Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it's that time of year again. Time to line up against your (least) favorite relative and have at it for as long as those Bloody Marys in your stomach will allow. At least that's how I play - CJ, I'm looking at you.
Last year, in preparation for the big game, Dad sent us a Wall Street Journal article that hilariously depicted the 32 golden rules that should all players should adhere to during the annual family game. And, I was delighted to find out that they had decided to go round 2 in preparation for Thanksgiving this year.
I present to you (on behalf of Jason Gay)...
29 More Rules for Thanksgiving Touch Football
1. The family touch football game is going to be your only athletic activity of Thanksgiving Day. Let's be real. No matter how many times you tell everyone you are going for a run—you are not going for a run. You're not fooling anybody.
2. There's always a person in the family who suggests "mixing it up this Thanksgiving" and playing soccer or hide-and-seek or taking a family hike at the nature preserve. No. Fail. You're playing touch football. Nobody wants to go hiking at the nature preserve. Boring.
3. If you wear a blazer and tie during the Thanksgiving game, it is a rule that you're going to be the first person knocked down into the mud and everybody will laugh. Related: Why are you wearing a blazer and tie to Thanksgiving?
4. It's not really a family touch football game unless at least three family members have no idea which team they are playing on.
5. There's always a moment during the Thanksgiving touch football game when someone finds out what a bad, bad boy Peanut Butter, the family golden retriever, has been in the backyard. Bad Peanut Butter!
6. There are no steroids allowed in Thanksgiving touch football. But your Uncle Dave just tested positive for vodka and doughnuts.
7. Mom wants to play quarterback, Mom gets to play quarterback.
8. Must emphasize this again: Use a leather football. Foam footballs are for preschools and dogs.
9. Nobody in the family can throw a "perfect" spiral. Nobody. Your cousin who thinks he can throw a "perfect" spiral? That would be the ugliest pass Tom Brady ever threw.
10. If you are playing your Thanksgiving touch football on the beach in 80-degree weather, congratulations on your fine luck. Also: Everyone hates you.
11. If a nice man shows up at the front door wearing a No. 15 jersey and begging to play, let him. That's Tim Tebow, and he just wants somebody to let him take a few snaps. But running plays only. No passes. He'll understand.
12. There's always someone who uses the touch football game as an excuse to sneak off and eat ice cream and pie in the kitchen at 10:30 a.m.
13. Remember, there is no instant replay in family touch football. Like all family business, on-field arguments are settled by sulking and passive aggression.
14. If you are a Kennedy, yes: Taylor Swift is showing up to the family touch football game in Hyannis Port this year, and she's bringing homemade cupcakes, mix tapes and papier-mâché sculptures of everyone. It's going to be super awkward.
15. During your game somebody will catch a touchdown pass with one hand while holding a beer in the other. Please know that somewhere in New England, an injured Rob Gronkowski is doing the exact same thing.
16. You do not need fancy end-zone markers in touch football. You only need four items to mark end zones: a winter hat, a flower pot, a 12-pack of beer and your Aunt Ginny.
17. If you're new to a family, hold back a little. A first Thanksgiving with potential future in-laws is not the day for a 400-yard, nine-TD, 15-sack performance. You will wind up eating turkey outside on the porch.
18. It's all fun and games until the first relative over 80 hits the deck. But Grandma's fine! Shake it off, Grandma!
19. Losers Walk! "Losers Walk" is when you make the defeated defensive team walk back to the other end of the field after they get scored upon. Where I grew up, it was called "Suckers Walk." You could also call it the "Amble of Humiliation," the "Trudge of Shame," the "Dawdle of Ignominy." Of course, you might get "Socked in the Eye."
20. Everybody loves playing football with cute little kids but let's face it: Nobody passes to cute little kids on third-and-long. Come on. Huge play!
21. If you decide the game is "grown-ups only" and play without kids, just realize that the kids are going to go to the den and watch "The Texas Chainsaw Massacre" on cable.
22. Every family has a secret cigarette smoker, who thinks nobody knows they smoke, even though everyone knows they smoke. Make this person run as many deep routes as possible.
23. Your 14-year-old nephew who plays Madden 13 all day? Listen to that kid. He knows a scary amount about football. Completely scary.
24. If you have a relative who went to Notre Dame, just realize the Fighting Irish are ranked No. 1 in college football right now and this relative is going to be unbearable at Thanksgiving this year.
25. No: Rain does not cancel the family touch football game. What is this, tennis?
26. The best player in your family touch football game will always be someone who has never played touch football before. Always.
27. Ten minutes into your touch football game, pause to realize an amazing thing: This is the longest your family has gone in a year without looking at their smartphones.
28. The touch football game is over when four or more family members are crying.
29. Rule 28 also applies to dinner. Happy Thanksgiving!
So everyone - get stretching! It's almost time.
Oh, and as for #11 - you are not welcome at my house in that green and white, Mr. Tebow.