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When you’re at war, even the smallest reminder of home can be a great morale booster. And when the major holidays roll around and you’re somewhere far from your family, it can be incredibly depressing.
For those stationed on board the USS Intrepid, a WWII-era aircraft carrier that’s now docked at a pier on the west side of Manhattan, they got a little taste of home during Thanksgiving of 1944. For the holiday, a special menu was devised by the kitchen staff and served to the 3,000 servicemen that were stationed onboard.
We had the opportunity to visit the ship earlier this week, and learned some pretty amazing facts about onboard eating. Every day, the kitchen team had to prepare a lot of food. They went through 700 loaves of bread, 500 dozen eggs, 1,500 chickens, 1,500 pounds of potatoes, 3,000 steaks, and 5,000 pints of milk on your average day at sea, so devising, sourcing, and preparing this special menu, which was on display, must have involved a ton of work. We’re sure it was worth it, though, and it looks pretty outrageous.
Mixed olives, sweet pickles, fruit cocktail, and cream of asparagus soup were served for starters, followed by a main course of roast Princess Ann turkey (which was served at military Thanksgivings dating back at least as far as 1917), baked Virginia ham, cranberry sauce, giblet gravy, celery apple nut dressing, candied yams, and snowflake potatoes (mashed potatoes mixed with sour cream, cream cheese, and spices). Additional side dishes included buttered peas, corn, carrot and raisin salad, and sweet mayonnaise dressing. For dessert, there was plum pudding, vanilla sauce, and apple pie à la mode, with iced orangeade and coffee to drink. And to cap off a veritable feast, cigars.
That’s a surprisingly sumptuous feast!
‘China may deploy aircraft carrier in Indian ocean’: US navy commander
The US Pacific Fleet Commander on Tuesday said there has been no reduction in Beijing’s assertiveness in the disputed South China Sea, a vital trade route in the global supply chain, and it continues to bully other nations in the strategic region.
Admiral John Aquilino, who is in India, met Navy chief Admiral Karambir Singh and other senior defence officials. He said he and Singh discussed ways to enhance cooperation and increase information-sharing and better integration between the two navies.
“The US and India have common values. We understand that the ability to operate in accordance with international laws and maritime environment only allows both of us to prosper as well as the rest of the nations in the area,” he said in an interaction with reporters.
The chief of the Hawai-based Pacific fleet said China’s military buildup in the disputed waters of the SCS threatens several countries, many of whom are American allies.
The dispute in the SCS is between China and several others over the control of the Spratly Islands. Taiwan, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia and Brunei have staked their claim over the islands.
“I have seen continued bullying of nations in the region. I have seen islands or rocks turned into man-made islands and militarised despite the conversations about those being for defensive purpose,” Admiral Aquilino said in response to a question on whether he has seen any reduction in China muscling in the region.
“They challenge and threaten all the nations in the region — our allies, partners and friends. But none of those capabilities have been removed from those islands. So I would say there has been no reduction, and only an increase in pressure from China across the region to achieve their objectives.” China has militarised some of the reefs, inviting criticism from the claimants and also from countries like the US which have been advocating freedom of navigation in the region.
“Their increased military built up threatens the nations and partners in the area. threatens an open and free Indo-Pacific and that’s why I say they haven’t decreased,” the US commander added.
He said India and the US will continue to work for a free and open Indo-Pacific.
Replying to a question on the possibility of a Chinese aircraft carrier battle group operating in the Indian ocean, he said this also reflects Beijing’s intent that it wants to operate in a much broader area.
“I would expect to see continued deployments and I would expect to see a carrier deployment. None of that should surprise anyone,” he said.
On increasing footprints of the Chinese submarines in the Indian Ocean, he said this would only expand in coming years.
Admiral Aquilino said the US and India have operated aircraft carrier for a long period of time and they are viewed positively.
On China developing anti-ship missiles and fifth-generation aircraft, he said the increased weaponisation is a threat to all “free and like-minded” nations.
“There is no doubt that those weapons are designed to continue to threaten the nations that they may have disputes with and it increases the fact that the area is contested and it will be continued to be contested,” he said.
