The Story Behind the Lions and the Cowboys on Thanksgiving
There is nothing better than kicking back and watching football with a plate of turkey, and chances are it will be to the Lions or the Cowboys.
Watching football with your football on Thanksgiving Day has become a great American tradition. Specifically, this tradition involves watching 2 specific teams play home games: the Lions and the Cowboys. There is a reason that these 2 teams in specific always make up your slate of Thursday Thanksgiving games, and it dates back almost a century.
The Lions began playing on Thanksgiving in1934 and have never looked back.. This is because in 1934, the current owner George A. Richards wanted to experiment with the idea of Thanksgiving football as a marketing tool for the franchise in general in a time where the city was dominated by the Detroit Tigers. It worked to perfection, and the Lions started to gradually gain popularity in the Tigers' offseason. Richards' connection to an NBC affiliated radio network at the time also allowed a national audience to tune in on the Lions, making this situation far greater than just Detroit. Although the Lions were not the first team to play a game on Thanksgiving, their network affiliation at the time gave them an advantage in becoming the fixture they now are.
The Cowboys would not play on Thanksgiving until 1966, when their general manager Tex Schramm wanted to get a game slot on the holiday to get national publicity. In the 60s, this was almost a sure thing to work, as the revenue could now be generated from TV audiences as well. They would go on to take the 4 pm slot, while the Lions would remain in the Noon slot typically. In 2006, the league would go on to add a 3rd matchup in primetime between 2 other random teams. However, it never will truly feel like Thanksgiving if it weren't for watching the Lions and the Cowboys.