The Eagles proposed a rule change that would have stripped the Cowboys or Lions of their annual Thanksgiving home games, only to withdraw the proposal presumably because it received about as much support as Donovan McNabb for the Hall of Fame.
The proposal, which would’ve allowed the Cowboys and Lions to continue playing in their holiday slots as long as one of them goes on the road, wasn’t intended as an inconsequential dig at a loathsome NFC East rival and a conference foe. Each year, the NFL gifts a legitimate scheduling advantage to the Cowboys and Lions, forcing their opponents to travel to Dallas or Detroit on a short week — a hardship they are almost never asked to endure themselves — all because tradition.
It’s not fair. Since 2006, the Eagles have played five Thursday away games on short rest, while the Cowboys have played zero. Nobody cares about the Lions.
Based on the Eagles’ withdrawal, nobody really cares about this inequity, either — mildly surprising given the sometimes painstaking lengths the NFL continually goes to balance the schedule.
Then again, I also don’t care. In fact, I’m actively hoping it never changes.
Has anybody truly considered the can of worms this rule would open? As the tradition stands now, the league cycles different teams through Dallas and Detroit to maintain some semblance of fairness. The Eagles have played only two Thanksgiving afternoon games since 1989, which for any human being with responsibilities beyond watching football, is kind of nice. But if any team can suddenly host an afternoon game on Thanksgiving, the Eagles’ chances of interrupting dinner skyrockets.
The Eagles, as an organization, love playing on holidays because of the extra attention. I, on the other hand, personally appreciate the fact that the Cowboys and Lions play on Thanksgiving because, frankly, they’re usually irrelevant teams and I don’t feel the need to catch every second of the games. Football is great, and I watch as much as I can, just in between stuffing my face and spending time with loved ones.
For many Cowboys fans — and maybe Lions fans, too, I guess — Thanksgiving has become their Super Bowl, since the team doesn’t play in the actual big game anymore. They plan their entire get-togethers around watching Dallas with that insufferable grandpop who’s responsible for the family’s misplaced fandom.
It’s a tradition I’m all too happy not to share in on a regular basis. (And won’t somebody please think of the sportswriters who have to work that day?!)
As I get older, I’ve increasingly learned to accept the rules of the game are whatever they are at a given time. They’re constantly changing, and maybe they don’t always make the most sense or aren’t the most just, but teams must find a way to win within the parameters — and they do, all the time.
There’s no doubt the rules are tilted ever-so-slightly in favor of the Cowboys and the Lions in this case, and the Eagles aren’t wrong to mention it. But I’m glad they lost this battle and I hope they continue to do so, because I don’t need any more Eagles games on the holidays than there already are.
Besides, it’s not like the Thanksgiving games have really been hugely beneficial to the Cowboys in recent years, or the Lions ever.