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Thursday, November 24, 2011

Why do Dallas and Detroit always play on Thanksgiving?

I think we should all know the answer to this and be able to explain this to others. I've pulled this directly from Wikipedia.

The Detroit Lions have hosted a game every Thanksgiving Day since 1934 (with the exception of 1939–1944 due to the "Franksgiving" confusion and World War II), and they have been nationally televised since 1962. In 1966, the NFL introduced an annual game hosted by the Dallas Cowboys, which has been played every year except in 1975 and 1977 when the St. Louis Cardinals hosted a match instead. However, St. Louis football fans, used to the traditional "Turkey Day Game" between Kirkwood High School and Webster Groves High School as the only local match on Thanksgiving, did not respond well to an NFL fixture on the same day, and thus Dallas resumed hosting the game in 1978.
When the AFL began holding annual Thanksgiving Day games, the league chose a different model, circulating the game among several cities. During the 1967–69 seasons, two Thanksgiving AFL games were televised each year.
After the 1970 merger, the NFL decided to keep only the traditional Detroit and Dallas games. Due to the broadcast contracts in place since 1970, three NFC teams play on Thanksgiving, as opposed to only one AFC outfit. During even years, the Lions play their Thanksgiving game against an AFC team, and thus are televised by the network holding the AFC package (NBC and later CBS); the Cowboys host an NFC team and are shown by the network with the NFC package (CBS and later Fox). During odd years, Dallas hosts an AFC team and Detroit plays an NFC opponent (usually another NFC North team, and often the Green Bay Packers, who draw high TV ratings). Every decade or so, this even-odd rotation is reversed, Detroit hosting an NFC team in even years and an AFC team in odd years, Dallas hosting an AFC team in even years and an NFC team in odd years.
When the league created its new TV package for the NFL Network in 2006, a third Thanksgiving game was added, a prime time game hosted by one of the remaining 30 NFL teams each year. While the first game featured two AFC teams, conference affiliation has varied since.

I guess it still doesn't exactly explain why they chose these teams but just give you a little history.

I guess its just tradition. Here's a little more why from

In 1934, the first year the Detroit Lions franchise called the Motor City home, owner G.A. Richards had a dilemma. His new franchise was well accepted and started off to a 10-0 record. Yet, an average of only 12,000 fans were coming to games at the University of Detroit Stadium. He looked at the tradition of many Midwest high schools and colleges who played on Thanksgiving Day including Detroit's Eastern High School, who normally played a team from Chicago. So the precedent was already set, and he planned to take it to another level.

Richards, who also owned radio station WJR, had a rivalry brewing as well. If the Lions could defeat the Chicago Bears, a championship could be in the works. The Detroit News agreed and ran a full page photo layout of the Lions and Bears featuring the stars Bronco Nagurski and Lion Roy "Father" Lumpkin. Richards saw anticipation building for the game so he and good friend Deke Aylesworth, president of the National Broadcasting Company, agreed to carry the game on Thanksgiving Day to over 91 radio stations including WJR.

Happy Thanksgiving from Slicetruck, you have out blessing to take one day off of eating pizza.


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