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 13 predictions theme is foods and beverages.
Green Bay Packers (5-5-1) at Detroit Lions (6-5)-Nov. 28-12:30 p.m.-Fox
The Packers and Lions first played each other on Thanksgiving in 1951, the year Robert O. Peterson founded Jack in the Box. The Lions are 22-31-2 on Thanksgiving since 1951.
Pick: Green Bay
Oakland Raiders (4-7) at Dallas Cowboys (6-5)-Nov. 28-4:30 p.m.-CBS
After being called Monterey Jack’s in 1985, Jack in the Box returned to its original name in 1986, the year the first Five Guys restaurant opened. Dallas is 7-5 on Thanksgiving since 2001, the year Zagat began rating Five Guys on its annual food survey.
Pittsburgh Steelers (5-6) at Baltimore Ravens (5-6)-Nov. 28-8:30 p.m.-NBC
The Zagat Survey began in 1979, the year McDonald’s introduced the Happy Meal. The Steelers are 0-3 on Thanksgiving since 1979.