Missed Opportunity: Jets and Chiefs Absent on Turkey Day

schuyler cornwellContributor INovember 13, 2009

28 Jul 1998:  General view of the new helmets for the New York Jets during the 1998 New York Jets Training Camp at the Hofstra University in Hempstead, New York. Mandatory Credit: Todd Warshaw  /Allsport
Todd Warshaw/Getty Images

Thanksgiving is drawing closer, carrying with it fond memories of turkey, gravy, cranberry sauce, and football. From the backyard games between families to the Cowboys and Lions on TV, we all have our own traditions. The NFL, though, missed the opportunity to celebrate the beginning of the Thanksgiving Classic.

In a year where the NFL is commemorating 50 years of AFL football and force feeding us throwback jerseys of the sixties, the original AFL teams are missing. The New York Titans (Jets) and The Dallas Texans (Chiefs), played the first Thanksgiving game for the AFL.

The Titans won the game 41-35. In fact, the New York Titans played in the first three Thanksgiving games for the AFL, winning all three. It's odd that while the NFL is celebrating the AFL, the third game on Thanksgiving will be the Giants vs. the Broncos.

The Broncos are one of the original eight of the AFL, but the Giants are an NFL team. It lacks the feel of a classic Thanksgiving game.

They did get the other two games right, the Lions vs. the Packers and the Cowboys vs. the Raiders. The latter will be the AFL "Legacy game." Not a bad choice, considering the Cowboys play every Thanksgiving and the Raiders played four times on turkey day in the sixties.

Still, a game between the New York Titans and the Dallas Texans captures the essence of the AFL and it's storied beginning. They could have made a big spectacle and brought out some of the original players, like Don Maynard (10 receptions for 179 yards and one TD in that first game) or Abner Haynes (11 rushes for 157 yards and two TDs) to honor their contributions.

I don't know how scheduling is done, but missing out on a game like this feels wrong and leaves the fan of the AFL wanting.