By Maury Jackson, For The African-American Athlete,
I hope you have been enjoying your holiday season. It is an exciting time of the year. It’s a time filled with travelling, vacation, family, and food. It is also a time to enjoy everything sports have to offer. Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s showcases some of the most exciting games that both football and basketball have to offer.
However, but what do these sports have to offer on these holidays?
For years, football has been the face of Thanksgiving for the sports world, with Christmas being known for the NBA, and New Years showcasing bowl games towards the end of the college football season.
Despite football still being played on Christmas this year, the ratings and excitement of NBA basketball, particularly the Warriors-Cavaliers game, proves that the NBA continues to master the games played on Christmas Day.
Besides All-Star Weekend, Christmas may be the only other time that the NBA is showcased in such a large and entertaining way in the regular season.
The way the NBA schedules Christmas Day games each year, along with the young, talented teams, and players that people want to see are what make it so successful. Similar to tactics used for Monday Night and Sunday Night football, the NBA makes sure the top players and teams are nationally televised on Christmas Day.
There is nothing like sitting down with family on Christmas Day and arguing about missed calls of the Cavaliers-Warriors game, or debating who the best player in the league is.
There is no reason for the popularity of the NBA on this holiday to lessen any time soon, especially if the young talent develops into the rivalry that LeBron James and Kevin Durant and the Cavs/Warriors have.
Thanksgiving on the other hand does not necessarily use the same tactics. For decades, the Cowboys and Lions have played on Thanksgiving Day due to history and tradition associated with them. Back in 1934, the Detroit franchise struggled to compete with the large fan base of the Detroit Tigers.
As a result, owner George Richards convinced NBC to carry a Thanksgiving game of the Lions on radio stations across the country, becoming the first nationally-broadcast NFL game.
The Cowboys tradition came later in 1966, hosting a Thanksgiving game home to a record-setting 80,000 fans. As a result, these two teams now always play every Thanksgiving. The Cowboys seem to always be fun to watch, from their owner and controversial personnel, to their young talent. On the other hand, some have argued that they would like to see the top teams play on Thanksgiving along with them.
A Thanksgiving Day featuring the Cowboys and Lions along with powerhouse teams such as the Patriots, Steelers, Falcons, and Eagles could add to the entertainment value of Thanksgiving Day football.
It is harder to determine who the top teams will be around Thanksgiving from season to season in the NFL. Yet and still, ratings for the NFL on Thanksgiving Day continue to be superior.
New Year’s may be least known for sports out of all three, but it is certainly the epitome of bowl season in college football. With the addition of the college football playoff system, the highlight of some people’s New Years may be the numerous college football games they watch.
Whichever holiday you like best may have a lot to do with which games you enjoy the most on these special holidays. Going into 2018, the comfort and fun of these holidays will be missed, but the world of sports entertainment on these days will certainly be missed as well.