Playing football on all kinds of levels on Thanksgiving Day, from school and college to NFL, is one of the famous traditions in the United States of America.
Thanksgiving Day is since 1863 an official holiday in the United States and is always celebrated on the fourth Thursday in November. Most businesses, governmental organizations, schools and universities are closed on this day and some of them also the Friday after Thanksgiving, allowing their staff to have a 4-day weekend.
In the USA it is considered one of the most important holidays of the year. On this day, a lot of people show their gratitude for what they have. A special meal, which often includes turkey, stuffing, cranberry sauce, potatoes, gravy, vegetables and pumpkin pie, is also part of this special day.
In some cities, people also visit a Thanksgiving Parade and many people see this day as the start of the Christmas season.
Watching Football on Thanksgiving Day
At home or while visiting family or friends, millions of Americans watch football on TV, while they eat typical traditional Thanksgiving food. The games sometimes lead to interesting discussions during Thanksgiving dinner!
Playing on Thanksgiving Day is as old as the game itself, the tradition of Thanksgiving games started in 1876 by Yale and Princeton, while professional football started the tradition in the 1890’s. From 1941 to 1944 there were no Turkey Day games played, due to the Second World War.
Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys
The Detroit Lions have been playing Thanksgiving games since 1934, while the Dallas Cowboys started the tradition in 1966. On this important day for Americans, the Lions always play an early game, while the Cowboys play the late game.
From 1975 to 1977, the St Louis Cardinals replaced the Dallas-based team as hosts for the Thanksgiving Day game. However, in 1976, the Cardinals were playing the game against the Dallas Cowboys. However, because of the popularity of high school football in St Louis on this, the NFL game was not popular among football fans and therefore, Dallas is since 1978 again the host for the Thanksgiving game.
The Detroit Lions played most games (72) on Thanksgiving. Most points during a Thanksgiving football match were scored in 1962; Titans beat the Broncos 46 – 45, which means there were 91 points scored in total.
(Sources: Wiki, ProPlayerInsider)