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Since 1920, Thanksgiving and NFL football have gone hand-in-hand. The past few decades in particular have been a real treat as they included some classic games, amazing performances from colorful characters and John Madden and his gigantic awesome head.
John Madden Introduces The Turducken
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John Madden introduced the world to the Turducken, which is a super sized turkey, stuffed with a duck, stuffed with a chicken. The extremely gluttonous dish pays homage to everything awesome about Thanksgiving and America. Not to be outdone by some run-of-the-mill Turducken, Madden's Turducken would come with eight legs. He'd give out a leg to his MVPs of the Thanksgiving Day games. John Madden on the Madden Cruiser with a Turducken is the definition of swag.
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G.A. Richards, the owner of the Lions in 1920, started the Thanksgiving Day game as a novelty to encourage attendance and the Barry Sanders games are the franchise's highlight. The most phenomenal performance was in 1997 against the Bears, in which Barry ran for 167 yards and three touchdowns in a 55-20 rout.
Classic Performances From Controversial Players
Players love to step up their game under the national spotlight and there is something about Thanksgiving Day that brings out the best in players, especially the more interesting ones.
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In 1976, O.J. Simpson ran for 273 yards in a losing effort as the Bills only managed 14 points. No word if any of that memorabilia was involved in the robbery and kidnapping case that sent OJ to jail.
Randy Moss was a rookie in 1998 when he caught three passes against the Dallas Cowboys. The amazing part was all three were for touchdowns. He racked up 163 yards doing it and scored a sweet Turducken leg from John Madden. Moss went on to notoriety for his mock mooning that blew Joe Buck's mind and incurred a $10,000 fine from the league. When asked how he planned to pay for the fine, Moss stated, "When you're rich, you don't write checks. Straight cash homey."
The Big (Dumb) Cat
In a snowy game in 1993 the Dallas Cowboys had seemingly won when Jimmie Jones blocked the Miami Dolphins' game-winning field goal attempt with only :15 seconds left. Unfortunately, Leon Lett attempted to recover the dead ball and slid into it, causing it to be a live fumble. The Dolphins recovered and then kicked a game winner with :03 seconds remaining. His bonehead moves continued off the field as he was arrested in 2001 for 213 pounds of marijuana. No word if the two events were connected.