Thanksgiving Day football has been an annual NFL tradition since way back in 1934. Fans have become used to seeing both the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys host their games, while a third primetime game has even been added to the schedule.
Winning on Thanksgiving is an amazing way to start the holiday. Losing, however, can spoil what is supposed to be a day of rest and relaxation.
That begs the question: Which NFL team has the most losses on Thanksgiving Day? A quick look at the history of the game reveals the answer. The following stats are through 2020 and do not take the 2021 games into account.
Which NFL team has the most losses on Thanksgiving Day?
The answer here is a bit obvious and comes by default. The Lions lead the way in Thanksgiving losses with 42, but that has come after playing 81 games on the holiday. So unless they were legendary Thanksgiving winners, there was no way to avoid topping this list of losers.
Next up, as expected, comes the Cowboys. They have lost 21 times in 53 games. This is where it gets interesting. The Green Bay Packers are third with 20 Thanksgiving losses in only 36 games. For some reason, the Packers have a tough time winning on the holiday with a combined record of 14-20-2.
The Arizona Cardinals and Chicago Bears are next, tied with 15 losses. No other NFL franchise besides these five have double-digit losses on Thanksgiving. All five are the only franchises to play, at least, 20 times on Thanksgiving as well.
Only five NFL franchises have zero losses on Thanksgiving: the New Orleans Saints, Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Carolina Panthers, and Jacksonville Jaguars. And the Jaguars have never even played on the holiday.
The Lions and Cowboys are staples on Thanksgiving, so it makes sense they are so high up on the all-time loss list. That just makes logical and mathematical sense. Conversely, the Lions have the most wins with 37, and the Cowboys are next up with 31. So it is fair to note that side of the conversation as well. We cannot talk about all the losses without mentioning the wins, too.
One advantage both teams have is that they get to play at home on Thanksgiving. It makes sense why a team like the Packers may struggle because they are typically on the road, during a short week, on a holiday. Players can say that is not a distraction, but there is a difference between playing at home and then going home versus playing on the road, then immediately getting on a plane or a bus on Thanksgiving.
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Losing on Thanksgiving can be seen as a negative. But for the all-time leaders, the Lions, it also comes with a lot of winning. The overall positive is that they get this national spotlight on an annual basis and usually get to enjoy an extended holiday weekend following the short week.