why do the lions play on thanksgiving

The are one of two teams who play on Thanksgiving every season. The other is the, but the tradition started with the Lions decades ago. This season, the Lions are taking on the
in an NFC North matchup with big implications between two teams vying for a division title. For some, it might not be the most attractive game with the biggest names, but it is the one that carries the most history. HereБs the history behind the game, maintained by the Lions. The first owner of the Lions, G. A. Richards moved the Lions from Portsmouth, Ohio to Detroit. In 1934, they played their first Thanksgiving game against the and legendary coach George Halas. , with 26,000 fans in attendance. While the Bears won the game, a new tradition was born. It was a success that has been carried on ever since Б one thatБs older than 24 of the 32 NFL franchises today. The Lions topped the Packers by a final score of 26-14. The Packers would go on to be champions that season, with the Thanksgiving loss their only of the year. While sacks werenБt an official stat until 1982,. Roger Brown had six of those, one of which resulted in a safety. The most infamous moment, however, came in 1998 The Lions were going into overtime in 1998 against the, where would call for heads or tails on the coin toss. Bettis alleges he called for tails, and it was tails. But referee Phil Luckett rewarded the Lions with the ball, claiming that Bettis had called Бheads-tailsБ instead.


Poor Luckett. Green Bay Packers guard Josh Sitton was asked during the week if he believed the Lions would hit hard during the game. Sitton didnБt hold back, calling the players dirtbags, and criticizing then-head coach Jim Schwartz "Absolutely," Sitton told WSSP-AM in Milwaukee ( ). "I don't think there's any question about that. They go after quarterbacks. Their entire defense takes cheap shots all the time, that's what they do, that's who they are. They're a bunch of dirtbags, or scumbags. I mean, that's how they play. " "It starts with their frickin' coach," Sitton said. "Starts with the head coach. Schwartz, he's a (expletive), too, I wouldn't want to play for him. Starts with him, their D-coordinator and their D-line coach. They're all just scumbags, and so are the D-line. " The Lions responded to the criticism with a big game. Green Bay ended up playing without Rodgers, as started the game. The result? a 40-10 Lions win. As of the completion of 2016Бs game against the Vikings, the Lions are 37-38-2 on Thanksgiving Day. TheyБve had their stretches of winning and losing streaks, but none greater than the nine-game losing skid they had from 2004 to 2012. Since that streak ended, they havenБt lost. They can make it five consecutive Turkey Day wins with one against the Vikings, but itБll prove to be one of the more difficult tasks theyБve had in recent memory.


Turkey, GrandmaБs stuffing, and avoiding political discussions with out of town family members arenБt the only Thanksgiving Day traditions. The Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys of the NFL also have a tradition of playing football games every Thanksgiving. And while itБs always nice to have a good game to watch as you recover from your food coma, you might be wondering w hy this is. Why do the Lions and Cowboys play on Thanksgiving every year, and not? A Tradition is Born Originally known as the Spartans and founded in 1929, the Detroit Lions started out in Portsmouth Ohio, a small town struggling to support a professional NFL team. Plagued by sparse crowds and poor performance on the field, the team was ultimately bought by George Richards, owner of a Detroit radio station. He moved the team to Detroit and changed their name to the Lions for the start of the 1934 season. The new name and location didnБt really help the Lions. They struggled to draw fans, with the Detroit Tigers of the MLB continuing to get most of the attention in the city. Richards began to brainstorm ideas to try and boost fan support, and to increase the NFLБs faith in Detroit as a viable city for a team. He came up with the idea of having the team play a mid-week game on Thanksgiving Day, so the Lions could be the main attraction for the day.


Using his radio ties, Richards convinced NBC to broadcast the Thanksgiving game to nearly 95 stations across the nation in an effort to put Detroit, and the Lions, on the map. The strategic move was a success, and the stadium sold out as fans lined up to see the Lions take on the Chicago Bears. While the Bears won the game, the Lions won a new tradition and have been playing on Thanksgiving ever since. How Bout Them Cowboys? In a similar fashion, started playing on Thanksgiving in an effort to garner a bit more popularity as well. Yes, the franchise that is today referred to as БAmericaБs TeamБ was once actually one of the lesser known teams in the league. The opportunity to gain more national exposure came in 1966, when the teamБs general manager Tex Schramm signed the Cowboys up to play against the Cleveland Browns on Thanksgiving Day. The team would go on to break its attendance record, cramming more than 80,000 fans into the Cotton Bowl. The Cowboys won 26-14. Since that initial game, the Dallas Cowboys have only missed two Thanksgiving Day games: 1975 and 1977, when the St. Louis Cardinals (not to be confused with the MLB Cardinals) earned the slot instead. The Detroit Lions, on the other hand, have continued their streak every year. , make sure to have a healthy dose of football with all that gravy.

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