The NFL has said that the Lions (and Cowboys) keep their games because they were willing to host Thanksgiving games at a time when no one else wanted to do it. Surely, however, that doesn’t give both teams an infinity hammerlock on the games. Or does it?
In early 2019, Lions president Rod Wood made it clear that the team won’t surrender its spot as the host of a game on the fourth Thursday in November.
“I’m pretty confident that we’re going to have the 12:30 kickoff on Thanksgiving for as far in the future as we can ever see,” Wood said at the time. “And it’s something that we should be very proud of and I know it’s special to the fans, it’s special to the city and it puts Detroit on the map every [year] to kind of kick off the holiday season.” Roughly 15 years ago, some owners pushed for the Detroit and Dallas Thanksgiving games to rotate. Instead, the NFL added a rotating night game as of 2006. One interesting note to keep in mind from the story and video is there’s a strategic advantage that comes rom hosting the game every year. At a time when nearly every team plays a Thursday game after a Sunday game, the Lions and Cowboys ALWAYS play their short-week game at home. There’s a definite edge that comes from that.