Nantz is serving as the Grand Marshal for the 92nd America's Thanksgiving Parade. Nantz and his family will ride through the parade route in Detroit Thursday morning.
"The plan is to be dropped off at Ford Field, run up a set a stairs and go do the game," Nantz said. "It's going to be really wild."
The Dallas Cowboys, which host the Washington Redskins Thursday on FOX, joined that tradition in 1966, and with the exception of 1975 and 1977, they have been a Thanksgiving Day fixture. In 2006, a primetime game was added to the Thanksgiving festivities. NBC will have coverage of the Atlanta Falcons-New Orleans Saints game Thursday night.
As always, it will be a full plate of NFL football for fans. Nantz, though, says the Thanksgiving telecast has a much different feel compared to a normal regular-season game.
"It's a real feel-good day of giving thanks," Nantz said. "At least 10 or 12 times during the game you branch off into something that has more of a holiday feel. More than just football."
An interesting dynamic occurs on Thanksgiving Day. The games pull in some of the biggest ratings of the year, as football is a central part of the holiday. Yet Curt Menefee, host of FOX NFL Sunday, realizes a significant portion of the audience is consuming the pregame shows and games in an unconventional manner.
"I think the big picture is to be honest and realize that a lot of people have the TV on, but it's kind of background for them while they cook, cocktail, and share time with family," Menefee said. "You also know that the beauty of it is that people are watching together as a family. They want to enjoy it as a group experience and part of their memory-making with mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, kids, cousins, etc. The audience that is watching is comprised of a number of people who don't watch the NFL week in and week out."
Even though they are working, Menefee says there always is more of "a familial atmosphere" among the team at FOX NFL Sunday on Thanksgiving.
"One of the great things about the studio crew is that many of the people have been there for 20-25 years, and a lot since day one in 1994," Menefee said. "It's our chance to spend the holiday with our work-family, before going home to share the day with our real families."
"It's always special for us to come together," Nantz said.
"We had it all set up," Nantz said. "In the second quarter, I said, 'So what am I thankful for? I'm thankful for George Richards. I am in love with his baby.' Pause, pause for dramatic effect. Then we showed a picture of the old Lions owner. I said, 'In 1934, he came up with the idea of playing a game on Thanksgiving and I am so grateful to him for that.'"
Did George Richards, his father-in-law, think for a split second Nantz was talking about him on national television? "Completely," he said with a big laugh.
Collinsworth's life: Cris Collinsworth is the latest subject of A Football Life, Friday at 8 p.m. ET on NFL Network. The one-hour show produced by NFL Films features interviews with Collinsworth, NBC Sports broadcast partner Al Michaels, former NBC Sports president Dick Ebersol, former teammates such as Boomer Esiason and Anthony Munoz, family members and more.
"He outworks everybody else. He's about the best prepared human being I have ever known," said Ebersol on the film.