Life in the Slow Lane

November 25, 2008

How football’s Thanksgiving Classic came to be

Filed under: Life,Sports,Television — pauljlane @ 12:20 pm

The query recently came up: Why do the same teams host the Thanksgiving football games every year?
Good question.
In the case of the Detroit Lions, their original owner, G.A. Richards, wanted a game on Thanksgiving every year as a ticket-selling gimmick. The Lions have hosted Thanksgiving games every year since 1934 except during World War II. The Lions’ record on Thanksgiving is 35-32-1, with their last win coming in 2003.
As for the Dallas Cowboys, they were asked to play a Thanksgiving game in 1966. As a condition of this, Cowboys management wanted a guarantee that they’d regularly play a holiday game, which they’ve done ever year since except 1975 and 1977. The Cowboys are 26-14-1 on the holiday all-time, and they beat the New York Jets last year.
Thanksgiving games were played every year of the AFL’s existence (1960-69), with the Buffalo Bills having played in five of those contests. Thanksgiving games were also played prior to the Lions’ entry into the NFL, with the All-Tonawanda Lumberjacks recording a 14-3 win over the Rochester Jeffersonians in 1920, the first year with holiday games on record.
The NFL network has hosted a third Thanksgiving game since 2006, with no set teams in place for that contest.



  1. What I want to know is why do they start Thursday games in middle of the season? In my opinion, it really messes with the players and their weekly recovery.

    Comment by hurryupnbuy — November 25, 2008 @ 12:40 pm | Reply

  2. They do that basically to get people to watch football another day of the week, which means more advertising revenue. it does mess with players, but as we all know that’s not as important as the almighty dollar.

    Comment by pauljlane — November 25, 2008 @ 12:45 pm | Reply

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