By Jonathan Adler
Is the NFL taking its Thanksgiving fans for granted? It seems that year after year, the Thanksgiving Day schedule features lousy matchups and even lousier outcomes. This year, America was treated to three supremely boring football games. Detroit was beaten into submission by the Packers, Dallas hammered Oakland, and the only stirring moment in the Broncos win over the Giants was when Josh McDaniels’s f-bomb was caught by NFL Network mics.
Is it our imagination, or are we watching inferior football games on Thanksgiving? Looking at the numbers, it’s not a turkey-induced error in memory, it’s the truth: In the past five seasons, Thanksgiving Day games have been significantly less competitive than other regular season games. If we compare the average margin of victory in a regular season game to that of a Thanksgiving Day game, the difference is remarkable.
Avg. Margin of Victory 05-09: 11.96 points (1196 games, excludes Thanksgiving games)
Avg. Margin of Victory on Thanksgiving 05-09: 20.42 points (14 games)
In the past five seasons, we’ve sat through significantly worse football games on Thanksgiving. We’re seeing games that are two scores apart from the average regular season matchup. Not surprisingly, we’ve got the Lions’ futility to thank for our viewership woes. In the past five seasons, they’ve lost all of five of their games on Thanksgiving by an average of 21.4 points.
The NFL tried to offer a competitive game this year, with the Broncos v. Giants matchup. But somebody forgot to tell Eli Manning and the Giants offense not to eat a huge Thanksgiving dinner before the game.
If these games get any worse, I might have to spend time with my family.