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Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Black and Blue all over: On traditions

By Kevin Seifert
ESPN.com

Posted by ESPN.com's Kevin Seifert

As the losing continues this season, there have been some media suggestions that the NFL should strip Detroit of its annual Thanksgiving tradition and provide the nation with a more, er, competitive national game. A reasonable person can certainly make the argument that an 0-11 team isn't good for ratings.

Then you can read Drew Sharp's passionate column Wednesday in the Detroit Free Press and understand what the tradition means to those in Detroit. Sharp takes you through the history of the game -- Ford and Chrysler were two of the NFL's original sponsors -- and reminisces about Thanksgiving trips to see the Lions with his father.

Moving or rotating the game would permanently end an NFL tradition, Sharp writes -- not to mention leave the Lions off national television indefinitely. Yes, much of the nation will make fun of Detroit on Thursday, but there is more to it than that:

Everybody gets it in Detroit. This isn't good football. Thanksgiving is just one more occasion when this city stoops over, sticks a bull's-eye on its backside and coaxes another swift kick. But you cannot attach a price tag -- or even a win-loss record -- on that bond between past and present or between father and son.

Continuing around the NFC North on the day before Turkey Day: