The Green Bay Packers have not been a consistent presence on your television screens for your Thanksgiving schedule for a while now, unfortunately exposing you to the likes of the Dallas Cowboys, Washington Professional Football Team, and the Detroit Lions, among others, on a regular basis.

But their history on Turkey Day very much involves the Lions, as they have consistently faced their NFC North divisional counterparts whenever they have played on that holiday. With that in mind, take a look at some interesting Thanksgiving Day moments from the past that involve both Green Bay and Detroit.

National Television brings about the end of a streak

On Thanksgiving Day 1956, the Packers and Lions faced off in the first-ever football game to be nationally televised, as CBS took the coverage for that game in a ground-breaking move. And for GB, it also helped pave the way for an end to a long losing streak.

Up to this point, the Lions had the Packers’ number, having won five consecutive games on this day dating back to 1951. But the Packers used their national audience as enough of a motivator to get on the winning track, as they defeated the Lions by a score of 24-20, on the heels of unsung hero, quarterback Tobin Rote, as he threw a late TD pass to push Green Bay ahead for good.

4-12 season still had its highlights

Going 4-12 is never a good thing for any professional football team, yet the 1986 rendition of the Packers did just that, producing a gross product on the field with a bunch of maligned players. However, they were able to exercise some demons on Thanksgiving this year against Detroit, pulling out a 44-40 shootout victory.

Fighting to get out out double-digit deficits all day, Green Bay relied on Randy Wright and Walter Stanley, as the latter hauled in two TD catches and housed a punt return for 85 yards and the game-winning score.

While this season provided very little to be excited about, this game was the epitome of what made this struggling season alright to deal with.

Favre’s first Thanksgiving Day game against Detroit

In 2001, both the Lions and Packers were able to put an end to a 15-year lull in what was a long stretch of not facing one another on Thanksgiving Day. And for Brett Favre, while his first career Thanksgiving Day game came against the Cowboys in 1994, his first against the Lions was pretty memorable itself.

Helping earn their seventh win of the year, Favre and the offense got out to a 29-13 lead on the backs of Favre (2 TDs) and running back Ahman Green (rushing TD), but Detroit roared back and was only a two-point conversion away from tying the game. 

GB’s defense was solid on the day, forcing a safety that proved to be the difference, as they did pull out a 29-27 victory to keep the Lions winless at 0-10.

So 2020 marks yet another season of no Packers football on Thanksgiving, which potentially could be a blessing with how we usually play on non-Sundays.

Regardless, enjoy your Thanksgiving holiday, stay safe and stay healthy, and as always…



Mike Johrendt has been an avid fan of the Packers ever since he can remember. He is now a writer at PackersTalk and you can follow him on Twitter at @MJohrendt23