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 HAPPY THANKSGIVING and an ironic Motor City football memory

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PostSubject: HAPPY THANKSGIVING and an ironic Motor City football memory   Wed Nov 25, 2015 8:10 pm

HAPPY THANKSGIVING to all GMs and their families.

The Detroit Lions have hosted a Thanksgiving Day NFL game for as long as I can remember. Tomorrow, the cats in Honolulu blue and sliver will take on the Philadelphia Eagles, whose teams colors are kelly green and silver.

Just realized how ironic this matchup is since my first memory of a Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Day football game occurred 47 years ago. Thanksgiving Day 1968. The Tigers had won the World Series a little more than a month earlier.

And the irony here is that the opponent on November 28, 1968 was those same Philadelphia Eagles.

My hometown Trenton, NJ back then got TV stations from both New York City and Philadelphia. So the first game of the Thanksgiving Day doubleheader on CBS, for us it was on WCAU-TV Channel 10, was Eagles at Lions.

By 1968, I had already cast my football fan lot for this lifetime with the San Francisco 49ers. Fantasy football had not been invented. So I had no rooting interest in this game. But as a 10-year-old on Thanksgiving Day, had no problem watching Eagles and Lions.

I'll knew at the time that the Eagles had NOT WON a game. They were 0-11 in the 14-game schedule.

I remember the game was played in MUD at Tiger Stadium. No way to forget that!!! Eagles road uniforms back then were white shirt and white pants. They didn't stay clean for long. But neither did the Lions' uniforms.


Eagles somehow won this game, 12-0. Four field goals by Sam Baker, one in each quarter. He was a straight-on toe kicker.

In researching 47 years after the fact, the Lions entered this game with a record of 3-6-2 and had not won in the last six, 0-4-2.

Players I remember off top of head from the Lions that day were RB Tom Nowatzke, CB and returner Lem Barney, LBs Mike Lucci Wayne Walker and Paul Naumoff and DL Alex Karras.

I thought it had been Bill Munson at QB for the Lions. But the box score which is below says my memory was wrong on that count. It was Greg Landry, he of the high-topped football shoes.


The mud really hampered the offenses. I have no recollection of big plays by anyone on either side. In looking at the box score, the Eagles had 170 yards of total offense, 112 rushing and 58 passing. The Lions had 168, 102 rushing and 66 passing.

I do remember that the guys on special teams were the only ones with remotely clean uniforms.

This was just a disaster of a season for the Philadelphia Eagles. The win over the Lions did little to quell the anger of the fans, who were in full swing in a campaign aimed at having management fire head coach Joe Kuharich. Their battle cry, short and to the point: JOE MUST GO.

As folklore in this area says:

A small airplane flew over the University of Pennsylvania's Franklin Field during home game leading a sign the read JOE MUST GO.

Fans chanted JOE MUST GO, of course, during games.

They also wore T-shirts emblazoned with JOE MUST GO.

And the best for last. Security was not then what it is now. Trying to remember if there is an open end of Franklin Field (as in Benjamin Franklin). Fans managed to pull an outhouse onto the field. The sign on the door of the outhouse: JOE'S HOME.

(Don't know if the fans who did this were prosecuted since everyone in Philadelphia is an Eagles' fan (poor misguided people), even the cops. So the cops likely agreed with the protesters.)

This was my first exposure to the boorish behavior of Philadelphia fans.

Here is a link re: JOE MUST GO


Kuharich was fired at the end of the season, which ended with the Eagles' record at 2-12.

Ironically, the Eagles heaped even more agony onto themselves in Week 13 by extending their winning streak to two games, defeating the visiting New Orleans Saints, 29-17.

As a result, the Eagles lost a shot at the first overall pick in the 1969 "common" NFL/AFL draft. It went to the Buffalo Bills of the AFL, who finished 1-12-1. The Eagles somehow lost out on the second pick to the Atlanta Falcons, also 2-12. May have been a coin flip.

As history shows, Buffalo used the first pick to take RB O.J. Simpson of USC. The Falcons used the second pick to take OL George Kunz of Notre Dame, who made the Pro Bowl eight times in his career. He also was a first-team All Pro selection three teams and made the second team twice.

The Eagles used the third pick to take RB Leroy Keyes of Purdue, who did not pan out. Keyes was not a big running back. Speed and elusiveness were his weapons in college. I remember seeing him play against Notre Dame on TV. He ran well to the outside and also did a good job catching the ball coming out of the backfield.

Keyes lasted four seasons in Philadelphia. After starting at halfback in 1969 and gaining over 600 yards, he saw little action in 1970. He was moved to defense and started at strong safety in 1971 and 1972 before playing his final season for the Kansas City Chiefs. Can't remember if he played offense or defense or both for the Chiefs.

