when was the first thanksgiving football game

when was the first thanksgiving football game

The First Thanksgiving Football Game

Thanksgiving is a day of celebration and merriment, filled with turkey, pumpkin pies, and of course, football. But when was the first ever Thanksgiving football game? Let’s take a look.

The Early Years

Football first made its appearance on Thanksgiving in 1876, when the Princeton Tigers and Yale Bulldogs played against each other in New Haven, Connecticut. This was the first ever intercollegiate football game played on Thanksgiving and is regarded as one of the earliest Thanksgiving Day classics.

Rise in Popularity

Since that initial game, football on Thanksgiving has grown in popularity over the years. In 1934, The Detroit Lions hosted their first Thanksgiving game and it quickly became a tradition.

Professional Football

The National Football League (NFL) began hosting Thanksgiving Day games in 1920 and it has become an annual tradition. Every year, three games are played on Thanksgiving, two by the NFL and one by the Canadian Football League (CFL).

Thanksgivings Now

Thanksgiving football games are a major part of the holiday. It is estimated that over 50 million people watch the NFL games on Thanksgiving and an additional 5.5 million watch the CFL game.


Thanksgiving football began in 1876 with the Princeton Tigers and Yale Bulldogs. Over the decades, it has become a major part of the holiday, with millions of people tuning in every year to enjoy the games. Now, it’s hard to imagine Thanksgiving without football.



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