Thanksgiving weekend is homecoming weekend as many people are returning home for the first time in months from school or perhaps a job that has displaced them from family and loved ones. For college football, it's also rivalry weekend as the Michigans and Ohio States and Notre Dames and USCs of the collegiate gridiron world renew hostilities.
The following is not necessarily a new idea but we are going to keep hammering away at it until it does become reality. If it works for college football, why not the NFL where the league can take advantage of some natural inter-conference geographic rivalries that already are and rivalries-to-be in a annual renewal of these matchups on Thanksgiving weekend:
•Oakland Raiders v. San Francisco 49ers
•NY Giants v. NY York Jets
•Houston Texans v. Dallas Cowboys
•Kansas City Chiefs v. St. Louis Rams
•Washington Redskins v. Baltimore Ravens
•Philadelphia Eagles v. Pittsburgh Steelers
•San Diego Chargers v. Arizona Cardinals
•Jacksonville Jaguars v. Atlanta Falcons
•Tampa Bay Buccaneers v. Miami Dolphins
•Carolina Panthers v. Tennessee Titans
•Cincinnati Bengals v. Cleveland Browns (This is the only in-conference match-up but it’s one that’s gotta be. Call it the Paul Brown Bowl)
And in a happy and unintended consequence, two of the left over teams are the Indianapolis Colts and New England Patriots. These two recently-minted rivals can be matched up each year as well, leaving only 8 teams out of the party for the near-future.
We urge NFL commish, Roger Goodell to make this happen. Now that the NFL has flexibility in the televised games later in the season, put the most attractive match-ups on your prime time games on Thursday, Sunday and Monday nights. It makes sense, it would be a lot of fun and it would create a huge amount of buzz upon which the NFL could capitalize.