India, the US and Japan have been participating in naval drill. Australia has shown interest in joining it. When asked whether Australia would be a part of it, he said it was on India to decide that. “If India were to determine that they would like to invite Australia or anyone else to Malabar we would be supportive of that but Malabar is India’s exercise,” he said. Replying to a question on joint patrolling in the South China Sea, he said the US Navy is always interested to execute joint patrols. “At any point when our ships are in the vicinity my hope is that can quickly integrate based on our interoperability so come together very quickly and operate anywhere, anytime our partners choose,” he said. On China building bases in the Indian Ocean, he said many have been categorised as economic initiatives but have “absolute military intent” which have resulted in “predatory economics” that ultimately challenges the nation’s sovereignty.
Asked whether the navies of India and the US are looking at multilateral mechanisms involving other partners, he said there was no such plan.
“But if that were proposed by my Indian counterparts I would welcome it and we would figure out how to go ahead and do it,” he said.
The forces of India and the US are participating in a tri-services exercise next month.
(This story has been published from a wire agency feed without modifications to the text. Only the headline has been changed.)
Potent Sting Is Prepared in the Belly of a Warship
ABOARD THE U.S.S. JOHN C. STENNIS, in the North Arabian Sea — Depending on who describes it, a nuclear aircraft carrier can be any number of things: an instrument of national will, a nemesis to be threatened and watched, a fast-moving and wide-ranging city at sea.
When you are aboard one, though, a carrier is an immense warren of spaces and passageways between bulkheads, each with a purpose. There are galleys and offices, stores and workshops, clinics and weight rooms, a barber shop, a recycling center, machine rooms, nuclear reactors and more.
And here was the room that gives the ship its sting: the primary bomb-assembly magazine.
On this night, 17 sailors had climbed through a small circular scuttle on the mess deck and then descended, handhold by foothold, deep below the water line to a space that few sailors see. Nine levels below the flight deck, behind a heavy locked door, in a large, brightly lighted room arrayed with firefighting sprinklers, a dozen BLU-111 bomb bodies rested on metal pallets on the nonskid floor.
It was late, and much of the ship’s crew was asleep. The carrier vibrated as its four screws cut through the dark sea off Pakistan’s southwestern coast.
Several sailors in red shirts took positions near a metal rack topped with rollers. Others carried large metal fins. Still more pried open boxes holding switches and fuzes. Three sailors lifted the first bomb body with an electric hoist, moving it toward what would soon become an assembly line.
A bomb-building session had begun.
American Navy officers have a line they repeat passionately and often: A nuclear-powered aircraft carrier is an imposing and versatile manifestation of the United States’ power. A ship like the Stennis, they say, which was sending aircraft on missions over Iraq one day and over Afghanistan 36 hours later, allows Washington to project influence, unrestricted by borders or basing rights.
To that, Chief Petty Officer Jaime L. Evock, 33, added her own line.
She was watching over the sailors in the red shirts, the uniform that signifies ordnance handlers. They were putting together the parts that allow a carrier and its aircraft to reach inside another country and kill.
Whatever anyone thinks of air power, without munitions and the people who know them, she said, “this ship would just be a floating airport.”
There was something to this. At the end of the long chain of events that puts a carrier near a coastline and Navy strike fighters within range of a ground target, beyond the release point where the aircraft lets go of its ordnance, the final act lies with each missile or bomb descending through the air — which depends on the sailors who assembled it here.
On this night, the red shirts were handling a familiar staple. Each BLU-111 in the stack was a central part of a basic weapon of Western air-to-ground warfare — the general-purpose 500-pound bomb. Each contained 180 pounds of PBXN high explosive within an aerodynamic steel shell.
By itself, though, a bomb body is all but useless. That is where Chief Evock and her team came in: Their task was to carefully attach the components that made them live weapons. Think of a late-night game of Mr. Potato Head on the high seas.
Depending on the particular fins, fuzes and guidance packages that are attached, a BLU-111 can turn into a smart bomb guided by laser or GPS, or any of several kinds of “dumb” bombs, or an undersea mine. The weapon can be configured to penetrate a bunker, or to burrow into the dirt before bursting, thereby reducing the amount of lethal shrapnel and the intensity of the blast wave, to reduce the risk to noncombatants or unwanted damage to property. On this night Chief Evock’s team was filling orders from the carrier’s F/A-18 squadrons for a dozen unguided high-explosive bombs. Between flights to Afghanistan, air crews use these for training runs to maintain their qualifications.
