Skip to main content

Is It Time the NFL Boots the Lions Off of Thanksgiving?: TRAINA THOUGHTS

1. Thanksgiving. Thursday, Nov. 26. Two weeks from today. At 12:30 p.m. ET on CBS: Texans at Lions.

Why? The answer is simple: tradition. But at what point should we move on from tradition?

Nothing against Detroit, but it's time for the NFL to move on from forcing us to start out Thanksgiving afternoons by watching the Lions.

It's not just because the Lions are always bad, but also because, unlike the Cowboys, they have such few rivalries that their Thanksgiving games lack excitement. This year is the perfect example. Texans at Lions? Talk about a giant shoulder shrug.

Now, don't get me wrong. I will watch. I will watch every play. And I will enjoy it. But I'd enjoy an attractive matchup much more than Houston at Detroit.

On a brand-new episode of the SI Media Podcast, I asked CBS's Jim Nantz, who will call Texans-Lions in two weeks, whether it is time the NFL pulled the plug on the Lions playing on Thanksgiving. Nantz was not having it.

"I like traditions, and [the Lions] haven't been really relevant in a long time even though they showed some signs this year and blown some leads in some games, but I like it. It means a lot to that market.

"The ratings are probably going to be the same no matter what the matchup was in that window. Houston, obviously, is having a down year as well and you watch, the ratings will not plummet. It's just part of the Thanksgiving tradition.

"But having been around and done it for so many years in Detroit, that would really hurt that market. They have a big parade that goes through the streets, although this year it's gonna be different. ... And don't forget, the Thanksgiving Day tradition was started by the Lions."

Nantz later added, "[The NFL] kind of changed Thanksgiving when they added a third game anyway. ... I'm telling you, if you made that change, and you're gonna have to do it in advance, you're not gonna have the flex to be able to flex a team off of a schedule and put them on a Thursday on late notice, that's not gonna happen. So let's say you went into the season, you could've guessed wrong. You could've put the Giants or the Jets in that window. Who knows? You could've put any number of teams, and the game would be a stinker anyway."

That's a fair point by Nantz. The first Thanksgiving Day game would have to be scheduled before the season starts, so you have no guarantee that it would be a good matchup. 

But at least we wouldn't have to watch the Lions.

2. Other topics I discussed with Nantz on the SI Media Podcast include which golfers to keep an eye on at the Masters, how COVID-19 has affected his job, Alex Trebek, what he thought of election television coverage and much more.

SI Recommends

You can listen to the podcast below or download it on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher and Google Play.

3. Speaking of Trebek, there are now betting odds on who will take over as host of Jeopardy! and quite frankly, some of the names are just batsh*t wild.

Here are five suggestions from the sports world for Jeopardy! host: Scott Van Pelt, James Brown, Ian Eagle, Tony Reali and Gus Johnson. All would be great for different reasons. Van Pelt is the ultimate host. Brown has the perfect amount of gravitas for the job. Eagle has the perfect mix of serious host and comedian. Reali is a natural based on what he's done as host of Around the Horn. Gus is Gus. Nothing more needs to be said.

4. Western Michigan pulled off the fake spike to beat Toledo on Wednesday night, and it was glorious.

5. Kirk Cousins singing "Pretty Woman" in high school is something you just have to watch.

6. RANDOM VIDEO OF THE DAY: Jimmy Kimmel did a great interview Wednesday night with the King of Maps (terrible pun intended), CNN's John King.

7. SPORTS VIDEO OF THE DAY: Happy 76th birthday to recent SI Media Podcast guest Al Michaels.

Thank you for mentioning point spreads ...

... and for your role in the greatest prank call in live-TV history.

Be sure to catch up on past editions of Traina Thoughts and check out the Sports Illustrated Media Podcast hosted by Jimmy Traina on Apple, Spotify or Stitcher. You can also follow Jimmy on Twitter and Instagram