Thanksgiving and Football

Thanksgiving and Football

Courtesy of Wiki.comAmerican football is one of the many traditions in American culture that is associated with Thanksgiving Day. Virtually every level of football, from amateur and high school to college and the NFL , plays football on Thanksgiving Day or the immediately following holiday weekend .High school football games played on Thanksgiving are often called a Turkey Day Game or a Turkey Bowl , as Americans typically eat turkeys on Thanksgiving, although the title varies with each game. Most commonly these games are between high school football rivalries although in many cases, when poor weather requires a shorter season, the game can be the culmination of league play among a high-school league, in which the winners of this game will be the league champions for the year. {{more}}The custom dates back more than 100 years and is particularly prevalent in the Northeast. Until recently, it was not uncommon to see some of the more widely known games nationally televised on networks such as the ESPN Networks , but this no longer takes place since ESPN helped launch, and has aired in marathon format, two Thanksgiving Day college basketball tournaments in 2006.Unorganized groups have also been known to partake in American football on Thanksgiving. These informal matches are usually known as a Turkey Bowl . These games are usually unofficiated with a flag football, street football or touch football format.While the games themselves are not generally nationally known, Turkey Bowls hold importance for those who participate and it is not uncommon for rivalries to last for decades. Turkey Bowls are played by a variety of people including extended families, college fraternities, volunteer fire departments, and local churches across the country which use the day and the game to have fun, exercise and renew old acquaintances.College and professional games played over Thanksgiving weekend are usually referred to as a Classic.The Turkey Day Classic, a college football game between Alabama State University and Tuskegee University, has been played on Thanksgiving Day annually since 1924. It is also the oldest black college football classic, since the two colleges first played each other in 1901. Another popular black college football classic played on Thanksgiving weekend is the Bayou Classic between Grambling State University and Southern University, which is held the Saturday after Thanksgiving.Professional football teams and leagues have played on Thanksgiving since the first all-pro league formed in 1902. It carried over when Buffalo and Rochester, two members of the New York Pro Football League which had held its championship on Thanksgiving 1919, and the Ohio League, which traditionally held its marquee matchups on Thanksgiving, combined into the NFL upon its founding in 1920, and as such, the NFL has played on Thanksgiving ever since. The Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys have played home games on Thanksgiving since 1934 and 1966, respectively, in a series called the Thanksgiving Classic. Beginning in 2006, the NFL added a third game on Thanksgiving night with a rotating host team.The rival American Football League also played on Thanksgiving in the 1960s, as did the All-America Football Conference in the 1940s and the original AFL in 1926.This year’s holiday triple-header beings with an early Thanksgiving Day game Thursday, November 24, 2011 at 12:30 PM ET on FOX that pits the Detroit Lions against reigning Super Bowl champs the Green Bay Packers.Later that afternoon, stay tuned at 4:15 PM ET when CBS airs the Dallas Cowboys hosting the Miami Dolphins, followed by the prime-time game – with the Baltimore Ravens hosting the San Francisco 49ers beginning at 8:20 PM ET on the NFL Network.