Thanksgiving celebrates three “f” words: family, food and football. National Football League games, traditionally featuring the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys, have been played on Thanksgiving since 1920. Broadcast announcers salute winning team members with honors such as the CBS All-Iron Award and the Fox Galloping Gobbler Award. During his broadcasting career, John Madden awarded players with a turducken, a poultry cornucopia consisting of turkey, duck and chicken.
Food perfectly complements football. Thanksgiving and Super Bowl Sunday are the top two days of food consumption in America, according to the National Chicken Council. Fox Sports said viewers ate 1.25 billion chicken wings during Super Bowl XLVI. NFL pregame tailgating fare ranges from Kansas City barbeque to Green Bay bratwursts.
Drinks also have a role in football. In 2010, TreeHugger.com said Americans drank 325.5 million gallons of beer on Super Bowl Sunday. Bud Light became the official beer sponsor of the NFL in 2011 in an agreement valued at over $1 billion. Pepsi purchased Super Bowl XLVI advertisement time, likely paying around the average of $3.5 billion, according to ESPN, for a 30-second commercial.
Foods and drinks certainly fill football fans’ bellies and the league’s wallet. In honor of Thanksgiving and the many edible and drinkable football connections, the Week 12 predictions theme is foods and beverages.
Houston Texans (9-1) at Detroit Lions (4-6)-Nov. 22-12:30 p.m.-CBS
Butterball, a poultry company, began selling turkeys in 1940. Lions fans should purchase their turkey from another producer this Thanksgiving. Since 1940, Detroit is 30-35-2 on Thanksgiving.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Houston
Pollock’s Pick: Detroit
Washington Redskins (4-6) at Dallas Cowboys (5-5)-Nov. 22-4:15 p.m.-Fox
Detroit’s last Thanksgiving victory came in 2003. Pizza Today magazine named Domino’s Pizza “Pizza Chain of the Year” in 2003, 2010 and 2011. The Cowboys were 1-2 on Thanksgiving in those years. Luckily for Dallas, the magazine felt there “didn’t seem to be enough competition” to select a 2012 winner, according to Pete Lachapelle, Pizza Today’s president and publisher.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Dallas
Pollock’s Pick: Dallas
New England Patriots (7-3) at New York Jets (4-6)-Nov. 22-8:20 p.m.-NBC
Lombardi’s Pizza in New York City claims to be the first United States pizza establishment. Patriot fans are happy it’s remained in business since 1905. Since Lombardi’s celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2005, New England is 12-5 against New York.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: New England
Pollock’s Pick: New England
Buffalo Bills (4-6) at Indianapolis Colts (6-4)-Nov. 25-1 p.m.-CBS
The Nathan’s Hot Dog Eating Contest takes place in Brooklyn’s Coney Island on the Fourth of July. In years Joey Chestnut has won the competition, the Bills are 15-31 in road games. The Colts are 37-17 at home. Chestnut won his fifth straight title this year.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Indianapolis
Pollock’s Pick: Indianapolis
Minnesota Vikings (6-4) at Chicago Bears (7-3)-Nov. 25-1 p.m.-Fox
The Oscar Mayer Company produces hot dogs and other meats. In 1883, Oscar F. Mayer and his brother, Gottfried, established the company in Chicago. Mayer would be proud with the Bears’ play since his death in 1955. Chicago is 449-422-8 since Mayer died.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Chicago
Pollock’s Pick: Chicago
Pittsburgh Steelers (6-4) at Cleveland Browns (2-8)-Nov. 25-1 p.m.-CBS
The Oscar Mayer Company is a member of Kraft Foods Group. Kraft introduced its macaroni and cheese dinner in 1937. Don’t eat Easy Mac during Sunday’s game, Steeler fans. Since 1937, Pittsburgh is 32-35-1 in Week 11 games.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Cleveland
Pollock’s Pick: Pittsburgh
Oakland Raiders (3-7) at Cincinnati Bengals (5-5)-Nov. 25-1 p.m.-CBS
Lionel Sternberger introduced the cheeseburger in 1926, one of several claims about the burger’s origin. McDonald’s began selling the Big Mac, a cheeseburger decedent, in 1968. The Bengals prefer the Quarter Pounder. Since the Big Mac’s arrival, Cincinnati is 87-97-2 in November games. Oakland is 99-83-2.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Oakland
