How do you hype the Thanksgiving Day game broadcast that can’t be hyped, the seemingly massive mismatch between the 10-1 Tennessee Titans and the 0-11 Detroit Lions?
Jim Nantz, who is calling Thursday's Titans-Lions game on CBS, tried this in a network news release:
Based on records, if 0-11 Detroit beats 10-1 Tennessee, you would have to throw this game into the argument of being one of the greatest regular-season upsets in the history of the National Football League. It would definitely have to be right up there, if not the biggest of all, if Detroit was able to spring that upset.
Now to make this clear, I’m not comparing this to (Joe) Namath and the Jets beating the Colts in Super Bowl III, or anything like that that has happened in the post-season. I’m dealing with records. Based on that, this would have to rank right up there.
If you don’t buy that, CBS could always try: It’s something to do to kill time between breakfast and the first turkey leg.
Who won the first nationally televised NFL Thanksgiving game?
Another turkey shoot?
In Thursday's second NFL game, the 7-4 Dallas Cowboys host the 2-9 Seattle Seahawks, who are quarterbacked by the league’s lowest-rated passer, Matt Hasselbeck. Considering the customary state of the Lions -- usually lousy -- the Seahawks, coming off four consecutive NFC West titles, rank as the most disappointing team in the league.
Last year, Hasselbeck broke numerous team passing records in guiding the Seahawks to a 10-6 record. This season, he missed five games with a bulging disk in his back, and the Seattle receiving corps has endured seven injuries. Last season, Hasselbeck wound up playing in his third Pro Bowl.
“Not going to be doing that this year,” he told the Associated Press.
Not so Rowdy
Not expected to see much air time during Thursday's game in Dallas is Cowboys mascot Rowdy, who has been put on a short leash by the team after celebrating a touchdown by Terrell Owens with a pre-meditated chest bump.
With the league cracking down on that kind of celebrations, the NFL threatened the Cowboys with a five-figure fine. So last Sunday, Rowdy was seen on the field for opening kickoff and then in the upper deck mingling with fans in the fourth quarter.
No truth to the rumor that Rowdy and Brad Johnson are indeed the same person.
Swimmer hits his mark
It was a cameo that could have been timed like one of his races, in milliseconds -- Michael Phelps bumping into actor Kevin Connolly on the street and telling him to “Watch out, man” on a recent episode of "Entourage."
Phelps, a big fan of the show, was offered the cameo when he happened upon shooting in midtown Manhattan and was written into a scene by producer Doug Ellin. It wasn’t much, but SFGate.com reports that Phelps “impressed” the cast and crew and has been offered a “recurring role” in the series.
Actor Jeremy Piven told SFGate.com, “I could see him coming back as one of the boys. I can see [my character] Ari being very aggressive in recruiting him to represent him and also stopping at nothing to poach him from another client. That's what Ari would do."
The Detroit Lions defeated the Green Bay Packers, 26-14, on Thanksgiving Day 1962. It was the Packers’ lone defeat of the season.
Greg Cote of the Miami Herald, on the opinion that Gators quarterback Tim Tebow should turn pro a year early: "According to a panel of college coaches who happen to be Florida's 2009 opponents.”
-- Mike Penner
Photo: Rowdy, the Dallas Cowboys' mascot, is shown during happier days. Credit: Donna McWilliam / Associated Press