The Turkey Bowl: A Thanksgiving Tradition of Touchdowns, Trash Talk, and Turkey Legs

What is a Turkey Bowl?

The Turkey Bowl is more than just a football game; it’s a Thanksgiving tradition that brings families and friends together for a day of friendly competition, good food, and maybe a few bumps and bruises. This annual ritual, played on Thanksgiving Day morning, involves men (and sometimes women) facing off in a touch football game, battling it out for bragging rights that last an entire year.

More than just a game:

While the game itself is undoubtedly the highlight of the day, the Turkey Bowl represents much more than just a competition. It’s a chance for families to bond, for dads and sons to share a laugh, and for everyone to create memories that will last a lifetime.

A tradition passed down through generations:

The Turkey Bowl is a tradition that has been passed down through generations, with fathers introducing their sons to the game and creating a legacy that will continue for years to come. It’s a way to honor the past and build a stronger future, all while enjoying some good old-fashioned football fun.

The origins of the Turkey Bowl:

While the exact origins of the Turkey Bowl are unclear, it’s believed to have started as a way for women to get the men and kids out of the house so they could cook Thanksgiving dinner in peace. However, the game quickly evolved into a beloved tradition, becoming a highlight of the holiday for many families.

The rules of the Turkey Bowl:

The Turkey Bowl is typically played with a few simple rules:

  • It’s a touch football game, meaning tackling is not allowed.
  • The game usually ends when there aren’t enough players left standing to continue, rather than by a set time limit or score.
  • The “friendly” part of the game tends to fade away after the first touchdown, with the competition heating up and the trash talk flying.

The Turkey Bowl: A Thanksgiving tradition for the ages:

The Turkey Bowl is a unique and cherished Thanksgiving tradition that brings families and friends together for a day of laughter, competition, and memories that will last a lifetime. It’s a reminder that the holidays are about more than just the food; they’re about spending time with loved ones and creating traditions that will be passed down for generations to come.

So, whether you’re a seasoned Turkey Bowl veteran or a curious newcomer, grab your cleats, dust off your old jersey, and get ready to experience the joy of this Thanksgiving tradition!

Here are some additional details about the Turkey Bowl:

  • The Turkey Bowl is not just a high school tradition: While the article you provided focuses on the Turkey Bowl as a high school football game in Maryland, it’s important to note that the Turkey Bowl is also a popular tradition for informal backyard games played on Thanksgiving or over Thanksgiving weekend.
  • The Turkey Bowl is a great way to get some exercise: For many participants, the Turkey Bowl is their only physical activity of the year. So, it’s a fun way to get some exercise and burn off some Thanksgiving calories.
  • The Turkey Bowl is a chance to show off your skills: Whether you’re a seasoned athlete or a weekend warrior, the Turkey Bowl is a chance to show off your football skills and impress your friends and family.
  • The Turkey Bowl is a reminder that the holidays are about family and friends: At the end of the day, the Turkey Bowl is about more than just the game. It’s about spending time with loved ones and creating memories that will last a lifetime.

So, what are you waiting for? Get out there and experience the joy of the Turkey Bowl!

Turkey Bowl 100 in the NewsYour web browser does not support the tag.

Fordham Prep leads the overall series 55-41-4. *Note that the COVID-19 pandemic prevented the two schools from playing on the field in November 2020. Fordham Prep was victorious in the first ever Virtual Turkey Bowl.

During the 1800s, Fordham Preparatory School was officially known as the Second Division of St. John’s College, Fordham’s original name. Only in the early 1900s would the school adopt the name Fordham Prep, first as a moniker and then as our official title. Neither the College nor Prep teams were yet known as the Rams. In fact, the first instance of the word ram in Prep history does not occur until 1906. During the 19th century, the various Second Division teams had a series of colorful names. At first, our varsity squads were known as The Live Oaks. By 1862, Prep varsity would be styled The Invincibles. Maroon, however, was already proudly our school color at the time, and had been since 1874. Go Fordham Prep! Go Rams! Go Invincibles! Go Maroon!.

