Wednesday, November 26, 2008
Black and Blue all over: On traditions
By Kevin Seifert
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:
- Lions quarterback Daunte Culpepper is looking for a breakout game that proves he should be the team's starter next season, writes Tom Kowalski of Mlive.com.
- Jim Souhan of the Star Tribune notes that Minnesota quarterback Gus Frerotte has become less productive with each passing week, raising short- and long-term questions about a situation that leaves Frerotte backed up by Tarvaris Jackson and John David Booty. Souhan: "The New York Giants running backs have nicknamed themselves Earth, Wind and Fire. The Vikings quarterbacks are more like Pestilence & Famine."
- Sean Jensen of the St. Paul Pioneer Press follows Vikings linebacker Ben Leber and guard Steve Hutchinson during a visit to Minnesota Children's Hospital, Fairview.
- Green Bay right tackle Mark Tauscher had an MRI test on his right hamstring to determine the severity of the injury he suffered Monday night in New Orleans. There is some concern that Tauscher could miss several games, writes Pete Dougherty of the Green Bay Press-Gazette.
- The Packers are also dealing with injuries to several safeties, writes Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Atari Bigby (ankle), Aaron Rouse (ankle), Nick Collins (knee, toe) and Charlie Peprah (calf) are all hobbled.
- Chicago defensive coordinator Bob Babich continues to shuttle between the press box and the sideline during games. Sunday in St. Louis, he was in the press box, writes Brad Biggs of the Chicago Sun-Times.
- Bob LeGere of the Daily Herald thinks the Bears need to ride tailback Matt Forte as hard as they can in December.