As we all know, Thanksgiving Day is a time for family, overeating, and perhaps thinking about the things that make you grateful. But it’s also one of the best sports days of the year, especially since the NFL started scheduling a triple-header and not just a double-header. Of course, we also get a healthy dose of college football on Thanksgiving too. That got us thinking about some of the most memorable sports moments that we’ve been grateful enough to witness on Thanksgiving Day.
Butt Fumble (2012)
Obviously, this wasn’t a great moment, but it surely falls under the category of memorable. Keep in mind that the Jets were still a threat to the Patriots at this point, having reached the AFC Championship Game in two of the previous three years.
But New England’s 49-19 Thanksgiving Day win was highlighted by Mark Sanchez running face-first into the rear end of an offensive lineman and fumbling the ball. Imagine, your most embarrassing moment was on national TV on Thanksgiving. Needless to say, Sanchez will never live it down.
Egg Bowl Instant Classic (1999)
Every now and then, Mississippi State and Ole Miss deliver us a memorable Thanksgiving Day game. In 1999, the Rebels appeared to be cruising to a win. Down 20-6, Mississippi State rallied in the fourth quarter to tie the game at 20 apiece. Ole Miss should have run out the clock and went to overtime.
But with 20 seconds left, Romero Miller attempted a deep pass that MSU intercepted and brought back to the Ole Miss 27-yard line. The interception set up a game-winning 44-yard field goal, giving the Bulldogs the last 17 points of the game and an epic comeback win.
Barry Owns the Bears (1997)
Nobody watching will ever forget the performance Barry Sanders put on against the Bears on Thanksgiving. On 19 carries, Sanders ran for 167 yards and three touchdowns, juking Chicago defenders out of their shoes.
Detroit won the game 55-20 with Sanders playing perhaps the most memorable game of his career.
Nebraska and Oklahoma’s Game of the Century (1971)
How often do we get the no. 1 and no. 2 teams in college football playing each other on Thanksgiving? Well, we did in 1971 in a game dubbed the “Game of the Century.” Once up 28-17, Nebraska trailed 31-28 late in the contest.
But running back Jeff Kinney powered his way into the end zone with 1:38 left to give the Cornhuskers a 35-31 lead. Nebraska won the game, keeping their undefeated record intact, and eventually went on to win its second straight national championship.
Leon Lett Slips in the Snow (1993)
It’s hard to imagine any Thanksgiving moment every topping this. For starters, the snow at Texas Stadium was a once-in-a-lifetime occurrence. Then there’s Lett’s ridiculous decision to dive on top of a Miami punt instead of letting the ball come to rest.
Lett slipped, touching the ball to make it live, which allowed the Dolphins to recover. That set up Miami’s third field goal of the second half, giving the Dolphins a 16-14 win that will forever be Lett’s fault.