How The Gruden Stole ChristmasS

So are we pretty much agreed that the Big Three in Christmas specials are The Grinch, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and A Charlie Brown Christmas? (Apologies to Will Leitch). Well, one of these will not be seen in the Tampa Bay area as scheduled on Monday, as ABC is pre-empting A Charlie Brown Christmas for the Buccaneers-Panthers game.

It's not like this Peanuts special, first shown in 1965, isn't widely available on DVD, or again later this month on television. But this is the first airing of it this holiday season, which is a cherished tradition for a lot of people. Curling up with your family in front of a roaring log fire to watch Josh Bidwell punt out of his own end zone just isn't the same.

Actually we know what happens in the Peanuts special: Round-headed boy picks out spindly tree, ineptly directs Christmas play, is mocked by own dog; not unlike the way things were run with the Lions under Millen. The outcome of Monday night's game is less certain, as the two 9-3 teams battle for sole possession of first place in the NFC South (be sure to look for Julius Pepper's heartwarming reading of the Gospel of Luke, verses 8 through 14).

Fun fact: A Charlie Brown Christmas aired annually on CBS from 1965 through 2000; more consecutive showings than any special or movie in TV history. In 2001 the rights were acquired by ABC, where it has been since, showing twice a year.

Graphic: Associated Press

How The Gruden Stole ChristmasS

Ch. 28 Picks Up Buccaneers Game Monday, Pre-Empting Charlie Brown Christmas And Boston Legal Finale [Tampa Bay Online]