Why do the Cowboys, Lions always play on Thanksgiving?

Watching football on Thanksgiving has become a tradition for millions of families around the world. If your family is one of them, you have probably noticed that two teams seem to be playing regularly on Thanksgiving: Lions and Cowboys.

While there is no formal agreement that the two teams should play each Thanksgiving, it has been a regular tradition for many years. Lions started playing on Thanksgiving back in 1934, when the Cowboys started their Thanksgiving game in 1966. So, it is certainly not a new tradition in any way.

How did these traditions get started? Here is the story behind the Lions and the Cowboys always playing on Thanksgiving.

Which NFL teams play regularly on Thanksgiving?

Detriot Hangers

This year is the 82nd time that lions have played on Thanksgiving, which is the largest time any team has ever played on the holiday. Their clash with the bears this year will be the 19th time the fighters will play on Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving began in Detriot back in 1934. The team’s then-owner George A. Richards bought the Lions earlier that year, and he wanted to make the most of it. As a result, he decided to become an international expert, the Chicago Bears. The Bears won the first Thanksgiving game 19-16 with 26,000 fans in attendance. Since then, Detriot has been hosting Thanksgiving games every year, except for 1939-1944 since World War II.

MORE: Why the Cowboys always play on Thanksgiving

Dallas Cowboys

In 1966, the Cowboys joined the Lions’ Thanksgiving celebration by playing their Thanksgiving game. The Cowboys general manager at the time, Tex Schramm, wanted the team to have more national interest, so he decided the Cowboys would play a holiday game. He played for the Browns and won 26-14 in front of nearly 80,000 fans.

From the very first game, the Cowboys played every Thanksgiving except in 1975 and 1977. The reason for this is because St. Both games failed, so the tradition returned to the Cowboys.

MORE: Why lions always play on Thanksgiving

NFL teams Thanksgiving game play

Here is the total number of NFL teams on Thanksgiving, including the game in 2021.

Note: The only team that has never played at Thanksgiving is the Jacksonville Jaguars.

Group Thanksgiving game
Detroit Hills 82 (82 in a row)
Dallas Cowboys 53 (43 in a row)
Green Bay Packers 36
Chicago Bears 35
Arizona Cardinals 23
New York Giants 15
Washington Football Team 12
Denver Broncos 11
Buffalo pay 10
Pittsburgh Steelers 9
Kansas City Chiefs 9
Minnesota Vikings 8
Las Vegas Raiders 7
Philadelphia Eagles 7
Miami Dolphins 7
Tennessee Titans / Houston Oilers 6
San Francisco 49ers 5
New England Patriots 5
New York Jets 5
Los Angeles Chargers 5
Seattle Seahawks 4
Los Angeles Rams 4
Indianapolis Colts 4
Saints in New Orleans 4
Atlanta Falcons 4
Cleveland Browns 3
Baltimore Ravens 3
Houston Texas 2
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 1
Carolina Panthers 1
Cincinnati Bengals 1
Jacksonville Jaguars 0

Which NFL teams are playing in Thanksgiving 2021?

In 2006, the NFL decided to add a third of the game on Thanksgiving. The teams that play in the third and final part of the day rotate each year, giving almost all NFL teams the opportunity to play on Thanksgiving.

This year, the Lions will repeat the first Thanksgiving game by hosting the Bears. Later, the Cowboys will host the Raiders. The night game will take place in New Orleans where the Saints will receive the Bills. Here is the broadcast plan for these three games.

Games Start time TV video
Bears on Lions 12:30 pm ET Fox, fuboTV
Cowboys shooters 4:30 pm ET Fox, fuboTV
Bills to the Saints 8:20 pm ET NBC, fuboTV

The Bears and Lions have already played this season, and the Bears have won 24-14 in week 4. Currently, the Bears (3-7) are in third place while the Lions (0-9-1) are in fourth place in the NFC North form.

The last time the Raiders played on Thanksgiving was in 2013 when they lost the Cowboys 31-24. The Cowboys (7-3) are tied with the best record in the NFL so far this season, and are led by NFC East. The Raiders (5-5) are in third place in the AFC West division.

The Cowboys won the Thanksgiving in 2019 26-15. The Saints played their last game in 2019, beating the Falcons 26-18. Bills (6-4) only moved to second place in the AFC East while the Patriots won in Week 11. The Saints (5-5) remain second in the NFC South stand behind the Buccaneers.

Below are a list of regular Thanksgiving games for the six teams playing the holiday.

  • Detriot Homes: 37-42-2
  • Chicago Bears: 19-15-2
  • Dallas Cowboys: 28-15-1
  • Las Vegas Raiders: 3-4
  • Saints in New Orleans: 3-0
  • Buffalo pay: 4-4-1

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