Kehn: Thanksgiving Lions over Thanksgiving turkey

<p>A Detroit Lions player prepares for the annual Thanksgiving Day game Nov. 27. 2014. The Lions have a 37-42-2 all-time record in Thanksgiving Day games. <strong>Flickr, A Healthier Michigan</strong></p>

A Detroit Lions player prepares for the annual Thanksgiving Day game Nov. 27. 2014. The Lions have a 37-42-2 all-time record in Thanksgiving Day games. Flickr, A Healthier Michigan

Daniel Kehn is a freshman journalism and telecommunications news major and writes for the The Daily News. His views do not necessarily reflect those of the newspaper.

It is always hard to tell people that I am a fan of the Detroit Lions — the ridicule of a 0-16 record in the 2008 season quickly begins the conversation, followed by reasons why our superstars retired early or forced a trade to a better National Football League (NFL) franchise.

It is even harder to say I have never attended a game at Ford Field, I have never seen the Lions play in person and I have never bought a blue and silver jersey.

There has always been something keeping me from all in Lions fandom — pessimism. It’s terribly hard to be optimistic about a franchise whose overall record in the last decade is 71-96-1. Our two playoff campaigns in 2014 and 2016 were ridiculously lackluster Lions performances. The revolving door of head coaches continues to shroud our organization in a glow of incompetence.

Even though I am a sports journalist, I still have my favorite teams and they are all in my home state of Michigan — coincidently, professional sports teams from Michigan haven’t been successful in recent years.

However, once a year, I get to be an all-in Lions fan with no fear of mediocrity on my mind. If they lose? They won’t lose, it’s Thanksgiving. 

Detroit Lions players take the field for the annual Thanksgiving Day game Nov. 27, 2014. The Lions defeated the Chicago Bears 34-17. Flickr, A Healthier Michigan

The statement is pretty inaccurate actually. In reality, the Lions lose a lot on Thanksgiving, they actually lose a lot — a lot. Detroit is 37-42-2 since its first Thanksgiving Day game in 1934.

The traditon started when then-owner George A. Richards decided to play on the holiday to attract more fans, and it was an immediate hit after the stadium was sold out. The Lions lost to the Chicago Bears, but a new tradition was born. Since 1978, the Lions and Dallas Cowboys have hosted a game on Thanksgiving every year — Detroit always plays the early game, followed by the Cowboys in the afternoon. In 2006, a rotating prime-time matchup in the evening was added.

Every Thanksgiving, my family travels to New York to visit our extended family, and while dinner is being prepared in the kitchen, the Lions are doing their thing on the television in the living room. I have fond memories of explaining situations to my mother before she yells some ludicrous play call at the players and it never ceases to make me chuckle.

Despite their record, performance, management and overall inadequacy as an NFL franchise, I will be on the couch at 12:30 p.m. I wholeheartedly believe the Lions will beat the Bears — you wait and see.

Contact Daniel Kehn with comments at or on Twitter@daniel_kehn.


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