On Thanksgiving, you can count on two things: Turkey and football.
And every year, a team that's virtually guaranteed to take the field is the Dallas Cowboys, who played their first Thanksgiving Day game in 1966. The Detroit Lions were the first team to play on the holiday, hosting their inaugural game in 1934 as a way to drum up increased interest in the team. Although the Lions lost, the game sold out with more than 26,000 fans packing into the stadium.
Thanks to the Lions' success, in the 1960's the National Football League decided it wanted to put on another Turkey Day game but had trouble getting a team to agree to play, as it would be a huge risk for anyone who signed on. Weeknight games were still rare and an evening slot on Thanksgiving would interrupt a lot of families' dinners. Most teams shied away.
But Dallas Cowboys general manager Tex Schramm recognized this would be a prime marketing opportunity for his team.