The Detroit Lions’ Thanksgiving Day tradition dates all the way back to the year 1934—so far back to a time in which the Lions did not own the Chicago Bears. In that opening game to the tradition, the Bears came out victorious 19-16.
The Lions would exact revenge on Chicago the following Thanksgiving, winning handily, 14-2.
The rubber match would come in 1936, as the two teams faced off for a third straight year on the holiday. The Lions were 6-3. The Bears were 9-1. This would be a huge game for both teams, and thanks to YouTuber “classicsportsvids,” we have highlights of this showdown:
There is so much to love about this video. Here are my favorite highlights;
- The attempted jump pass at the 1:30 mark that is easily intercepted (there’s another one that’s also picked off at the 12:20 mark)
- The badly missed 28-yard field goal that would make Connor Barth proud (6:55 mark)
- The Bears’ only score of the game (8:05 mark), a 66-yard fumble return by someone named Ookie Miller (according to Pro-Football-Reference’s box score). Be sure to watch all of the horribly illegal and dangerous blocks well behind the play.
- The random players that boldly play without a helmet.
But the best part of this video happens at the 14:50 mark. The back judge, dressed in all white, is lined up just behind the tailback. What happens next is a thing of beauty:
I found the only good referee in the history of football, and he hails from 1936. pic.twitter.com/K3tx7l3kv8— Prater of Detroit (@PrideOfDetroit) November 21, 2017
They just don’t make referees like that anymore.