SANTA CLARA, Calif. - The relationship between football and Thanksgiving goes back as far as 1934, when the Bears and Lions became the NFL's first nationally broadcasted game on NBC radio.
Since then, football and America's favorite meal have gone together like whipped cream on pumpkin pie or gravy on mashed potatoes.
The 49ers are in the midst of a dreary 3-7 season as they prepare for the division leading Arizona Cardinals on Sunday. Unlike last season, when they played the Seattle Seahawks on a memorable night in Levi's Stadium, the 49ers will have the holiday available to be with their loved ones.
Head coach Jim Tomsula said on Wednesday the regular practice schedule was moved up to players could be with their families for dinner. The coaching staff, however, isn't likely to have that luxury. They will continue preparing for the Cardinals, owners of the NFL's top offense and second-best record in the NFC, well into the night.
We asked Tomsula and 34 of his players in the locker room Wednesday what their favorite Thanksgiving food was. Some gave multiple answers.
QB Blaine Gabbert: Fried turkey, stuffing, green bean casserole
QB Dylan Thompson: Ham, mashed potatoes, stuffing with gravy
OG Andrew Tiller: His grandmother's sweet potato pie
CB Dontae Johnson: Fried turkey, ham, pot road (Johnson's favorite changes by the year)
TE Garrett Celek: His mother's oatmeal dinner rolls ?
C Marcus Martin: Mac and cheese that his girlfriend makes
P Bradley Pinion: His aunt's hash-brown casserole
K Phil Dawson: Canned cranberry sauce and deviled eggs
OT Trenton Brown: Everything (he literally listed everything)
WR Torrey Smith: It's a tie between fried turkey and sweet potato pie
WR Quinton Patton: His mother's ham
LB Shayne Skov: His aunt's sausage stuffing
LB Marcus Rush: Mashed potatoes and gravy
RB Reggie Bush: Macaroni and cheese
DT Quinton Dial: Fried turkey
RB Carlos Hyde: Stuffing
OG Ian Silberman: Ham, macaroni, stuffing
WR DeAndre Smelter: His mother's dressing
RB Shaun Draughn: Ocean Spray cranberry sauce, stuffing
CB Keith Reaser: His grandmother's smoked turkey
DT Ian Williams: Sweet corn casserole
S L.J. McCray: His mother's ham (she makes the glaze from scratch)
LB Nick Bellore: His mother's stuffing
C Daniel Kilgore: Sweet potato casserole
CB Kenneth Acker: His mother's sweet potato pie
CB Marcus Cromartie: His mother's sweet potato pie
S Eric Reid: His wife's stuffing
WR Bruce Ellington: "Whatever my Mom cooks. All of it."
RB Mike Davis: His mother's dressing
OLB Eli Harold: "Juicy, moist" fried turkey
TE Blake Bell: His mother's stuffing
OG Alex Boone: Sweet potato pie
RB Kendall Gaskins: His mother's macaroni and cheese
FB Bruce Miller: His mother's mashed potatoes and gravy
When Tomsula was asked, he said, "It’s all good. I mean, look at me. My wife’s a good cook."
Happy Thanksgiving from Niners Digest!
Chris Biderman is the Editor-in-Chief of Niners Digest and covers the 49ers from their headquarters in Santa Clara. Chris has been writing about the team since the spring of 2013. The Ohio State alum received his Journalism degree in 2011 and has been working in sports media since 2008. Chris, a Santa Rosa, Calif. native, is also a contributor to the Associated Press covering sports throughout the Bay Area. You can follow Chris on Twitter here.
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