Football on Thanksgiving has been a longstanding tradition in the United States, dating back to 1920 in the NFL. From Red Grange's professional debut to Leon Lett's biggest gaffe, we take a look at some of the most memorable Turkey Day moments.
1925: GRANGE MAKES NFL DEBUT
In a 0-0 tie between the Chicago Bears and cross-town rival Cardinals, the biggest bright spot was Harold "Red" Grange making his NFL debut. Just days after ending his collegiate career, Grange suited up for the Bears and totaled 92 yards from scrimmage, 56 yards on punt returns, threw six passes and even had an interception.
1929: NEVERS SAY NEVER
Ernie Nevers scored every one of the Chicago Cardinals' points (a then-NFL record six touchdowns), including four extra points as they defeated the Bears, 40-6.
1974: LONGLEY GOES LONG
Cowboys rookie Clint Longley got his chance when Roger Staubach was injured in the third quarter. With Dallas down 16-3, the little-known Longley chucked the ball downfield a few times to set the Cowboys up for an epic comeback. With 28 seconds left, he threw a 50-yard TD to Drew Pearson for the win.
1976: O.J. SIMPSON’S BIG DAY
Buffalo Bills running back O.J. Simpson ran for a then-Thanksgiving Day record 273 yards as the Bills fell to the Lions, 27-14.
1980: BEARS WIN FIRST OT THANKSGIVING GAME
Facing a 17-3 deficit heading into the fourth quarter, the Bears forced the Lions into overtime. Bears kick returner Dave Williams then returned the overtime kickoff 95 yards for a 23-17 win. To this day, it's one of only two NFL games to end on a kick return touchdown.
1993: LETT’S BIG MISTAKE COSTS COWBOYS
In a rare snowstorm at Texas Stadium, the Cowboys held a 14-13 lead over the Dolphins. Miami went for the field goal with 15 seconds left. Dallas blocked it, then defensive tackle Leon Lett went after the ball, slipping and sliding across the snow-covered field. Lett's gaffe gave the Dolphins a second chance for a chip-shot field goal, which Pete Stoyanovich drilled for the win.
1998: CONTROVERSIAL COIN TOSS
The Steelers and Lions went into overtime tied at 16. As the road team, Pittsburgh got to call it in the air. Steelers captain Jerome Bettis called tails, but referee Phil Luckett ruled that Bettis called heads, giving the Lions the ball. Detroit marched down field and won the game on a field goal.
1998: MOSS SCORES THREE TDS
Randy Moss only had three catches in the Vikings' win over the Cowboys, but all three went for 50-plus yard touchdowns.
2004: MANNING TIES TD RECORD
In his first Thanksgiving Day game, the Colts' Peyton Manning tied an NFL record with six touchdown passes in a 41-9 win over the Lions.
2010: SHOELESS BRAD FROM YOUNGSTOWN, OHIO
No shoe, no problem for Brad Smith. With a 17-10 lead over the Bengals in the fourth quarter, the Jets' Smith returned a kickoff 89 yards for a touchdown. If it wasn't a great enough play, Smith lost his left shoe on the 50-yard line and still outran defenders.
2012: TEXANS' FAKE TOUCHDOWN
Houston running back Justin Forsett's elbow and knee touched the ground on contact, but he got up and ran for a touchdown in the third quarter. The call on the field was a touchdown, but since Detroit coach Jim Schwartz threw the challenge flag, by rule, the call could not be reviewed. The touchdown counted, and Houston won in overtime, 34-31.
Nov. 22, 2012: 'The Butt Fumble'
The Jets fumbled on back-to-back plays, both of which were returned for touchdowns, during a 49-19 beating at the hands of the New England Patriots on Thanksgiving Day at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.