ARLINGTON, TX - OCTOBER 31: Jon Kitna #3 of the Dallas Cowboys throws a pass against the Jacksonville Jaguars at Cowboys Stadium on October 31, 2010 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
We NFL fans are used to horrible, unwatchable football games every Thanksgiving. It’s a fact of life about the holiday at this point, along with canned cranberry sauce being oddly superior to homemade, and your brother being a jerk and piping up about your broken engagement at the dinner table. Why’d you have to bring THAT up, Jimmy? THE SCAB HASN’T HEALED.
The main culprit in this Thanksgiving badness has been the Detroit Lions, who get a Turkey Day game every year, despite being the most astoundingly putrid team in NFL history. With Matt Stafford done for the year, I fully expect the Lions to get crushed by New England in the early game.
But this year’s slate promises to sink to new lows, thanks to the Cowboys and Bengals. For years, the Cowboys have played the role of Thanksgiving good guy, rescuing you from the Lions game with a mildly competitive game. But this 2010 Cowboys outfit is already deep in the tank, on its second coach and missing its QB, its star DE, and playing like a bonus episode of The Walking Dead. The Cowboys are brutal to watch this year. And against a wakening Saints team, it won’t get any better.
The night game is Jets/Bengals, and Cincy is yet another team poised to go straight into the tank after starting 2-6. That’s three lopsided matchups for your Turkey Day misery.
Now, five of these teams went to the playoffs last year. The NFL can’t know who’s gonna be good from one year to the next. But there are two easy options to solve this problem:
1) Take away Dallas and Detroit’s Thanksgiving privileges. People have wanted this to happen for years. But we’re on the verge of a new collective bargaining agreement, so NOW would be the time to actually make it happen.
2) Institute advanced flex scheduling for at least one of the day games. To be flexed after Week 4. After four weeks, you at least have some idea of who might be on the verge of falling apart and who might be surprising. That would still give teams and fans enough time to make plans and shun their families.
This isn’t rocket science. It’s Thanksgiving. I’m stuffed and drunk. I need to be ENTERTAINED, not depressed. Come on, NFL. Don’t give me Jon Kitna.