Thanksgiving is the day the United States loves American football

“The festivities are slowly starting to prepare. For my part, I have three meals planned, and I know there will be American football on TV every time.”. Elio took advantage of the end of the “travel ban” to fly to the United States to join his wife’s family and friends. For a New Orleans Saints fan and community manager for the “Saints France” Twitter account, Thanksgiving sings with American football. As in the rest of the country, mega meals and a ball went hand in hand.

A thrill that can be explained first and foremost by the importance of the party in the lives of Americans. Thanksgiving is one of those rare times, sometimes even more so than Christmas, when families get together and spend the day together, so it’s a moment of very strong friendship.Jean-Baptiste Guigan, Mathematical Geopolitician, explains. In a country so large, where opportunities to meet are scarce, Thanksgiving has become a must-have time to meet.

“Americans have little time off and rarely take it”Richard Tarddets, the former “back” of the New England Patriots and the only French player to have played regular season games in the NFL, abounds. “So Thanksgiving, which is a public holiday, when we’re not working, is a real chance for them to get together.” A reunion that soon naturally turned into American football, the country’s most popular sport.

Supporters of the Dallas Cowboys and the Buffalo Bills before their game on Thanksgiving Day, November 28, 2019 (Wesley Heat/Getty Images North America)

“The two signs of American national identity are Thanksgiving and American football.”, notes Jean-Baptiste Guigan. “Thanksgiving is one of their most important holidays, along with the US National Day. American football is the quintessential national sport, and the Americanization of colonial rugby.” Watching American football on Thanksgiving is so normal, it’s part of the party. “These are their rituals and customs, with the turkey being prepared with everything else.”, says Tiffany Ames, a photographer who runs some of the NFL meetings. A true American company that goes back almost to the beginnings of festivities.

The first Thanksgiving to be celebrated nationally dates back to 1863, when Abraham Lincoln decided to set it aside on the fourth Thursday of November. Early in the fall of 1869, the Evening Telegraph, a Philadelphia daily, reported a match between Young America Cricket Club and Germantown Cricket Club on November 17, Thanksgiving Day. Tradition was born.

When she was born in 1920, the National Football League (NFL) formalized her and definitively established her in customs. As early as 1934, the young Detroit Lions positioned themselves as the team that hosts a get-together each year on Thanksgiving Day. They were joined by the Dallas Cowboys in 1966, and the two franchises quickly became associated with the party in people’s minds. On November 25, they will face the Chicago Bears and the Las Vegas Raiders, respectively.

In 2006, the league opened a third rotating venue to host a Celebration Day game. This year, New Orleans Saints host the Buffalo Bills. “Over the past four Thanksgiving days, the Saints have been playing three times on Thanksgiving Day. I think it works really well with us, on a TV audience level.”Elio says.

Because the university has already seen an opportunity to take advantage of today turning off To attract fans to the stadiums first and then to their screens. “It’s a chance for people to go to a game at prime time. It’s usually Monday, Thursday, and Sunday night, so it can be more complicated. There, it gives them the opportunity to meet up and go to the game, or to watch TV on the sidelines of the meal”, continues supporter of the saints. Banners, banners, cartoons, decorations, the party continues even in the stadiums.

If Thanksgiving has American football, that’s also because it’s nearly the only national sports show available at this time of year. Sports in the United States are organized on a rotational basis, so that each discipline has its season and the tournaments do not overwhelm each other. “On Thanksgiving, baseball and hockey are over, basketball just started.”Richard Tardette’s List.

Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys at a Thanksgiving game on November 26, 2020 (AMY LEMUS / NURPHOTO)

So American football benefits from overexposure, historically on all levels, with high schools and universities also taking part in the celebration over the extended weekend. “While people bridge the gap, there are game proposals for everyone, almost every day. The principle is that the father goes to see his son play on Friday evening, and on Saturday, he goes to the side. From his old university, then on Sunday it is time for the professional team”Explains the former player.

A tradition that has faded a bit over time. Gabriel played in Division 3 at Rockford University, Illinois. “Our tournament didn’t have a Thanksgiving game because most people were on their way home.”He remembers. Take the opportunity to travel and experience the excitement of the day as a spectator: “They have soccer-branded bread, and they make sandwiches with it. A lot of derivative products, big madness.”

The importance of American football on Thanksgiving Day appears in practice as well. Throughout the day, families can also play small games and kick a ball together. “This is an opportunity to play flag football, without contact with the children”Richard Tardits explains.

“I had been traveling to Denver during Thanksgiving break and had come across families walking in the woods with balloons. In the national parks too, we were all around them, and we saw guys hanging out. Walking around with soccer balls, passing each other in the middle of the lawns, it was so funny”Gabriel remembers. Like group friends, Monica, Rachel, Ross, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe friends.

In 2020, despite the specter of the pandemic, American families celebrated Thanksgiving with enthusiasm, as if they had found a little taste of life before. And we remember how deeply parties and sports are rooted in their culture and daily life, as Jean-Baptiste Guigan explains: “If you want to understand Americans, you have to go celebrate Thanksgiving and watch the NFL game. And if you do both things at the same time, you have it all.”

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