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NFL Unfiltered Thanksgiving Edition- Giving thanks for football?


One of the many reasons we love professional football is because its participants do spectacular things that seem inhuman.  And they do so, despite dangerous head trauma, and broken bones.  We just prefer they keep their maladies to themselves.  

To us, football players are gridiron superheroes, and thus, any complaints of depression, memory loss or violent mood swings is just the cost of doing business.  We see lawsuits by former players as money grabs, and believe all this talk of failing brains ruins our experience. Its as if we think, “that’s what you get for choosing to play football!”  Thanksgiving dinner photo: sweetadditions.net

Still, players and scientists continue to explain the dangers of the game we love.  So much so that soon, only those with the fewest options and least amount of education is likely to take part.  Why else would anyone subject themselves to a decade of head-banging?

Even with all the knowledge we have telling us about the real dangers of the sport, we still want it.  We still want to see Washington safety Ryan Clark knock himself out after launching himself into an oncoming receiver—in this case, the 49ers’ Anquan Boldin—and return just one play later, only to get run over again by running back Carlos Hyde.

All we see is the glory associated with the game and wonder why its combatants are such ingrates.  We wonder why they don’t simply quit and do something less dangerous for a living.  We even think the crippling effects of the game serves them right for not taking better advantage of the scholarships they received in college. Short of a rash of public deaths on the 50-yard line, that is unlikely to ever change.

On this, the week we take a few moments to give thanks for our health and good fortune, give thanks for these men of the gridiron who entertain us without failure, even after just three days to recover.      

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THINGS THE PUNDITS CAN’T OR WON’T SAY: Week 12 (A Thanksgiving Edition)

-Besides my health and the health of my family and friends, I am also thankful Atlanta Falcons head coach Mike Smith isn’t a watchmaker…or an air traffic controller.  

-I am thankful I heard ESPN’s Mike Greenberg ask former Jets and Chiefs coach Herm Edwards what it’s like for coaches who mismanage the clock like Smith.  A perfect blend of irony and awkwardness.   Chip Kelly photo: (Kevin Jairaj-USATODAY Sports)

-I am thankful the University of Florida cannot afford to give Chip Kelly $50-million dollars over 6 years and the support needed to win two or three National Championships.  Or can they?  

-I am thankful Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie’s plan is working to perfection.  Only about 1,500 days or so to go until they actually compete. Maybe. (I know, I know, this is a football column; I just couldn’t resist).  

-I am thankful Arizona Cardinals safety Deone Bucannon is starting and playing well in his rookie season. How else is Kelly going to learn the value of someone in the front office who knows what they’re doing?  

-I am thankful 1st round pick Marcus Smith is saving some wear and tear on his body by missing games early in his budding NFL career. Bucannon is wearing himself out playing meaningful snaps, while Smith keeps chugging along…in workouts.

-I am thankful New York Giants’ rookie Odell Beckham only gets to terrorize the Eagles twice a year. Three times if both teams should meet in the playoffs someday.  

-I am thankful Houston Texans coach Bill O’Brien becomes grouchy after each loss.  He knows he doomed his squad to failure the moment he chose Ryan Fitzpatrick over other free agent options and every top quarterback in the draft.  

-I am thankful for the irony that Riley Cooper, a once proud, card-carrying member of the drunken-white-guy-n-word-spewing crowd, can’t get open because a little black dude isn’t around anymore.    

-I am thankful Eagles defensive coordinator Billy Davis doesn’t have to do much prep work this week. He can simply use the same strategy he employed against the Packers, since the Cowboys actually want to run the football.

-I am thankful the Seahawks and 49ers are playing a football game right around the time I begin eating my second Thanksgiving dinner.  

Have a Happy Thanksgiving everyone!


Earl Myers is a freelance writer from the Philadelphia area. He closely follows North America's four major sports leagues but just about any sporting event gets his attention. His goal is to provoke a little thought in his readers.


Contact Earl at emyersiii@gmail.com  and follow him on Twitter @EMyersIII


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Thanksgiving dinner photo: sweetadditions.net


Chip Kelly photo: (Kevin Jairaj-USATODAY Sports)