The necessary parts had been carried here from a network of feeder magazines spread through the ship. Petty Officer Second Class Shawn M. Scheffler, 26, walked along the rack of parts as sailors called out lot numbers, compiling what is called a build sheet for each bomb.
For those expecting jangled nerves and beads of sweat as sailors handle explosives, this was the wrong place. Until assembled, released and armed, these bombs are stable. The red shirts worked methodically, with practiced precision and without the dramatic flair seen in “The Hurt Locker,” which covered the handling of explosives of a different sort.
Once the rear fuzes were inserted and set and the fins attached and tightened down, each bomb was ready to be rolled by cart to an elevator that would carry it up to the flight deck. Up there the bombs would be guarded in an area called the bomb farm, waiting to be fitted to aircraft.
The first of the bombs this night were ready in perhaps 10 minutes. Petty Officer First Class Joshua J. Austring, 28, roamed the line, ensuring that the components were tightened to the correct torque.
“Numerous things can go wrong,” he said. “We want to make sure that when the pilots are out there for the Marines, and the Marines ask for something to be dropped, that it is going to work.”
Throughout the process, the petty officers kept records, documenting each step in the assembly the record sheets will follow each bomb to an aircraft, and through its eventual use.
If a weapon does not function properly, they said, the information on the sheets can be shared with explosive ordnance disposal teams on the ground to help make an unexploded bomb safe. They can also be used to identify mistakes by the red shirts. “If there is a dud, it comes back to me,” Petty Officer Scheffler said.
The sheets are also used when a bomb is flown on a sortie but not dropped it is returned to this space to be disassembled and all the components accounted for.
Behind Petty Officer Scheffler was the handiwork of previous shifts: bombs to be guided by laser, bombs with GPS antennas in their tails, bombs to explode on impact or in midair.
The Stennis was wrapping up its tour in the Middle East and the Arabian Sea. Soon it would hand off responsibility for providing air support in Afghanistan to another carrier steaming its way.
The red shirts this night did not yet know it, but none of the bombs they assembled would be dropped in Afghanistan, where the use of air-to-ground force has declined as the conditions and tactics on the ground have changed. They would soon be broken back down and the parts checked and stored, and the Stennis’s bow pointed east, toward home.
The concept of American football games being played on Thanksgiving Day dates back to 1876, shortly after the game had been invented, as it was a day that most people had off from work. In that year, the college football teams at Yale and Princeton began an annual tradition of playing each other on Thanksgiving Day.  The University of Michigan also made it a tradition to play annual Thanksgiving games, holding 19 such games from 1885 to 1905.      The Thanksgiving Day games between Michigan and the Chicago Maroons in the 1890s have been cited as "The Beginning of Thanksgiving Day Football."  In some areas, most commonly in New England, high-school teams play on Thanksgiving, usually to wrap-up the regular-season.
By the time football had become a professional event, playing on Thanksgiving had already become an institution. Records of pro football being played on Thanksgiving date back to as early as the 1890s, with the first pro–am team, the Allegheny Athletic Association of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. In 1902, the National Football League, a Major League Baseball-backed organization based entirely in Pennsylvania and unrelated to the current NFL, attempted to settle its championship over Thanksgiving weekend after the game ended in a tie, eventually all three teams in the league claimed to have won the title. Members of the Ohio League, during its early years, usually placed their marquee matchups on Thanksgiving Day. For instance, in 1905 and 1906 the Latrobe Athletic Association and Canton Bulldogs, considered at the time to be two of the best teams in professional football (along with the Massillon Tigers), played on Thanksgiving. A rigging scandal with the Tigers leading up to the 1906 game led to severe drops in attendance for the Bulldogs and ultimately led to their suspension of operations. During the 1910s, the Ohio League stopped holding Thanksgiving games because many of its players coached high school teams and were unavailable. This was not the case in other regional circuits: in 1919, the New York Pro Football League featured a Thanksgiving matchup between the Buffalo Prospects and the Rochester Jeffersons. The game ended in a scoreless tie, leading to a rematch the next Sunday for the league championship.
