NFL Games on Thanksgiving a Tradition for Many

Junior Jack Thompson looks forward to watching NFL games over Thanksgiving. Photo: Zachary Howard

As families gather for Thanksgiving, one of the main events for many is the three NFL football games played every year on the holiday. The games, which started when the league was founded in 1876, have been played almost every year since. The Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions always play in separate games, while the third game, which has been played since 2006, takes place between two different teams each year.

The games are a joy to watch for many families as they often have huge playoff implications. “My family always makes sure that we can watch the games because of how important they are, as well as how fun they are to watch,” said sophomore Morgan Payne.

Sophomore Davis Futrell has another tradition, one that runs much deeper. Every year Davis travels with his family to his grandparents’ house in Hopkinsville, Kentucky. “We always have a family football game and watch the NFL games together,” he said. “They’re really fun to watch because of when they are played and because of what they mean. Also, the teams that play in the games are enjoyable teams to watch.”

The Cowboys and Lions have two of the best fan bases in the NFL, which makes the games more exciting to watch simply because of the atmosphere at the stadium. In addition, the games seem to inspire many families to organize their own backyard football games.

Even the league acknowledges the tradition of the games, handing out the Turkey Leg Award for the best performances in each game. These players get an actual turkey leg to eat on the field after the game, an acknowledgment of the holiday and the sacrifices the players make to play on Thanksgiving instead of eating with their families. The players also understand the significance of the games, which is why they are continuously willing to play on the holiday.

This year, as families gather for Thanksgiving, many will be watching the Minnesota Vikings face the Lions at 12:30 p.m. on Fox, the Los Angeles Chargers vs. the Cowboys at 4:30 p.m. on CBS and the New York Giants vs. the Washington Redskins at 8:30 p.m. on NBC.