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It's Turkey Day, so pass the pigskin

Fan of the House columnist Chris Erskine offers a football-flavored Thanksgiving prayer.

November 23, 2011|Chris Erskine
  • It appears at least one Thanksgiving Day football fan will be praying that Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers has a bad game on Thursday.
It appears at least one Thanksgiving Day football fan will be praying that… (Jeff Hanisch / U.S. Presswire )

Can you imagine Chris Berman's Thanksgiving plate? Must look like Google Earth photos of Zurich. Over here, mountains of potatoes; over there, fast-moving rivers of gravy bordered by big zeppelins of bread. All I can say is watch your cheesehead today. Berman's got a fork.

Football crazed as we all are, is it no coincidence that the centerpiece of today's feast is shaped like a down lineman in a four-point stance? Look at that giant bird, down on its haunches, awaiting the snap. The Steelers' Casey "Big Snack" Hampton comes to mind, and certainly the Packers' B.J. "The Freezer" Raji. Or Jets Coach Rex Ryan reaching down for an untied shoelace. Ooooooph! Grrrrrunt! Medic!

Add Tony Siragusa, and a few other Muppets, and you have the first-ever All-Feast Fantasy Team, coached by Thanksgiving emeritus John Madden, wearing a turducken for a hat.

Makes me misty, today's bounty of comfort food and comfort football. In our house, the turkey comes to the table wearing eye black and an edible Chicago Bears jersey. All around the table, little kids cry out, "More Butkus, please!" Aunts and uncles chuckle proudly as they pass the tray.

For the first time in almost a year, Thanksgiving falls on a Thursday. So let us pause a moment to appreciate this four-F day: Feasts. Family. Friends. Football.

In fact, let us offer up this pigskin-flavored Thanksgiving prayer:

Dear Lord, give me the strength to make it through three entire NFL games, two of them very good, to resist the snoozy effects of tryptophan, the pumpkin pie in Tampa 2 formation. And help me be civil to people we see only once a year, especially the ones who might leave me real estate.

Dear Lord, please let dinner fall at halftime. While throwing the football around the yard, don't let me pull a hamstring or a schnitzel. Let me be a gracious winner after my annual shoving match with demented Uncle Dick.

Dear Lord, give thee abundant blessing to the Lions of Detroit against the mighty Packers of Green Bay. Since before the Civil War, the Lions have foundered publicly on this holiday, in the black coffee sludge of old Tiger Stadium, then the soulless Silverdome, now in Ford Field, which seems, finally, to be their Promised Land. Sure, Green Bay (apparently led by Gideon himself) will probably bury them in the end, which is as it should be. But don't pull the football away too soon. Let them — and us — have a moment.

Dear Lord, please bless these gifts and give good fortune to friends who must toil this holiday, including the Harbaugh brothers. As you know, Jim and John shared a bedroom for 18 years while growing up. Can you imagine the boyhood rumbles they must have had? Oh, that's right, you witness everything. Today, though, as they coach against each other for the very first time, please lead them into a feel-good, talk-of-the-nation overtime, then let it end in a last-second tie.

Dear Lord, let me not embarrass myself today in front of my favorite teams, my family, my friends. Help me not to curse during Hail Mary passes or get face paint all over my mum-in-law's expensive new couch. Love her to death, but she is a darkly menacing presence of Falstaffian proportions. To have her physically toss me out of her house in front of the kids is something from which I might never recover.

Dear Lord, while I have you, please help me to decipher my company's arcane new health plan. And the debilitating crush I have on the actress Amy Adams.

Finally, Lord, let me be a good Thanksgiving host, or guest, or inmate, wherever the day may lead. I can assure you (and the cops) that last year's boorish behavior was a total fluke. I didn't really mean to throw my wife's riding boot through my in-laws' Sony big screen, though you've got to admit it was a pretty tight spiral. Thanksgiving football makes me almost stupidly joyful. For a minute there, I felt just like Montana — the QB, not the state. But you did very well on both.

All glory be thine. Go, Ravens.


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