The Lions are facing off against the Vikings on Thanksgiving, but did you know that the first Thanksgiving Lions game was against the Bears?

So why do the Lions play every Thanksgiving Day?  The answer is simple . . .

TO SELL MORE TICKETS!

The tradition started in 1934 when the Lions had a very good team, but couldn't seem to put any butts in the seats.  Even though they only had one loss, they were averaging less than 15,000 people at each game.

The owner, George Richards, needed something to raise attendance and awareness that his new football team in Detroit was actually good!  He proposed a Thanksgiving Day game against the undefeated Bears, who had just won the championship the year before.  So did it work?

YES

The game sold out at 26,000 fans, and many more waiting outside, hoping to get into the game.  The Lions lost the game, but ever since they have played in front of a sold out crowd on Thanksgiving.  Even when they went 0-16, the crowds still respected the tradition.

This year the Lions are in a must win position taking on the division leading Vikings. The Vikings have been red hot lately, but the Lions already have one win over Minnesota this year, and need to pick up the second this Thursday.

One more giblet for that all of us Lions fans can gnaw on is that the Lions are 20% better on Thanksgiving Day. In fact, the Lions have a higher winning percentage in November than any other month. Let's hope this leads to a win, and a path to the playoffs for the Lions this year.

Just for old times sake, let's watch some Barry Sanders highlights, because he never failed to amaze on Thanksgiving Day.