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The Intercollegiate Football Association was formed in 1872. Two years later, and continuing for the next decade, the association held its annual championship game on Thanksgiving Day.
Probably the most notable game in the series was played in 1893, before 40,000 fans at the Polo Grounds in New York City. Princeton defeated Yale by 6-0, preserving an 11-0 season and ending Yale's 37-game winning streak.
Although there were some professional games played on Thanksgiving Day during the 1920s, the Detroit Lions made it a holiday tradition starting in 1934. The Lions have played a Thanksgiving game every year since, except during World War II.