"American football is an important part of many Thanksgiving celebrations in the United States. Professional games are traditionally held on Thanksgiving Day; until recently, these were the only games played during the week apart from Sunday or Monday night. The National Football League has played games on Thanksgiving every year since its creation; the tradition is referred to as the Thanksgiving Classic. The Detroit Lions have hosted a game every Thanksgiving Day since 1934, with the exception of 1939–1944 (due to World War II)."
For many college football teams, the regular season ends on Thanksgiving weekend, and a team's final game is often against a regional or historic rival. Most of these college games are played on the Friday or Saturday after Thanksgiving, but usually a single college game is played on Thanksgiving itself. The best-known Thanksgiving holiday weekend games include:
* Ole Miss Rebels vs. Mississippi State Bulldogs (the Egg Bowl)
* BYU Cougars vs. Utah Utes (the Holy War)
* LSU Tigers vs. Arkansas Razorbacks (the Battle for the Golden Boot)
* Georgia Bulldogs vs. Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets (Clean, Old-Fashioned Hate)
* Clemson Tigers vs. South Carolina Gamecocks
* Colorado Buffaloes vs. Nebraska Cornhuskers
* Texas Longhorns vs. Texas A&M Aggies (the Lone Star Showdown)
* Houston Cougars vs. Rice Owls (the Bayou Bucket)
* Florida Gators vs. Florida State Seminoles (the Sunshine Showdown)
* Pittsburgh Panthers vs. West Virginia Mountaineers (the Backyard Brawl)
* Grambling State University Tigers vs. Southern University Jaguars (the Bayou Classic)
* Alabama State University Hornets vs. Tuskegee University Golden Tigers (the Turkey Day Classic)
* Oklahoma Sooners vs. Oklahoma State Cowboys (the Bedlam Series)
* Auburn Tigers vs. Alabama Crimson Tide (the Iron Bowl)
* Notre Dame Fighting Irish vs. USC Trojans (The Notre Dame-USC rivalry game has taken place in almost every season since 1926, with the home team alternating from year to year. When USC hosts, the game takes place on Thanksgiving weekend; when Notre Dame hosts, the game typically occurs sometime in October.)
High school football games, and informal "Turkey Bowl" contests played by amateur groups and organizations, are frequently held on Thanksgiving weekend.
High school football
"High school football games played on Thanksgiving are often called a Turkey Day Game or a Turkey Bowl (not to be confused with Turkey bowling), as Americans typically eat turkeys on Thanksgiving, although the title varies with each game. Most commonly these games are between high school football rivalries although in many cases, when poor weather requires a shorter season, the game can be the culmination of league play among a high-school league, in which the winners of this game will be the league champions for the year. The custom dates back more than 100 years and is particularly prevalent in the Northeast."
"Though golf and auto racing are in their off-seasons on Thanksgiving, there are events in those sports that take place on Thanksgiving weekend. The Turkey Night Grand Prix is an annual automobile race that takes place at Irwindale Speedway on Thanksgiving night that draws some of the top racers in the United States. In golf, Thanksgiving weekend was the traditional time of the Skins Game from 1983 to 2008; the event was canceled in 2009 due to a lack of sponsorship and a difficulty in drawing star talent."
"Unorganized groups have also been known to partake in American football on Thanksgiving. These informal matches are usually known as a Turkey Bowl (not to be confused with some high school football games that also use the name "Turkey Bowl", see above, and with Turkey Bowling). These games are usually unofficiated with a flag football, street football or touch football format."
While the games themselves are not generally nationally known, Turkey Bowls hold importance for those who participate and it is not uncommon for rivalries to last for decades. Turkey Bowls are played by a variety of people including college fraternities, volunteer fire departments, and local churches across the country which use the day and the game to have fun, exercise and renew old acquaintances.