April 25, 2024

NFL Thanksgiving - and the Detroit-Dallas story

NFL Thanksgiving – and the Detroit-Dallas story

Year after year, families and friends gather in the United States at the end of November to celebrate Thanksgiving. One thing is definitely memorable: the food and soccer in front of the boob tube.

Everyone loves it and it was founded in the USA decades ago: Thanksgiving in the National Football League.
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On the fourth Thursday of November each year, the United States celebrates the national holiday of Thanksgiving, and families and friends travel across the country to spend their days off together. As is the case every year, there’s a huge feast on the table in many places – and America’s favorite sport is straddling the boob tube from dawn to dusk.

Thanksgiving has been a special holiday in North America since 1863 – and also a very special day in American football. The first two games have always been played in Detroit and Dallas for many years, and the third game, only held annually since 2006, is between two ever-changing teams. A full three-course football menu is on the agenda.

It starts at 6.30pm (CET) with the comparison between the attacking powerhouse Lions from Detroit (4:6), who recently won three straight games, and the Buffalo Bills (7:3), who are considered Super Bowl contenders. Starting at 10:30 p.m. (CET), the mandatory game of the Dallas Cowboys follows (7:3) — and this is a tough game: The Texans welcome the New York Giants, who are also at 7:3, to an indoor NFC East clinch . This could be a really exciting thing. On the night from Thursday to Friday (2.20 in the morning), the Minnesota Vikings (8: 2), who have completely disappeared lately, against New England, who managed a crazy touchdown shortly before the end in the duel with the New York Jets (6: 4) Patriots ( 6-4).

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Tradition – in favor of two teams

But the big question that arises when the NFL revolves around the three-act on Thanksgiving year after year: Why are Detroit and Dallas always allowed to perform in front of their home fans, so they don’t have to travel far and so they can get to know a happy featured image?

Smart businessman

Detroit story: In this country it should not be well known that lions have always been allowed to play a home game on this American holiday for several decades (!). In the US, on the other hand, this theme is ubiquitous—sometimes irritating to other teams. After all, every franchise wants to take advantage of higher ratings, an exclusive TV slot, and the increased attention that comes with it. But the old German proverb applies here: first come, first served! And just so long ago, the Lions were the first team to go ahead with Thanksgiving and roll.

Detroit Lions

Firmly entrenched on Thanksgiving: Detroit Lions.
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The Lions were formed in Portsmouth in 1929 as the Spartans. George Richards, former manager of radio station World Junior Records (WJR), later shipped the team to Detroit.

In 1934, to attract more and more fans, the owner ordered that football be played on Thanksgiving Day. After all, potential fans are free here and can spend time and money on their football team. The plan works: Because savvy Principal Richards was part of his radio station’s “NBC Blue Network,” he had the Chiefs broadcast Game 1 (16:19 defeat against Chicago) across 94 stations nationwide.

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And while the Lions’ success from a purely sporting standpoint hasn’t been confirmed in all the years since (a manageable record of 37:43:2, most recently in 2020 at 20:24 against NFC North rival Chicago), one thing is. Obviously: Detroit has helped make Thanksgiving a family football holiday for countless Americans.

For the NFL itself, the Lions’ previous move along with their subsequent actions were also so successful that they could finally build a team in “Motor City” on the fifth attempt. Detroit also captured the NFL title for the first time in 1935 – the same year the Detroit Tigers won the World Series for the first time and before the Detroit Red Wings won the Stanley Cup twice in a row (1936, 1937).

Cowboys secure second place

Tom Landry

Made the Dallas Cowboys as big as they are today thanks to Thanksgiving: legend Tom Landry.
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Dallas story: Proud cowboys were first allowed to attend Thanksgiving in 1966, before the procedure became a regular from 1978 to the present day. And just like the Lions, the Texans of the time are hoping to boost their image with this special holiday look. Hardly more said than done – and here again clever planners are at work. Because the franchise had established itself in that time under legendary coach Tom Landry, who coached between 1960 and 1988 and the Cowboys 1971/72 (24:3 against Miami) and 1977/78 (27:10 against Denver) to the Super Bowl – led to Victory. “Team America” ​​was born. The general manager at the time, Tex Schramm, made an enormous contribution to the technical success of marketing during this time – among other things, he founded the “Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders”.

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Dallas, commonly referred to as “America’s Team” due to the number of fans these days and who lost dramatically last year in overtime to the Las Vegas Raiders by 33:36, has a Thanksgiving tally as follows: 31 wins, 22 defeats, 1 draw .

Game number 3

In short: The Lions have played their first regular home game on Thanksgiving since 1934, before Dallas has always followed Detroit with a game in front of their home fans since 1978. However, in order to allow the other 32 NFL teams to enjoy the game, the league had a duel Third and always flexible since 2006 (this time Vikings vs. Patriots). Additional gains from this: more than six hours of football entertainment turned into more than nine hours – and the Thanksgiving holiday in the United States is in the hands of football in the media, which of course generates huge revenue for the NFL. Especially since a number of businesses can also place strong ads for the upcoming Black Friday as well as the subsequent Cyber ​​Monday.