give thanks for the opportunity to share good times with family and friends and enjoy the games. The whole point is to have fun and cheer for your team!
This kind of informal feast should pass muster whether you’re in Dallas, Detroit or Pittsburgh. And, when all your guests compliment you on the great party, all you have to do is smile and tell them you’re simply honoring an old tradition. Just who’s to say those pilgrims didn’t play a little game after that first feast so many years ago?
Creative Commons image by kthread