Detroit Lions: History of the Thanksgiving Day Games [VIDEO]
As you sit down later this afternoon and dig in to the turkey, sweet potatoes and stuffing, you’ll more than likely flip the NFL games on the tube. An annual tradition as synonymous with Thanksgiving day as the ol’ Turkey itself, the NFL airs several games each year on the holiday. One team with a rich history of playing in the spotlight every year – my Detroit Lions. As Q103’s resident (and probably the Capital Region’s only) Lion fan, I thought I’d share how the Thanksgiving game came about.
George A. Richards owned the Portsmouth Spartans, an NFL team from 1930-1933. Richards moved the Spartans to Detroit and the Lions were born. Of course, Detroit was more of a baseball town, with the Tigers front and center. Richards thought that he could attract fans to a Lions game by hosting a game on Thanksgiving.
The world champion Bears brought their undefeated record into the very first Thanksgiving Classic against the Lions who were 10-1. More impressive about the Lions is that at the time, they hadn’t given up a touch down all season at that point. 26,000 tickets to the game sold out two weeks in advance! The game was a hit and easily exceeded expectations, seeing the Bears beat the Lions 19-16.
There have only been six season in which the Lions did not play on Thanksgiving, a short span between 1939-1944. However, since then, the Lions have been all over your TV sets each turkey day. The tradition is older than 24 current NFL franchises!
The Lions are 33-36-2 all time on Thanksgiving, but don’t let that overall record foll you today. I know, I know – the Packers are 10-0 and have some guy named Aaron Rodgers. However, the Lions are 11-7-1 against the Pack on Thanksgiving day games! So what are you thinking today’s game will bring us? Lions 52 Packers 8? I’m thinking Stafford may feel so bad for embarrassing Rodgers on the big stage that he will just lay down in the end zone and give the Packers four safeties.