We reveal Thanksgiving records for every team in the NFL, and explain why the Lions and Cowboys feature on the Thanksgiving slate every year.
Thanksgiving is a time of the year synonymous with family time, relaxation and turkey. All of that is great, but nothing beats the three games of football from the NFL, which are aired live every Turkey Day.
Specifically, Thanksgiving brings football-filled excitement to the lives of Lions and Cowboys fans. These two franchises have played a game every Thanksgiving for decades.
Let’s discover why the Lions and the Cowboys play every Thanksgiving. Plus, we will reveal every NFL team’s win record on Thanksgiving. After all, it might help you make decisions about who to wager on this coming Turkey Day.
Why Do the Detroit Lions Play Every Thanksgiving?
The Lions have played every Thanksgiving since 1934 (except between 1939 and 1944).
The owner of the Lions in 1934, George A. Richards, pushed for a Turkey Day game in an attempt to attract larger crowds. He owned an NBC-affiliated radio station too, which helped him to push for the game to be broadcasted on 94 different stations.
The Detroit Tigers were traditionally the city’s most popular sports team. However, on Thanksgiving in 1934, the Lions attracted so many fans that people had to be rejected at the gates.
Seeing the Detroit Lions on our screens on Thanksgiving quickly became a tradition. They have now played 82 Thanksgiving games – the most of any NFL franchise.
Detroit Lions Thanksgiving Record
The Lions have a 37-44-2 record on Thanksgiving. Their record in the 21st Century is 6-17.
Detroit’s most recent Thanksgiving victory was a 16-13 win over the Minnesota Vikings in 2016. This year, the franchise is has an 8-2 win record this season heading into the November 23 game against the Green Bay Packers. This marks Detroit’s best start to a season since 1962.
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Why Do the Dallas Cowboys Play Every Thanksgiving?
Similar to the Lions, Dallas’ 1966 general manager Tex Schramm scheduled a game on Thanksgiving as an experiment to draw crowds and generate excitement in the city.
The Cowboys haven’t really looked back since. There have only been two occasions (1975 and 1977) in which the Cowboys haven’t appeared in a Thanksgiving game. Instead, the St. Louis Cardinals played in those years.
In general, you will always see the Lions and the Cowboys on NFL’s Thanksgiving slate. Since 2006, these two games have been joined by a third game on the slate.
Dallas Cowboys Record on Thanksgiving
Unlike Detroit, Dallas has a positive Thanksgiving record of 32-22-1.
The Cowboys’ best Thanksgiving run was from 1980 to 1985, when the franchise won in six consecutive years. This year, the Cowboys will play the Washington Commanders.
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Every NFL Team’s Thanksgiving Record
Of the NFL’s 32 teams, 31 have played at least one game on Thanksgiving. The Jacksonville Jaguars are the only NFL franchise to have never played a Thanksgiving game in their history.
So, here is every NFL team’s Thanksgiving record.
|NFL Team||Thanksgiving Record|
|Green Bay Packers||14-20-2|
|Kansas City Chiefs||5-5|
|Las Vegas Raiders||4-4|
|Los Angeles Chargers||3-1-1|
|Los Angeles Rams||4-1|
|New England Patriots||3-3|
|New Orleans Saints||3-1|
|New York Giants||7-6-3|
|New York Jets||4-4|
|San Francisco 49ers||3-2-1|
|Tampa Bay Buccaneers||0-1|
Thanksgiving 2023 NFL Fixtures
- Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions (12.30PM ET)
- Washington Commanders at Dallas Cowboys (4.30PM ET)
- San Francisco 49ers at Seattle Seahawks (8.20PM ET)
Can Jared Goff’s Lions record victory on Thanksgiving for the first time since 2016?