Why are Lions still playing on Thanksgiving? | PFT on Yahoo Sports

As the Detroit Lions prepare to take on the Chicago Bears on Thanksgiving Day, Mike Florio and Peter King wonder why the NFL continues to let the Lions host an annual holiday game.

Video Transcript

MIKE FLORIO: Time for some PFT on Yahoo Sports. Peter King, Mike Florio here with you for some of the biggest stories in the NFL. And it's Thanksgiving week, so a big part of the NFL season every year, the Thanksgiving games. Used to be two games. Now, we got the prime time game.

But as far back as I can remember, the Lions and the Cowboys have had the hammerlock on hosting Thanksgiving day games. And the Lions go back even farther than the Cowboys. And the Lions aren't very good. But they still keep doing it. And this bubbles up every once in a while. Peter, why in the world does the NFL continue to tolerate the Lions playing on Thanksgiving?

PETER KING: Well Mike, in a very simple explanation, I think the NFL does not want to slap the Lions in the face and say, we are taking away something that you have done here for 87 years, that even though they might be able to get better ratings if they rotated that 12:30 window on Thanksgiving Thursday, I just don't see them doing it.

This came up maybe about 10 years ago at an NFL meeting where there were some teams kind of fighting against it. And these teams basically said, look, it's a competitive disadvantage. If a team is always at home on Thanksgiving, you're forcing another team every week-- this year it's the Chicago Bears. It's been Green Bay. It's been a lot of different teams. But you're forcing them to travel. Whereas, the Lions have a competitive advantage, as does Dallas, because they're always home on Thanksgiving.

But Mike, I think that this comes up in a year like this because the Lions will trot out, I'm assuming, Tim Boyle, a quarterback who at UConn, when he was there for three years, threw one touchdown pass and 13 interceptions. It pops up because the Lions and the Bears are combined 3-16-1 entering this game.

It's the worst game, far and away, on the NFL calendar this weekend. But I just think that the NFL does not want to slap the Lions in the face by taking away this game.

MIKE FLORIO: The argument that's been made in the past, also, has been the Lions and the Cowboys were willing to do it at a time when no one else wanted to do it. Now, I don't know how many years that buys you of guaranteed hosting the game.

But you made an important point. I want to broaden it. It's not just that the Lions and the Cowboys are home for every Thanksgiving. Pretty much every team has a short week game, a Sunday to Thursday turnaround. And the Lions and the Cowboys are always home for that short week game.

They never have to go on the road for their short week game. It's always every other team at some time or another that goes on the road after playing on Sunday. So that's another little bit of an edge that is more relevant now that Thursday games have proliferated.

But I just accept it. You know, it's the first game of the day. You can be doing other things while it's on. It's kind of background noise. And hey, you don't like every dish that's put out on your Thanksgiving spread. This is that thing.

PETER KING: You don't like ambrosia salad?

MIKE FLORIO: This is the ambrosia salad. You just don't eat it. It's there. You look at it. You acknowledge it. You thank Aunt Mabel for bringing it. And you just don't eat it.

PETER KING: Hey look, Mike, the one other thing-- and look, you know, the NFL is as guilty as any sports league ever in doing everything humanly possible to make as much money as they can. To me, giving the Lions this game in the early window on Thanksgiving, I hate to be humane about this, because the NFL rarely is, But in my opinion, this is a very humane thing. They're saying to the Lions, come on. You can do it. Keep working. Build up this team.

And I think that's what they're saying in continuing to give them this game. And I don't sense any movement among even the really strong owners in the NFL to take this game away from them.

MIKE FLORIO: And it would be weird to see a different stadium, a different team hosting that game. I think a lot of people would react negatively if they would take that game away. Because it's baked into the traditions that we all enjoy on Thanksgiving, including the ambrosia salad.

All right. Everyone out there have a safe and enjoyable Thanksgiving. Peter, you as well. Great stuff as always. We'll see you soon for another edition of PFT on Yahoo Sports.

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