Paul Sancya / Associated Press
Just because these pilgrims choose to watch Lions football on Thanksgiving doesn't mean we all do.


I was stunned during Sunday night's Giants-Eagles game when John Madden admitted to Al Michaels that he is done with the turducken.

Wow. I mean, what is more synonymous with football and Thanksgiving than the biggest guy in the booth taking a chicken, stuffing it inside a duck, stuffing that inside a turkey ... then stuffing it in his face?

Al Messerschmidt / Getty Images
There will be no turducken served at the Titans-Lions game this Thanksgiving, so this downtrodden Detroit fan might have to settle for whatever that is on his head.

Photos:
» Thanksgiving 2007 | 2006 | 2005

Talk about the end of an era. I was hurt, I was saddened, and let's face it -- my Thanksgiving Day eating just lost some serious enablement. Then I realized ... it's appropriate. The turducken is the feedbag's answer to rampant excess, it is symbolic of greed and gluttony, and in these difficult economic times, maybe it's not right to eat three birds in one. Maybe it's a tad obscene. So why not scale back? I mean, isn't a 30-pound turkey, stuffing, gravy and three different kinds of pie enough? Well, it's gonna have to be, my friends!

And it shouldn't end there. If we're opening the box on long-standing traditions, isn't it about time we took out the ol' kitchen sharpie and 86'd another Thanksgiving tradition that fills us with empty calories and remorse? That's right -- I'm talking about having to suffer through abysmal Detroit Lions football. For some strange reason, they are a Thanksgiving Day staple, even though this year they are playing the kind of inept football you and your loved ones can never un-see.

I guess the whole point of tradition is that they can be relied upon, year after year, but at some point don't traditions still have to justify their worthiness? I mean, what is sadder than eating like a garbage disposal, collapsing on the couch, and undoing your waistband ... only to be forced to watch a winless team take the national stage? Lions football tradition has been wrong for a long time, and I feel safe in saying it has never been more wrong than today.

Look, I'm not questioning the right of Lions fans to watch their team. I grew up in the rust belt, Buffalo to be exact. I love my Bills, and we, too, have fielded our share of stinkers over the years, but we never made them a part of a national holiday! I'm just saying it's time to show the rest of us some mercy and tuck these crappy football games where they belong -- on a regional feed with the network's No. 12 announcing team.

Consider last weekend's drubbing by the Jaguars, who limped in with a meager record and a healthy dollop of clubhouse stink. As of Friday, the word was Jack Del Rio had lost control of his players. He played musical chairs with the lockers and kicked veterans to the curb in a desperate bid to stop the hemorrhaging. Much ado about nothing! Turns out, all he had to do was look at his schedule -- "Oh, we got Detroit this week? Never mind, guys, go back to your old lockers!"

Sure, Detroit jumped out to a 7-3 lead ... then proceeded to surrender 35 unanswered points! Thirty-five! Things are so crazy, they started Daunte Culpepper, a QB who officially retired earlier this year, then got five practices and a little stretching in before starting his first game in a year! 0-to-the-nine! But don't you get any big ideas about getting some answers at the press conference -- they've got a head coach who gets steamed anytime anyone dares to suggest that he's navigating a crazy train to craptown ...



NFL Classic Games will feature the Chicago Bears' 16-10 win over the Green Bay Packers in Week 9 of the 1985 season on Friday, Nov. 14 at 9 p.m. ET. In this game, Hall of Famer Walter Payton rushed for 192 yards and one touchdown in leading the eventual Super Bowl XX champions to victory over a Packers team quarterbacked by current Redskins coach Jim Zorn.

» Video: '85 Bears remember Payton
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Fans, want to watch great games from the NFL's glorious past on NFL Network? Click here for more information.

They were bad, they are bad, and what are the odds they stay winless for Turkey day? Well let's see -- they're at Carolina ... L! Then they host Tampa Bay ... L! Hmm? What's that you say -- going 0-11 sets up a Cinderella story on Thanksgiving? Okay, good point, let's just take a look at who they are hosting ... OH SWEET MOTHER OF AWFUL FOOTBALL, IT'S THE TITANS!

It's time to call the bullpen and make a change and end our long, national nightmare. Back in the day, we didn't care who played this game because it used to be a novelty to watch football on a Thursday ... those days are over! We've got Sunday night games, Monday night games, Thursday night football, we have Christmas Eve and Christmas Day games -- dear God, we even have three games on Thanksgiving Day, including a doozy -- Arizona at Philly -- right here on NFL.com and the NFL Network! Which creates a whole new problem: All that bonus NFL action means we have to justify all that viewing to our loved ones.

You know -- the people who want to have a "conversation," or "take a walk," or "Get some help with the dishes." Hard to avoid when the score is 40-nothing at the half! And without competitive football, guess what happens? The TV gets clicked over to a Lifetime movie about a lonely gal who conquers an exotic disease and along the way falls in love with her physical therapist! I am not kidding people! We are staring down the barrel of a nightmare!

Meanwhile, we've got great matchups that week with playoff impact -- Carolina at Green Bay, the Giants at Washington, Atlanta at San Diego, the Bears at the Vikings, and to top it all off, the Steelers at New England! Are you kidding me? Slide one in Detroit's slot and spare us the misery of all those camera shots panning stands filled with paper bag heads, and people who are lost now that they can't even wave a "Fire Matt Millen" sign.

It's depressing. Look, these are tough times -- everybody's scared, everybody is scaling back. We finally get a couple of days off, we sell some blood to buy a nice big bird, and sit down to watch a game ... set against the industrial backdrop of our next trillion-dollar bailout? The stock market is emotional -- I guarantee you the Dow drops 500 points the minute the Titans go up 21-zip! But it's not too late -- we still have a few weeks to fix this thing!

Until next time, I'm Nick Bakay, and I've had it up to here with all this bring-down!

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