Detroit is home to the most controversial coin toss of all time, which occurred on Thanksgiving Day 1998. So it’s only fitting that another odd coin toss in Detroit jumpstarted this year’s Thanksgiving football festivities.
After meeting at midfield for the coin toss, the Lions‘ captains chose to defer after winning the toss. When asked if they wanted the ball, the Bears‘ captains chose to defer, which they were told that they could not do, as the Lions had already chosen to defer. The odd sequence of events was captured by Fox’s cameras.
The sequence brought to mind the fabled coin toss between the Lions and Steelers on Thanksgiving Day, 1998. After the Steelers rallied to force overtime, Pittsburgh appeared to win the coin toss after Jerome Bettis shouted “Tails!” The referee, Phil Luckett, determined that Bettis had instead called heads, leading to an irate Bettis pleading his case to no avail. Detroit got the ball to start the half, and won the game on a Jason Hanson field goal.
The Lions’ current team would certainly like to end Thursday’s game in similar fashion. Detroit is looking to avoid a winless season after entering Thanksgiving with an 0-9-1 record. The Bears are also in dire need of a win, as Matt Nagy was at the center of several reports this week stating that he would be dismissed if Chicago lost Thursday’s game. The Bears, who made the playoffs last season under Nagy, are in the midst of a disappointing 3-7 season.