Football, NFL

Thanksgiving: Family, Food, Friends, and Football?

Thanksgiving has been one of my favorite holidays every since I can remember. It’s a good reminder to be thankful for all that we have and anyone we are still able to share a meal with. As I get older, the meaning has shifted and continues to morph as the people in my life change and get older and things I’m thankful for come and go (some remain). Last year taught us do not take anything or anyone we love for granted and to cherish the moments we can when they happen.

Growing up, Thanksgiving was all about the 4 “F”s: Family, Food, Friends, and Football.

Family because we would get together around a good home-cooked meal, Turkey recipes improving over time. Aunts, Uncles, and Grandparents would come through and we all get to see each other and catch up.

Food because of course. Turkey, Stuffing/Dressing, Green Bean Casserole, Mashed Potatoes, Veggies galore, and My Favorite, Cranberry Sauce. Plus lots of desserts and things I didn’t mention.

Friends because they used to come by and grab a plate throughout the day and maybe play some games and chat for bit. Now everyone has their own families and traditions as well as many have moved away.

The one constant through it all, all 32 years of my life anyways, was the backdrop of the Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys. The Family representation, Friend groups, and Food items change and morph throughout the years but the one constant holding the Thanksgiving day together (outside of the parade and dog show) was always Football.

But why the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys?

I mean, really. Why are they always playing on Thanksgiving? Here’s some interesting things about the longstanding tradition:

History of the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day, according to the internet:

  • Detroit started the tradition of playing in 1934
  • It was broadcast over 94 NBC Stations nationwide, making it the first Live National Thanksgiving Broadcast of a professional football game.
  • Believe it or not, The Lions went into that game 10-0 but ultimately lost to the undefeated Bears 19-16.
  • The only years since 1934 without the Lions were 1939-1944, mainly due to WWII. The year 1939 and 1940 had a little different historical backdrop with the Thanksgiving holiday politically.
  • 2021 will mark the 19th game against the Bears on Thanksgiving with a record of 8-11.
  • The Lions have also played the Packers 21 times on Turkey day with a record of 12-8-1.
  • Overall, they are 37-43-2 on Thanksgiving.
  • Calvin Johnson had 55 Receptions, 769 receiving yards, and 11 TDs on Thanksgiving
  • Barry Sanders had 210 carries for 931 yards, 13 Receptions for 124 Yards and 15 Total TDs on Thanksgiving.

Some things about the Dallas Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day:

  • The Cowboys started as a franchise in 1960. In 1966 they asked the League to schedule a Thanksgiving game in order to get some publicity and support and the new tradition started.
  • Dallas didn’t play the game in 1975 or 1977 in favor of the St. Louis Cardinals.
  • The Cowboys did, however, host the Cardinals in 1976.
  • The NFL asked the GM of the Cowboys to take it back in 1978 and he said he would if it was a permanent thing and the Cowboys have hosted it ever since.
  • The Cowboys have played the Washington Redskins (now Football Team) 10 times and are 8-2.
  • Overall, they are 31-21-1 on Thanksgiving.
  • Emmitt Smith had 270 carries for 1,178 yards, 42 receptions, and 14 total Thanksgiving Touchdowns
  • Michael Irvin had 49 receptions for 722 receiving yards and 6 TDs on Thanksgiving

It’s fitting that the first game we get is a classic between the Bears and Lions. With both teams playing backup QBs we’re due to have a classic football boxscore as well. UPDATE: Bears def Lions 16-14.

The Cowboys play the Raiders with both teams vying for playoff position. The Raiders are 4-4 all time on Thanksgiving and are 1-2 vs the Cowboys having last played the Cowboys in 2013. UPDATE: Raiders def. Cowboys 36-33(OT)

Hope you all have a blessed Thanksgiving and be safe.



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