Found November 23, 2011 on Fox Sports:
Detroit Lions center Dominic Raiola is a creature of habit. Two days before every game, Raiola gets his hair cut by a stylist who visits team headquarters. On this particular Tuesday, he received a trim that included the shaving of three stars on the side of his head. The aesthetic beauty of such a 'do is subjective. But there is no debating the recent ugliness of another custom Raiola is all too familiar with: Detroit's annual Thanksgiving Day game. Not only are the Lions 1-9 on Thanskgiving since Raiola was drafted in 2001, Detroit has gotten outscored by a 258-98 margin in the past seven contests. After a decade of turkeys, it was fair to question why the Lions should have the privilege of annually hosting such a spotlight game even with Detroit's storied Thanksgiving history that includes a pregame downtown parade. Thanks to Detroit's 7-3 start and the caliber of opponent coming to Ford Field, there's a different kind of buzz this week in the Motor City. The Lions have the chance to knock Green Bay (10-0) from the unbeaten ranks and move one giant step closer to ending an 11-season playoff drought. "This is as big as I can remember," said Jason Hanson, Detroit's kicker since 1992 when Barry Sanders was still in his heyday. "The fact you have the undefeated Packers, the best team in the NFL, coming here is huge." Lions head coach Jim Schwartz has gone one step further by using civic pride as a motivating factor that players like Raiola have embraced. "I think it's huge for the city of Detroit," Raiola told while getting clipped in a makeshift barber's chair. "It's something they can put their stamp on, like the Lions are back." For that to happen, the Lions must show how far they've truly come since registering the NFL's first and only 0-16 season in 2008. While improvement from that mark was a given -- especially after bumbling executive Matt Millen left the team's front office -- the Lions are becoming a legitimate NFL force. They have a franchise quarterback (Matthew Stafford), wide receiver (Calvin Johnson) and defensive tackle (Ndamukong Suh) who will serve as cornerstone players for years to come. A wild card berth seems likely this season even if Detroit can't make NFC North headway in two upcoming games against the Packers. However, some of the earmarks from a decade of losing still remain. Don't forget, the 2007 Lions began the season 6-2 before falling apart. Like he told the Lions media on Tuesday, Schwartz will be the first to proclaim that despite the team's best 10-game start since 1993, "We haven't accomplished anything." Unlike previous Detroit teams that fell behind early and couldn't recover, the Lions have shown unprecedented resiliency in overcoming deficits of 17 or more points against Dallas, Minnesota and most recently Carolina. But that luck will eventually expire if the Lions keep digging themselves a significant hole, especially against an opponent with the offensive firepower of Green Bay. "We're definitely on the rise," Lions linebacker Stephen Tulloch said. "We've just got to learn how to start games as well as we finish. If we can do that, we'll be OK. It starts this week. "One of our coaches here made a statement: November to us is like October in baseball. Every game from here on out is crucial. Ugly or pretty, we've got to find a way to win." The Lions haven't earned style points with their on-field conduct. The "dirty player" label that started being attached to Suh last season now extends to the entire team. There was a recent melee with the Chicago Bears after Stafford facemasked a defensive player during an interception return. Atlanta Falcons players claimed Suh made disparaging remarks after quarterback Matt Ryan went down injured. The berry doesn't fall far from the tree as Schwartz jawed with San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh after a postgame handshake went awry. Another controversy developed in last month's rout of Denver when some Lions players mocked the kneeling pose sometimes struck by Broncos quarterback Tim Tebow in prayer. Tulloch said he was sorry if people took his sack celebration the wrong way and that mocking Tebow's religious beliefs wasn't his intent. Tulloch, though, isn't going to apologize for how the Lions are bullying others after having sand kicked in their faces for so long. "Our reputation I think is kind of misleading," Tulloch said. "We just play with a (swagger). To be a good defense, you've got to have a swag about yourself." Whether the Lions can keep their composure should things get testy against the Packers is another test Detroit must pass. Raiola admits the Lions are "a little rough around the edges, but it works for us." "We try to take our head coach's vision of us. That's having a blue-collar attitude," Raiola said. "That's kind of what this city is about. "I'm anxious to see this team perform Thursday. There's not going to be a lack of effort, that's for sure. It's going to be fun." That would be a welcome return to the old tradition of Thanksgiving days in Detroit.

Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson does not expand upon ankle injury

Detroit Lions receiver Calvin Johnson walked out the beginning of Tuesday's practice with trainer, but would not reveal the extent of his injury.

Which Detroit Lions Team Will Show Up on Thanksgiving?

The Detroit Lions are no stranger to Thanksgiving Day football.  They played their first T-day game in 1934, and have played a game every Thanksgiving since 1945.  Unfortunately, the tradition has not always been a good one for the Lions.  They have an overall losing record of 33-36-2 on this day. Their record against opponent, Green Bay Packers, is not much better.  Detroit...

Tony Scheffler Celebrates a TD With Flash Mob Moves

Scoring a touchdown is grounds for celebration, as Detroit's Tony Scheffler shows after snagging a pass for a 3rd quarter against the Panthers this past weekend. Opting to pay homage to our corporate overlords, AT&T, Scheffler emulates—pretty damn well—the commercial where a flash mob (ripping off my man Charlie from Improv Everywhere) are supposed to perform in Grand...

Detroit Lions running back Kevin Smith named NFC Offensive Player of the Week

After most NFL teams gave up Detroit Lions running back Kevin Smith, he was named NFC Offensive Player of the Week

Matthew Stafford sets several Detroit Lions milestones in win over Carolina Panthers

The third-year quarterback overcame a poor start, including two interceptions, to finish 25-of-36 passing for 335 yards and five interceptions.

Detroit Lions Q&A: Defensive end Cliff Avril hopes to be thankful for win over Packers

While he could be proud of his performance this season, Avril is more thankful to be a father, future college graduate and the relationship he has with his family.

Current Lions say'62 Thanksgiving game is ancient history

When asked Monday about the Lions' legendary, 26-14, Thanksgiving Day domination of the Packers at Tiger Stadium that season, quarterback Matthew Stafford and defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh appeared at a loss.

Lauren Alaina to sing National Anthem before the Lions-Packers Thanksgiving Day game; perform on PBS White House special tonight

Lauren was the runner-up to Scotty McCreery on Season 10 of "American Idol."

Conversing with the Competition: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions

So, the Lions play a pretty big game on Thursday, have you heard?In preparation of the Lions game against the Green Bay Packers I sent a few questions over to Ray Rivard, editor of Lombardi Ave, and he was kind enough to take a few minutes to answer my curiosities regarding the Packers. … [visit site to read more]Conversing with the Competition: Green Bay Packers at Detroit Lions...

Nickelback Responds to the Hatred of Detroit Lions Fans

Good for them. They have a sense of humor. Too bad they still suck.

Detroit Lions must halt Aaron Rodgers' season for the ages to beat Green Bay Packers

In leading the Packers to a 10-0 record, Rodgers is on pace to have the greatest statistical season by a quarterback in NFL history.
All Sports News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.