Ever Wonder Why the Detroit Lions Always Play on Thanksgiving Day?
There are two NFL teams that always play on Thanksgiving Day. Watching the Detroit Lions (and the Dallas Cowboys) on TV has been a Turkey-Day tradition for decades. There's a simple explanation behind it.
Detroit Lions are on a Roll
I don't mean to cast aspersions or put a curse on our Lions (love 'em or love to hate ''em) but at the time of this publication, they've won their last three games. All in the month of November, the Detroit Lions have toppled the Green Bay Packers, the Chicago Bears, and the New York Giants.
But will the Lions have what it takes to go four in a row and pull out a Turkey Day win over the Buffalo Bills?
Why is There Always a Detroit Lions Game on Thanksgiving Day?
We can boil it down to one word: Marketing.
According to Mental Floss, there wasn't much enthusiasm surrounding the Detroit Lions when they moved from Portsmouth, Ohio to the Motor City in 1934. Detroit already had a major sports team - the Detroit Tigers - so the people of Detroit were underwhelmed.
But team owner George Richards had an idea. Richards was said to be well-connected and came up with the idea to have the Lions play on Thanksgiving Day. He also managed to convince the NBC television network to broadcast the game and it was carried on 94 affiliates across the country.
The idea worked. The Lions filled the stadium to capacity and had to turn fans away at the gate. A Lions game on Thanksgiving Day became an instant tradition.
In 1966, the Dallas Cowboys capitalized on the marketing idea and both teams have played on Turkey Day ever since.