Talking Turkeys And Touchdowns

Great food, great football, that's Thanksgiving, right? Was the real turkey this year served at the table or on the field? Weekend Edition sports guy Howard Bryant joins host Scott Simon to talk Turkey Day football and preview a game between two of the NFL's top teams.

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: music from the man who made "Charlie Brown's Christmas." But first, time for sports.


: Wonderful food and great football - that's Thanksgiving, right? But was the real turkey this year served at the table or on the field? I tell you, if the NFL relied on Thanksgiving games to fuel fan interest, curling might be more popular.

Howard Bryant, senior writer for and ESPN the Magazine, joins us. Morning, Howard. How are you?

: Good morning, Scott. Happy Thanksgiving.

: And also to you, my friend. If I were a Chicago Bears fan, I'd call the Detroit Lions the most hapless team in football.


: It was just awful. Can we please cease and desist with the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day? It's a tradition that needs to go. It was actually a really fascinating day in terms of just how bad the games were. You couldn't have asked for a worse three games. Even the final game, which had two potential playoff teams: the Packers - I'm sorry, the Broncos...

: Yeah.

: ...and the Giants; that was a terrible game. It was just - the scheduling gods just really weren't very kind this year. The only thing worse would have been to have the New Jersey Nets play a basketball game...


: They're 0-16. It was bad. I was glad it was over. And I don't usually say that too often.

: Well, let me ask you questions about these two once-storied franchises. Detroit Lions lost every game last year. That hadn't been done before. They haven't won any kind of championship in 50 years, I believe as long as it's been owned by William Clay Ford Sr.

: Yes.

: Are people saying it's time to move this team to Toronto and new ownership?

: Well, the Toronto question is an outstanding one. And you're starting to hear it more and more. The NFL hasn't had a major franchise shift in the last 10 or 12 years, since the - you had Los Angeles and Houston lose their franchises back in the mid-'90s. And now there's been talk about Los Angeles getting a franchise and of course, Toronto getting a franchise.

: Yeah.

: And Buffalo - the Buffalo Bills had for long been the front-runners to move to Toronto. And now it's not surprising that people are talking about the Lions as well. But that's not really what bothers me about the Detroit Lions. The NFL has a salary cap. They have - they have mechanisms in place where a trained monkey could make the playoffs inside of five years. Every team has a chance to win it. And this is just a horribly run franchise.

: Yeah.

: It's just not a very good situation out there because they don't - they get the first pick every year. They just cannot win. They are a bad organization.

: And Al Davis doesn't seem to be doing his storied Oakland Raiders much good at the moment.

: Well, they haven't been storied for some time. They have been in one Super Bowl in the last 27 years, and they were destroyed in it by the Buccaneers, by a coach Al Davis fired: Jon Gruden in Tampa Bay. They've been more well-known for - once again for their franchise front office trouble there. Just a bad - once again, another bad franchise. I think one interesting thing about professional sports is that we spend a lot of time attacking the players - and this guy is a bum and that guy is a bum and this guy should be traded. But I think a lot of the bums are in management, and they get a free pass all the time.

: And in the minute we have left, perhaps the ranking athlete in the world, Tiger Woods, is apparently fine. There was an accident early yesterday in his car in front of his house. Out of the hospital now, apparently, and is apparently just fine. Leaving his home at 2:30 in the morning, was he going to one of those overnight sales at Wal-Mart?

: Black Friday for Tiger. I don't understand that story. I don't - tried reading it again and again; it made no sense. At first you had the police who are saying that it was a serious issue, that he was in serious condition.

: Yeah.

: And then you read the story saying that - from him saying he was fine. Then we read a story saying that his wife took a golf club to the car to get him out of the car.

: Yeah, sure.

: So it struck me that someone's got to get their story straight about what happened with Mr. Woods after Thanksgiving.

: Howard Bryant, senior writer for, ESPN the Magazine, ESPN the leftover stuffing.


: Thanks. I'm the leftover stuffing. Thanks very much, my friend. Take care.

: My pleasure.

: Bye- bye.

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