Question of the Day: What’s your all-time favorite football memory from Thanksgiving?
Thanksgiving football is one of the highlights of the NFL season, and Tribune Co. writers share their most cherished turkey day memories. Check back throughout the day for more responses, and feel free to share your own Thanksgiving memories.
Kevin Van Valkenburg, Baltimore Sun
Thanksgiving is supposed to be a time for reflection and generosity, which is why I still laugh when I think about The Bounty Bowl between the Cowboys and Eagles in 1989, where Philadelphia coach Buddy Ryan allegedly put out a bounty on Dallas kicker Luis Zendejas. I love rivalries where teams genuinely dislike one another, where the animus is real, not manufactured.
Who puts out a bounty on a kicker? Only a character like Ryan. The game, won by the Eagles 27-0, led to one of my all-time favorite exchanges between coaches. Cowboys coach Jimmy Johnson was furious after the game, and said he would have confronted Ryan about the alleged bounty, but Ryan "wouldn't stand on the field long enough. He put his big, fat rear end in the dressing room."
Ryan's response? "I resent that. I've been on a diet, lost a couple of pounds. I thought I was looking good."
I am going to answer a question with a question: How can there truly be a favorite memory when the Detroit Lions are there to ruin it every year? Come on! The Lions are the Aunt Phyllis’ greenbean casserole of Thanksgiving Day football. Yes, they are a tradition. Yes, they are on the table every year. But good grief, are they horrid.
The Lions are the perfect example of why the teams and players are unimportant on Thanksgiving Day. All we really care about is that there is football –- any football –- on television.
Seriously, is there anything better than stuffing yourself on Mom’s turkey, dressing, pumpkin and peanut butter pie and then unhitching your belt, loosening your pants, plopping down on the couch and dozing off to the soothing sounds of Pat Summerall breaking down Dallas’ zone blitz.
This is the time of year we give thanks for family, friends, food and football.
Even if it is the Lions.
Keith Groller, The Morning Call
In our family, football always has been as much of the holiday as turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, with the announcers from the televised games often serving as the day’s soundtrack. (I still remember being asked to leave the table to go into the other room to turn down Summerall and Tom Brookshier on CBS so we could all say grace before dinner.)
The volume was restored as soon as grace was over, and the dinner conversation often centered on that morning’s high school games, with animated discussions about which relative went to the best football school or which team had the best player. Grandma would even stop carving the turkey to ask if her alma mater won its big game.
Dessert was consumed when the Cowboys were on the tube. And if the game wasn’t particularly exciting, the tryptophan would kick in and most of us would wake up during the postgame interviews.