Several other NFL teams played regularly on Thanksgiving in the first eighteen years of the league, including the Chicago Bears and Chicago Cardinals (1922–33 the Bears played the Lions from 1934 to 1938 while the Cardinals switched to the Green Bay Packers for 1934 and 1935), Frankford Yellow Jackets, Pottsville Maroons, Buffalo All-Americans, Canton Bulldogs (even after the team moved to Cleveland they played the 1924 Thanksgiving game in Canton), and the New York Giants (1929–38, who always played a crosstown rival). The first owner of the Lions, George A. Richards, started the tradition of the Thanksgiving Day game as a gimmick to get people to go to Lions football games, and to continue a tradition begun by the city's previous NFL teams.  What differentiated the Lions' efforts from other teams that played on the holiday was that Richards owned radio station WJR, a major affiliate of the NBC Blue Network (the forerunner to today's American Broadcasting Company) he was able to negotiate an agreement with NBC to carry his Thanksgiving games live across the network. 
During the Franksgiving controversy in 1939 and 1940, the only two teams to play the game were the Pittsburgh Steelers and Philadelphia Eagles, as both teams were in the same state (Pennsylvania). (At the time, then-U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt wanted to move the holiday for economic reasons and many states were resistant to the move half the states recognized the move and the other half did not. This complicated scheduling for Thanksgiving games. Incidentally, the two teams were also exploring the possibility of a merger at the time.  ) Because of the looming World War II and the resulting shorter seasons, the NFL did not schedule any Thanksgiving games in 1941, nor did it schedule any in the subsequent years until the war ended in 1945. When the Thanksgiving games resumed in 1945, only the Lions' annual home game would remain on the Thanksgiving holiday. In 1951, the Packers began a thirteen-season run as the perpetual opponent to the Lions each year through 1963.
The All-America Football Conference and American Football League, both of which would later be absorbed into the NFL, also held Thanksgiving contests, although neither of those leagues had permanent hosts. Likewise, the AFL of 1926 also played two Thanksgiving games in its lone season of existence, while the AFL of 1936 hosted one in its first season, which featured the Cleveland Rams, a future NFL team, and the 1940–41 incarnation of the American Football League played two games in 1940 on the earlier "Franksgiving" date.
In 1966, the Dallas Cowboys, who had been founded six years earlier, adopted the practice of hosting Thanksgiving games. It is widely rumored that the Cowboys sought a guarantee that they would regularly host Thanksgiving games as a condition of their very first one (since games on days other than Sunday were uncommon at the time and thus high attendance was not a certainty).  This is only partly true Dallas had in fact decided on their own to host games on Thanksgiving because there was nothing else to do or watch on that day. In 1975 and 1977, at the behest of then-Commissioner Pete Rozelle, the St. Louis Cardinals replaced Dallas as a host team (Dallas then hosted St. Louis in 1976). Although the Cardinals, at the time known as the "Cardiac Cards" due to their propensity for winning very close games, were a modest success at the time, they were nowhere near as popular nationwide as the Cowboys, who were regular Super Bowl contenders during this era. This, combined with St. Louis's consistently weak attendance, a series of ugly Cardinals losses in the three-game stretch, and opposition from the Kirkwood–Webster Groves Turkey Day Game (a local high school football contest) led to Dallas resuming regular hosting duties in 1978 it was then, after Rozelle asked Dallas to resume hosting Thanksgiving games, that the Cowboys requested (and received) an agreement guaranteeing the Cowboys a spot on Thanksgiving Day forever. 
Since 1978, Thanksgiving games have been hosted in Detroit and Dallas every year, with Detroit in the early time slot and Dallas in the late afternoon slot. Because of television network commitments in place through the 2013 season, to make sure that both the AFC-carrying network (NBC from 1965 to 1997, and CBS since 1998) and the NFC-carrying network (CBS from 1956 to 1993, and Fox since 1994) got at least one game each, one of these games was between NFC opponents, and one featured AFC-NFC opponents. Thus, the AFC could showcase only one team on Thanksgiving, and the AFC team was always the visiting team.
Since 2006, a third NFL game on Thanksgiving has been played in primetime. It originally aired on the NFL Network as part of its Thursday Night Football package until 2011, and has been broadcast on NBC since 2012 as part of its Sunday Night Football package. The night game never had any conference tie-ins, meaning the league could place any game into the time slot. Since NBC took over the primetime game in 2012, divisional matchups have been scheduled, with the exception being in 2016 with an intra-conference game between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Indianapolis Colts. In 2014, a series of changes to the broadcast contracts freed CBS from its obligation to carry an AFC team by 2018, the last vestiges of conference ties to the Thanksgiving games were eliminated (in practice, games on Fox remain all-NFC contests).
