By Noah Kaufman
Updated November 26, 2014
© Artisticco LLC / Alamy

Football and Thanksgiving have a long and storied history in the United States. The first Thanksgiving football game occurred in 1869 between two teams that barely knew what football was: the Young American Cricket Club and the Germantown Cricket Club. And on some Thanksgiving between then and now a father uttered the phrase “keep it down I’m watching the game” for the very first time somewhere in this great land. Today, football still plays a prominent role in holiday activities, but depending on your family and their love of sports there are different ways to watch. Still, chances are good you will fit in one of these viewing methods today.

The at the Table Method

The classic. Dad wheels the TV in and sets it up right next to grandma so he can watch and avoid any unwanted conversations. The rise in large, flat-screen TVs has made it harder to watch this way, but enterprising fans can always just prop up an iPad near the turkey.

The Under the Table Method

Everyone at the table wants you to make small talk and go on about what you’re thankful for and blah blah blah. But you just want to see how many fantasy points Dez Bryant is getting you. Fortunately you’re streaming the games on your phone and you can surreptitiously look down between every bite of sweet potatoes.

The On Mute So It Seems Like We’re Doing Family Things Method

Your family cares a lot of spending quality time together. Not enough to turn the TV off, but definitely enough to put it on mute. Because people are actually talking to each other, this technique does inevitably lead to older family members repeatedly yelling, “Wait, what did I miss? Rewind the TV!”

The On in the Other Room Method

Someone has put their foot down and the only television that may be left on during Thanksgiving is the one in the den or the basement or the one you insisted on installing in the bathroom. The best part about this is that you actually burn off a lot of the calories you’re eating by walking back and forth from the game every 10 minutes.

The Pretend We’re Entertaining Small Children Method

Watching football? What? You’re not watching football. You thought your four-year-old twin nephews Jaxon and Julius were bored so you brought them in to watch Yo Gabba Gabba. See, that’s totally what’s on TV! Now go back to the table during which time no one is going to change the channel to Fox and go back to ignoring two badly behaved toddlers.