With Thanksgiving Day around the corner, I caught myself wondering what the Puritans and Pilgrims in Boston and Plymouth would say if they could see what the holiday they started has become in today’s America.
While they broke bread and gave thanks for surviving their treacherous cross-ocean journey, we are generally thankful for a long weekend away from the boss. While they prayed to survive the winter and for a plentiful harvest, we stuff ourselves with second and third helpings as we unbutton the top button.
Indeed, for better or for worse, Thanksgiving has evolved to be all about the 3 F’s — Family, Food and Football.
I know I am thankful that the NFL marketing geniuses realized a few years ago that crappy games involving the Lions and the Cowboys was not going to satisfy our appetite. Now, a night game has been added to the mix; or as I like to call it, “Is it too soon for leftovers game?”
This year you can argue with your family about who is more incompetent, Matt Patricia or Mitch Trubisky. You can revel in watching the Cowboys as they march through yet another mediocre season with the fanfare of a team with a much better record. Did you know that in the last 23 years, since their last Super Bowl, the Cowboys have won four playoff games? All glam and no substance. They have become NFL’s version of the Kardashians. Take the star of the helmet, forget about the billion-dollar stadium and the loudmouth owner and they are the Titans with better looking cheerleaders. But I digress.
An extra game means extra opportunities to bet. Perhaps other than the Super Bowl, no day sees more football wagering than Thanksgiving. The games are the only thing on TV, no one is at work and what a perfect time to lay $50 bucks against your big-mouth cousin.
Look at America’s sports betting landscape over the past 18 months. Talk about an evolution. A few short years ago it was illegal for places like Party Poker, PokerStars and Bet365 to allow online poker games or accept wagers from people in the United States. Here we are in 2019 and the same companies after paying $100 million in taxes and fines are reaping the rewards of the legalized gaming boom in our country. Amazing what money can do.
The major sports leagues shunned gambling for decades, afraid of fixing and adding an unsavory element to their games. Now? They are stepping over themselves to partner up with casinos and betting houses. I’m sure former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle, who was responsible for catapulting the league into the television age and spent his free time at the racetracks in Southern California, is smiling down from above on this evolution.
On a personal note, Thursday will mark my first Thanksgiving without my Mother. And while I miss her every day, her passing has made me realize how thankful I am for the love and close-knit family atmosphere both she and my father provided me. And while the holidays will never be the same without them, I know that the values of sharing with others which they passed on to me make me who I am today.
Cherish and enjoy these types of holidays with family and friends for trust me when I say inevitably one day things will change and you will yearn for those times you had.
So in that spirit, and because it’s the holidays, I will share with you that I made a small bet Over 45 in the Bills-Cowboys game Thursday. I am sure I will have 10 times more on a college basketball game that day though, so don’t go crazy. Enjoy the day, enjoy your family, don’t bet a game just because it’s on TV and thank you for being a loyal reader of Gaming Today and the little piece I contribute to it. Gobble Gobble.