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football in america

Get Your Football On in the Heart of America

Since 1920, the NFL has been a staple in stadiums and eventually in homes on Thanksgiving Day with (now) three annual league games on this fourth Thursday in November. Since early on, with one rotating and one in Dallas, one of the games is always hosted by the Detroit Lions. Don’t be afraid to crawl inside the lion’s den and learn more. 

Here’s some Fun Facts on notable Lions’ Thanksgiving Day games from the past:

  • 1980: Detroit and Chicago went to overtime tied 17–17, the first Thanksgiving game to do so, and the first overtime game at the Silverdome. Bears running back Dave Williams returned the opening kickoff in overtime 95 yards for a game-winning touchdown, ending the shortest overtime period in NFL history at the time.
  • 1998: In another controversial Thanksgiving Day game, the Steelers and Lions went to overtime tied 16–16. Pittsburgh’s Jerome Bettis called the coin toss in the air, but confusion surrounded the call. Head referee Phil Luckett misheard Pittsburgh’s call and awarded Detroit the ball. The Lions went on to kick a field goal on the first possession, winning 19–16. As a result of the fiasco, team captains are now required to call the coin toss before the coin is tossed. It was also the first of a series of controversial games with which Luckett has been involved. (Wiki)
  • In 1920, the Detroit team was not the Lions but the Heralds.
  • In 1925, the home team in Detroit was the Panthers.
  • By 1928, they were the Detroit Wolverines.
  • In 1934, originally the  Portsmouth Spartans from Ohio, the team was purchased, moved and became the Detroit Lions.

This Thanksgiving, go into Motorcity and learn more about the rich history of Detroit and the efforts to revitalize it.