If Mike Sherman and Steve Mariucci addressed their respective teams about the tradition involved in playing on Thanksgiving Day, only a handful of players probably understood what they were saying.
…You’d be hard-pressed to find anyone in the Packers’ locker room who knows that the Packers and Lions played in Detroit every Thanksgiving from 1951 to 1963.
They might remember Reggie White throwing around Dallas Cowboys guard Larry Allen at Texas Stadium in 1994, but they sure don’t know about Walter Stanley returning a punt 85 yards for the game-winning score with 41 seconds left in a 44-40 Packers victory in 1986.
Nor do they know about Bart Starr getting sacked 11 times during a 1962 game that the Lions deemed “The Grudge Match” because they had lost a heartbreaker earlier in the season at Lambeau Field. (The Packers edged the 11-3 Lions for the Western Conference title and went on to win the NFL championship with a 14-1 record.)
Current Packers know only that Thursday they’ll be facing a 3-8 Lions team that would like to carve its own niche in Thanksgiving Day lore with an upset over the 6-5 Packers.
—Tom Silverstein, The Milwaukee Journal Sentinel “Thanksgiving games bring back vivid memories”