One of the best times of the year is almost here. It is one of the only days where you can eat all you want and not feel bad about yourself. The turkey, mashed potatoes, green beans, and of course the ever-scrumptious stuffing your mother makes promises the best meal and reminds you how lackluster Commons does the food at Harvest Dinner.
However, another tradition that has become a staple on Thanksgiving Day is the three NFL games that turkey-goers have placed countless bets on. This tradition dates way back, starting just 11 years after the end of the Civil War in 1876 when football fans all had the special day off and decided to make football a part of the day’s festivities. It started with college programs such as Yale, Princeton, and Michigan leading the Thanksgiving Day charge, followed by a brief lull in popularity in the early 19th century due to problems such as numerous rigging scandals.
Towards the 1930s, the NFL on Thanksgiving began to take real shape. While it was not as exclusive as it is today, teams such as the Chicago Bears and New York Giants took part in the festivities. After the outbreak of World War II forced a temporary cancellation of the games from 1941 to war’s end, the Packers highlighted a 13-season run by solely playing the Detroit Lions each Turkey Day.
From 1958 leading up to present day, the shape of Thanksgiving Day football has largely remained the same. Aside from the shuffling of teams in and out, the NFL has provided fans with significant entertainment. Stretching far beyond the confines of select NFL stadiums, it is common to see family and friends battling it out on their own gridiron before the Tryptophan hits.
In the modern day, three teams have dominated Thanksgiving airtime, including the Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, and Green Bay Packers. The Philadelphia Eagles hold the best record for Thanksgiving Day games (6-0) and look to keep their streak alive against the Lions a week from tomorrow.