The League

Leonard Shapiro

Leonard Shapiro

Washington Post sports reporter, editor and columnist who has served on the NFL HOF Selection Committee.

Pass the Alka Seltzer


Everyone likes to talk about the competitive advantage Dallas and Detroit have every year by hosting a Thanksgiving Day football game, to which I would argue: so when exactly was the last time either team rode that edge into a Super Bowl?

Well, the Lions have never played in the so-called ultimate game, and the Pokes haven't been there since the early 1990s. And how's this for a competitive advantage: this week the Lions, whose quarterback, rookie Matthew Stafford, suffered a slightly separated left shoulder last week against Cleveland, is not expected to play.

If the Lions were playing on Sunday instead of Thursday, Stafford's wounded left wing might have healed sufficiently enough for him to start. Instead, the league's offensive player of last week, a quarterback who set a rookie record of 422 yards passing and had five touchdown passes, almost certainly won't be on the field on Thanksgiving Day. If that's a competitive advantage, you could have knocked me over with a turkey feather.

Obviously both Detroit and Dallas will have a mini-bye week to help heal all those achy-breaky bodies, but once again, has that helped Detroit make the playoffs in recent years? Have the Cowboys gotten healthy enough to make a major run in the postseason since the Jimmy Johnson/Barry Switzer juggernauts in the early 1990s?

As a veteran football writer, I would have preferred having the NFL take the damned day off to begin with. My first Thanksgiving game-day experience involved Cowboys unknown quarterback Clint Longley coming off the bench in 1974 to lead an improbable comeback win against the Redskins in one of the most infamous losses in Washington history, and we all could have done without that disaster.

I will say this. At the old Texas Stadium, the Pokes did put out a mighty fancy Turkey Day spread in the press room, that is if you could handle lip-smacking barbecue, baked beans and pumpkin pie on your pre-game meal tray at the same time. Forget the football game; just pass the Alka Seltzer.

By Leonard Shapiro  |  November 26, 2009; 8:23 AM ET  | Category:  Dallas Cowboys , Detriot Lions , NFL Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
Previous: Don't mess with tradition | Next: Tradition over money


Please email us to report offensive comments.

You sure don't look like you would ever pass up a free meal or complain... and i am sure a billion dollar business like the n.f.l. cares what you think about how to run there business!! stick with the alka seltzer and stay outta my football pleasures!! O. K.

Posted by: jmb137405 | November 26, 2009 3:11 PM

The comments to this entry are closed.

RSS Feed
Subscribe to The Post

© 2011 The Washington Post Company