Football Friday: Thanksgiving’s Best NFL Teams

Detroit Lions vs. Green Bay Packers, Thanksgiving 1962
The 1962 “Thanksgiving Day Massacre” saw the Lions hand the championship Packers their only loss of the season.

Thanksgiving turkey and the National Football League — one of the finest traditions in all of American sports. And, as it turns out, one of the longest-lived as well. Since the NFL’s inception in 1920, at least one game has been played every Thanksgiving, and since 2006 three are played. Most fans associate the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys with the now-dubbed Thanksgiving Classic series, and for good reason.

The Lions and Cowboys have played the most Thanksgiving games ever, with 72 and 44 respectively through the 2012 season. Following behind are the Green Bay Packers (34), Chicago Bears (31), and Arizona Cardinals (23). Of these five teams, however, only the Cowboys and Bears sport a winning Thanksgiving record.

Here are the ten NFL teams with the most wins and highest winning percentages on Thanksgiving Day since 1920 (includes AFL records). Totals are current through the 2013 regular season, and only franchises with a minimum of five Thanksgiving games are eligible for this list.

(For other fun and informative NFL records, as well as some from other major leagues, check out my Sports Lists page.)

Most Wins

Detroit Lions Logo (1952 - 1960)
Detroit’s last Thanksgiving win was in 2003.

1. Detroit Lions — 33

2. Dallas Cowboys — 28

3. Chicago Bears — 16

4. Green Bay Packers — 14

5. New York Giants — 7

6. Arizona Cardinals — 6

7(t). Kansas City Chiefs, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, Tennessee Titans — 5

Highest Win Percentage

1. Minnesota Vikings (5-1) — .833

2. Philadelphia Eagles (4-1) — .800

3(t). Miami Dolphins (5-2) and Tennessee Titans (5-2) — .714

5. San Francisco 49ers (3-1-1) — .700

6. New England Patriots (3-2) — .660

7. Dallas Cowboys (28-15-1) — .636

8. New York Giants (7-4-3) — .607

9. New York Jets (4-3) — .571

10. Chicago Bears (16-13-2) — .548

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