Editors Note: Special Agent Pack offers his unique perspective on the coveted NFL on FOX Galloping Gobbler award.
Since 2002, along with the turkey, stuffing and pumpkin pie, Thanksgiving – the most American of all holidays — has also meant the Galloping Gobbler. Yes, the Galloping Gobbler, the trophy awarded to the Most Valuable Player of the NFL on FOX Thanksgiving Day game.
It has been my pleasure, no, my honor, to have served as head of Gobbler security since its inception. Initially my rank was a simple one, Officer Pack. But along with the rise in prominence of the Gobbler award, my title also has gotten a bump, to Special Agent Pack. In the decade since its inception, the Galloping Gobbler trophy itself has gone through myriad changes, but at its heart it remains an award second to none, treasured as one of the most prestigious in football.
I am often asked how it came to be that I was plucked from the shadows and thrust into the bright national spotlight of this security detail. Most have assumed that it happened because I so ably fit the 54-inch long dimensions that the uniform provided. And they would be correct. In this case, size did matter.
But be that as it may, I take this duty seriously and with it comes the responsibility of maintaining the integrity of the award and its recipients.
Ah yes, the recipients. Our inaugural Gobbler winner, Hall of Fame running back Emmitt Smith of the Dallas Cowboys, famously stated that the trophy resembled a Cris Collinsworth bobblehead. It did. Smith, so enamored with the honor, summarily left the first-ever trophy behind in his locker room. It then ended up in a trash dumpster, only to be later rescued by yours truly. A dubious debut, indeed.
The following year, a true Thanksgiving miracle took place when winner Dre’ Bly triumphantly burst into the Detroit Lions locker room with his Gobbler trophy held high above his head. Not lost amid the cheers of his teammates was the acknowledgement that the Gobbler truly had arrived.
In the ensuing years there have been memorable games and memorable Gobbler winners. The lone defensive lineman winner, Dallas’ DeMarcus Ware, took home the hardware in 2008. As a native Wisconsinite I have been quietly thrilled to present the Gobbler to three Green Bay Packers, Brett Favre in 2007; our most controversial winner Donald Driver (a mixed vote that could have seen the bird go to either Charles Woodson or Aaron Rodgers) in 2009; and last year Rodgers captured a turkey trophy of his own.
While I am instructed to offer a mere congratulatory handshake when presenting the Gobbler I could not help myself when upon handing the reigning NFL MVP his trophy. I whispered, ”Dreams do come true”. A knowing nod and smile from No. 12 told me I had done the right thing.
So Thursday will provide another chance for Thanksgiving game immortality. Will we have our first repeat winner? Both Ware and 2006 winner Tony Romo are slated to play as the Cowboys take on the Washington Redskins (4:15 p.m. ET on FOX).
Or will we witness the dawn of a new age? Will it be RGIII or perhaps Dez Bryant, both of whom have the talents needed to take home yet another brand new version of the Galloping Gobbler?
No matter who emerges as the lucky winner, just know that Special Agent Pack is ready and willing for duty. It is indeed my honor and privilege.