Football and Thanksgiving go together like turkey and gravy or tofurky and green beans. (We’re not here to judge what you’re into). These tidbits about Thanksgiving football traditions are great conversation starters for your table and your family will thank you for not bringing up the current political climate.
The Last Night’s Game Team
PS - Now that your Thanksgiving leftovers have been demolished, here's an easy Tailgate Treat to fill bellies at a football game or holiday party.
NCAA Football (College)
- Almost there. This weekend is when the College Football Conference Championships take place. This means conference teams play for the winning title and hopefully a better postseason bowl game. There are too many big games for us to cover so you can find out the scoop on each game here.
NFL (National Football League)
- I put a spell on you. New England Patriots’ Rob Gronkowski is out for the season as he will undergo back surgery today. Fans believe his injury is due to the “Madden Curse” which refers to the Madden Football video game. In the history of the video game, a significant number of players who were featured on the cover of the game have suffered season ending injuries. Although this is Gronkowski’s third back surgery by the ripe old age of 27.
NBA (National Basketball Association)
- All hail King James. LeBron James has been named Sports Illustrated's "2016 Sportsperson of the Year.” He joins Tiger Woods as the only athlete to receive this honor twice. James was named not only for bringing the City of Cleveland its first major professional sports team championship in 52 years with the Cavaliers, but for his outstanding efforts in the community.
- Futbol fun. The biggest rivalry in soccer takes place on Saturday between Spain’s top two teams - Real Madrid and FC Barcelona. These two teams are led by the biggest stars in soccer - Cristiano Ronaldo (Real Madrid) and Lionel Messi (Barcelona). The game, known as “El Classico,” is being played for the 114th year. Madrid currently holds a big lead over Barcelona in league standings. Want more? Click here.
MLB (Major League Baseball)
- Welcome home. Major League Baseball agreed to a new collective bargaining agreement with the Major League Baseball Players Association to avoid a lockout (i.e. a strike). One of the main points in the agreement removed awarding World Series home-field advantage to the winning league in the All-Star Game. Now that will be decided by the team in the World Series with the best record.
- There’s a new trend in football - tents on the sideline and no they aren’t for camping. During the Monday night game Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (NFL) mysteriously went inside the sideline tent. The tent is designed so team trainers can treat players’ injuries without TV cameras, fans or other teams seeing what’s wrong. That’s strategery. (SNL version of Bush…anyone)? The tent was introduced by University of Alabama who began using it at the beginning of the season and the idea spread like wildfire. Check it out.
- Geologists measured the ground vibrations during last week’s Ohio State – Michigan football game. The two teams' fans we’re so rowdy and created so much seismic activity during the double overtime game that it registered as a 5.79 earthquake.
- Major League Baseball players have participated in a strike before. The last lockout in baseball was the 1994 season. Yes, the whole season was cancelled.
The tradition of football and Thanksgiving has been around forever. It’s like the gravy to the turkey. It’s also a great way to sleep off your food coma or to converse with your second cousin who you have nothing in common with. Now you do – sports.
From our family to yours – Happy Thanksgiving,
The Last Night’s Game Team
PS – Looking for pointers on Thanksgiving table topics that don’t involve politics? Check out our new segment “Sports Curious” today on CBS Ch. 6 at noon CST. You can stream it live here. (Click watch live now).
Five Things to Know About Thanksgiving Football Traditions
- Former NFL player, coach, broadcaster and video game namesake (Madden NFL) started the tradition of awarding the “Turkey Leg” back in the 80s. The leg of the turkey was given to the MVP of the game. What if you have more than one MVP? Obviously you need more legs on the turkey. So he started "creating" turkeys with more legs. (He took them off of other turkeys – this isn’t the Frankenstein people).
- The “Turkey Leg” tradition ran until 2002 when it was replaced with the “Galloping Gobbler” trophy which is now given to the best player in the FOX-broadcasted Thanksgiving game.
- The Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys have hosted the most home Thanksgiving Day games in the NFL. (BTW – The Cowboys are having a stellar season lead by rookies Dax Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott).
- The Jacksonville Jaguars have never played on Thanksgiving Day.
- Canadians also watch football on Thanksgiving. They watch the CFL (Canadian Football League) on their Thanksgiving which is in October.
NHL (National Hockey League)
- Knighting ceremony. Las Vegas was granted the rights to an expansion NHL team in June and last night we found out the team's name. Drumroll please....welcome the “Vegas Golden Knights.”
NCAA Basketball (College)
- Hula holiday. This week featured a Thanksgiving week tradition unlike any other, The Maui Jim Invitational, a college basketball tournament in Maui, HI. The tournament comes to a close tonight with North Carolina playing Wisconsin for the tournament championship.
- Olympic gymnastics gold medalist Laurie Hernandez was the favorite heading into season 23 of Dancing with the Stars. In the season finale her twinkle toes did not disappoint. She took home the famed mirror ball trophy as the big winner over IndyCar Driver James Hinchcliffe. (Former NFL player Calvin Johnson came in third place).
- Tuesday night’s MLS (Major League Soccer) Eastern Conference Finals playoff game between the Montreal Impact and Toronto FC was delayed 40 minutes after it was discovered the goal box line was drawn two feet too narrow. If you remember from childhood soccer, the goal box is important because it’s the designated area where the goalie, no other player, can touch the ball with their hands. Who won the game? See here.
- U.S.A. Men’s National Soccer Team fired head coach Jurgen Klinsmann after five years as head coach. The team hasn’t been playing too well. His team failed to qualify for the 2016 Olympic Games and their recent losses in World Cup qualifying leaves them on the verge of not even making it into the 2018 World Cup. Former head coach Bruce Arena was named as the new coach. Arena previously served in the role from 1998-2006.