Thanksgiving Tradition Turns Into a Mess
We all knew, I'm assuming, that the Titans would feast on the Lions. Most people probably thought it wouldn't be close, myself not included (don't take that to mean that I thought the Lions would win, I didn't. I knew the Titans would win, just with the way the Lions have started off games recently, and all of the Titans one possession games, I thought it might be close).
Regardless of your prediction, we might not be seeing this same Thanksgiving format next year.
Quickly, let's take a look at each game. The 11-1 Titans dominated the 0-12 Lions all day, winning 47-10. The NFL couldn't have known in the preseason that the Lions would be winless and the Titans would be tied for the best record in league, but commissioner Roger Goodell should've known the Lions would be bad, and the Titans, defending AFC wild card winner, would be competitive.
Next was the 8-4 Cowboys over the 2-10 Seahawks 34-9, in the day's closest game. This, before the season started, looked like a good game, but with the too bad for words performance from the NFC West overall, and the Seahawks, there was no chance for Seattle to salvage a win.
The last game, on the NFL network, featured the Eagles crushing the Cardinals 48-20.
In the beginning of the year, on paper at least, the Cowboys and Eagles games looked pretty good. But the thing is, both the Lions and Cowboys HAVE to play on Thanksgiving. Until yesterday, I was in favor of this format, although I did, and still do, want to get rid of this third game.
If the Superbowl champs open off the year, which I like, then the losing Superbowl team, and the team that lost in the conference championship to the champs, should host Thanksgiving. So under this format, it would be the Pats and Packers hosting this year, and abolish the third game.
So, if the two teams were to play the teams they are actually going to play this week, we would have seen 8-3 Steelers vs. 7-4 Pats and 8-3 Panthers vs. 5-6 Packers yesterday. Sometimes one of the two teams won't be good—the Pack aren't great, but are better than their 5-6 record would seem—but almost always, in the near future at least, the NFC/AFC conference championship loser and the Superbowl loser will have a better combined record than that of the Lions and Cowboys.
Another reason to think this will happen: Roger Goodell has made a lot of huge decisions in his tenure, greatly changing normal NFL traditions, and is thinking about many more extreme changes. He'll hesitate, but he'll never turn any proposal down right away.
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