In what should come as a surprise to no one, Seahawks coach Pete Carroll's fondest Thanksgiving memory revolves around football. From the hamstring-wrecking morning games you play with friends and family to the nationally televised NFL games you watch afterwards with an icepack on that injury, Thanksgiving and football have long been intertwined, so naturally a football lifer like Carroll reflects back on the sport when asked about Thanksgiving.
Carroll's Thanksgiving memory isn't of a Seahawks victory, such as last year's over San Francisco, however, or one when he coached at USC, or when played in high school or college, but rather of a game from when he was 10 or 11 years old.
"My first turkey bowl ever was when I was a little kid," Carroll said. "My brother was playing in the Marin county championship game. Redwood Giants against the Tamalpais Indians at the time. Because the game got rained out, they had to kick it back to another date. That wound up being the championship game. So in Marin, that was like the greatest sporting event that ever happened. Overflow crowd, dads are sitting on the sidelines wearing the kids jerseys, and it was one of the biggest moments. I remember I was about 11 when that happened, 10 or 11. That was like my fondest memory of a turkey bowl. From that point on when I grew up, all my friends we always—we have the 50th turkey bowl is going to be played tomorrow. I'm skyping in. I'm skyping in because I want to see if they pick me just in case I show up."
The Seahawks do have to work on Thanksgiving—there's a big game against the Pittsburgh Steelers to prepare for, after all—but players and coaches will get off early to give them a little extra time for the holiday. For some, that means time with friends—defensive end Demarcus Dobbs is playing host for the first time for a group that will include some teammates—while for others it will mean a family dinner. In the case of some of the young fathers on the team such as Richard Sherman, that means a first thanksgiving with a child.
"Well he has two teeth now, so we're going to let him feel a little turkey in him," Sherman said of his 9-month old son. "I don't think it's right to not give him turkey. I don't think he's going to let us put it on our plate without giving him a little bit. It'll be awesome. That's obviously one of the things you're thankful for, and you look back and think about what's changed since the last Thanksgiving. You're really appreciative of what you have. It's going to be a ton of fun."
Regardless of how they celebrate or who they celebrate with, the Seahawks are thankful for a lot this time of year.
"Thanksgiving is a season of gratitude," left tackle Russell Okung said. "It's a season where everyone can sit together and just reflect. Spend time with one another and say, 'what am I grateful for?' I know I'm grateful for each and every day, I'm grateful for my teammates, my family, my loved ones and I'm grateful I get to do something I love every day."
Of course, it is a man of few words, running back Marshawn Lynch, who perhaps sums this day up best.