The originally scheduled 2020 primetime game between the Baltimore Ravens and the Pittsburgh Steelers was postponed to the following Wednesday, December 2, after multiple Baltimore players and staff tested positive for COVID-19 in the days before the game. This thus marked the first time no primetime contest was held since 2005. 
Throwback uniforms Edit
Since 2001 teams playing on Thanksgiving have worn throwback uniforms on numerous occasions. In 2002, it extended to nearly all games of the weekend, and in some cases also involved classic field logos at the stadiums.
From 2001 to 2003, Dallas chose to represent the 1990s Cowboys dynasty by wearing the navy "Double-Star" jersey not seen since 1995. In 2004, the team wore uniforms not seen since 1963. In 2009, to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the AFL, both Dallas and Oakland played in a "AFL Legacy Game." In 2013, the Cowboys intended to wear their 1960s throwbacks, but chose not to do so after the NFL adopted a new policy requiring players and teams to utilize only one helmet a season to address the league's new concussion protocol rather than sport an incomplete throwback look, the Cowboys instead wore their standard blue jerseys at home for the first time since 1963.  In 2015, the Cowboys resurrected their 1994 white "Double-Star" jerseys only this time wore them with white pants as part of the league's Color Rush, a trial run of specially-designed, monochromatic jerseys to be worn during Thursday games.
In 2001–2004, and again in 2008, 2010, 2017, and 2018 the Detroit Lions have worn throwback uniforms based on their very early years. For 2019, Detroit wore its silver Color Rush uniforms.
Memorable games Edit
- 1920: An urban legend states that the Chicago Tigers and Decatur Staleys challenged each other to a Thanksgiving duel, in Chicago, in the league's inaugural season, with the loser being relegated out of the league at the end of the season, purportedly explaining why the Tigers were the only NFL team to fold after the 1920 season (no other team would fold until 1921). The claims of it being a duel are unsubstantiated nevertheless, the Tigers, after a 27–0 win over the non-league Thorn Tornadoes the next week, never played football again. The Staleys would move to Chicago during the next season, later renaming themselves the Bears. 
- 1921: In a matchup of two of the league's best teams, the Staleys lose to the Buffalo All-Americans at home. The Staleys demand a rematch, with Buffalo agreeing to a December match only on the terms of it being considered an off-the-record exhibition game. That later match, which Chicago won, ended up counting despite the All-Americans' insistence, controversially handing Chicago the championship.
- 1929: Ernie Nevers scores 40 points—an NFL record that still stands, and the entirety of the Chicago Cardinals' scoring that day (including the extra points)—in a rout over their crosstown rivals the Bears, who scored only 6 points.
- 1952: The Dallas Texans are forced to move their lone remaining home game to the Rubber Bowl in Akron, Ohio as the undercard to a high school football contest. Their opponent for that game, the Chicago Bears, underestimated the then-winless Texans and sent their second string team to the game the Texans scored a 27–23 upset over the Bears for their only win of their existence.
- 1962: The Lions handed the 10–0 Green Bay Packers their lone defeat of the season. The game was dubbed the "Thanksgiving Day Massacre" due to the dominant performance by the Lions defense, who sacked Bart Starr 11 times. 
- 1964–65: The 1964 and 1965 AFL contests featured the Buffalo Bills and the San Diego Chargers, the two teams that would eventually meet in those years' American Football League Championship Games.
- 1974: Unknown Cowboys backup quarterback Clint Longley took over for an injured Roger Staubach with the team down 16–3 and rallied them to an improbable victory over Washington on two deep passes.
- 1976: The Bills offense put forth one of the best and the worst performances in Thanksgiving history. O. J. Simpson set the NFL record for most rushing yards in a single game, with 273. However, Bills backup quarterback Gary Marangi completed only 4 of 21 pass attempts, for 29 yards passing, and a rating of 19.7. The Lions defeated the Bills 27–14. 
- 1980: With the Lions and Bears tied 17–17 at the end of regulation, the game went to overtime, the first Thanksgiving game to do so (overtime was not added to the NFL regular season until 1974), and the first overtime game at the Silverdome. Bears running back Dave Williams returned the fifth-quarter opening kickoff 95 yards for a game-winning touchdown, ending the shortest overtime period in NFL history at the time (13 seconds).
- 1986: The Lions and the Packers had the second-highest scoring game in Thanksgiving history (the highest-scoring game came in 1951). It was the best day of receiver Walter Stanley's career Stanley netted 207 all-purpose yards and three touchdowns, including an 83-yard punt return to win the game for Green Bay, 44–40. Stanley had an otherwise undistinguished career in the NFL.
- 1989: Known as the "Bounty Bowl", the Eagles crushed the Cowboys by a score of 27–0. Allegations surfaced that the Eagles had placed a bounty on the Cowboys kicker, thus becoming the first of a string of three bitterly contested games between the two teams, the other two being Bounty Bowl II and the Porkchop Bowl a year later.
- 1993: In one of the more famous Thanksgiving Day games in recent history, the Cowboys led the Dolphins 14–13 with just seconds remaining in a rare, snow-filled Texas Stadium. Miami's Pete Stoyanovich attempted a game winning 40-yard field goal that was blocked by the Cowboys' Jimmie Jones. Dick Enberg (who was calling the game for NBC) proclaimed "The Cowboys will win." Indeed, since the kick landed beyond the line of scrimmage, once the ball stopped moving the play would be declared dead and Dallas would gain possession. However, the ball landed and began spinning on its tip, leading Cowboys lineman Leon Lett to try to gain possession. Lett slipped, fell, and knocked the ball forward. By rule, the ball was live and the Dolphins fell on it at the two yard line. With the recovery, Stoyanovich got a second chance to win the game and hit the much shorter field goal. The Dolphins won 16–14. 
- 1994:Troy Aikman was injured and third-string quarterback (and future Cowboys coach) Jason Garrett was forced to start for Dallas against the Green Bay Packers. The Cowboys won a 42–31 shoot-out against Brett Favre.
- 1998: In another controversial Thanksgiving Day game, the Steelers and Lions went to overtime tied 16–16. Pittsburgh's Jerome Bettis called the coin toss in the air, but head referee Phil Luckett awarded Detroit the ball after Bettis tried to call both heads and tails at the same time. The Lions went on to kick a field goal on the first possession, winning 19–16. As a result of the fiasco, team captains are now required to call the coin toss before the coin is tossed, and a later rule change now prevents teams from automatically winning a game by scoring a field goal on the first possession. The day also saw a memorable performance by the Minnesota Vikings in a 46–36 win over the Dallas Cowboys as Vikings rookie Randy Moss caught three touchdowns, all of over 50 yards.
- 2008: The 10–1 Titans routed the 0–11 Lions by a score of 47–10, one of the most lopsided results in history on Thanksgiving. The Lions would go on to finish the season 0–16, clinching the 33rd  winless season in NFL history, and the first under the 16-game schedule.
- 2011: The trio of games  was lauded as one of the better Thanksgiving Day slates of games in NFL history.  The night game between Baltimore and San Francisco pitted head coaches and brothers John and Jim Harbaugh against each other – a preview of Super Bowl XLVII.
- 2012: The prime time contest became infamous for the "Butt fumble", an incident in which Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez ran headfirst into the buttocks of his own offensive lineman. He subsequently fumbled the ball it was recovered by New England, who returned it for a touchdown. In the earlier game, one of the NFL's most infamous rule changes came when former Lions coach Jim Schwartz challenged a play in which Texans running back Justin Forsett's knee clearly touched the ground before sprinting for an 81-yard touchdown. Referee Walt Coleman stated that, by rule, scoring plays are automatically reviewed and the play was not challengeable by a coach. Because of the improperly attempted challenge, the review was cancelled and Coleman assessed a 15-yard kickoff penalty for unsportsmanlike conduct. The NFL then passed a new rule that stated that if a coach attempted to challenge a play that is automatically reviewed, the review would continue. It was called the 'Jim Schwartz rule'.
Home team controversy Edit
It has remained a tradition for Dallas and Detroit to host the afternoon games dating several decades. Other teams eventually expressed interest in hosting Thanksgiving games. Lamar Hunt, the former owner of the Chiefs (who had hosted Thanksgiving games from 1967 to 1969 as an AFL team prior to the merger), lobbied heavily in favor of his team hosting a game on the holiday. When the NFL adopted a third, prime time game, the Chiefs were selected as the first team to host such a contest, but the team was not made a permanent host, and Hunt's death shortly after the 2006 contest ended the lobbying on behalf of the team.