November 27, 1887, was the first Turkey Bowl ever officially recorded, according to a Fordham Monthly article: “The Xaviers came up on Sunday, November 27th, and played a good game.” It grew dark before either team scored a single point. David Arellano, Class of 1887, one of our Central American boarding students and a genuinely fascinating figure in school history, wrote the essay. He was also a baseball pitcher for our team, not a football player. He was still at Rose Hill, but in St. Johns First Division, or Fordham College, when he wrote the article.

Although there have been previous Fordham-Xavier football games documented, they were played between collegiate teams rather than high school teams. (Xavier originally had a college division, as well. Furthermore, although Prep football had only been in its infancy for a few seasons prior to 1887, our boys either participated in games against one another or were part of the College’s practice squads. As a result, Fordham Prep also celebrates the official beginning of our district’s official interscholastic football program on November 27, 1887. In other words, our first official football game was also that first, illustrious “Turkey Bowl,” called due to darkness.

The 1887 game was not held on Thanksgiving itself, but rather, as part of the long holiday weekend. Other early “Turkey Bowls” were also held over the Thanksgiving weekend or on other extended fall holiday weekends, rather than on Thanksgiving itself. Remember that although Thanksgiving had long been a part of American history, President Lincoln had only recently introduced the holiday as a national observance. Thus, parades, bonfires, and other fall celebrations that we would typically associate with Thanksgiving continued to take place on other fall holidays, such as Election Day. Some early Prep-Xavier gridiron match-ups would be held on these weekends, as well. Although American-style football was still a relatively new sport, the Prep team lacked official football uniforms. Instead, they were wearing the baseball’s team’s uniforms off-season. The Monthly said following the football season, “There has been some talk lately of getting genuine football suits for our eleven players.” The game is somewhat wearing on the baseball jerseys. ”.

1887: TIE 0-0 (Called on account of darkness)

