There are a multitude of things to be thankful for ... and one thing to be thankful for is a Brett Favre-less (pictured) football Thanksgiving. Here are some other sports gems to be thankful for while eating up on turkey day ...
Shaq keeps us entertained once again
Shaquille O'Neals recently released book has more than a few juicy tidbits to tide readers over. He recounts epic battles with former teammates (looking at you Kobe) and general managers (Pat Riley, step on up). Some may have thought that Shaq's retirement would keep him out of the limelight. Trust Shaq to figure out how to stay part of the action.
We don't have to hear about either "Dream Team"
The Eagles are quickly playing themselves out of the conversation. And the Miami Heat are locked out of the conversation. Either way you look at it ... the "Dream Team" moniker is dying a slow death in sports circles. Bring on the next overused cliche!
Packers living up to expectations
The Pack is back! The team from Green Bay is in the process of proving the doubters wrong. They're showing grit, hunger and determination in their title defense. Repeating as Super Bowl champions is hard but the Packers look ready to travel the rough road.
No. 2 spot in the BCS is up for grabs
The BCS takes a lot of heat for being inconsistent but that's the most exciting part of college football. The fact that there are always more than two teams who feel they deserve a shot at the title game gives us a cheery season of solid debates. This year Alabama, Arkansas and Oklahoma State are all gunning for a shot at the BCS championship game.
Someone besides Jimmie Johnson won the NASCAR championship
After five years somebody else stepped up to the plate this year in NASCAR. That somebody is Tony Stewart (photo). Stewart broke Jimmie Johnson's streak of 5 straight championships with his thrilling win over rival Carl Edwards.
Best World Series in recent memory
Wow ... what else can you say about the Cardinals' comeback win in the 2011 World Series. The Cardinals faced down their final strike of the series — TWICE — and came back to beat the Texas Rangers. That's the way to respond to gut check time.
Theo Epstein taking a shot with the Cubs
The Boy Wonder is at it again. After breaking the Red Sox curse, Epstein is trying his hand with the Chicago Cubs. Bringing a World Series championship to Chicago would put Epstein in some rarified air. At the very least, it looks as though Chicago will be garnering attention for the near future.
After a full year of "will they" or "won't they", the Broncos organization is giving their fans what they want. They're giving them Tebow — all of him. And Tebow has done his part in lifting the spirits of downtrodden Broncos fans.
Who's the toughest Harbaugh of them all? The stage is set for an epic showdown between two of the most competitive, driven coaches in the league. Both John (the coach for the Ravens, left) and Jim (the coach for the 49ers, right) have baited opposing coaches into rage this season. After this matchup, there might not be a feel good Thanksgiving dinner with Mama and Papa Harbaugh. Best sports families
The Lions — they're great!
It's been a long time coming ... but the Lions finallly have folks in the Motor City (and beyond) fired up about holiday football again. The Lions host an annual Thanksgiving Day game but have had football fans singing a dirge for many years. This year Motown is buzzing with the possibility of change. The Lions are fielding a competitive squad — a squad that will certainly have its hands full with the defending champion Green Bay Packers.