My Thanksgiving Memories of the Packers and Lions in Las Vegas: A Fan’s Take

Don't be misled by reading the title to this piece and think the Green Bay Packers actually played the Detroit Lions on Thanksgiving Day in Las Vegas, because they didn't.

They did play on Thanksgiving Day 2001, but I was the one in Las Vegas.

To my family, Thanksgiving is a day of tradition, family and appreciation. It's with those thoughts in my rear view mirror that I headed out to Las Vegas the day before Thanksgiving in 2001 to watch a college basketball tournament and try my luck at the great American pastime of gambling.

In between trips to a high school gym to watch the likes of Bill Self, Larry Eustachy and Fran Dunphy yell at officials that were at the Paris Las Vegas' slot machines until the wee hours of the morning, I ended up watching the Packers play the Lions while eating Thanksgiving dinner in the Paris' sportsbook.

When the Packers jumped out to a 29-13 lead in the fourth quarter I was already counting on an easy victory. Packer victories on Thanksgiving had been few and far between, so watching the end of this game was going to be extra sweet.

Then it started to go wrong. Detroit replaced Charlie Batch(notes) at quarterback with backup Mike McMahon. McMahon immediately started picking the Green Bay secondary apart and with a 29-yard pass to Scott Anderson with 10 seconds remaining. With that score, the Lions were within two points. The day was saved with the two-point conversion pass failed to give the Packers a 29-27 win.

It was an important win for the Packers. They went on to finish the season 12-4 and make the playoffs. The Lions ended up the season 2-14 and only the Carolina Panthers had a worse record in 2011.

I ended up having a good trip to Las Vegas; enjoying some college basketball and a Packer victory on Thanksgiving.

Rick Limpert covers sports, technology and events in and around Atlanta. He'll be watching the packers play the Lions this Thanksgiving from his home in Atlanta.

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Updated Monday, Nov 7, 2011