What is the record of the Detroit Lions when it comes to Thanksgiving games?
The Detroit Lions have become as much of a Thanksgiving tradition as turkey, pumpkin pie, and the Macy’s parade, and the squad will face the Chicago Bears this holiday season.
While a Lions game has been a fixture since 1934, the Lions’ winning history is less reliable.
The Bears defeated the Lions 19-16 in the team’s inaugural Thanksgiving game, and the loss may have jinxed the 86 games that have followed.
The Lions have only won 37 games on Thanksgiving Day since that initial game, losing 42 times and tying twice.
Over the previous two decades, wins have grown even more unusual, with the Lions winning only five Thanksgiving games while losing 15. They last won on Thanksgiving Day in 2016, when they defeated the Minnesota Vikings 16-13.
Things could be looking good for the squad this year, not because of their excellent season, but because their Thanksgiving rival hasn’t performed particularly well over the last 11 weeks.
The Lions have not won a game this season, losing nine times and tied once, while the Bears are 3-7, with one of those wins coming in Week 4 against the Lions. Both teams’ offenses are among the worst in the league.
The Thanksgiving game on Thursday will be the 19th time the two franchises have met for the holiday. The Bears have won 10 of the games, while the Lions have won eight.
While some speculate that the NFL was behind the Lions’ Thanksgiving tradition, the annual holiday game was founded by the team, not the league.
The Lions’ Thanksgiving game became a tradition after owner George Richards opted to play on the holiday in 1934 to attract more fans. Richards’ strategy paid off: the Lions not only sold out the stadium that year, but they also had to turn people away.
Richards was particularly successful since he owned a radio station linked with the NBC Blue Network, and as a result, he was able to negotiate for the Lions’ Thanksgiving Day game to be aired across the network’s 94 stations.
The Lions’ contributions have continued to be recognized by the league. This is a condensed version of the information.