I did not realize that 1968 was the season in which Philadelphia Eagles fans established themselves at the bottom of the food chain by booing Santa Claus.

I guess when your team starts 0-11 and then botches a chance to get O.J. Simpson, who was the best player in college football and not yet a double murderer, it is understandable why Philadelphia Eagles fans were upset in a big way.

# # #

Do any FHL GMs remember 1968 Lions versus Eagles on Thanksgiving Day? The game dubbed appropriately "The Mud Bowl." If yes, please chime in.

I was in front of my family's small black and white TV with rabbit ear antennas in home in Trenton, NJ.
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PostSubject: Happy Thanksgiving   Thu Nov 26, 2015 1:01 pm

Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

Thanks to BB for the interesting Mudd bowl memory! I was also ten but forth on the pecking order for any type of TV program on our black and white. Had the fans known the ice age in Detroit was just beginning they would have chanted "Russ must go! 1968 was Russ Thomas 2nd of 21 long cold years as GM. I think Ohio State planted Russ in Detroit! Wikipedia said Schmidt resigned in 1973 after saying "coaching wasn't fun anymore".
But fear no more...Martha "Firestone" Ford is at the helm! Maybe the fire in this young lady will begin a much needed thaw in Detroits football program.
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PostSubject: Re: HAPPY THANKSGIVING and an ironic Motor City football memory   Fri Nov 27, 2015 12:01 pm

I don't have many memories of the 1968 Detroit Lions. Baseball ruled Detroit in '68 and that was the focus of my attention.

Actually, never much cared for football, though I did attend one or two Lion games at Tiger Stadium. That was kinda cool.  Cool

John, why the hate for all things Philadelphia?

Hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving. elephant <--turkey, disguised as an elephant
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PostSubject: Why Badger Bob hates Philadelphia    Sat Nov 28, 2015 9:29 pm

Paul, am taking your question re: why so much hate for Philadelphia seriously.

I don't hate all things Philadelphia. Remember Sweet Lucy's Smokehouse. TREMENDOUS BBQ.

But safe to say I do hate most things Philadelphia.

I went high school fall 1972-spring 1976 in Bensalem Township, PA, on the border of Philadelphia. A lot of my classmates were from middle class neighborhoods in northeast Philadelphia that have "transitioned" and are not coming back. I spent fair amount of time with them at their homes in Philadelphia. Wouldn't think about going there now.

Also, an aunt on mother's side of family lived in Philadelphia close to where some of my classmates lived. Also a war zone now.

(It's very rare that a neighborhood or city re-gentrifies. Exceptions include parts of New York City and Hoboken, NJ, across Hudson River from NYC. Reason is people work in NYC and want to be able to live close to where they work.)

Unlike Detroit, Philadelphia does not have one bellweather industry. But has all of the same problems: crime, awful public education system that is running deficit in terms of $ and high school graduation rate, dwindling population, dwindling tax base that is at being shaken down by the ruling party with money being flushed down bottomless pits. You get the idea.

And, of course, Philadelphia has boorish sports fans who root for the home team automatically like robots and then get frustrated automatically when their teams lose.

Did you know that the PHILADELPHIA PHILLIES have the WORST regular season winning percentage of any Major League Baseball team? Sure enough.

Since this is a fantasy hockey league, I present the following involving Tie Domi of the Maple Leafs.

Could be that the Thugs on Skates fan had a LITTLE too much to drink. Or is just STUPID. Or both. Probably both. The moron was lucky linesman Kevin Collins (curly red hair and no helmet) prevented Domi from dismembering him.

If you need more info to support my loathing of Philadelphia, do a YAHOO!!! or YouTube search for:

Why is Philadelphia such a lousy city

I did a bit earlier to make sure they would be APPROPRIATE results to view. Sure enough, there were.

I used to go watch trains at a spot in Kensington Section of Philadelphia. About three miles south of location of Sweet Lucy's. (The spot I used to visit is where the recent Amtrak crash occurred at the sweeping curve.)

Why? Have Amtrak and SEPTA (Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority) trains on the Northeast Corridor, New Jersey Transit passenger trains on the line to Atlantic City and occasional freight trains as well as a small freight yard.

The area just got too dangerous. Haven't been there in maybe five years and won't be going back. There are some pretty rough videos on YouTube re: Kensingston. Am sure there are areas of Detroit and other cities around the country, such as Chicago, Gary, IN, St. Louis, Baltimore, just like this. Sad but true.
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PostSubject: Re: HAPPY THANKSGIVING and an ironic Motor City football memory   Sun Nov 29, 2015 9:37 am

Based on Voracek's numbers alone, I'm also starting to hate Philadelphia. Mad

With regard to the other stuff, I've only driven through Pennsylvania, never stopped, so I can't comment. Liked Pennsylvania though, nice drive.  Cool
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