The host issue came to a head in 2008, focusing particularly on the winless Lions. Going into the game, Detroit had lost their last four Thanksgiving games, and opinions amongst the media had suggested removing Detroit and replacing them with a more attractive matchup. [ citation needed ] The team also required an extension to prevent a local television blackout.  The Lions were routed by Tennessee 47–10, en route to the team's 0–16 season.  NFL commissioner Roger Goodell confirmed that the Lions would stay on Thanksgiving for the 2009 season, but kept the issue open to revisit in the future.  
Conversely, the Dallas Cowboys, who typically represent a larger television draw,  have had many fewer public calls to be replaced on Thanksgiving. One issue that has been debated is a perceived unfair advantage of playing at home on Thanksgiving.  The advantage is given in the form of an extra day of practice for the home team while the road team has to travel to the game site. This is true for most Thursday games, but with the night games, the visitor can travel to the game site after practice on Wednesday and hold the final walk-thru the following morning.
With the introduction of the prime time game, which effectively allows all teams in the league an opportunity to play on Thanksgiving, along with the introduction of year-long Thursday Night Football ensuring all teams have one Thursday game during the regular season (thus negating any on-field advantages or disadvantages to being selected for Thanksgiving), the calls for Detroit and Dallas to be removed have curtailed.
(Winning teams are denoted by boldface type tie games are italicized.)
- All three of the generally recognized iterations of the American Football League that played during this era (AFL I in 1926, AFL II in 1936 and AFL III in 1940) played Thanksgiving games, which are also listed as indicated.
- Non-NFL team games between league teams and non league teams counted in the 1920 standings. The All-Tonawanda Lumberjacks later joined the league as the Tonawanda Kardex, albeit only for one game.
- Thanksgiving fell on the final Thursday in November until 1938 and was held on two conflicting days from 1939 to 1941.
Of current NFL franchises. This includes American Football League (AFL) games however, it does not include All-America Football Conference (AAFC) games.
Notable appearance droughts Edit
The last currently active franchise to have never played on Thanksgiving through 2021 is the Jacksonville Jaguars, who joined the league in 1995.
An idiosyncrasy in the NFL's current scheduling formula, which has been in effect in its basic form since 2002, effectively prevented teams from the AFC North from playing the Lions or Cowboys on Thanksgiving, as the formula had the AFC North playing in Dallas or Detroit in years when the other team was slated to play the AFC game on Thanksgiving. These teams, under the television contracts in place at the time, could only play in the third (night) game. With the changes in the scheduling practices in 2014, the division is no longer barred from participating in the game (since both CBS and Fox can choose teams from either conference because of the idiosyncrasy, the AFC North team would, if chosen, always play on Fox). In practice, Fox has never carried an AFC team on Thanksgiving and all of the AFC North's appearances have been in the night game.
The Los Angeles Rams have the longest active appearance drought of any team, with their last appearance coming in 1975. Among current NFL markets, Cleveland has had the longest wait to have a team from its city play on Thanksgiving the Browns last appeared in 1989, six years before suspending operations in 1995, and have not appeared in the game since rejoining the league as an expansion team in 1999.
Since 2010, several appearance droughts have ended. New Orleans, Cincinnati, Baltimore, Houston, and Carolina all played their first Thanksgiving games during this time frame. San Francisco likewise played their first Thanksgiving game since 1972 in 2011, and the Los Angeles Chargers, who last played on the holiday in 1969 (while the team was still an AFL franchise in San Diego) before actually joining the league, appeared for the first time as an NFL member in 2017. 
Thanksgiving Day records of defunct teams Edit
Most frequent match-ups among active teams Edit
Since 1989, informal and sometimes lighthearted Man of the Match/MVP awards have been issued by the networks broadcasting the respective games. Running back Emmitt Smith holds the record for most Thanksgiving MVPs with five (1990, 1992, 1994, 1996 and 2002). Voting on the respective awards is typically done informally by the announcing crew, and criteria are loose. Noteworthy statistical accomplishments weigh heavily, and "group" awards are not uncommon. The announcement of the winner(s), and the presentation of the award is normally done immediately following the game, during post-game network coverage.