1905: Fordham Prep 32- 0

1907: Fordham Prep 61- 0

1908: Fordham Prep 61- 0

1927: Fordham Prep 12- 6

1928: Fordham Prep 19- 6

1929: Xavier 19-13

1930: Xavier 25- 6

1931: Fordham Prep 12- 6

1932: TIE 7- 7

1933: Fordham Prep 13- 0

1934: Fordham Prep 26-13

1935: Xavier 20-13

1936: Xavier 6- 0

1937: Fordham Prep 19-12

1938: Fordham Prep 13-12

1939: Fordham Prep 13- 0

1940: Fordham Prep 7- 0

1941: Xavier 9- 6

1942: Fordham Prep 8- 6

1943: Fordham Prep 19-18

1944: Fordham Prep 12- 0

1945: Xavier 7- 6

1946: Fordham Prep 13- 6

1947: Xavier 13- 8

1948: Xavier 9- 7

1949: Fordham Prep 31-20

1950: Xavier 60- 6

1951: Xavier 32-12

1952: Xavier 6- 0

1953: Xavier 20- 6

1954: Fordham Prep 18-12

1955: Xavier 20- 6

1956: Fordham Prep 14-13

1957: Fordham Prep 14- 6

1958: Fordham Prep 7- 6

1959: Xavier 14- 8

1960: TIE 14-14

1961: Fordham Prep 19-18

1962: Fordham Prep 24- 0

1963: Xavier 14- 0

1964: Xavier 39-20

1965: Xavier 19- 0

1966: Xavier 13- 0

1967: Fordham Prep 19- 0

1968: Xavier 32- 0

1969: Fordham Prep 12- 8

1970: Xavier 22-21

1971: Fordham Prep 21-12

1972: Fordham Prep 29- 0

1973: Fordham Prep 21- 0

1974: Xavier 54- 6

1975: TIE 0- 0

1976: Xavier 40-30

1977: Fordham Prep 12- 6

1978: Fordham Prep 29-20

1979: Fordham Prep 28-12

1980: Xavier 34-12

1981: Xavier 30-22

1982: Fordham Prep 8- 3

1983: Xavier 18- 7

1984: Xavier 12- 7

1985: Xavier 30- 0

1986: Xavier 26-14

1987: Fordham Prep 36-16

1988: Xavier 18-17

1989: Xavier 14-12

1990: Fordham Prep 30-15

1991: Xavier 24-13

1992: Fordham Prep 24-14

1993: Fordham Prep 40-12

1994: Fordham Prep 32-14

1995: Fordham Prep 15-14

1996: Xavier 14-13

1997: Fordham Prep 28- 7

1998: Fordham Prep 12- 6

1999: Xavier 37-16

2000: Fordham Prep 26- 6

2001: Fordham Prep 28- 7

2002: Fordham Prep 34-14

2003: Fordham Prep 28- 0

2004: Fordham Prep 32- 7

2005: Fordham Prep 44-13

2006: Xavier 28-14

2007: Xavier 20-14

2008: Fordham Prep 41-28

2009: Xavier 35-27

2010: Fordham Prep 17- 7

2011: Fordham Prep 15-7

2012: Xavier 38-21

2013: Xavier 33-0

2014: Xavier 35-34

2015: Xavier 15-13

2016: Fordham Prep 21-18

2017: Fordham Prep 28-0

2018: Fordham Prep 21-13

2019: Xavier 40-14

*2020: Fordham Prep 21-14 (First ever “virtual” Turkey Bowl)

2021: Fordham Prep 27-13

2022: Fordham Prep 41-25

2023: Fordham Prep 21-14

First played in 1887 between the then Second Division of St. One of the oldest high school football rivalries in the country is between Xavier High School and Johns College (the former name of Fordham Preps), which is played in the Turkey Bowl.

Sports Illustrated and USA Today have highlighted the game as one of the premier Thanksgiving Day games in high school football in the country. The Turkey Bowl is the oldest inter-scholastic athletic rivalry in all of New York City. The New York Post called it one of the “cant miss” events in New York City high school sports.

The Madden TURKEY BOWL (K-City Family Battle)


How does a turkey bowl work?

Turkey bowling is a sport which is based on ordinary bowling. A frozen turkey serves as the bowling ball and 10 liquid-filled plastic beverage bottles are used for bowling pins. The turkey is bowled down a smooth surface such as ice or a soap-covered sheet of painters plastic.

What is turkey bowl in football?

Turkey Bowl is a double elimination tournament. FLAG FOOTBALL – not touch or tackle! Play hard and respect the refs. Have fun & compete fairly!

How do you play the turkey bowl?

This activity is called Turkey Bowl! The object of the game is to see how many times out of 5 chances you can knock the turkey (ball) off of the cone using a controlled soccer pass. 2. On the start signal, the first partner will attempt to pass the ball and knock the turkey down.

How long does turkey bowl last?

Each game will consist of two 10-minute halves and a 2-minute half time. The clock will not stop unless a team calls a time out or the official feels it is necessary. The offensive team will have 20-seconds to snap the ball once the ball has been spotted.

What is a Thanksgiving football game called?

Unorganized groups have also been known to partake in American football on Thanksgiving. These informal matches are usually known as a Turkey Bowl (not to be confused with some high school football games that also use the name “Turkey Bowl”, see above, and with Turkey Bowling ).

Can you play Turkey Bowls if you don’t have a backyard?

Most families have their turkey bowls in their backyards—but even if you don’t have a big backyard, you can still organize a game! Look around for a park or vacant lot within walking distance of the house where everyone will be gathered for Thanksgiving. You don’t need a huge area to play with 8 to 10 people.

Can I unsubscribe from the ‘Turkey Bowl’?

I understand I can unsubscribe at any time. The “Turkey Bowl” originated in Philadelphia when the first Thanksgiving football game on record took place in 1869.

How do you organize a turkey bowl game?

Scout out a location for the game. The more people you have playing, the more space you’ll need. Most families have their turkey bowls in their backyards—but even if you don’t have a big backyard, you can still organize a game!

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