That's not true everywhere. Thanksgiving football still is a big deal to Haddonfield and Haddon Heights, to Vineland and Millville, to lots of river towns that have been sending their teenage boys into these games since before World War II.
But in a larger sense, this great tradition might be played out. I'm starting to think many of these games are becoming an anachronism – a remnant of a bygone era like a phone booth or fax machine.
It's not just that attendance has been rapidly declining at almost all the games for the last 10 or 15 years. That's the reason many schools are moving the games to Wednesday nights.
And it's not just that the playoffs are far more important. The tournament began to marginalize Thanksgiving Day games when the NJSIAA introduced the postseason system in 1974, and squeezed those games a little more to the edges when fields were doubled to eight teams in 1998.
No program is built to win a Thanksgiving game. No coach considers these games more important than winning a division title or qualifying for the playoffs or capturing a tournament crown.
Delsea, Moorestown, Eastern, Highland, Maple Shade, and Winslow Township don't play on Thanksgiving weekend anymore. Nobody around those programs seems all that upset.
The cold truth is that Thanksgiving Day has never been a big deal in the Lenape district. Those schools are younger, with zero ties to the pre-playoff era. They are about winning championships, not beating the big rival in the big holiday game.
That's true in many of the larger, regional schools that were built as the first baby boomers hit the teenage years in the late 1950s and early 1960s. Their rivalries don't stretch back over the decades. And the very nature of those schools - which sprung up in response to housing developments filled with people who moved from someplace else - limits the generational ties associated with Thanksgiving football.
Look at the best rivalries. Haddonfield and Haddon Heights have been playing since 1902. But as much as the Bulldogs want to beat the Garnets, and vice versa, those programs place a higher priority on their respective state tournaments.
Same goes for Vineland and Millville, which began playing in 1894. No rivalry in any sport has more history, more tradition. But ask the 10-0 Thunderbolts if they would rather beat Vineland or Pennsauken in the South Jersey Group 4 title game on Dec. 2 at Rowan.
I know. I know. Many teams don't make the playoffs, and the Thanksgiving game can be a sort of a Consolation Bowl for many programs.
I get that. It's a little over-romanticized - otherwise, why is attendance at these games slumping so badly? - but there's still something to be said for a special event for so many seniors' last game.
But here's the thing: The NJSIAA will ask its general membership to vote on a proposal Dec. 5 that will change the constitution to allow public-school playoffs to extend to the state-championship round.
If that passes, a proposal would be created and another vote would be held in December 2012 to institute that system. That could result in the first state-title games for public schools in December 2013.
It should happen. It's ridiculous that it hasn't happened.
But one stumbling block is concern by some coaches and administrators that a new playoff system will jeopardize Thanksgiving Day games. They seem determined to cling to the past at the expense of an improved future.
If Thanksgiving Day football can be preserved in some form under the new playoff system, great. I'm all for tradition.
But let's not pretend we need to preserve something that no longer exists.
Contact staff writer Phil Anastasia at 856-779-3323, firstname.lastname@example.org, or @PhilAnastasia on Twitter. Read his blog, "Jersey Side Sports," at www.philly.com/jerseysidesports