The Thanksgiving Day Football Game

     “2019 was by far the hardest game I lost,” Jake said. In that particular game, his team fell just a few plays short of mounting a huge comeback and capturing its first win since 2015. “Winning the game definitely matters,” Luke said, but doesn’t credit beating his brother as any sort of extra motivation. “To be truthfully honest, no, as a brother it’s hard to see them lose. You always want them to win if you’re not.” Jake may have a little bit different opinion, however, “Beating my brother after all these years, that would be poetic.”

All players posing for a post-game picture in 2020 (Photo by: Emily Boyd)

     Sibling rivalry is rampant as Luke and Jake also have another older brother, Zach, who plays for the Patriots. Also, two other brothers, Mitchell and John Havu, have played against each other for the last four years of the contest. The game gets more and more competitive and intense with each passing year. “I enjoy the competition and wish everyone the best. But it’s pretty hard to beat me,” Luke said tongue-in-cheek, as he’s carrying a 4-game winning streak into the 2021 contest. Luke has three MVPs to his name, which accounts for half of all the games that have been played. Jake speculated as to why his brother has had great success in recent years: “Luke definitely knows where to put the ball, and he has a good control over his team.” 

     Beyond the actual football aspect of the game, there is a lot more that is important about it. Luke explained what playing football on Thanksgiving means to him, saying the game really never fully leaves his mind. “It’s a tradition I think about all year, a great day of memories with close friends and family.” The friends and family aspect of the “Thanksgiving Day Football Game,” as it is officially called, draws a parallel to what the holiday truly means overall. “My mom makes killer apple pie, and I love how everyone spends quality time with those they care about, a chance to slow down and remember what’s important,” Luke said. Jake also chimed in on what’s really important. “It’s a time to get together in a common ground and make some memories,” Jake said.

     “Every year we all agree on one thing. The game must go on. The holiday would feel empty without it,” Jake said. From its humble beginnings in 2014, to what it has grown to be in 2021, the “Thanksgiving Day Football Game” is a tradition that doesn’t seem to have an end in sight for these brothers.