Thanksgiving and the NFL intertwined because of the league’s inaugural season manner again in 1920. Since then, the NFL has hosted video games on Thanksgiving every year except for a four-year span within the early 1940s due to America’s involvement in World Warfare II. Since 1934, the Detroit Lions internet hosting a sport has been a Thanksgiving Day custom, with the Dallas Cowboys following go well within 1966. Since then, all, however, two Thanksgivings have included video games that include each of those franchises.
In 2006, the NFL added a main time sport to its Thanksgiving slate. Every year since the league has performed three video games on Thanksgiving. That comparatively new custom can be quickly paused this 12 months after the NFL postponed the Ravens-Steelers sport to Sunday because of the Ravens’ COVID-19 outbreak.
Earlier than Thursday’s video games, right here’s have a look at the NFL’s ten most memorable Thanksgiving Day moments. The record consists of a number of epic particular person performances from among the sport’s all-time nice gamers. It additionally consists of a number of not-so-great moments that have additionally stood the check of time.
‘Thanksgiving Day Bloodbath’
The 2020 Steelers, who’re presently 10-0, will look to keep away from what occurred to the 1962 Packers. Recent off of successful their first championship underneath Vince Lombardi, the ’62 Packers gained their first ten video games that included a 9-7 nail-biter in opposition to the Lions — the main target of Lombardi’s 1962 ebook, “Run to Daylight.” The Packers weren’t as lucky as their Thanksgiving rematch with Detroit; however, as Milt Plum’s two landing passes to Gail Cogdill gave the Lions an early 14-Zero lead.
Detroit’s Corridor of Fame defensive backfield duo of “Nighttime Practice” Lane and Dick LeBeau every recorded interceptions off Packers Corridor of Fame quarterback Bart Starr, serving to the Lions prevailed, 26-14. NFL historians have famous that the Lions recorded no less than 11 sacks (a stat that wasn’t stored on time) of Starr, together with six by Roger Brown, who additionally sacked Starr in the long run zone for security. The sport is fondly remembered in Detroit because of the “Thanksgiving Day Bloodbath.”
However, the Lions would go 11-Three would end two video games behind the Packers for the best to face the Giants for the NFL title. Inexperienced Bay defeated the Giants in New York to say their second consecutive championship.
L.T. KO’s the Lions
The Giants-Lions Thanksgiving Day sport in 1982 was performed throughout Week Four of the NFL’s strike-shortened season. With each group deadlocked in a defensive grudge match, Giants go rusher Lawrence Taylor, the reigning Defensive Participant and Rookie of the 12 months, scored the sport’s solely landing on a 97-yard interception return. And whereas they allowed Billy Sims to gash them for 114 yards on 26 carries, Taylor and his defensive teammates recorded three interceptions whereas holding the Lions to only 125 yards passing.
Manning’s monster day
Twenty years after watching his childhood idol throw an NFL file 48 landing passes, Peyton Manning broke Dan Marino’s file by throwing 49 touchdowns through the 2004 season. Six of these landing passes got here within the primary three-quarters of the Colts’ 41-9 Thanksgiving Day win against the Lions. Three touchdowns were thrown by Manning apiece to Marvin Harrison and Brandon Stokley, whereas Corridor of Fame working again Edgerrin James complemented Manning’s passing with 105 dashing yards. Manning’s efficiency tied Bob Griese’s Thanksgiving Day file for landing passes that Griese initially set in opposition to the Cardinals in 1977.
O.J. Simpson rushes previous Lions and into the historical past books
Three years after changing into the primary (and solely) participant in NFL historical past to hurry for more than 2,000 yards in a 14-game season, Payments working again O.J. Simpson rushed for a then-NFL file 273 yards and two touchdowns (whereas averaging 9.Four yards per carrying) in opposition to the Lions on Thanksgiving Day, 1976. Regardless of O.J.’s heroics, the Payments misplaced the sport, 27-14.
