Thanksgiving 2018!

On Thursday, November 22nd, we will celebrate Thanksgiving!  Thanksgiving is a national holiday in the United States and has been celebrated that way for over 150 years.  Obviously, the roots of Thanksgiving go back much further in time about 400 years ago.  Thanksgiving day and the long weekend is a great time for family and friends to get together and celebrate each other. What does the day and weekend mean to you?  I wanted to take a look at some of the statistics surrounding Thanksgiving, the travel surrounding Thanksgiving, the cost of your Thanksgiving meal, and of course NFL football!

On Thursday, the NFL takes center stage and plays 3 games.  Ever since I was young I can remember the Lions hosting a game and the Cowboys hosting a game.  I have plenty of great memories sitting around with family members watching games or even sleeping on the couch during a game.  This year might not be any different.  The Lions host the upstart Bears in the first game of the day.  The next game will be longtime rivals with the Redskins visiting the Cowboys.  In the final game of the day, we might be treated to a shootout with the Falcons visiting the Saints.  If you can hang in there for all 3 games you should be some pretty decent football.  Good luck!!

In 1863, President Lincoln declared Thanksgiving to be a National Holiday.  Since that date many traditions have formed like a turkey getting a Presidential Pardon.  This infographic is great and shows some real fun facts. President Bush started pardoning turkeys in 1989.  As you can see, 2 turkeys are sent to the White House with one being pardoned.  I wonder what happens to the other?  It is estimated that 45 million turkeys will meet their end this Thanksgiving.  Over 100,000 questions are answered on the Butterball turkey hotline during the holiday period.  Wait, their is a turkey hotline?  The best statistic is that 96% of Americans celebrate Thanksgiving in some fashion, what are the other 4% doing?

Thanksgiving also brings cost to families that are hosting.  Check out this great article showing the cost of Thanksgiving each year since 1947.  Obviously the cost will go up every year or almost every year.  Check out the inflation adjusted cost to get a real good idea.  It is pretty easy to say that the meal was $14 when you were born and the cost has gone way up, but inflation is what matters in this instance.  One other thing that is nice to see, the cost has started a downward trend over the last 8 years.

Finally, we have to talk about Thanksgiving travel. The Wednesday before Thanksgiving will be one of the busiest travel days of the year.  It is estimated that 54 million Americans will be traveling at least 50 miles from home this year.  This year is predicted to be the busiest in 13 years. Air travel is also predicted to be busier as well.  Whether you will be driving or flying, please take your time and have patience.

Every November my family celebrates Thanksgiving and I hope your does as well.  The day can have plenty of meaning for you and your family.  I have great memories dating all the way back to my youth that surround the Thanksgiving weekend.  The memories include football, food, traveling, and family.  I hope you are able to say the same and I wish for the memories to continue building regardless of what your family traditions may be.

—Victor Mandalawi

 

Mid-Point of the Season!

The NFL is in week 10! This means that every team in the league has played at least 8 games with many playing 9.  The significance of this is that the season is halfway over.  A few months ago I wrote about the season here.  As you can see, there is a reason the games are played.  We can make predictions, but they are only going to be partly correct.  I wanted to take a look at how the season has played out for the teams to this point.  I also want to look at some of the individual performances that have made their mark on the season so far.

In the AFC, is it a surprise that the Patriots are 7-2 and on top of the AFC East?  The Patriots started slow at 1-2, but have won 6 in a row to show everyone they are still the class of the division.  In my opinion, as long as Brady and Belicheck are around they will be in contention.  The Steelers and Texans are on top of their divisions.  That is probably not a surprise in the eyes of many.  The Chiefs being in the lead may not be a surprise either, but it is a surprise that their young QB has led their offense to dominance.  The Wild Card teams would be the Chargers and Bengals as of now, but I am sure there will be some changes in the next two months when the season is wrapping up.

In the NFC, there are a few surprises that many might not have seen coming. The Redskins are leading the NFC East and the Bears are leading the NFC North.  The Redskins might start trending down the rest of the season because they have had staggering injuries on their OL.  The Bears are intriguing in the North.  They still have 5 divisional games left on their schedule and if they can win the majority of those games they will have a leg up in the division race.  The Rams and Saints are the leaders in their divisions and that is not a surprise to anyone.  The Wild Card slots could end up being filled by the Panthers, Vikings, Eagles, and a few others.

Quarterback play is usually what propels teams to greatness.  It seems to be no different this year.  Pat Mahomes has been phenomenal while Brees and Brady have been their typical steady hands.  When a QB plays great and their team is very successful, that is a recipe for MVP votes.  Some other players that are in the running for MVP would be Todd Gurley of the Rams.  He is having a monster season with 16 total td’s in only 9 games as their running back.  Philip Rivers is also having a nice year while pulling the Chargers to playoff contention.  Saquon Barkley should run away with the Rookie of the Year award even though the Giants have been very underwhelming.

As usual, the NFL has delivered major entertainment halfway through the season.  Teams that were expected to play well have while other teams have surprised.  You also have players that always perform to a high level doing their thing, while some young guns have stepped up and are displaying their talent.  As mentioned earlier, you can’t give awards and win games without playing them.  I know the first half has delivered and I can’t wait for the second half to start.

—Victor Mandalawi