For Thanksgiving, the internet gets littered with articles about how to talk politics with your family at the dinner table. But do any families really discuss politics all that much?
Unless you’re a Fattah, Green, Donatucci or one of the other ruling families of Philadelphia it’s far more likely another topic will come up at the dinner table tomorrow: Philadelphia sports. And because this is likely to become the worst year in Philadelphia professional sports history this discussion could contain as many pitfalls as a political one.
So here are some tips for talking about sports without pissing anyone off at your Thanksgiving dinner.
Avoid the Eagles
When the Eagles inevitably come up because they’re playing at noon against Detroit, you can mention that the season actually isn’t over. As bad as they have been, the NFC East is worse. The Eagles are only one game out of first place, behind the 5-5 Giants. The winner of this division might have an 8-8 or 9-7 record. That level of incompetence is very doable, even for the Eagles. Vegas pegs the odds of them doing so as 4 to 1, which isn’t that bad.
But if they lose to Detroit, and dinner starts just afterward, call it the disaster that it is and leave it at that.
The conversation at this point should turn toward Chip Kelly. It might be fun to talk about his future. Kelly probably won’t leave on his own because he has complete control of the team, but he could get fired. And if he does get fired the college ranks await. Could he go to USC? Or Miami? Or LSU? Might he try to make Maryland, with its Under Armour connection, the Oregon of the East Coast? That’s a fun conversation.
Always talk Temple
What a season for the Owls! Bringing up Temple football is a surefire way to enhance the mood at the table. Saturday, Temple faces Connecticut at the Linc. If the Owls win, they advance to the American Athletic Conference championship game against Navy. A victory would also set them up for a one of the upper tier bowl games instead of one named after Little Caesar’s or some roofing company nobody’s ever heard of.
Just don’t bring up the allure of coach Matt Rhule. About a dozen major college football programs are going to be looking for a new coach this offseason. Rhule will probably on some athletic directors’ lists.
College basketball is neutral ground
The season is just underway, and there’s always some team to cheer for around here. Villanova is ranked and is the favorite to win the Big East. Temple, like last year, should compete for the American Athletic Conference title and have a decent shot at making the NCAA Tournament.
Penn might be the most interesting team in the area. After a few years of mediocrity, the Quakers have a new coach in Steve Donahue. Donahue was on the Penn staff during the glory years of coach Fran Dunphy and then became a head coach at Cornell, best known as Andy Bernard’s alma mater, to the Sweet 16.
Use the Sixers as a way to make your relatives feel better
Did your high school cousin just break up with his first girlfriend? Is Grandma feeling like the rest of the family doesn’t call her enough?
Deflect all these problems by bringing up the Sixers, who are 0-15 right now and will probably be 0-16 by tomorrow.
No matter how awful your relatives have it, it can’t be as bad as playing for an 0-15 team that might not ever be favored to win a single game this season. Just look at this guy: