Famous games played on Thanksgiving



Andrew Nelson

Each year while most of us stuff our faces with all sorts of classic Thanksgiving food from turkey and stuffing to cranberries and mashed potatoes, we take in another American tradition—watching the holiday football games. Each year the Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions, and a third NFL game or College game takes place to give us something to fall asleep to post-feast. There have been a number of classic games that have gone down to the wire. Here are the top five.

5.Highest-scoring game in Turkey Day history
1986—Packers 44, Lions 40
With less than a minute to go in the game, Green Bay wide receiver Walter Stanley returned a punt 83 yards for a score. The game was already, and is still to this day, the highest-scoring game between the two teams on Thanksgiving. Detroit was actually up by 10 with just over five minutes to play before squandering the lead.

4.Third-String QB Jason Garrett Saves the Day
1994—Cowboys 42, Packers 31
One of Thanksgiving’s traditional teams ran into a little bit of trouble on a late November Thursday in 1994, the Cowboys lost starting future Hall-of-Famer Troy Aikman, and second-string quarterback Rodney Peete to injuries. Jason Garrett, yes, that Jason Garrett who currently is the head coach of NFC-East leading Dallas, stepped up to the challenge. Garrett threw for 311 yards and a pair of touch-downs and led the Cowboys to a second-half comeback after being down in the second quarter 17-3. This effort would help earn him offensive player of the week honors in one of his few career-starts.

3. Randy Moss Gets His Holiday Revenge
1998—Vikings 46, Cowboys 36
In Randy Moss’ rookie season, the Vikings won a thriller on the road in Dallas, but Moss had revenge on his mind. After wide-speculation the Cowboys were going to draft Moss 8th overall in that year’s draft, they passed on him from past off-the-field incidents and history behold, the Vikings snatched him up at No. 21. Moss vowed after the draft, “(they) will regret it once they see what kind of a player I am and what kind of guy I really am.” Moss caught just three passes that Thanksgiving afternoon, but each reception was over 50-yards and for a touchdown. Moss’ 3 receptions for 163 yards and 3 touch-downs out-played the veteran “big three,” of Emmitt Smith, Troy Aikman and Michael Irvin (137 receiving yards).

2. Head-err Tails?
1998—Lions 19, Steelers 16 OT
Played right before the Cowboys/Vikings game in 1998, this game is more remembered for a referee’s blunder than great plays. The two teams ended regulation tied 16-16 and went to midfield for the overtime coin toss. NFL referee Phil Luckett can be heard on the television broadcast confirming Pittsburgh captain Jerome Bettis (No. 36) would make the call. Bettis called “Heads.” Luckett flipped the coin and on picking it up, “The call on the field was ‘Tails,’ Detroit has won the toss.” The look on Bettis and head coach Bill Cowher’s face was priceless. The Steelers lost the game in OT on a field goal, you can’t make this stuff up folks even professionals have selective-hearing.

1.Why Leon Lett, Why?
1993—Dolphins 16, Cowboys 14 OT
Dallas, Texas had unusual snowfall on Thanksgiving in 1993, and it played a role on the game’s second-to-last play. Mi-ami lined up to attempt a game-winning 41-yard field goal to win the game with less than 15 seconds left. Dallas blocked the kick, but as the rest of the team was celebrating a sure win, Leon Lett tried to scoop the ball up but fell on the ice covering the field. He was unable to corral the ball and Miami would end up recovering it at the Dallas one-yard line. If Lett would of just left the ball alone, the Cowboys would of taken over and likely kneel away the game’s final seconds. Instead, Miami attempted another game-winning field goal with three seconds left in the game— this time with success.


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