Thanksgiving Timeline, 1541 - 2001
Thanksgiving Day, 1876

The American Intercollegiate Football Association held its first championship game on Thanksgiving Day, 1876. The sport resembled something of a cross between rugby and modern-day football, but the tradition of playing football on Thanksgiving Day developed with the evolution of the sport itself.

By the 1890s, perennial favorites Yale and Princeton drew upwards of 40,000 fans for the collegiate championship games, while more than 5,000 club, college, and high school football games were played on the holiday.

Football Players at LIne of Scrimage
A Film of a Princeton-Yale Football Game Played on November 19, 1903.
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