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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

Thanksgiving tradition includes breaking out the pigskin

Needham+and+Wellesley+play+the+oldest+Thanksgiving+rivalry+in+Massachusetts
Needham and Wellesley play the oldest Thanksgiving rivalry in Massachusetts

For many, Thanksgiving is a day meant for spending time with family and friends, eating copious amounts of food and desserts until a state of delirium sets in, and transitioning into the holiday season. For others, Thanksgiving is a holiday about one thing — watching and playing football.
For over a century football and Thanksgiving have been linked, dating all the way back to 1869 when the Evening Telegraph in Philadelphia advertised a Thanksgiving Day football matchup between Rutgers and Princeton. Since then, football has become as much a part of Thanksgiving in America as turkey and cornbread.
High school football has a great history of rivalry match-ups played on Thanksgiving. In Massachusetts, almost every high school has a traditional Thanksgiving Day game against a rival school. In fact, Massachusetts is home to the oldest public high school football rivalry, with the Needham vs. Wellesley game dating back to 1882.
Massachusetts also boasts rivalries between Boston Latin School and English High School, as well as the second-oldest continuous high school football rivalry in America between Medford and Malden.
While the Texas Longhorns do host Thanksgiving games against alternating opponents Texas A&M and TCU, the NCAA typically uses the Friday and Saturday after the holiday to showcase some of its most storied college football rivalries. Match-ups like the Sunshine Showdown between Florida and Florida State and the Iron Bowl between Alabama and Auburn are just two of the many major college football rivalries on display during Thanksgiving weekend.
The Saturday after Thanksgiving plays host to what many have called the greatest college football rivalry of all time, simply known as The Game. The Michigan Wolverines and the Ohio State Buckeyes have a longstanding tradition of playing against one another on the holiday weekend, a series dating back to 1897 with Michigan holding a 58-45-6 advantage.
Many of the games have gone down as instant classics, including the 2006 matchup that saw both teams enter at 11-0 with Ohio State ranked first in the nation and Michigan ranked second.
Since its inception in 1920, the NFL has traditionally held football games on Thanksgiving Day. The Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys have played host to games on the holiday since 1934 and 1966, respectively. Since 2006, the NFL has had a third Thanksgiving game in the primetime slot.
In recent years, these primetime games have been used as slots for rivalry games, with the Patriots and Jets facing off in 2012, the Steelers and Ravens playing against one another in 2013, and this season’s primetime showdown between the Seahawks and the 49ers.
Football and Thanksgiving have been linked for over a century, dating back to the time of the game’s founding. Whether it be in backyards or parks in local neighborhoods, high school fields or college stadiums, or the massive venues of Ford Field and AT&T Stadium, football is everywhere on Thanksgiving Day. So when you go home for Thanksgiving cheer on your old high school football team, sit down with your family and watch the games on TV, or go and play a game with your family in the backyard. It’s as much a part of Thanksgiving as the food.