How To Crush Your Pre-Thanksgiving Football Game

The game is knotted up, every play from here on out matters. Bodies are heaving in their respective huddles, desperately sucking in the valuable oxygen around them. This play is for the families that sacrificed, for the troops protecting our borders, for those people looking for role models. What teams are playing you’re asking? None, it's just you and your 15 other out of shape friends playing football on Thanksgiving morning. You guys all look like you know the Olive Garden menu by heart, forward and backwards, and you’re all sweating pure alcohol. But you know what? Courage takes many forms.

Thanksgiving football is a timeless tradition - before we stuff our faces with delicious food, many of us head outside for a quick game of pigskin. While we all set out with noble goals like a relaxed game and some light roughing up, well know damn well this thing is gonna escalate quickly. Very shortly it’s going to be a full-tilt, full-speed clash of warriors for nothing but pride and first dibs on gravy.

For some of us, this is one of the more physically intense activities we do during the year - no one is jogging around and everyone is sprinting (at least for the first few plays). Not to mention, this is where you can talk shit and get some bragging rights over your friends. Injuries can happen quickly, so it’s actually important to prepare properly and be realistic about your, dare we say it, limitations? Here are a few tips so you don't spend the rest of Thanksgiving hooked up to an IV:

1. Warm Up and Stretch - If you're 26 and under, damn you and your virile body. The rest of you - spend 10 minutes warming up and another 10 stretching out your hamstrings and your hips. While pro football requires the entire body to be limber and loose, we just run around and try to get open. Spend time on your hips and legs.

2. Hydrate - Especially if you're playing in the morning. Chances are you didn't chug a lot of water when you woke up or at the bar the night before, and it can come back to haunt you while you're running around. Bring a ton of water with you, and keep yourself hydrated.

3. Eat something - Eating a light breakfast at least an hour before you play is key - it'll give you energy, and will keep your blood sugar at an appropriate level. A little bit of fruit, maybe some oatmeal and an egg. While it might sound awesome, we definitely don’t recommend a Moons Over My Hammy at Denny's before you play. Unless of course you enjoy puking on the grass.

4. Reckon With Your Limitations - As painful as it might be to admit, you are not Barry Sanders. Otherwise you'd be in the league right now. Barry spent a lot of time practicing and perfecting his cuts, and I'm assuming the only cuts you're accustomed to are the ones of the cold variety. A simple juke usually works among friends, so keep it simple.

5. Talk Shit Early and Often - Nothing is better than a good burn or 30 when you're with your friends. Just no wives or girlfriends - you want to stay friends after the game. Moms are always fair game though.

Finally, if horizontal on the couch is the only field positioning you plan on seeing, there’s always the guys that do it professionally. Here's what's on tap for the NFL (all times PST):

930am : Minnesota Vikings @ Detroit Lions (CBS)

130pm : Washington Redskins @ Dallas Cowboys (FOX)

530pm : Pittsburgh Steelers @ Indianapolis Colts (NBC)

Happy Gentsgiving!