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PREVIOUS SPORTS
• Sideline: Yes, Non–Conference Games DO Count
• NCAA Preview 2009
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• NFL Draft: No Rush To Judgment
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• Sideline: NFL Draft Thoughts (Part 2)
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• Sideline: 2010 Leagues Sci–fi, or Fantasy? / March Madness
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• Sideline: LaDainian Tomlinson On The Record
• Sideline: The Incredible Sulk Continues
• Sideline: Guildford Heat Fired Up
• Sideline: Super Bowl thoughts from the Valley of the Sun
• Sideline: I know I came in here for something
• Sideline: College Football National Signing Day
• Sideline: 27 Points — 27 Super Bowl thoughts
• Sideline: An Epic QB Matchup?
• Sideline: Appreciating Arizona for What They Were
• Sideline: NFL Divisional Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Bowl Season Hangover
• Sideline: Six weeks Later
• Sideline: Wildcard Weekend Preview
• Sideline: Santa's Sackings
• Sideline: A Weis Decision ...for Now
• Sideline: Eye on the Ticker
• Sideline: Lions — An Anagram of Losin
• Sideline: Ready for the Turkey
• Sideline: Making it to the Big Dance
• Sideline: Brighter Days Ahead for Chargers?
• Sideline: Unnecessary Hits To The Pocket / Upset: BYU
• Sideline: Romo's Pause / Seattle Seahawks
• Sideline: Weekend Prep: Red River and More
• Sideline: College Football's 'Crossroads' Weekend
• Sideline: Gramatical Error
• Sideline: Turning The Page
• Sideline: So Cal 'Quizzed
• Sideline: 3rd Tuesday Panic / Forté Yard Dash
• Sideline: Two and Oh; Oh and Two
• Sideline: No More NCAAffeine
• Sideline: Week 1 College Football
• Sideline: How To Spell Heisman / Chad Ocho Cinco
• Sideline: A Second Slice
• Sideline: The Favre story STILL won't go away
• Sideline: Olympic Notes / Ricky's Still Relevant
• Sideline: Committee Meetings
• Sideline: Let the QB Battles Begin
• Sideline: Slinging The Slinger — More Favre
• Interview: Clint Dempsey
• Sideline: Welcome to the 2008 season
• Sideline: Plus One
• 2008 NFL Draft Review
• Sideline: Draft: The Morning After
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• Sideline: Sofa–bound Sport
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• Sideline: Brady's Misdirection Play
• Sideline: Colorful Language
• Sideline: Let the Romo–bashing begin
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• Sideline: All About The Coaches
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 3
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 2
• Sideline: Bowl Bites 1
• Sideline: Coach Situations Vacant
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• Sideline: A Certain Lack Of Welcome
• Sideline: Unrelated Notes
• Sideline: Two Thanksgiving thoughts
• Sideline: Halftime: NFC
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• Sideline: London / A Tale of Two Chads / Intimidation
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• Sideline: Rock 'Em, Sock 'Em / Dolphins – The Aftermath
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• Sideline: Habits to be Broken
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• Sideline: Leftwich's Parting Gift / Boos cruise
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• Sideline: Coaching Hot Seats / AP Poll Feeling ’Appy
• Sideline: The NFL’s Prime Cuts
• Sideline: Michigan Falls to Killer Apps
• Sideline: Look Out Couch / The Taint's On You, Bud
SPORTS

SIDELINE
Observations, Opinion & Occasional Silliness by Richard L Gale

Ready for the Turkey
November 27, 2008

As if working through Thanksgiving rather than dining with the family isn't bad enough, just imagine what it's like being a Detroit Lions player this year. At 0–11 and looking like 0–16 in the making, the Lions get to host the 10–1 Tennessee Titans. The Titans aren't just double–digit favorites, but are coming off their first loss of the season and looking for somebody to punish. Ouch.

Still, I wish tasty 'turducken' sandwiches to each and every one of the Lions fans who once again sold out the game, despite the awfulness of their team. The last 1000 tickets barely sold this week, allowing local Lions fans to watch the game (probably between their fingers). Over here, we don't have TV blackouts to worry about — it'll be right there on our screens, and at 5.30 I'll be there on the couch, ready to celebrate Thanksgiving in my own football–obsessive way.

There's three sporting time–outs I have maintained throughout my working career:

1. Only working mornings during the first week of Wimbledon;
2. Starting late the morning after the Superbowl;
3. Knocking off an hour early on Thanksgiving.

The first one isn't that unlikely for a Brit. My commitment to the second one provokes the usual explanation to those who don't follow the sport. The third causes the most perplexed looks from those who firstly don't even realize it's Thanksgiving, and secondly don't detect any trace of an American accent. That usually leads to me explaining that Thanksgiving is also a special treat for football fans.

"Oh," they'd say, "so the game's on TV?"

And then I'd reply that no it wasn't, but if you twiddled the radio to a certain frequency and stood it on its end on the back of the sofa, then sometimes, sometimes...

"And that's what you're going to do this evening?"

Well, that's what I used to do. Then came the internet, and then came Sky's commitment to showing non–Sunday games. And now we have three live Thanksgiving games and Aldi's advertising Turducken under the less Madden–inspired monicker of '3–bird roast'. And you can't get one for love nor money. Such has been the success of Aldi's sales that I'm starting to wonder if I'm not the only Brit slyly acknowledging the American holiday on the side.

It would nice to think that Thanksgiving football could become the latest US holiday tradition to absorbed into the British mix, the way that trick or treat has taken hold on Hallowe'en. I'd like to think that a growing number were thinking to themselves 'I know, I'll have turkey tonight and flick over to the NFL', turning the Lions game into a drop–in sporting occasion the way the Grand National is in the UK for people who otherwise ignore horse racing, or Wimbledon is for people who didn't give a hoot for tennis one month earlier. But I'm pretty sure that isn't happening.

If only Barry Sanders' career and annual Thanksgiving TV coverage had coincided.

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