Thanksgiving Day is a time for family and friends to gather together and give thanks for what they have and eat a lot of lovingly prepared food. However, it isn’t always about turkey, stuffing, and pumpkin pie. Whether it’s playing pick-up football or tuning in to the games being broadcasted, Thanksgiving wouldn’t be complete without the football tradition.
This year the NFL will be featuring three games, Green Bay Packers vs. Detroit Lions, Miami Dolphins vs. Dallas Cowboys, and San Francisco 49ers vs. Baltimore Ravens. NFL football on Thanksgiving for Dallas began in 1966 and they have only missed playing on the holiday in 1975 and 1977. Even though the Cowboys have a long standing tradition of playing on Thanksgiving, most fans think of the Detroit Lions who started the tradition in 1934. The matchup between the Chicago Bears and the Lions turned out to be an all-time classic. Two weeks before the game 26,000 tickets were sold out and it was estimated that 25,000 more fans would have attended the game if there had been enough seats. The Bears ended up winning the game 19-16, but the Lions began the tradition of holding a Thanksgiving Day game. There was only a six season gap from 1933 to 1944 that the Lions did not host a game.
On Thanksgiving, fans will also witness the last conference play game between Texas vs. Texas A&M at 7 p.m. CST. Texas and Texas A&M have played on Thanksgiving 63 times in a rivalry that dates back to 1894. The Thanksgiving event was moved to the following day in 1996 but regained the Thanksgiving slot in 2008. Texas A&M lead the series in the past 25 games played, 13-12, but Texas holds a 75-37-5 overall advantage. The series between the two schools is the third-most played game in college football with 117 meetings.
Whether you are watching a high school, college, or NFL game on Thursday, the tradition of football on Thanksgiving is one that will always be a staple for the holiday.