Sparrow Robertson

“It was, legend says, a typically colorful, probably chilly, November day in 1622 that Pilgrims and Native Americans celebrated the new world bounty with a sumptuous feast.

They sat together at Plymouth Plantation (they spelled it Plimouth) in Massachusetts, gave thanks for the goodness set before them, then dined on pumpkin pie, sweet potatoes, maize, cranberry sauce, turkey and who knows what else.

Actually, fish was just as predominant a staple. And history books say pumpkin pie really debuted a year later. Regardless of the accuracy of the details that is how Thanksgiving is seen by Americans – except for Detroiters …

Detroiters may have most of the same images as everyone else but it comes with a twist that began in 1934, when Detroiters and their expat compatriots found themselves at the dawn of an unplanned behavior modification, courtesy of George A. Dick Richards, owner of the cities new entry in the National Football League: The Detroit Lions.

The Lions’ 79th Thanksgiving Day Classic (11/22; 12:30 p.m.; CBS) features the Detroit Football Lions hosting the 7-3 Chicago Bears, who currently lead the division. The game marks the first time these teams will clash on the Thanksgiving gridiron since the Detroit Football Lions beat Da Bears 34-17 in a 2014 Turkey Day smackdown.

But, enough with these patty cake pleasantries, Chicago . . .

You dare come to the greatest house in the National Football League, Ford Field, the Holiest of Holies, on Thanksgiving Day, our day, the day of Feast and Football, and think you’ll be taking home an extra slice of pumpkin pie?

Only in the Windy City do dreams so big die so hard.

Let me tell you, Dear Bears, how you will celebrate Thanksgiving this year. After you enjoy a perfect landing at Detroit Metropolitan Airport, your bags perfectly accounted for, and your bus delivers you to a world-class hotel, staffed by a considerate, professional crew, and you sleep in a comfortable bed, then wake to a fine meal, you will be chauffeured to a stadium – not unlike the Roman Coliseum – where you will hear the roar of 65,000 plus ravenous fans from inside a state-of-the-art visitor locker room, before being escorted down out onto the field where you will then be promptly fed to the Lions.

Lets face it Chicago: If not for the weather the last time you played the greatest team in NFL history you would have lost that game. Big time. You got lucky. It was cold, with a strange wind blowing off the lake, and everyone knows Stafford’s throwing hand is sensitive to those particular elements.

But, now it’s Thanksgiving in Detroit. And, it looks like there’s a turkey butt that needs stuffin’. So bend over Chicago. This year it’s Da Bears …


The Sparrow writes on sporting events and other competition from Le Dôme terrace or Harry’s New York Bar for The Metropolitan París edition, rue Coq-Héron La Ville Lumière