The Dallas Cowboys have a long tradition of playing on Thanksgiving, decked out in throwback jerseys from years ago. But this year, the boys in blue aren't allowed to wear them because of safety reasons. What?
Well, a new rule by the NFL advised teams not to switch players' helmets throughout the year when going with throwback jerseys. A memo sent by the NFL in September states once a player's helmet fits them, it shouldn't be swapped. (Via USA Today)
And the throwback uniforms would require throwback helmets.
Cowboys Vice President Stephen Jones said, "I think everything is about putting player safety first and foremost. ... We want to make sure right now that we always err on the side of players' safety until we've really dotted our i's and crossed our t's." (Via NFL)
Which isn't a bad idea, since the NFL is coming off a highly publicized concussion lawsuit settlement for $765 million with current and former players. The players alleged the NFL knew about the long-term damaging effects of repeated concussions and didn't do enough to prevent them. (Via The New York Times)
The Cowboys and the Detroit Lions have long traditions of playing on turkey day.
Mental Floss says for the Detroit Lions, the tradition goes back to 1934 when they were still the Portsmouth, Ohio, Spartans. Their owner, George A. Richards, created the Thanksgiving game to create some extra revenue, and it was a huge, sell-out success.
The Cowboys tradition goes back to 1966 for the same monetary reasons. The NFL added a third holiday game in 2006, but that hasn't been assigned to a certain team. And with nearly 12 straight hours of football on Thanksgiving, the NFL is almost as much a staple of the holiday as turkey.
As Awful Announcing puts it, "The NFL owns Thanksgiving."