Packers part of Thanksgiving tradition

While many Packer fans probably kept a casual eye on the Lions-Patriots game Thursday, digesting Thanksgiving dinner was a lot easier than it has been some years.<p>

Playing on Thanksgiving Day has not always been a feast for the Packers. Green Bay has compiled a 11-17-2 record Thanksgiving games, and has won only twice in the last seven "Turkey Day" contests. In their most recent appearance, however, they put a festive spin on the day with an exciting 29-27 win over the traditional host Detroit Lions.

The Packers got off to a fine holiday start long before John Madden came along with his freaky multi-drumstrick Turkey. From 1920 to 1935, the Packers were 6-5-1 on Thanksgiving. But since 1951, the team is only 5-12-1.

The Packers first played on Thanksgiving in 1920, when they beat the Stambaugh Miners 14-0 in a non-league game that didn't count in the final standings. The first league game they played came in 1923 when they beat the Hammond Pros 19-0.

Green Bay proceeded to play on the next 12 Thanksgivings. The Packers biggest Thanksgiving rival at that time was the Frankford Yellowjackets. Green Bay played them from 1926 to 1930, and went 2-2-1 against them.

Before last season, you'd have to go back to 1986 to find a win. Walter Stanley returned a punt in the fourth quarter to help beat the Detroit Lions 44-40 at the Silverdome.

The last loss was in 1994 to the Dallas Cowboys in Texas Stadium 42-31.

Green Bay and Detroit once were the entire holiday tradition -- not just part of it. The two teams played every Thanksgiving from 1951 to 1963, with the Lions winning nine of those 13 games. In 1962, the Lions pass rush, led by Alex Karras, sacked quarterback Bart Starr eight times and the Lions won 26-14. It was the only loss the Packers had that season, as they finished 13-1 and won the NFL title.

Overall, the Packers and Lions have played 15 times on Thanksgiving, with Detroit winning 10 games. The 1963 game ended 13-13.


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