19 Football Moments From Thanksgiving Day That Will Live On Forever

19 Football Moments From Thanksgiving Day That Will Live On Forever

The tradition of NFL football on Thanksgiving dates back to 1920. It is something for families to look forward to besides food and parades.

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Here are some of the most memorable moments from the NFL on Thanksgiving:


Nothing says Thanksgiving football like watching one man run full speed into his teammate’s butt. This fumble led to an opposing touchdown in a blowout game on Thanksgiving night, and it will live on as one of the greatest football follies in history.

2.Randy Moss shines the brightest with one of the most impressive stat lines ever:

Randy Moss talks to camera while his stat line shows he has three touchdowns

Three touchdowns on three catches. Yup, that’s Randy Moss for ya.

All three scores were over 50 yards each because the man can flat-out fly.


3.Aretha Franklin performs one of the longest renditions of the National Anthem:

4.A preview to the “Harbaugh Bowl” for Thanksgiving Day:

Harbaugh brothers stand with the Super Bowl trophy

The Baltimore Ravens came into the game 8-3 and the San Francisco 49ers were an impressive 9-2, making it one of the most anticipated matchups of the season. Oh, and by the way, both opposing head coaches were brothers (John and Jim Harbaugh).

The final score was 16-6 for a Ravens victory, but both teams had loaded rosters with star-power and future hall-of-famers that made the game evenly matched.

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5.Jerome Bettis changes the rules to the coin toss forever:

Football players argue over coin toss

6.Tom Brady, Vince Wilfork, and Steve Gregory have a leg:


A memorable game thanks to the “Butt Fumble,” many people forget this gem of the G.O.A.T. Tom Brady chewing on a turkey leg with teammates Vince Wilfork (who forced the Butt Fumble play) and Steve Gregory (who scooped and scored on the fumble).


In 2017, team touchdown celebrations were at an all-time high. The Vikings left their mark by having a Thanksgiving feast in the Detroit Lions‘ end zone.

8.The Detroit Lions lay an egg on Thanksgiving Day to foreshadow their final 0-16 record:

Lions sideline as a graphic shows the most points they've given up on Thanksgiving

The worst team of all time left their mark on Thanksgiving Day. In 2008, the 0-12 Lions got stomped by the white-hot Tennessee Titans in a 47-10 rout.


9.Jason Garrett comes off the bench to win for the Cowboys:

Jason Garrett bites a turkey leg

In 1994, Dallas Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman was injured on a play, so third-string QB Jason Garrett had to come in to face Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers.

The game was an offensive battle and Garrett helped his team to a 42-31 win.

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10.Drew Brees and defending champs take out the Cowboys:

Drew Brees holds a turkey trophy

Coming off of a magical season, this was a big win for the New Orleans Saints.

Just look at that turkey trophy! I’m sure it is right next to his Super Bowl MVP.


11.The Denver Broncos and Dallas Cowboys give us a Thanksgiving overtime thriller in 2005:

Broncos players embrace after a win

Overtimes are rare in football, so the fact that families were gifted with some Thanksgiving overtime was a nice surprise. A big turnover led to the game-winning field goal for the Denver Broncos.


Jim Swartz points at himself on the Lions sideline

This whole play was confusing, but to give a quick explanation:

Texans running back Justin Forsett scores the longest rushing touchdown in Texans history. He was clearly down, but Lions coach Schwartz challenged the play. At the time, that couldn’t happen on a score, therefore, the referees penalize him and cannot review the touchdown that was clearly not a touchdown. Nowadays, we get an automatic review of every scoring play, but wow, what a whacky situation.


13.Lawrence Taylor makes a great interception return in 1982:

Peyton Manning drops back to pass

Everyone knows Peyton Manning is easily one of the best to ever play, but he reminded everyone on Thanksgiving Day in 2004 with six passing touchdowns.



In a 2013 rivalry game, head coach of the Pittsburgh Steelers Mike Tomlin clearly positioned himself to be in the of way Ravens returner Jacoby Jones on a play that helped them win the game.

Tomlin was fined $100,000 by the NFL.

Barry Sanders jukes Bears players

Arguably the greatest Lions player ever, Barry Sanders feasted on defenses, especially in 1997 against the Chicago Bears.

Sanders finished the game with 167 yards and three touchdowns to cement a 55-20 victory for the Lions.


Andre Johnson makes a one-handed catch

Andre Johnson had a day in 2012. He had nine catches for 188 yards and Calvin Johnson had a touchdown and 140 yards on eight receptions.

This was a big deal because Andre and Lions wide receiver Calvin were viewed as the two greatest in the game.



In 2011, Suh threw the “spirit of Thanksgiving” out the window when he was driven down by an opposing lineman. He then shoved his head down and stomped on his arm.

This was his second time getting caught stomping on an opposing player. A dirty play indeed.


The Dallas Cowboys blocked a punt to seemingly secure a victory, but in comes Leon Lett, the same Leon Lett who famously fumbled on a return in the previous year’s Super Bowl.

By touching the ball and not recovering it, the Miami Dolphins had a second chance and kicked the winning field goal to end the game 16-14.

What is your favorite Thanksgiving football memory? Maybe it is more personal and less about the game. Share it with us in the comments!

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