Turkey Leg Award (CBS & Fox) Edit
In 1989, John Madden of CBS awarded the first "Turkey Leg Award", for the game's most valuable player. Pursuant to its name, it was an actual cooked turkey leg, and players typically took a celebratory bite out of the leg for the cameras during post-game interviews. Reggie White of the Eagles was the first recipient. The gesture was seen mostly as a humorous gimmick relating to Madden's famous multi-legged turkey,  cooked and delivered by local restaurant owner Joe Pat Fieseler of Harvey's Barbecue (located less than a mile from Texas Stadium). Since then, however, the award has gained subtle notoriety. Madden brought the award to Fox in 1994, and it continued through 2001.
Because of the loose and informal nature of the award, at times it has been awarded to multiple players. On one occasion in 1994, it was given to players of both teams.
Galloping Gobbler / Game Ball / WWE Championship Belt (Fox) Edit
When John Madden left Fox after 2001, the network introduced a new award starting in 2002, named the "Galloping Gobbler." It was represented by a small figurine of a cartoonish, silver turkey wearing a football helmet  striking a Heisman-like pose.  Much like Cleatus and Digger, the original Galloping Gobbler trophy reflected Fox's irreverent mascots, and went through several iterations.  Unimpressed by its tackiness after having won four Turkey Legs in the 1990s, the inaugural winner, Emmitt Smith, famously threw the 2002 award into a trash can. 
In 2007, the kitschy statuette was replaced with a bronze-colored statue of a nondescript turkey holding a football.  In 2011, the trophies were discarded altogether and replaced by an attractive plaque. Unlike the aforementioned "Turkey Leg Award", the "Galloping Gobbler" is normally awarded to only one player annually,  however in 2016, co-winners were honored. 
For 2017, the Galloping Gobbler was permanently retired, and replaced with the "Game Ball," a stylish, ornate football-shaped trophy, reminiscent of the tradition where game-used balls are typically awarded to players of the game. No one at Fox seemed to notice the first ball awarded had the stripe markings of a college ball (with stripes on each lace-end of the ball NFL game balls have no stripes).
As Fox had signed a deal with the WWE to air SmackDown, the Game Ball was replaced by a WWE Championship Belt in 2019. Mitchell Trubisky of the Chicago Bears became the first recipient of the belt.
All-Iron Award (CBS) Edit
When the NFL returned to CBS in 1998, they introduced their own award, the "All-Iron Award", which is, suitably enough, a small silver iron, a reference to Phil Simms' All-Iron team for toughness. The All-Iron winner also receives a skillet of blackberry cobbler made by Simms' mother.
Through 2006, the trophy was only awarded to one player annually. Occasionally, it has been issued as a "group award" in addition to a single player award. In 2008, Simms stated it was "too close to call" and named four players to the trophy he then gave the award to several people every year until 2013, after which he reverted to a single MVP in 2014.
Simms was removed from the broadcast booth for the 2017 season in favor of Tony Romo, who did not carry on the tradition. Instead, the "Chevrolet Player of the Game" award was extended to CBS' Thanksgiving Day game. As in CBS' regular Sunday afternoon NFL coverage as well as Fox's regular NFL coverage, Chevrolet will donate money in the player's name to the United Way if the game is played in Detroit, the Salvation Army if the Thanksgiving Day game is played in Dallas.
For the 2019 season, CBS revived the Turkey Leg Award, awarding it to Josh Allen. 
Prime time games (NFLN & NBC) Edit
During the time when NFL Network held the broadcast rights the prime time game, from 2007 to 2011 they gave out the "Pudding Pie Award" for MVPs. The award was an actual pie. In 2009, NFL Network gave Brandon Marshall a pumpkin pie rather than the chocolate pudding pie of the previous two years.
NBC, which carried Thanksgiving afternoon games through 1997, did not issue an MVP award during that time. NBC began broadcasting the Thanksgiving prime time game in 2012, at which point the MVP award was added. The award is currently called the Sunday Night Football on Thanksgiving Night Player of the Game, and is typically awarded to multiple players on the winning team.  From 2012 to 2015, the NBC award was referred to as the "Madden Thanksgiving Player-of-the-Game", honoring John Madden (who announced NBC games from 2006 to 2008).   In the first few years, the award specifically went to players on both offense and defense, but in recent years, there have been no quotas for each phase and thus the awards can be given to any position (in 2019, for example, the award went to an offensive player, a defensive player, and a special teamer). The winning players are presented with ceremonial game balls and, as a gesture to Madden, a cooked turkey leg. 
Complete list Edit