Why the Detroit Lions are Thanksgiving Day's Favorite "Drunk Uncle"

Sherman L. McCleskyCorrespondent INovember 28, 2008

It's a new Thanksgiving tradition that's sweeping the football world: people arguing back and forth about the Detroit Lions playing on Thanksgiving Day. As a Lions fan, I  personally love watching the Lions play. Why...?

Is it because I'm betting the spread, instead of win or loss? Good idea, but no. Is it because of the crazy things that happen during those games, like the botched coin toss? Amusing, but no. Is it because watching any football game beats explaining to certain relatives as to why you don't visit them? Thought provoking, but no.

So what is the reason? The reason why I love watching the Lions playing on Thanksgiving, is because they remind me of the ONE truly great tradition of Thanksgiving Day; laughing, crying or arguing about the actions of the legendary figure known as... THE DRUNK UNCLE!!!

No party or get-together is ever complete without the appearance of that one drunk idiot, determined to wreak havoc all over the place. When it comes to family get-togethers, it's the drunk uncle, and his best performance always comes on the family's greatest night, Thanksgiving evening.

For myself, it's a blast. It's like having your own set of "Super Bowl" commercials during the breaks in the game. "Well, it's commercial time and the Lions are down 21-0, in the first quarter, let's go check on Uncle Phil."

Sure, I could take this time to enjoy eating Aunt Fran's famous Cajun turkey, but it's not as fun as watching Uncle Phil throwing it up. Sure, I could take a moment to listen to grandpa talk about being shot in action, but that's not as fun as listening to a slurring Uncle Phil telling everyone that grandpa was actually shot in the butt. 

And you've got to love it when Uncle Phil tries to pick up the "hot chick" sitting in the corner; that's my personal favorite because in his drunken stupor, he doesn't realize that he's hitting on his own niece. That was the fun part for me; now comes that bad part.

Usually during the commercial breaks I would go to the punch bowl for a drink; that's where it all goes downhill. You see, Uncle Phil just knocked over the punch bowl in trying to reach for a napkin to wipe his face off after throwing up turkey on his niece.

The punch spills all over Aunt Fran's brand new rug and so now she's crying; the niece regains her composure and tries to escort Uncle Phil to a chair, because he's about to pull down his pants to show everyone where he thinks grandpa had gotten shot.

This part sucks, because I'm going to hear a series of loud screaming and arguing. That's when the fun of watching the rest of the Lions game starts to kick in; "I'd rather watch THIS, than deal with THAT!"

So the game is now over, the Lions have lost and now I prepare for damage control; I start assisting in cleaning up the vomit and punch from the carpet. In doing so, I relieve my cousin of her duties, so she can change clothes and go console Aunt Fran.

Once I'm finish cleaning up, I'll go to grandpa and tell him my problems. This will kill two birds with one stone; he'll give me some good advice, while I take his mind off his son-in-law.

And just like that, the rest of the evening will go smoothly because everyone had calmed down and Uncle Phil had passed out in the chair. So you ask yourself, why would any family put up with this? Well, it's quite simple.

You see, the next morning, Uncle Phil will apologize to everyone for what he'd done. From there, he will order a new rug with the bonuses he'd received from working 12+ hour shifts in order to support his wife Fran, her ailing father (grandpa) who lives with them, and his niece who's heading off to college, along with his own five kids.

In short, he's a very good man, with ONE very bad habit. As family, you can't let one bad day define the other 364 other days he'd lived as a good husband, a supporting son, a supporting uncle and a loving father.

All you can do is to love him and hope it doesn't happen again next year...Yeah, right!

So when you think about it, the Detroit Lions do have a role on Thanksgiving as "America's Favorite Drunk Uncle." Sure, like the drunk uncle in your family, you're going to have some people who wish that the Lions would be there and some who do not.

But in the end, Thanksgiving would not be the same without them; for if they were not there, you would have nothing to talk about the next day. Enjoy the rest of the holiday season...Just make sure to keep the punch bowl in a safe place.

BTW—The Lions got killed by the Titans 47-10