Are you ready for some ... pork? Hey, you can have anything you want on Thanksgiving. Yes, the traditional roast turkey is preferred by most. But as they say these days, there's nothing wrong with going off the board. And a little pigskin (preferably crispy) sounds pretty tasty.
Hey, we all have to eat. So enclosed is our Turkey Day menu, featuring seven courses and stuffed with some odds and ends. In other words, you can always expect the unexpected when two teams have limited time to get ready for a football game and we’ll give you plenty to chew on here.
It's usually a pretty good thing when you unexpectedly run into someone you know during the holidays. Usually. That certainly wasn't the case a year ago on Thanksgiving night at MetLife Stadium, when Jets quarterback Mark Sanchez got more than he was expecting. That would be teammate and right guard Brandon Moore, whom Sanchez decided to visit on the spur of the moment. Quarterback down, ball out and a recovery for a touchdown by the New England Patriots, who won the game, 49-19 ... no ifs or ands but certainly a butt.
Except in this case, these were birds of prey. The Eagles, in the fourth year of the Buddy Ryan Era in the City of Brotherly Love (Buddy Love?), were coming off an NFC East title in 1988 and on their way to another postseason appearance in '89. Meanwhile, it was Jimmy Johnson's first season in Dallas and his team was on its way to a 1-15 finish. But this afternoon at Texas Stadium, which concluded with a 27-0 Philadelphia win, was known for Ryan's rumored "bounty" on both rookie quarterback Troy Aikman and one-time Eagles kicker Luis Zendejas. Bounties? Go figure ...
Understand that we are not making light of the fact that Detroit Lions defensive tackle Ndamukong Suh did the inexplicable on Thanksgiving Day in 2011. But why the standout performer opted to accidentally show Green Bay Packers offensive lineman Evan Dietrich-Smith the sole of his shoe is indeed baffling. Last season on Turkey Day, Suh was accused of similar behavior when he wished Texans quarterback Matt Schaub a happy holiday. And I'm sorry I can't predict what will happen at Ford Field this year, OK? Suh me.
The Dallas Cowboys were defending Super Bowl champions in 1993 and Jimmy Johnson's 7-3 team was hosting an 8-2 Miami Dolphins’ club playing without quarterback Dan Marino, who was lost for the season back in October. Still, Don Shula's club looked like it would pull out a two-point win when kicker Pete Stoyanovich lined up for a game-winning field goal. The kick was blocked, but Cowboys defensive tackle Leon Lett wouldn't let it be. He went to recover the ball, touched it but failed to recover, Miami got another a chance and Stoyanovich kicked the game-winner in a 16-14 victory. What were the ramifications? The Dolphins failed to win another game that season and the Cowboys didn’t lose, all the way to capturing Super Bowl XXVIII.
O.J. Simpson is one of the most polarizing figures in the history of American sports. Of course, there was a time where that sentiment was related to the football field. It was 40 years ago (1973) that the Pro Football Hall of Famer gained 2,003 yards for the Buffalo Bills, an unprecedented feat at the time. Three seasons later at the Pontiac Silverdome, Simpson ran for a record 273 yards against the Detroit Lions -- an NFL record at the time. It remains the sixth highest rushing total in an NFL game. Of course, the performance is also notable for another reason. It's the most rushing yards gained by a player in a game in a loss.
The Lions began hosting games on Thanksgiving in 1934 and have done it every year since 1945. And no doubt it is the one day that teams love coming to the Motor City to play, especially as of late. It’s the Lions than have been gobbled up at home for nearly a decade, losing nine consecutive games on Turkey Day dating back to 2004 ... by a combined score of 319-144. It's also worth noting that five of those nine setbacks came by at least 20 points.
Was it heads or tails? It seems like that even 15 years later, we never seem to get the real version of what happened that afternoon at the Pontiac Silverdome in 1998. What call did Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis make on the coin flip in overtime and did Phil Luckett get it right or wrong? Pittsburgh lost that day but seven years later the workhorse runner returned to his native city of Detroit and helped the Steelers capture Super Bowl XL.
And here is this year's triple-header of NFL action on Turkey Day:
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