Thanksgiving is a time for reflection, to see all that you have — life, health, family — and give thanks that you have it.
While family plays a huge part in Thanksgiving, there are a few other F-words that always come to mind. No, not that F-word, although the fact that you thought of it means that you’ve been paying attention and may actually be a fan. Or a heckler. For this I thank you, either way.
No, the other F-words are food and football, because besides spending time with family, you will probably spend most of the day shoveling food down your throat and watching football.
To celebrate these F-words, we’re awarding some food to players who have exhibited talent — or lack of talent — leading up to this point of the season. All players may collect their awards at my house if they see fit to do so.
All the Turkey Legs Award: J.J. Watt
The “All the Turkey Legs” award is given to a player who exhibits talents that are in line with a Swiss army knife. He doesn’t do just one thing well. He does multiple things well, on multiple sides of the field. It’s how an MVP award should be awarded.
This year, “All the Turkey Legs” goes to J.J. Watt, defensive end of the Houston Texans. Not only has Watt accumulated 51 tackles and 9-1/2 sacks, he has scored four touchdowns as well. One TD came on an interception, one TD on a fumble and two TDs on passes when he was lined up as a tight end. That means J.J. Watt is #3 in total touchdowns for the Texans this season behind running back Arian Foster and benched quarterback Ryan Fitzpatrick. That’s not great news for the Texans as a whole, but it awards Watt ALL the turkey legs.
Mashed Potatoes Award: Tom Brady
Mashed potatoes isn’t usually the favorite dish of a Thanksgiving spread. The sweet potatoes usually steal the show for the starch family, and the turkey, of course, is king. Mashed potatoes are just kind of there, ready to give what you expect: a full, content belly. You might not like them, but they’ll get the job done. When you’re hungry, getting the job done will overshadow any embarrassment.
New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady is the same way, which is why he is this year’s recipient of the Mashed Potatoes Award. Few football fans –even Patriots fans — really like Tom Brady. But he brought three Super Bowl championships to New England and helped get the Patriots to five. Like him or not, Tom Brady is good for you. He completes you. At least, in a football sense.
New Recipe Award: Denard Robinson
Every year a new dish arrives to the Thanksgiving spread. Sometimes it’s a dish that your aunt learned from a cooking show and decided to try out for the biggest meal of the year. Usually it doesn’t make a repeat appearance the next year. But sometimes the dish has the entire table going crazy, to the point that your brothers have a fistfight over the last helping.
That sort of reaction is what Jacksonville Jaguars running back Denard Robinson is facing. On a team full of bright, rookie lights for the future, Robinson is separating himself by showing everyone that he can fill the hole that Maurice Jones-Drew left when he started slowing down.
Actually, Robinson isn’t filling the hole. He’s hitting the hole with force, speed and an ankle-breaking cut.
Frozen Turkey TV Dinner Award: Zac Stacy
Sometimes the best laid plans for the future fall apart. You find that the turkey exploded in the oven; your kids just poured a five-pound bag of sugar onto the side dishes and the refrigerator stopped working the night before. All this, and the entire family is arriving in an hour to eat.
What do you do? Hit up the local convenience store for frozen turkey TV dinners because, hey, some sort of food is better than no food.
This is how most fans perceive St. Louis Rams running back Zac Stacy. Coming into the year with high expectations, Stacy has gone from featured meal to almost a practice squad member on the Rams. Such disappointment deserves the “Frozen Turkey TV Dinner” award.
Ambrosia Salad Award: Matt Schaub
Every year, someone in your family makes it. No one knows why. It just sits there on the table, untouched, causing embarrassment for whoever brought it. Complete avoidance is less embarrassing than someone eating it and vomiting right at the table… but only slightly. I’m talking about ambrosia salad, which is terrible.
This year’s “Ambrosia Salad” award goes to the NFL player who causes that same, sickening feeling in your stomach when you even think about giving him another shot, because you know it’ll end badly: Oakland Raiders quarterback Matt Schaub. Why Oakland signed Schaub after his worst season ever with the Houston Texans is still one of this year’s great NFL mysteries. Maybe Mike Tyson can solve it, along with the mystery of why someone would ever bring ambrosia salad to Thanksgiving dinner. Because I sure can’t.
Patrick Emmel is a sports humorist who once punted a soccer ball fifty yards to his teammate, who then scored the only goal for his college intramural soccer team’s season. Seriously, that kick was placed PERFECTLY. He is also still a believer that Colt McCoy is going to break out as an NFL quarterback. You can read more of his obnoxious commentary at This Jeer In Sports and heckle him on Twitter @Patrick_AE.