Why The Lions Belong On Thanksgiving

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The Detroit Lions are (arguably, I know) the worst organization in sports. Their incompetence, from the owner to the fans, is legendary. Yet, tradition dictates that every year, just as families arrive at the homes of relatives they don't particularly care for in order to celebrate this giving of Thanks, they get to play a nationally-televised marquee game. Some people think that's not fair. Let me tell you why those people are wrong. First of all, taking the game away from Detroit simply because they aren't good is ludicrous. Is anyone really fired up about the Seahawks' visit to Texas Stadium at 4:00? It's impossible to predict quality matchups a year in advance and flipping scheduled games mid-season isn't feasible, either. Other says, simply playing a Thursday home game creates some sort of advantage, because of the extra days off before the following game or something silly like that. Is it really an advantage? There is no way in hell I'm going to research this, but my guess is that over a long enough time span this is a wash. (Plus, if the Lions are so bad, don't they need that advantage?) The only rational objection is that every team should get the opportunity to host a Thanksgiving Day game. National TV all to yourself. The entire country focused just on you and your brave squad is what every player dreams of. Really? Who actually wants to work on Thanksgiving? It really isn't that special. Or does that explain why so many top-notch free agents are lining up to play for the Lions? Thanksgiving—the entire day itself—is about tradition. Every family has their rituals, their menus, their airing of grievances followed by pie. Mine works like this: Everyone arrives at Grandma's place around 10 or 11. My mom's oldest brother works the oven, while the rest of us snack on Fritos and assorted cheeses. At 12:30, we find a spot in front of the TV. We moan and groan and make the same stupid jokes about the same awful players and then someone mentions Wayne Fontes. If it wasn't for the Lions, we would have nothing else to talk about it. Our shared misery is what unites us as a family. At halftime, we eat. The turkey coma puts everyone to sleep in the second half, then the kids watch "Christmas Eve On Sesame Street" to kick off the holiday season. (Okay, maybe some adults too.) No one is interested in changing that, and when you think about it, you're probably not interested in changing your routine either. No one is actually there to watch the football—the tradition exists only to sustain itself. And without tradition, Thanksgiving is meaningless. That's why the Lions always play on Thanksgiving and that's why they will continue to play on Thanksgiving for the rest of time. Besides, where else but Detroit could a referee screw up a coin flip? That's the magic of Turkey Day football! Road to History: Remembering Detroit Lions games from past Thanksgivings [It's Just Sports] Jason Hanson, an appreciation [It's Just Sports] The 13 Best Gobble Gobble Games Ever [In Game Now] Recent Lions history lacks players worth liking [Examiner] How to Turn Your Thanksgiving Into 24 Hours Of Sports Escapism [Bleacher Report]