9 tips for starting a Turkey Bowl tradition this Thanksgiving

Monday , November 20, 2017 - 5:15 AM

MARK SAAL, Standard-Examiner Staff

Thinking about starting your own Turkey Bowl tradition? A few suggestions from our experts:

1. Use social media to recruit players. Tag friends you think would come, then all their friends will see it.

2. Arrive at least 20 minutes early to set up the field. A good field size, depending on the number of players, is somewhere in the neighborhood of 80 yards long by 40 yards wide. Use cones or other markers to outline the field. You may also want first-down markers every 20 yards or so. (Or you can just go with the “two completions for a first down” rule.)

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3. Designate a backup site, in case the field you want to use has already been claimed.

4. Ideally, have about seven players on each team. Once you get up to full 11-on-11 squads, it’s just too many people. And make sure teams are evenly divided by skill level — otherwise, a game can quickly get out of hand.

5. Think long and hard before you play tackle football. Two-hand touch is OK, but then it’s pretty much just a passing game. Flag football is the version of choice to allow a wide range of plays and players.

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6. Everybody wants to be either a quarterback or a receiver. To keep it like a real football game, have dedicated pass rushers and blockers. That way, you don’t have to count to five “alligators” or “Mississippis” before you rush the quarterback. And have players rotate positions, so everybody gets a chance at the positions they prefer.

7. Consider eliminating kickoffs. This is where many injuries occur. Just have teams take the ball at their own 20-yard line.

8. Don’t let the game drag. Often, teams spend more time in the huddle than at the line of scrimmage. Consider having a spectator run a play clock to keep the game going.

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9. Know your physical limitations. Make sure you stretch out before the game. Often, you’re asking your body to do something it doesn’t do the rest of the year. Be smart.

Contact Mark Saal at 801-625-4272, or msaal@standard.net. Follow him on Twitter at @Saalman. Friend him on Facebook at facebook.com/SEMarkSaal.

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