Monday, December 4

Here’s Why Lions Always Play Thanksgiving, Explained

If it seems like the Detroit Lions always play on Thanksgiving, well, that’s because they do.

The Lions’ annual tradition of playing on the American holiday, which began in 1934, is almost as old as the franchise itself. In fact, they’re the main reason soccer and Thanksgiving are synonymous, even if the Lions haven’t been as successful on the holidays as other franchises.

Here’s a short history lesson, plus a full list of past games and how to watch the 2021 version while filling your face with turkey and cake.

Why do Lions always play on Thanksgiving?

It all started on Thanksgiving in 1934, when owner George A. Richards decided to play over the holidays to attract more fans.

Richards was known for his marketing acumen and his Thanksgiving plan was an immediate success. The Lions at the time weren’t attracting a lot of people because the Detroit Tigers were the main sporting attraction in town. But on that Thanksgiving Day, the Lions not only sold out stadium tickets, they also had to turn people away at the gates.

The Lions lost to the Bears, but a new team tradition was born.

Other teams had played on Thanksgiving before 1934, but the Lions were different because Richards owned a radio station that was a major affiliate of the NBC Blue Network. Richards negotiated a deal with NBC to broadcast his Thanksgiving games on 94 stations across the country.

Since 1978, the Lions and Cowboys have hosted a Thanksgiving game every year. Detroit always plays the game early, followed by Dallas in the late afternoon and a rotating primetime showdown added in 2006.

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Who do the Lions play on Thanksgiving 2021?

The Lions play the Bears on Thanksgiving in 2021. It’s the 17th time these franchises have gone head-to-head over the holidays, 34-30, with their most recent win by the Bears 24-20 in 2019.

What channel is the game Lions vs. Bears?

CBS will broadcast Lions vs. Bears this year. Kick-off is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. ET, the first game of the day, according to tradition.

Lions Record at Thanksgiving

The Lions are 37-42-2 playing Thanksgiving in franchise history.

Year Adversary Outcome
1934 Chicago bears L, 19-16
1935 Chicago bears W, 14-2
1936 Chicago bears Wed, 13-7
1937 Chicago bears L, 13-0
1938 Chicago bears Wed, 7-14
[1945 Cleveland Rams L, 28-21
1946 Boston Yanks L, 34-10
1947 Osos de chicago L, 34-14
1948 Tarjetas de Chicago L, 28-14
1949 Osos de chicago L, 28-7
1950 Yankees de Nueva York W, 49-14
1951 Empacadores de Green Bay W, 52-35
1952 Empacadores de Green Bay W, 48-24
1953 Empacadores de Green Bay W, 34-15
1954 Empacadores de Green Bay Mi, 28-24
1955 Empacadores de Green Bay Mi, 24-10
1956 Empacadores de Green Bay L, 24-20
1957 Empacadores de Green Bay Mi, 18-6
1958 Empacadores de Green Bay Mi, 24-14
1959 Empacadores de Green Bay L, 24-17
1960 Empacadores de Green Bay Mi, 23-10
1961 Empacadores de Green Bay L, 17-9
1962 Empacadores de Green Bay Mi, 26-14
1963 Empacadores de Green Bay T, 13-13
1964 Osos de chicago L, 27-24
1965 Colts de Baltimore T, 24-24
1966 San Francisco 49ers L, 41-14
1967 Los Ángeles Rams L, 31-7
1968 Águilas de Filadelfia L, 12-0
1969 Vikingos de Minnesota L, 27-0
1970 Raiders de Oakland Mi, 28-14
1971 Jefes de Kansas City W, 32-21
1972 Jets de Nueva York Mi, 37-20
1973 Washington Redskins L, 20-0
1974 Broncos de Denver L, 31-27
1975 Los Ángeles Rams L, 20-0
1976 Billetes de búfalo Mi, 27-14
1977 Osos de chicago L, 31-14
1978 Broncos de Denver Mi, 17-14
1979 Osos de chicago W, 20-0
1980 Osos de chicago L, 23-17 (OT)
1981 Jefes de Kansas City Mi, 27-10
mil novecientos ochenta y dos Gigantes de Nueva York L, 13-6
1983 Acereros de Pittsburgh W, 45-3
1984 Empacadores de Green Bay Mi, 31-28
1985 Jets de Nueva York Mi, 31-20
1986 Empacadores de Green Bay L, 44-40
1987 Jefes de Kansas City L, 27-20
1988 Vikingos de Minnesota L, 23-0
1989 Cleveland Browns Mi, 13-10
1990 Broncos de Denver W, 40-27
1991 Osos de chicago W, 16-6
1992 Houston Texans L, 24-21
1993 Osos de chicago L, 10-6
1994 Billetes de búfalo W, 35-21
1995 Vikingos de Minnesota W, 44-38
1996 Jefes de Kansas City L, 28-24
1997 Osos de chicago W, 55-20
1998 Acereros de Pittsburgh W, 19-16 (OT)
1999 Osos de chicago Mi, 21-17
2000 Patriotas de Nueva Inglaterra W, 34-9
2001 Empacadores de Green Bay L, 29-27
2002 Patriotas de Nueva Inglaterra L, 20-12
2003 Empacadores de Green Bay Mi, 22-14
2004 Potros de Indianápolis L, 41-9
2005 Halcones de atlanta L, 27-7
2006 Delfines de Miami L, 27-10
2007 Empacadores de Green Bay L, 37-26
2008 Titanes de Tennessee L, 47-10
2009 Empacadores de Green Bay L, 34-12
2010 Patriotas de Nueva Inglaterra L, 45-24
2011 Empacadores de Green Bay L, 27-15
2012 Houston Texans L, 34-31 (OT)
2013 Empacadores de Green Bay W, 40-10
2014 Osos de chicago W, 34-17
2015 Águilas de Filadelfia W, 45-14
2016 Vikingos de Minnesota Mi, 16-13
2017 Vikingos de Minnesota L, 30-23
2018 Osos de chicago L, 23-16
2019 Osos de chicago L, 24-20
2020 Houston Texans L, 41-25
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Juegos notables:

1962 – Los Lions le dieron a los Green Bay Packers su única derrota esa temporada. Green Bay terminó 13-1 y ganó su segundo campeonato consecutivo de la NFL.

1980 – Los Lions y Bears empataron 17-17 al final del tiempo reglamentario. Fue el primer juego de Acción de Gracias en entrar en tiempo extra, y cuando el corredor de los Bears, Dave Williams, devolvió el saque inicial para un touchdown, también se convirtió en el tiempo extra más corto con 13 segundos, un récord de temporada regular que se mantiene hoy.

1986 – Los Leones y los Packers jugaron el partido con mayor puntuación en la historia del Día de Acción de Gracias hasta la fecha, 44-40, con Green Bay ganando la W.

2008 – Los Titans 10-1 vencieron a los Lions 0-11 47-10, una de las mayores diferencias de puntos en la historia de Acción de Gracias. Los Lions terminaron la temporada 0-16.

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