One of my favorite things about Thanksgiving was watching the Detroit Lions play on national TV. Sometimes they won, and most of the time they lost, but it was a special time to spend with my dad and family.

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When I was younger I didn't know that the Lions were one of only a few teams that played a game on Thanksgiving. I just assume all the teams played on that day. After finding that out, I wanted to know why the Detroit Lions always play on Thanksgiving.

You Can Thank A Marketing Idea From 1934 For The Lions Playing Every Thanksgiving

We have to go all the way back to 1934 when the now Detroit Lions were called the Portsmouth Spartans were moved to Detroit by team owner George Richards. Like any good business owner, he was trying to think of ways to promote his team and get people to become fans.

George pitched NBC the idea of airing the Lions football game on national TV. They like the idea and aired it on 94 stations across the country. The first Thanksgiving match-up was against NFC rival Chicago Bears. The Bears would go on to win that first game 19-16.

While the Lions lost the game it was a huge success for George because he was able to sell out all 26,000 seats for the game.

So now when you gather around the TV this Thursday and cheer on the Lions as they take on the Buffalo Bills you tell your friends and family why the Detroit Lions play every Thanksgiving.

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