Top Nine Most Memorable NFL Thanksgiving Moments
By Lou DiPietro
They say there are only two certainties in life (death and taxes), but there are three certainties in Thanksgiving football: The Lions and Cowboys will be playing host, at least one player will be awarded some form of poultry as an in-game prize, and Tryptophan will likely prevent you from remembering much of what happens after you eat dinner.
This year, depending on what time you lapsed into your meal-induced slumber, you may have missed Justin Forsett's sort-of touchdown run (that led to the enforcement of an NFL rule even the head coaches aren't aware of), Dallas' attempt to make another furious second-half Thanksgiving comeback, or the Patriots scoring 21 points in the span of 60 game seconds.
With that in mind, we've put together a list of some of the best, worst, and most dubious gridiron moments that have come on Thanksgiving Day -- you know, just in case you were asleep at the remote when any of them happened.
THE PACK GETS WHACKED (Packers vs. Lions, 1962)
Many thought that the unbeaten Packers and their dominant offense would steamroll the Lions in 1962. Instead, Detroit's defense was the story, as the Lions recorded 11 sacks, forced five turnovers, and allowed only a pair of garbage-time touchdowns in a 26-14 win.
GRIESE GETS GREASED…TWICE (1977, 1997, and 2004)
Miami's 55-14 win over St. Louis in 1977 set a Thanksgiving points record, and Bob Griese set a Turkey Day record of his own with six touchdown tosses. Sadly for Griese, Detroit matched the double-nickel in 1997 and Peyton Manning tied the TD mark in 2004, but he'll always have 1972…right?
A NEW FORMAT (Broncos vs. Chiefs, 2006)
After three decades of Detroit/Dallas dominance, the NFL added a third game to the Thanksgiving slate in 2006. Kansas City beat Denver 19-10 that night, and it's still the only primetime Turkey Day game to be decided by a single-digit margin.
IS THAT YOU, RUDY? (1974 and 1994 Cowboys)
Clint Longley relieved an injured Roger Staubach and led Dallas to a comeback win over Washington in 1974, and 20 years later, third-stringer Jason Garrett subbed for Troy Aikman and outdueled Brett Favre to lead the 'Boys past the Packers. Stephen McGee, Thanksgiving 2014 is on line one…
MOSS GOES MADDEN (Vikings vs. Cowboys, 1998)
On paper, it looks like Dallas held Vikings rookie Randy Moss in check in 1998, limiting him to just three catches…until you read that those three grabs went for 163 yards and three touchdowns. Want to know what's even scarier? Yardage-wise, that game is just the eighth-best of Moss' career.
THE JUICE GETS LOOSE (Bills vs. Lions, 1976)
O.J. Simpson set an NFL record on Turkey Day 1976, rushing for 276 yards during Buffalo's visit to Detroit, but the Bills still lost to the Lions 27-14. Blame QB Gary Marangi, whose epic 4-of-21, 29-yard performance would make even Tim Tebow's biggest haters laugh.
THE ORIGINAL BOUNTY-GATE (Eagles vs. Cowboys, 1989)
After a hard tackle knocked Dallas kicker Luis Zendejas silly, Jimmy Johnson alleged Eagles coach Buddy Ryan of placing a bounty on the kicker. Buddy declined comment, but Eagles fans responded by turning the rematch two weeks later into the most one-sided snowball fight since Scut Farkus vs. Ralphie.
HEADS UP? (Steelers vs. Lions, 1998)
Prior to overtime, Pittsburgh's Jerome Bettis clearly called tails for the coin toss -- clearly to everyone but referee Phil Luckett, who heard Bettis call heads. The coin landed on tails, Luckett gave Detroit the ball, and the Lions kicked a field goal on the first possession to win 19-16. Oops!
LETT-ING IT SLIP AWAY (Dolphins vs. Cowboys, 1993)
Leon Lett thought his Super Bowl XXVII gaffe would be the most infamous moment of his career…until 10 months later, when this snowy slide allowed Dallas to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory. Good thing Leon has three Super Bowl rings to cry into, eh?