Families across the United States eagerly anticipate the time-honored traditions of a bountiful feast and heartfelt expressions of gratitude. Yet, in addition to the aroma of turkey and the warmth of familial gatherings, there's another element that has seamlessly woven itself into the fabric of Thanksgiving celebrations – football. In this article, we delve into the unique and enduring bond between Thanksgiving and the gridiron, exploring how this beloved sport has become an integral part of the holiday festivities.

Source: Detroit Historical Society

The tradition of Thanksgiving Day football can be traced back to the late 19th century when college and high school football games became a popular way for communities to come together and celebrate the holiday. The first professional football games on Thanksgiving date back to the early 20th century, becoming an established part of the holiday experience.

Since its inception, the National Football League (NFL) has embraced the Thanksgiving football tradition. The NFL's Thanksgiving Day games have become an integral part of the holiday for millions of fans. The Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys, in particular, have a storied history of hosting Thanksgiving games, creating a ritual that spans generations.

Beyond the on-field action, Thanksgiving football is known for its entertaining halftime shows. From marching bands to special performances, these intermissions add a festive touch to the overall experience, appealing to a broad audience and making the holiday football games a family-friendly event.

Thanksgiving and football share a common theme of bringing people together. Whether it's gathering around the television to watch the big NFL matchups or playing an informal game in the backyard, football provides a communal experience that complements the spirit of togetherness that defines Thanksgiving.

For many families, Thanksgiving Day football games have become a cherished tradition, providing a shared experience that bridges generations. Whether it's a friendly game of touch football in the yard or settling in for an afternoon of NFL matchups, the football element has become an integral part of creating lasting memories on this special day.

Here's the schedule of the upcoming games to share with your loved ones. What's your favorite team?