The Lions play their 70th Thanksgiving Day game today, but for the first time in a long time, the game might be more than just another game on another Thanksgiving.
Oddly enough, that sentiment comes straight from coach Jim Schwartz, who is usually loath to attach special significance to any single victory, loss or individual performance. But this game is different.
"This isn't just another game," Schwartz said. "This isn't just one of 16 for us. This is a special tradition and something we need to embrace and uphold."
Last year, talk swelled throughout the league about stripping the game from a moribund franchise in lockstep with 0-16 infamy. Tennessee's 47-10 Thanksgiving shellacking of the Lions didn't help. The Lions had laid their fifth straight egg on Turkey Day and had been outscored, 179-62, during that stretch.
So Schwartz decided to help.
Shortly after his hiring in January, Schwartz told season-ticket holders at a town-hall meeting that he wanted to put "barbed wire" around the game and not give anyone reason to talk about taking it away.