I've watched many games on Thanksgiving Day, starting with 1991 with Barry Sanders just ripping the Chicago Bears up and winning Thanksgiving MVP for that game. It was the first game I actually remember watching as a child and thinking how much I really wanted to be there. Barry Sanders captivated me with every run, I've been a Lions fan ever since that game.
I'm attending the game tomorrow and I'm wearing my #20 Barry Sanders with my son sporting that same Sanders jersey. Even my wife who doesn't even watch football will be there wearing Calvin Johnson's jersey. This will be my first game ever to see live and I'm really excited. Let's hope they make it interesting for me and others to want to come back.
Most of the Thanksgiving Day games prior to the Millen era were good ones, they seemingly one those every year. I was happy to watch the game with all of my Lions fan family while eating turkey and discussing how this could be the Lions year to go to the Superbowl, even though it wasn't. I will always be thankful for the times I had with my family and the Glory Years of the 1990's though.
Now, it's my turn to hand the tradition down to my son, who is 5 and is already starting to like the Lions. He knows the marquee names like Stafford, Johnson, Jahvid Best, and Suh. Even though the 2010 Lions aren't even close to the caliber of the teams of the 90's, I feel like they are getting there. They are still at least one good draft/offseason away of course, but at least they have some players that might be Thanksgiving MVP's one day.
I'm hoping that the Lions pull a remarkable win on this day, not just for me, but for my son and the legacy that is the Thanksgiving Day game. I have vivid memories of this day with my family and I want the same for my son as well. To actually be there and watch the worst team of the decade in the Lions win against the best team of the decade in the Patriots on this memorable day would make me even more thankful to be a Lions fan and have this great tradition be part of who I am and who we are as Lions fans.
As bad as this season has been for us fans and the players, with the injuries, bad calls, bad luck, and some close games lost at the end, it would more than make up for it with a win against the Patriots. I believe it would also give the fans something to believe in again so the "Same ol' Lions" chant is haunting us in our sleep tomorrow and for the rest of the season. It's hard being a Lions fan and has been for a long time, but some days when the do surprise us and get a win, it makes every win way more special.
It's also too bad that Matthew Stafford isn't playing because he is the heart and soul of this team, much like Barry Sanders was for the teams of the 1990's. Once he went down for that 2nd time against the Jets, every bit of momentum was sucked out of the players and you could see it in their facial expressions. He is a future franchise QB and once he plays an entire season he will get this team over the hump. Coach Schwartz will be the coach that pulls this team out of the mud, and one day the Lions fans will rejoice once again like they did in the 90's because of of the improvements GM Martin Mayhew has made. I truly believe it will happen someday.
To all of my fellow Lions fans out there, I'd like for the Lions do pull a miraculous upset for all of us who have watched the Thanksgiving Day game every year and who cheer our team. I will be there in Detroit at Ford Field cheering them on with my family like I have done every year for almost 2 decades now. The best part about it is, instead of wishing I was there, I'll actually be there for the first time in my life with my son who will be the 4th generation of Lions fans to attend a game in my family. I hope the Lions make this game just as memorable for my son and his generation as it's been for me and all the ones before mine. To a happy and cheerful Thanksgiving win, I say Happy Thanksgiving Lions fans and believe one day...they will make us proud to be Lions fans again. GO LIONS!!!!