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Thanksgiving Football/Open Thread | Main | They Stole My Childhood And Gave Me This, Part 1: Buck Rogers Dances
November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!

As the time to eat approaches. Or, the time to start making sandwiches approaches, if you ate at 2.

Hey, Why Do Dallas and Detroit Always Play on Thanksgiving? Since I was a kid, it was always Dallas and Detroit (playing other teams, not each other).

I just looked up why on Wikipedia.

Football games being played on Thanksgiving day all the way back to 1887...

The first owner of the Lions, G.A. Richards, started the tradition of the Thanksgiving Day game as a gimmick to get people to go to Lions football games, and to continue a tradition begun by the city's previous NFL teams.
Several other NFL teams played regularly on Thanksgiving in first eighteen years of the league, including the Chicago Bears and Chicago Cardinals (1922-33; the Bears played the Lions from 1934 to 1938 while the Cardinals switched to the Green Bay Packers for 1934 and 1935), Frankford Yellow Jackets, and the New York Giants (192938, who always played a crosstown rival). During the Franksgiving controversy in 1939 and 1940, the only two teams to play the game were the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles, as both teams were in the same state (Pennsylvania). (At the time, then-president Franklin Roosevelt wanted to move the holiday for economic reasons and many states were resistant to the move; half the states recognized the move and the other half did not. This complicated scheduling for Thanksgiving games. Incidentally, the two teams were also exploring the possibility of a merger at the time.[3])

I never heard of the "Franksgiving" controversy. I'll put that up after the history of the Thanksgiving games.


...

When the Thanksgiving games resumed in 1945, only one game would be played each year (except 1950 and 1952), and only the Lions would have a permanent Thanksgiving game. In 1951, the Packers resumed its regular role on Thanksgiving, becoming the perpetual opponent to the Lions each year through 1963.

In 1966, the Dallas Cowboys, who had been founded six years earlier, adopted the practice of hosting Thanksgiving games. It is widely rumored that the Cowboys sought a guarantee that they would regularly host Thanksgiving games as a condition of their very first one (since games on days other than Sunday were uncommon at the time and thus high attendance was not a certainty).

...

The two "traditional" Thanksgiving Day pro football games have then been in Detroit and Dallas. Because of TV network commitments, to make sure that both the AFC-carrying network and the NFC-carrying network got at least one game each, one of these games was between NFC opponents, and one featured AFC-NFC opponents. Thus, the AFC could showcase only one team on Thanksgiving, and the AFC team was always the visiting team.

And then in 2006 the NFL network added the night game.

Now, about this "Franksgiving." God Do I Hate FDR. There's just always some new interference in people's lives, the more you look.

In August 1939, Lew Hahn, general manager of the Retail Dry Goods Association, warned Secretary of Commerce Harry Hopkins that the late calendar date of Thanksgiving that year (November 30) could possibly have an adverse effect on retail sales. At the time, it was considered bad form for retailers to display Christmas decorations or have "Christmas" sales before the celebration of Thanksgiving.


In keeping with a custom begun by Lincoln in 1863, U.S. Presidents had declared a general day of thanksgiving to be observed on the last Thursday in November. By late October of that year, President Roosevelt decided to deviate from this custom and declare November 23, the second-to-last Thursday, as Thanksgiving that year.[1]


The plan encountered immediate opposition. Alf Landon, Roosevelt's Republican challenger in the preceding election, called the declaration "another illustration of the confusion which [Roosevelt's] impulsiveness has caused so frequently during his administration. If the change has any merit at all, more time should have been taken working it out... instead of springing it upon an unprepared country with the omnipotence of a Hitler." While not all critics were political opponents of the president, most parts of New England (then a Republican stronghold relative to the rest of the nation) were among the most vocal areas. James Frasier, the chairman of the selectmen of Plymouth, Massachusetts (the commonly alleged location of the first Thanksgiving holiday) "heartily disapproved"

The short-notice change in dates affected the holiday plans of millions of Americans. For example, many college football teams routinely ended their seasons with rivalry games on Thanksgiving, and had scheduled them that year for the last day in November; some athletic conferences had rules permitting games only through the Saturday following Thanksgiving. If the date were changed, many of these teams would play their games for empty stadiums or not at all. The change also caused problems for college registrars, schedulers, and calendar makers.

A Gallup poll[when?] discovered that Democrats favored the switch 52% to 48% while Republicans opposed it 79% to 21%. Overall, Americans opposed the change 62% to 38%..


A lot of states -- Republican-controlled -- refused to follow Franklin's diktat and observed Thanksgiving on the regularly-scheduled day.

And how did Franklin's attempt to force patterns of human celebration into a Greater Economic Plan fare?

Well, it turns out, the smarty-pants' idea that an earlier Thanksgiving would boost sales was wrong:

In 1940, 32 states' governments and the District of Columbia observed the earlier date on November 21, while 16 states chose what some were calling the "Republican" Thanksgiving on the 28th.

On May 20, 1941, a Commerce Department survey found no significant expansion of retail sales due to the change.[citation needed] November of that year once again saw 32 states and the District of Columbia observing the holiday on the 20th, while the remaining 16 states did so on the 27th.

In 1941, FDR proclaimed a national day of prayer on the fourth Thursday of November, and this became the national date of observation.

Eventually. Many states kept the final-Thursday-in-November rule. Texas, for example, continued observing Thanksgiving on the last Thursday in November until 1956.

A Warner Bros. Merrie Melodies cartoon (you know, the Bugs Bunny cartoons, but without Bugs Bunny) made a joke about the situation in 1940, noting we had two Thanksgivings, one for Democrats and one for Republicans.


By the way, if any of you missed Thanksgiving (like me, sort of, as I have no real plans), that means that you still have a shot at doing it next Thursday -- "Republican" Thanksgiving. Nope! Darklord points out next Thursday is December 1st, so this is both real Thanksgiving and Republican Thanksgiving.



digg this
posted by Ace at 03:04 PM

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