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Top 5 most memorable Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day games

One of the best Thanksgiving traditions is football and America’s team has had some memorable moments in history. Let’s take a look at the top five.

Top 5 most memorable Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day games
Jennifer Bubel

Turkey, Macy’s Parade, pumpkin pie, and the Dallas Cowboys. These things just all go together when it’s Thanksgiving Day! This year will be the 55th Thanksgiving Day game for America’s Team, and the Lions’ 83rd Thanksgiving game. We have seen some incredible moments throughout the Cowboys’ Thanksgiving Day series history, so to celebrate this year, let’s take a look at the top five most memorable moments (in chronological order).

1966 - Cowboys 26, Browns 14

Though the Detroit Lions started the NFL Thanksgiving Day tradition, the Cowboys did what they did best, and capitalized on it. In 1966, the Cowboys were on a winning streak and ready to take on the Browns in Cleveland. At halftime, they were down by one, 14-13. But not to worry. A 111-yard rushing effort from RB Don Perkins and TD from Dan Reeves, not to mention four FGs from Danny Villanueva, and the Cowboys were back in business and then some. They’d win the game in front of a record crowd of more than 80,000 fans.

1974 - Dallas 24, Washington 23

If the name Clint Longley rings a bell to you at all, it’s probably because of this game. Washington just THOUGHT they would be able to beat the Cowboys without their star quarterback, Roger Staubach, who they gave a concussion in the third quarter. Alas, they were very wrong. The Cowboys were losing 16-3 and Clint Longley came right in and threw a 35-yard touchdown pass to tight end Billy Joe DuPree, another long hauling touchdown pass and then finally, another huge Hail Mary pass to Drew Pearson in the final minute to seal the game 24-23.

1979 - Oilers 30, Cowboys 24

The Cowboys had become official yearly Thanksgiving Day hosts just one year prior and were prepared to have a nice Texas shootout with the Houston Oilers. Staubach started off hot with a 56-yard touchdown pass to Drew Pearson on the first possession of the game. The Oilers responded immediately though with a 61-yard touchdown run by Earl Campbell on the very next possession. It went back and forth like this for most of the game and at one point Dallas was up by 11 points, but in the end, Houston QB Dan Pastorini threw a 32-yard TD pass and Dallas couldn’t come back from it. Houston’s coach said something claiming they must be Texas’ Team since the Cowboys are America’s Team, but as we know, they moved to Tennessee in the 90s, so…guess that legend died, didn’t it? Who’s the real winner here?

1993 - Dolphins 16, Cowboys 14

Even though the Cowboys lost, this game has to be one of the most memorable games, not just from Thanksgiving Day, but really any day in Cowboys history. A snow-covered field is just not what anyone expects in November in Texas, and a team from Florida and the other from Texas are both going to be confused about how to deal with those conditions. Chaos ensued. Players slipping and sliding all over. Players making snow angels in the end zone. And then there was the RIDICULOUS ending. The Cowboys could and should have won this game, but someone apparently had “brain freeze” from the snowstorm. It was 14-13, Cowboys. The Dolphins attempted a 41-yard field goal. The Cowboys blocked it. The ball slithers away in the ice! Dallas wins!!!…….oh, wait…what’s happening?? Oh, Leon Lett decided to JUMP on the ball and (who’d have thunk) instead watched it spin away to a Dolphins player, who downed it on the 1 to give their kicker another, much closer chance at the win. And so they did. The Dolphins won it 16-14 because of that frozen brain.

2006 - Cowboys 38, Buccaneers 10

Tony Romo got so much hate during his time as a Cowboy, but let’s all remember this game and this era of Romo. It was his rookie season and no one even really knew who he was yet. He started with the Cowboys just one month before during a game against the Giants. He was announced as the starter just two days later and beat the Panthers just four days after that. Then, he went on to beat Peyton Manning and the Colts two weeks after that. And then it was turkey day. Romo made his presence felt in Dallas and hurt for the Bucs with five touchdown passes, two to Terry Glenn, two to Marion Barber, and one to Terrell Owens. Even the Buccaneers coach Jon Gruden was impressed, saying, “I thought it was Aikman out there”.


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