Ah, Thanksgiving—the time of year when we gather around the table with family and friends to feast on turkey, stuffing, and all the trimmings. But what truly makes this holiday special for many Americans is not just the food but also the Thanksgiving football games!
Thanksgiving and football have been inseparable for decades, with millions of fans tuning in to watch their favorite teams battle it out on the gridiron. In this article, I will explore some of the best Thanksgiving football matchups in history and get you ready for the excitement of this year’s games.
So, keep on reading this blog till the end to learn more…
The Tradition Of Thanksgiving Football
Thanksgiving and football have been linked since the late 19th century when Yale and Princeton played one of the first Thanksgiving football games in 1876. Over time, the tradition grew, and by the early 20th century, joined in on the action. The NFL started scheduling games on Thanksgiving Day in 1920, and it has been a cherished tradition ever since.
For many families, Thanksgiving Day isn’t complete without the sound of the TV broadcasting a football game in the background. The games serve as a perfect excuse to take a break from the turkey carving and enjoy some high-stakes action on the field.
But what makes a Thanksgiving football matchup truly special? Let’s delve into some of the most memorable and thrilling Thanksgiving Day games in NFL history.
The Ice Bowl: Dallas Cowboys vs. Green Bay Packers (1967)
When you think of iconic NFL games, the “Ice Bowl” instantly comes to mind. On December 31, 1967, the Dallas Cowboys and the Green Bay Packers faced off in sub-zero temperatures at Lambeau Field in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The game lived up to its name, with temperatures plummeting to -13°F (-25°C) at kickoff.
The Packers and Cowboys battled fiercely throughout the game, but it was the legendary quarterback Bart Starr who sealed the Packers’ victory with a quarterback sneak in the final seconds. The Packers won 21-17 in a game that has become a symbol of grit, determination, and the enduring appeal of football on Thanksgiving.
The Leon Lett Fumble: Miami Dolphins vs. Dallas Cowboys (1993)
Thanksgiving isn’t just about victories; it’s also about memorable blunders. In 1993, the Dallas Cowboys were leading the Miami Dolphins when they attempted a field goal to seal the game. The kick was blocked, and it seemed like the Cowboys had secured the win.
But that’s when disaster struck. Defensive lineman Leon Lett, who was trying to recover the blocked kick, slipped on the icy field and accidentally touched the ball. The Dolphins recovered, got another chance, and made the field goal, snatching victory from the jaws of defeat.
The “Leon Lett Fumble” is a perfect example of the unpredictable drama that makes Thanksgiving football so entertaining. Even the most skilled athletes can fall victim to the unexpected challenges of playing on a chilly November day.
The Butt Fumble: New York Jets vs. New England Patriots (2012)
No discussion of Thanksgiving football mishaps would be complete without mentioning the infamous “Butt Fumble.” In 2012, the New York Jets faced the New England Patriots, and the game produced one of the most comical and bizarre moments in NFL history.
Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez attempted to scramble but ran headfirst into the backside of his own lineman, Brandon Moore. Sanchez fumbled the ball, and the Patriots’ Steve Gregory returned it for a touchdown. The “Butt Fumble” quickly became an internet sensation and a symbol of Thanksgiving football follies.
Thanksgiving Football In Recent Years
While we’ve looked back at some classic moments, it’s important to stay up-to-date with the latest Thanksgiving football matchups. Each year, the NFL serves up a trio of games that keep fans glued to their screens while trying to balance the consumption of turkey and pumpkin pie.
2021 Thanksgiving Football Game Highlights
In 2021, the Thanksgiving football games lineup included three exciting matchups. Here are the highlights of them individually that you NEED to see!
1. Chicago Bears vs. Detroit Lions: The Lions have been a Thanksgiving staple for years, and this year, they hosted the Chicago Bears. The Bears came out on top, winning 16-14 in a closely contested game.
2. Las Vegas Raiders vs. Dallas Cowboys: The Cowboys are another Thanksgiving mainstay, and they faced the Las Vegas Raiders in a thrilling overtime matchup. The Raiders narrowly won 36-33, with kicker Daniel Carlson sealing the deal with a 29-yard field goal.
3. Buffalo Bills vs. New Orleans Saints: In the nightcap, the Buffalo Bills took on the New Orleans Saints. The Bills dominated, winning 31-6 in a game that showcased their strong defense and efficient offense.
Each year, Thanksgiving football provides fans with a great reason to gather around the TV and enjoy some exciting NFL action. It’s become as much a part of the holiday as cranberry sauce and pumpkin pie.
Looking Forward To Thanksgiving 2023
Now that we’ve reminisced about some classic Thanksgiving football moments and caught up on last year’s games, let’s look ahead to what Thanksgiving 2023 has in store for football fans. The NFL’s scheduling always keeps us guessing, but we can make some educated guesses based on recent trends and rivalries.
1. Detroit Lions: As the traditional Thanksgiving hosts, the Detroit Lions are likely to take the field again in 2023. The Lions have had their share of struggles in recent years, but every Thanksgiving brings renewed hope for their fans.
2. Dallas Cowboys: Similarly, the Dallas Cowboys are a near certainty to play on Thanksgiving Day. The Cowboys have a rich history of Thanksgiving games and have been competitive in recent seasons.
3. Prime-time Matchup: The NFL often schedules a marquee prime-time matchup for Thanksgiving night. This game typically features two strong teams or a classic rivalry, providing a thrilling conclusion to the day’s football festivities.
4. Rivalry Renewed: The NFL loves to capitalize on long-standing rivalries, so expect to see matchups that stir up the passions of fans. Whether it’s the Packers vs. Bears, Patriots vs. Jets, or another storied rivalry, Thanksgiving is the perfect stage for these grudge matches.
5. Surprise Contenders: Of course, there’s always the possibility of surprise contenders emerging in the NFL. Teams that were struggling the previous season can turn things around, making Thanksgiving games more exciting and unpredictable.
As Thanksgiving 2023 approaches, NFL fans can start planning their holiday festivities around these potential matchups. And if you’re lucky enough to attend one of these games in person, you’re in for a treat, as the atmosphere in the stadium is electric on Thanksgiving.
Wrapping It Up!
Thanksgiving and football are a perfect pair, creating cherished memories for families across the United States. From historic games like the “Ice Bowl” to unforgettable blunders like the “Butt Fumble,” Thanksgiving football games have provided countless moments of joy, frustration, and laughter.
As we eagerly anticipate Thanksgiving 2023, we can look forward to more thrilling matchups, classic rivalries, and unexpected twists and turns. Whether you’re a die-hard fan or just enjoy the occasional game, Thanksgiving football games are a tradition that brings people together and adds an extra layer of excitement to the holiday season.
So, as you gather around the Thanksgiving table with your loved ones, don’t forget to pass the turkey, give thanks for the football traditions that bind us, and get ready to say, “Game on!”
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