What Has Happened to the Cowboys’ Magical Thanksgiving Day Matchups?

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My next prediction: The Cowboys will be better at winning games in 2015 than I was at predicting their 2015 schedule.

I took a shot at their upcoming slate and, wow, went an ugly 2-14. Only nailed Weeks 8-9 against the Seahawks and Eagles at  home. Otherwise, splat.

Of course, stubbornly, I still like my schedule better. Why?

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Because we’ve already seen the Giants open the season on a Sunday night in Arlington. Just two years ago. In fact, those teams will now have faced each other to start three of the last four seasons. It’s an intriguing rivalry, but c’mon. A little creativity please.

While I would’ve rather had seen Dallas open on a Monday night at Lambeau and close at home against the Giants in January, my main problem is what has happened to the big game in between – Thanksgiving.

Maybe I’m getting old or am just trying to cram too many turkey day memories into my cranium, but didn’t that used to be a special game between marquee teams? And, also, didn’t the NFL once alternate years with NFC and AFC opponents? I’m lost. And not thrilled.

Because Cowboys-Panthers on Nov. 26 just isn’t worthy of a football holiday.

Last year the Cowboys hosted the Eagles and three years ago it was a rookie named RG3 and the Redskins. I’m fine with those matchups of fierce division rivals. But when it comes to choosing an AFC opponent, the NFL has swung and missed and, apparently, altered the system.

Nothing would compliment the cranberries like a Thanksgiving afternoon matchup between the Cowboys and defending Super Bowl champion Patriots. Instead, we get the Panthers? Greg Hardy harassing his old team and chasing Cam Newton won’t induce national naps, but it’s just not the most appealing matchup possible. Which it should be.

In the past couple of years the NFL on Thanksgiving has trotted in the Raiders, Dolphins, Raiders again (when a visit from Peyton Manning and the Broncos was an option), and Buccaneers. I think I get it. Maybe.

Since the Thanksgiving game will draw huge TV ratings regardless of the matchup, the NFL must think “why waste a primo team.” So instead Tom Brady will make his first visit to AT&T Stadium on Oct. 11 instead of Nov. 26. Will still likely be an entertaining game, just not an eternal holiday memory.

A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.

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