Top Thanksgiving day sports moments

November 26, 2020


Other than the family sitting down for turkey dinner, the thing most of us associate most strongly with Thanksgiving is football. The college and pro games are a feast-weekend requirement, and it seems there are always a few sensational plays that we remember for years.

Will this year’s games produce some new all-time-favorite plays? Or some famous bloopers? You’ll have to tune in to see for yourself.

While we’re waiting to see if Thanksgiving Day 2020 brings new great-play memories, let’s reminisce for a moment, recalling a few of the glorious – and not-so-glorious – moments from Thanksgivings past. Some are pretty recent, others you’ll have to be a bit older to remember first-hand, but we’re sure you’ll appreciate all of them.

Top Thanksgiving day football moments from years past


While you were stuffing yourself with turkey and all the trimmings, the Buffalo Bills were serving up 3 forced fumbles, 4 sacks and an interception to score a 27-15 win over the Dallas Cowboys. A Thanksgiving game to remember, and not just in Buffalo!


In just three quarters, Colts QB Peyton Manning managed to throw a record-setting 6 touchdown passes, paving the way for a humiliating 41-9 lead over Detroit before the clock even started for the fourth quarter. Yes, the Colts won.


Detroit running back Barry Sanders just kept running, and the Chicago Bears just couldn’t keep up. Sanders carried the ball 19 times to gain 167 yards and scored 3 TDs. The Lions won 55-20, and fans are still talking about this Thanksgiving Day game.


Now, we know you’ve heard of Randy Moss! But maybe back in 1998 you didn’t have a clue about this legendary NFL receiver, since he was just a rookie. In his first year he caught 69 balls to gain 1,313 yards and score 17 TDs. On Thanksgiving Day alone, he shocked the Cowboys by catching 3 passes for 163 yards and 3 TDs.


Sometimes, you really, really wish you could get a do-over. In this case, Miami did get a do-over, thanks to a big blunder by the Cowboys’ Leon Lett, and it enabled Miami to win the Thanksgiving Day game. Lett’s team was ahead, but Miami had a last-minute chance to kick the winning field goal. They were playing in Dallas, and it was snowing. The Cowboys managed to block the field goal attempt, but Lett cleverly went after the ball, sliding into it to unintentionally keep it alive. Miami recovered and scored on their second kick attempt.


Remember Cowboys quarterback Clint Longley? Probably not. That’s because he played just one season for the Cowboys, but he attained stats history when he replaced an injured Roger Staubach in a Thanksgiving Day game against Washington. Down 16-3, Longley stepped onto the field, passed for 203 yards, and the Cowboys sneaked past Washington to win 24-23.

Is that a turducken on your table?

Famous as former NFL coach and commentator John Madden is for his many years in and around pro football, he may be even more famous for making “turducken” the biggest Thanksgiving Day play of all. Year after year, he touted the strangely unnatural (but uniquely succulent) Thanksgiving centerpiece as he filled his plate and the cameras zoomed in, even as play continued on the field.

And, yes, turducken is a real thing you can make yourself – or, far easier, buy online. It’s a deboned chicken inside a deboned duck inside a deboned turkey. Really. It may be too late to serve this delicacy to your family this Thanksgiving, but there’s always Christmas!

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