The League

Michael Kun
Author

Michael Kun

Co-author of The Football Uncyclopedia. He is also the author of six other books and is a practicing attorney.

Look to the NBA

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Look, I completely understand what Thanksgiving is supposed to be about. Family, friends, turkey, stuffing, etc., etc., etc. I get it. And you get it. We're not morons. But what we also get is that for a large percentage of Americans, Thanksgiving also means sitting in front of the TV with a plate of stuffing and watching a couple of NFL games.

Now, we could sit back and analyze why that is, and we could try to figure out why we would rather watch a football game than sit around the table with relatives we rarely see and barely know. We could speculate on what this says about all of us and our values, or about the shortcomings of American society. Or we can just accept that is the way we are and deal with a very different issue: Why is it that with such a captive audience, the NFL often makes us spend our Thanksgivings watching meaningless games or games we don't care about? Take a look at this year's games.

Detroit versus Green Bay? No interest there. If that game were on TV on a Sunday afternoon, I'd go outside and rake the leaves in our yard, without my wife even asking.

Oakland versus Dallas? If that game were on TV on a Sunday afternoon, I'd go rake the leaves in our neighbors' yard.

(The Giants versus Denver? Hmm... might be worth watching, except for the fact that we don't get the NFL Network from our cable provider.)

So, like most of you, I'll spend my Thanksgiving watching two games I couldn't care less about.

Of course, fans of the Lions, Packers, Raiders and Cowboys may feel differently. And that's great for them, but what about the rest of us? Why is it we often get meaningless games? And why is it that we always get served the Lions and Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day? (For people who despise the Cowboys, and there are many of them, it must be particularly galling to have to watch them on Thanksgiving every single year.)

The answer, of course, is "tradition." It's a tradition for the Lions to play on Thanksgiving. It's a tradition for the Cowboys to play on Thanksgiving. Well, guess what: not all traditions are worth keeping. I can think of plenty of traditions that the world was better off without, as can you. This is one tradition that needs to go, and it's time to start a new tradition. In this regard, the NFL should take a page right out of the NBA playbook.

Every year, the NBA schedules two of its marquee teams to play on Christmas Day. Sometimes, it's a rematch of the two teams that played in the finals the year before. Sometimes, it's a matchup of teams with a compelling storyline: Kobe's Lakers versus Shaq's Heat. Sometimes, like this year, it's a matchup of teams with the league's biggest stars: Kobe's Lakers versus Lebron's Cavaliers (plus a Shaq bonus).

But make no mistake about it, on a day when it has a captive sports audience, the NBA does something the NFL doesn't do. It always, ALWAYS, gives us a game we want to see. The NFL can and should do the same.

If the NFL were to announce that, starting next year, the Lions and Cowboys will not always be playing on Thanksgiving Day, they'll get some complaints in Detroit and Dallas -- and cheers everywhere else. Appreciating how unpredictable the NFL can be, and how teams can sometimes seemingly come out of nowhere to become legitimate playoff contenders, how hard would it be for the NFL schedule makers to sit down and schedule some great games for Thanksgiving Day?

Answer: not hard at all. For instance, the schedule makers knew that the Colts and Patriots would be playing each other this year. Would it have been too much to ask the schedule makers to put that one down for Thanksgiving Day?

Even if you're not a fan of either team, wouldn't you be more excited about watching the Colts and Patriots this Thanksgiving, than the Lions and, well, anyone?

I'm not suggesting that the NFL should tamper with its system of determining which opponents each team will face -- though I for one wouldn't mind seeing a Steelers-Cards rematch this Thanksgiving. No, I'm just saying that it wouldn't be too difficult to look at each team's scheduled opponents and schedule a couple of the NFL's marquee teams for Thanksgiving.

Yes, sometimes that might include the Cowboys, but only sometimes. And, yes, someday that might actually include the Lions, just not in my lifetime.

By Michael Kun  |  November 25, 2009; 7:48 AM ET  | Category:  Dallas Cowboys , Detriot Lions , NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Since I don't care for either team, my normal Thanksgiving routine is no football watching at all. I might if there were annual rotations among all the teams stadiums. At least then there would be occasional meaningful games.

Posted by: ksobserver1 | November 26, 2009 10:47 AM

Nobody really cares what you think! If it aint broke don't fix it!! what we do care about is the way our neighborhood looks.. so please go rake your leaves, and when your done rake someone else's, and be glad you have a job, and that at least 2 people read your drivel!! Ha!!Ha!!

Posted by: jmb137405 | November 26, 2009 3:02 PM

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