The Cowboys got ‘Mossed’
Three touchdowns, Three catches, and 163 yards. That was the Thanksgiving Day for Randy Moss in opposition to the Cowboys in 1998. A rookie, Moss was motivated to point out the Cowboys what they had been lacking after not choosing him in that 12 months’ draft. Moss, who caught an NFL rookie file 17 landing passes, undoubtedly proved his level after main Minnesota to a 46-36 victory.
Barry baffles the Bears
Led by Barry Sanders’ 167 dashing yards and three touchdowns, the Lions rolled up almost 500 complete yards in a 55-20 win over the Bears in 1997. After their lead was lower to seven factors within the third quarter, landing 25 runs and Sanders’ 15 yards helped Detroit win the sport whereas holding their playoff hopes alive. The sport was one among many memorable performances that season for Sanders, who shared the league’s MVP award with Brett Favre after dashing for two,053 yards and main the Lions to the postseason.
‘I stated tails!’
Detroit native Jerome Bettis is a part of probably the most notorious coin flip in the NFL historical past. After forcing time beyond regulation with a last-second area purpose, the Steelers appeared to win the coin toss to start out the additional interval after Bettis referred to as tails. However, the head office that day in 1998, Phil Luckett, deemed that Bettis referred to as heads. Whereas Bettis and the Steelers protested, a 28-yard completion from Charlie Batch to Herman Moore helped arrange Jason Hanson’s game-winning area purpose, because the Lions prevailed, 19-16. Pittsburgh, after a 7-Four begin, wouldn’t win once more through the 1998 season. The win also served as the ultimate Thanksgiving Day sport for Sanders, who shocked everybody by asserting his off-season retirement.
The legend of Longley
Essentially the most well-known comeback in Thanksgiving Day historical past belongs to Clint Longley, a long-forgotten backup which was a rookie when he changed a concussed Roger Staubach within the second half of Dallas’ 1974 sport in opposition to rival Washington. Trailing 16-Three within the third quarter, Longley’s 35-yard landing go to Billy Joe Dupree gave the Cowboys life. Trailing by six with underneath a minute left, his 28-yard scoring strike to Drew Pearson gave Dallas an unbelievable 24-23 win.
Whereas Longley (whose profession fizzled out shortly after he punched Staubach earlier than the beginning of the ’76 season) will without end be a part of Cowboys Thanksgiving Day lore, an typically neglected storyline from that sport was the efficiency of Washington working again Duane Thomas, Cowboys’ former star who scored two touchdowns in opposition to his former workforce.
Earlier in 1993, Cowboys defensive sort out Leon Lett had gained nationwide fame after he dedicated one of many greatest blunders in Tremendous Bowl historical past, as his untimely celebration prevented the Cowboys from setting a Tremendous Bowl file for factors scored. Ten months later, with the Cowboys defending a 14-13 lead over the Dolphins on Thanksgiving, Lett dedicated one other huge mistake. After Jimmie Johnson blocked Pete Stoyanovich’s game-winning area purpose try, Lett determined to attempt to choose up the ball, that was spiraling on the snow-covered Texas Stadium turf.
The loss didn’t injury Dallas that a lot because the Cowboys nonetheless claimed the No. 1 seed for the playoffs earlier than efficiently defending their Tremendous Bowl title. Lett, a member of all three of the Cowboys’Tremendous Bowl groups through the ’90s, would earn the primary of his two Professional Bowl alternatives the next season.
The ‘Butt Fumble’
Essentially the most well-known play in Thanksgiving’s historical past shouldn’t be a Sanders run, a Moss catch, or a Manning landing go. As an alternative, former Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez’s 2012 “Butt Fumble” resulted in a 32-yard landing return by Steve Gregory in New England’s 49-19 win over the Jets. The enduring fumble resulted from an amazing play by former Patriots defensive sort out Vince Wilfork, who shoved Jets guard Brandon Moore into his quarterback.