Pollock’s Pick: Cincinnati
Atlanta Falcons (9-1) at Tampa Bay Buccaneers (6-4)-Nov. 25-1 p.m.-Fox
McDonald’s became an Olympic Games sponsor in 1976, joining the Coca-Cola Company, a sponsor since 1928. These partnerships give Tampa Bay an advantage this week. Since 1976, the Buccaneers are 3-1 in home games against the Falcons.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Tampa Bay
Pollock’s Pick: Atlanta
Denver Broncos (7-3) at Kansas City Chiefs (1-9)-Nov. 25-1 p.m.-CBS
Coca-Cola began featuring its polar bear mascot in television advertisements in 1993. Many viewers find the bear cute. The Broncos don’t. Since 1993, Denver is 7-15 in games played in the state of Missouri.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Kansas City
Pollock’s Pick: Denver
Seattle Seahawks (6-4) at Miami Dolphins (4-6)-Nov. 25-1 p.m.-Fox
In 1993, a Hard Rock Cafe opened in Miami. In years since 1993 when the music-themed restaurant has opened a new location in the United States, the Seahawks have won 121 games. The Dolphins have won 123. This July, a Hard Rock Cafe opened in New Buffalo, Michigan.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Miami
Pollock’s Pick: Miami
Tennessee Titans (4-6) at Jacksonville Jaguars (1-9)-Nov. 25-1 p.m.-CBS
In 1971, the first Hard Rock Cafe opened in London. The Guinness brewery in Park Royal, London closed in 2005. Since 2005, the Jaguars are 3-2 against the Titans when the teams play each other in November. But the teams haven’t met in November since 2009.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Tennessee
Pollock’s Pick: Tennessee
Baltimore Ravens (8-2) at San Diego Chargers (4-6)-Nov.25-4:05 p.m.-CBS
Beginning in 2009, Zagat, a restaurant ratings survey organization, has named Subway as the best provider of healthy options among mega chains. The Ravens hope the sandwich franchise keeps earning this praise. In the past four years, the Ravens are 44-20. The Chargers are 34-25.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Baltimore
Pollock’s Pick: Baltimore
St. Louis Rams (3-6-1) at Arizona Cardinals (4-6)-Nov. 25-4:25 p.m.-Fox
Subway and T.G.I. Friday’s both opened in 1965. The H.J. Heinz Company sells frozen foods in grocery stores under the Friday’s brand. William R. Johnson became president and CEO of Heinz in 1998. The Cardinals want him to resign. St. Louis is 6-8 in Week 12 games since 1998. Arizona is 4-10.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: St. Louis
Pollock’s Pick: Arizona
San Francisco 49ers (7-2-1) at New Orleans Saints (5-5)-Nov. 25-4:25 p.m.-Fox
Berkshire Hathaway acquired Dairy Queen in 1998. In years the company has made a food or beverage acquisition, the Saints are 10-14 at home. The 49ers are 14-11 on the road. But the conglomerate has made no such transaction this year.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: New Orleans
Pollock’s Pick: New Orleans
Green Bay Packers (7-3) at New York Giants (6-4)-Nov. 25-8:20 p.m.-NBC
Warren Buffet, Berkshire Hathaway’s chairman and CEO, was born in 1930. Ralph Leroy Nafziger founded the company that would become Hostess Brands, Inc., the makers of Twinkies and Ding Dongs, in 1930. The Packers are 29-23-2 against the Giants since 1930. Unfortunately for Green Bay, the company announced it was going out of business on Nov. 16.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: New York
Pollock’s Pick: Green Bay
Carolina Panthers (2-8) at Philadelphia Eagles (3-7)-Nov. 26-8:30 p.m.-ESPN
In 1930, Pat and Harry Olivieri founded Pat’s King of Steaks in Philadelphia. Joey Vento opened Geno’s Steaks across from Pat’s in 1966. The Eagles must prefer Geno’s. Since this Philly cheesesteak rivalry began, Philadelphia is 209-163-3 at home.
Bryan Paul’s Pick: Philadelphia
Pollock’s Pick: Philadelphia
Bryan Paul’s Week 11 record: 8-6
Bryan Paul’s season record: 97-62-1
Pollock’s Week 11 record: 13-1
Pollock’s season record 111-48-1
Head-to-head matchups in Week 11: Pollock 5-0
Head-to-head matchups this season: Pollock 38-24