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Football has long gone hand in hand with turkey, cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie. Since 1934, when the NFL hosted its first Thanksgiving Day game between the Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions, the two teams have alternated years playing on the holiday, which is why this year's Turkey Day game will feature Detroit against conference rival the Green Bay Packers. But whether you bleed the colors of either team, or bleed from Uncle Merv's annual elbow to your nose during backyard games, you may want to sit this year out. Here's why:

  • Boring Game  Given that Detroit quarterback Matthew Stafford -- the most exciting player on the bottom-ranked team -- was injured in a spectacular, game-winning play during the Lions' matchup on Sunday, he'll likely be sitting out. As Deadspin's Dashiell Bennett says, "Stafford probably won't play during their nationally televised Thanksgiving game in four days when his team will undoubtedly be spanked, so the legend is going to need a little more time to simmer." Besides, the Packers are simply better, as ESPN's Kevin Seiffert says in a round-up of rankings, "Minnesota and Green Bay are in the top 12, where playoff-caliber teams reside. Chicago and Detroit? Let’s just say they’re not."
  • Triggers Violence in Losing Fans  Sporting Blog's Michael Tunison mulls a study connecting spikes in incidents of domestic abuse when a home-state team experiences an upset in an NFL game. He notes that "an agonizing football result was the trigger, as opposed to some other stimulus." But he argues this phenomenon isn't isolated to football: "I've been around enough sports environments to know that watching football isn't all that much more likely to incite a violent reaction than any other sport. I'm sure research exists regarding other major sports, but why isn't it as heavily promoted?"
  • Dangers of Backyard Games  While playing a friendly game of football in his backyard, a 9-year-old boy in Pittsburgh was attacked by an unruly buck who wondered into the woods near his house. Fortunately his friend was nearby and helped to chase the deer away with a stick. Yet MJD at Yahoo Sports thinks there's an upside to a little unpredictable outdoor danger: "I'd argue that he's even better than he was before, because now he knows he's got a friend that has his back."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.

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