Thanksgiving diminished by NFL greed

There was once a time when Thanksgiving football was looked forward to with great relish.

But that was in a more enlightened era when dollars were not the one and only thing.

I am old enough to fondly remember that time.

Deer hunters, coming in from the camps, could look forward to two things on Thanksgiving: 1. A bountiful meal. 2. The Detroit Lions on the television set.

The meal still exists, although it costs – like everything else – more nowadays.

The Lions, who usually play well on Turkey Day, are still there, albeit with a lot of company from other teams.

Now, you have to remember the holiday game was once the sole property of the Lions for years and years. Ever since 1934, to be specific.

And Detroit could usually rely on having the Green Bay Packers as the opponent.

But Vince Lombardi of the Packers was quick to see that playing on that day could be detrimental. Lack of rest and time to heal injuries were cited as the reasons.

He saw that clearly in 1962 when the Lions destroyed his team in a 26-14 game that was not that close. Green Bay lost only one game that season.

Packers’ quarterback Bart Starr was sacked nearly a dozen times that day by the original “Fearsome Foursome” of  Alex Karras, Roger Brown, Darris McCord and Sam Williams.

Lombardi refused to play on Turkey Day soon after that debacle.

The Lions were joined in 1966 by the carpetbagging Dallas Cowboys, who have claimed the game as their own in true Texas tradition.

And the greedy NFL, always eager to pad their pockets, have encouraged other teams to play a game on the once hallowed day.

Now, there are at least three games on the holiday, sometimes even more.

But I, for one person, look back on Thanksgiving when it was a truly special football day.