For the past three years, I have celebrated Thanksgiving, well, not quite Thanksgiving in the traditional sense, but certainly the tradition of Thanksgiving Football. It involves friends getting together, drinking a few beers, eating a lot of food and trying desperately to stay awake for the last game.
For millions of Americans, from generation to generation, Thanksgiving Day and NFL football are inextricably linked. In fact, its history goes back to 1925 where a crowd of 36,000 fans (then the largest in pro football history) watched the Chicago Bears play the Chicago Cardinals at Wrigley Field.
In Detroit, the relationship between the Lions and Thanksgiving football dates back to 1934 when owner G.A. Richards scheduled a holiday contest between the first-year Lions and the defending world champion Chicago Bears. The game was the first NFL game nationally broadcast, with NBC radio on the dial.
Since 1966, the Cowboys have been a Thanksgiving fixture, having hosted the annual contest for 47 of the last 49 years. In 1975 and 1977, the St. Louis Cardinals played host to the game in place of Dallas. In 1978, the game returned to Dallas for good.
This year Thanksgiving Day football will feature a tripleheader for the 10th consecutive season. The live action kicks off on Sky Sports 1 from 5pm where we’ll see the Philadelphia Eagles face the Detroit Lions, the Carolina Panthers face the Dallas Cowboys and the final game see Green Bay Packers face the Chicago Bears.
The Lions will play their 76th Thanksgiving Day game dating back to 1934, while the Cowboys will play in their 48th since 1966. The Packers and Bears will play in their 36th and 34th games, respectively. The Eagles will play in their seventh and the Panthers will play in their first Thanksgiving game.
From touch football games with friends to watching NFL games with relatives after a holiday feast, these football moments and memories are interwoven with the holiday season. If you’re taking part in this year’s festivities then tweet me @NFLGirlUK or use the hashtags #NFLUK #ThanksgivingFootball and I’ll retweet those I see!