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The NFL’s Thanksgiving Game Has Become a Thanksgiving Tradition

Branson Faulk
The Lions’ NFL thanksgiving game averages 29.7 million viewers. This year, the NFL is getting ready for another very exciting and highly viewed game. Sophomore Emmet Hibbard is excited to watch the game.

Throughout the years, the National Football League game has become an honored Thanksgiving tradition for many Eagle High students.

Thanksgiving and football are very closely associated in the modern day, but it was not always that way. When the NFL began in 1920, they played on Thanksgiving. However, the tradition Americans know today did not start until 1934, when the Detroit Lions and their rivals, the Chicago Bears, played a historic game. This game was the first of many for the Lions.

From 1934 to 2023, the Lions have played and hosted a Thanksgiving Day game every year, only missing 1939-1944 due to a pause in the NFL because of World War II.

In the 1960s, this holiday tradition expanded into the Dallas Cowboys, who were chosen to host another Thanksgiving Day game. The team felt they needed more publicity, so the Dallas Cowboys started to play their annual game in 1966, when they were not nearly as well respected and well-known as they are today. The attention they gained from the tradition catapulted them to being one of the more well-known sport franchises in the world. They have played every single year from 1966 to now except for 1975 and 1977.

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“Me and my family always watch the games after or while eating,” said sophomore Emmet Hibbard. This year, as always, the Lions and Cowboys will partake in their tradition. Games will kick off with the Green Bay Packers Playing the Lions and the Washington Commanders traveling to Dallas for a what should be a great matchup. Packers vs Lions will kick off at 12:30 ET, while the Cowboys vs Commanders matchup will kick off at 4:30 ET, on Nov. 23.

“My family is always excited to watch the games, I want to go to a game at some point. Hopefully in the next couple years,” sophomore Will Anderson said. This year, as always, these games are very highly anticipated. For some people, it is not truly Thanksgiving if they are not watching NFL football. The cities of Dallas and Detroit are also filled with anticipation. These history-filled cities and their citizens feel a great sense of pride in their team and hometown.

The Detroit Lions in years past have had one of the worst records in the NFL. In a way, it almost became a tradition for the Lions to lose on Thanksgiving.

It has been different through the last couple of years, however. The Detroit Lions have gone to what some would say a “bad team” to one of the most promising up and coming rosters in the NFL. This year, they are considered the favorite to win the game. The Cowboys are also considered favorites, although this does not differ from years past because they have been considered a “good team” for many years.

This year, residents in Detroit and Dallas have more than just turkey to look forward to on Thanksgiving.

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Branson Faulk
Branson Faulk, Photographer
Hi! I am Branson Faulk and I'm a sophomore at Eagle High School. This is my first year on The Stampede staff and my favorite things to do are play sports and go boating.
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