I’m going to make a preemptive strike here. An end-around, if you will, to head them off at the pass.

I’m getting my own iron hot. Not enough time to wait for others to reach the proper temp.

This is for NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell and those who would petition him on their behalf.

Keep your stinking paws off our Thanksgiving Day game in Detroit.

Maybe the rumblings have already started. Maybe I’m not the early bird that I think I am.

The Lions lost, 34-12, on Thursday to the Green Bay Packers. That’s what the Lions do anymore on Thanksgiving—they lose by scores like 34-12. It’s been so bad lately that 34-12 is actually one of the better ones, truth be told.

That’s six straight losses on Turkey Day. And those outside of our fair city are crying fowl.

It began a few years ago, when the Lions were starting a new tradition of getting the stuffing beat out of them on Thanksgiving.

“Take the Thanksgiving Day away from the Lions and give it to a team more deserving—or at least one that’s easier on the stomach.”

One of the biggest instigators was the late Lamar Hunt, the erstwhile owner of the Kansas City Chiefs, who whined yearly about the Lions and their Thanksgiving tradition.

Rotate the game, Lamar said. Let other teams get in on the fun. Other teams like his, for example.

The movement gained momentum. Hunt garnered more and more support, until it was forgotten by many that it was Hunt’s idea in the first place. You could almost see the pitchforks and torches gathering in front of the league office.

Hunt, among other things, thought that the quick turnaround from Sunday to Thursday benefited the Lions, who were used to doing it, so therefore they must have some sort of an advantage.


The Lions, after their latest Thanksgiving Day turkey, are now 33-35-2 on the holiday. Yeah—that’s some advantage, alright. They really clean up on Thanksgiving, don’t they?

The NFL went out and started scheduling its own Thanksgiving Night game on its own network, but that still hasn’t stopped the moaning about the 12:30 kickoff in Detroit.

At issue is the Lions as a team, not a franchise. It’s nothing personal, the pitchforkers and torchers say. They’d just rather see a better brand of football at 12:30.

Well join the club!

So here’s my scientific, heavily-researched, highly analytical response to that argument.

Tough cookies!

We have precious few football traditions in Detroit. If we didn’t host a couple of Super Bowls, the Vince Lombardi Trophy wouldn’t have even crossed the state line.

Hell, we don’t even have Matt Millen to rip anymore, so there goes one of our pastimes, right there.

Yeah, the Lions are bad—been bad for this entire century, so far. The Lions wear bad like rice wears white. No argument there.

So you don’t like them soiling your television set from 12:30-4:00 p.m. eastern time every Thanksgiving Day? Then turn the channel, or turn the TV off and talk with your family—until the Cowboys come on. Or plan the meal for that time slot. I’m sure you can manage.

There’s this, too: WE have to watch them, so why should YOU be any different? Who died and made you Kings of Football?

You don’t seem to understand. This is all we have here in Detroit when it comes to the Lions. Every year, when the new NFL schedule is released, the first thing we do is ask, “Who’s the Thanksgiving opponent this year?” The second thing we do is get our magnifying glasses out and look for possible wins for the Lions on the team’s agenda—and squint realllllly hard.

That’s pretty much it—for now.

I don’t care that the Lions stink. I don’t care that they’ve been the Washington Generals to the other team’s Harlem Globetrotters for the past six years. I don’t care that the game starts at 12:30 and the outcome is usually decided by 1:00.

The game is ours. Period. The ritual started in 1934, so that means we’re now in our second great economic depression of providing pro football on Thanksgiving Day.

Besides, you have your precious rotating game on the NFL Network during prime time, so shutty.

You think the Green Bay Packers want to take the game away from the Lions? Thursday’s stinker makes two shellackings they’ve laid on the Lions in the past three years. I’m surprised they haven’t called dibs on it by now.

Thanksgiving Day is special in Detroit. It’s enjoying the parade in the morning, then traipsing to Ford Field to watch the Lions get whacked in the afternoon. Then it’s back home to have dinner in the evening and bitch about how the Lions got whacked in the afternoon.

And you’d take that away from us?

Look, all I know is that I don’t recall any blubbering about this game until Millen took over the Lions and turned them into a punch line. Talk about kicking a team’s fan base while it’s down.

Finally, as much as I hate to invoke Bill Ford Sr. as a heroic figure, the truth is that the NFL owes a whole lot to the Ford family. They pumped big time advertising dollars, via Ford Motor Company, into the league in the 1960s and ‘70s, when it was sorely needed.

So quit your moaning and get your grubby hands away from our Thanksgiving Day game.

We wouldn’t even know what to do with ourselves at 12:30. If you met some of our families, you’d see how attractive the Lions look, too.