Battle Creek Enquirer’s Bill Broderick hands out his annual Golden Turkey Awards
You know who I really feel sorry for?
The folks who spend all that time getting up before dawn to put the turkey in the oven and spend hours all day basting and babysitting the bird until it’s done.
They have always been the star of the show. That hard-working orchestra leader of the Thanksgiving meal and their golden bird.
They are the ones we looked to, say a quarter-and-a-half into the traditional Thanksgiving Day Detroit Lions game, and said, ‘this one’s over … let’s eat!’
But now, those people have been put on the back burner along with the mashed potatoes, green bean casserole and stuffing. That’s because, amazingly, the Lions are now the showcase of Thanksgiving – just like they have always wanted since the game started in Detroit in 1934.
Thanksgiving dinner can wait. The Lions are winning. No gnawing on a turkey leg. Just the biting of knee caps this year as Detroit has become the darling of the NFL.
That has made for a very happy holiday for Lions fans as Thanksgiving draws near – and it is surely something to be thankful for as we start off our annual Thanksgiving column.
For more than two decades, the Enquirer has taken this moment on the holiday calendar to hand out awards to people in the sports world. A Golden Turkey Award to those who have offered up somewhat “turkeyish” behavior that has frustrated us, upset us. And a Pumpkin Pie Award for things that made us smile. Lions wins, of any order, do that for a desperate Honolulu Blue crowd.
As tradition dictates, the current Lions football coach gets our first award. Usually it’s a Golden Turkey for those less-than-memorable mentors such as Wayne Fontes, Marty Mornhinweg, Rob Marinelli, Jim Schwartz and the immortal Matt Patricia.
But Dan Campbell, soon to surely have a statue outside of Ford Field next to the new Barry Sanders piece of stone, is getting some Pumpkin Pie to chew on like a familiar old mouth piece for having Detroit at 8-2 this season and 13-3 overall since last Thanksgiving.
But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a Golden Turkey Award ready to be presented to a football coach in this state. Or, should we say, former football coaches in this state.
We are in search of a forwarding mailing address so we can send Mel Tucker his Golden Turkey Award after the mess he made with the Michigan State football program – something the Spartans are still suffering with during the most embarrassing season in memory. While MSU is paying for his misdeeds with losses, it looks like they won’t be paying him the rest of his $95 million contract after he allegedly made some of the most expensive texts and voicemails in cellular phone history.
And, can anyone tell me where we can find former Michigan football staffer Connor Stalions? Last time we had a glimpse, it looked like he was on the Central Michigan sideline taking notes. A Golden Turkey is heading his way if he ever pops up again for, not only allegedly stealing signs, but also stealing all the excitement from Michigan fans, who have seen a so far undefeated season get buried under the scandal. Just one question for coach Jim Harbaugh: Do you want your Thanksgiving leftovers sent to your office or the team hotel in case you get hungry during the Ohio State game?
We have another couple of awards headed to the southeast part of the state, getting mailed to Little Caesars Arena. A Golden Turkey goes to first-year Pistons coach Monty Williams. The Pistons made you the highest-paid coach in the league and the team is tied for the worst record in the league through the first dozen games?
The second award heading to Little Caesars, we aren’t too about sure yet. We have a Pumpkin Pie Award all wrapped up for Steve Yzerman and the Red Wings after their hot start. But we are going to keep it on ice here for another month or so, to see if this team is for real. Fans of the original six franchise aren’t overly interested in barely making the playoffs – the Lions have raised the bar.
Talking about raising the bar. It almost feels like Pumpkin Pie Awards should be handed out all over Comerica Park for what the Detroit Tigers have done. They gave Tigers fans an exciting summer. Miggy gave us memories to last a lifetime in his final Hall-of-Fame worthy season and there were reasons to pay attention to the standings, finishing second in the Central Division. But a 78-84 overall record? Sparky Anderson would be rolling his eyes. Tigers manager AJ Hinch and team president Scott Harris, just know your awards are on back order and will be delivered soon. Or just wait until next year. That’s what Tiger fans have been doing for awhile now.
We will end this year’s column with this. Enjoy your family this Thanksgiving. They should be cherished as much as a Lions playoff win (note: there has only been one playoff game victory for the Lions since 1957 – until this year!).
And enjoy the fact that we have such a diverse sports landscape in this area with worthy recipients of both Golden Turkey Awards and Pumpkin Pie Awards – which makes being a sports fan in Michigan so tasty.
Bill Broderick can be reached at email@example.com. Follow him on X/Twitter: @billbroderick.