The NFL has been playing games on Thanksgiving since the 1920s and even used to have the entire league play in the sport’s early days. But the league managed to make history during yesterday’s NFL on Thanksgiving Day games.
According to NFL Research, Thursday’s results marked the first time since 1926 that three or more Thanksgiving Day games were all decided by just one score. Bills-Lions was a Bills win by three, Cowboys-Giants was a Cowboys win by eight and Vikings-Patriots was a Vikings win by seven.
The last time this happened was in 1926, where three of the four games played that day were within a score. The Chicago Cardinals beat the Chicago Bears 3-0, the Pottsville Maroons beat the Providence Steam Roller 6-0 and the Green Bay Packers beat the Frankford Yellow Jackets 17-9.
The NFL reduced the number of teams that would play on Thanksgiving to three or less in the 1930s and by the 1950s, the Detroit Lions were the only NFL team playing on Thanksgiving.
In the 1960s, the Dallas Cowboys decided to get in on the annual Thanksgiving Day game, while the upstart American Football League (AFL) also created a Thanksgiving Day game.
After the NFL-AFL merger in 1970, the Lions and Cowboys hosted a game every single year and still do to this day.
In 2006, the NFL expanded the number of Thanksgiving Day games to three and it’s stayed at that number ever since.