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The Rundown: 5 Things to Know About Thanksgiving Football Traditions

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

  1. 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).  
  2. 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.
  3. 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).
  4. The Jacksonville Jaguars have never played on Thanksgiving Day. 
  5. Canadians also watch football on Thanksgiving. They watch the CFL (Canadian Football League) on their Thanksgiving which is in October. 

Here's the complete Thanksgiving Day schedule

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)


  • 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). 

Sideline stat

  • 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.

Coaches’ corner

  • 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.