Holiday tradition safe in Detroit for the time being

The Detroit Lions surrendered four consecutive touchdowns late Thursday to do what’s become a tradition on Thanksgiving for them – lose a football game.

But don’t look for the Lions to lose their time-honored tradition of hosting a game on the holiday. Not anytime soon.

Mike O’Hara of the Detroit News wrote an interesting story that answers some of the questions surrounding the game, which the Lions founded in 1934. The Lions have lost seven straight on Thanksgiving and there is always a rumbling – at some level – that the games on the holiday should be rotated throughout the league. That argument, of course, isn’t as strong any more since the NFL added a third night game on the holiday to help prop up NFL Network.

O’Hara reports that an NFL official said tradition works in the Lions’ favor. The franchise began the tradition and therefore the Lions have ownership to the holiday. They deserve credit for beginning the tradition, right? Also, per O’Hara television ratings don’t fluctuate annually, no matter who plays the Lions. In other words, you can pit the New England Patriots against them or bring in the Arizona Cardinals, the TV numbers remain consistent.

So, O’Hara figures the Lions are safe unless they endure another a decade or so of losing. Hey, it could happen. They’re 2-9 in Year 2 of the great Jim Schwartz rebuilding project.

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Brad Biggs covers the Bears for the Chicago Tribune

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