The NFL Dallas Cowboys are a fan favorite within the borders of Texas and well beyond. Over a span of more than forty years the team has entertained and performed for its fans at a consistently high level. In addition to their great success on the field, “America’s Team” has been just as successful off the field and is considered to be one of the most valuable sports teams in North America. One of the most anticipated games played by the Cowboys each year is the Thanksgiving Day Classic.
The Thanksgiving Day game also known as the Thanksgiving Day Classic has been part of the history of the NFL for quite some time. Thanksgiving Day games are usually hosted at the home stadiums of the Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys, with some exceptions. In 2006 the Kansas City Chiefs also hosted a Thanksgiving Day game.
The Detroit Lions are the perennial host of the event, having entertained a Thanksgiving Day game every year since 1934. The Lions opponent in the first game was the Chicago Bears who won the game 19-16. To date, the Detroit Lions have played in 65 Thanksgiving Day games. The only time the Lions have not hosted a game on this day was in the year’s from1939 to 1944 due to World War II.
In 1960 the Cowboys joined the National Football League as an expansion team and in 1966 they hosted their first Thanksgiving Day classic at the Cotton Bowl. Since 1966 the Cowboys have hosted a game each year (since 1971 at Texas Stadium) with the exceptions of 1975 and 1977 when the St Louis Cardinals played host. The Cowboys were victorious in their first game in 1966 defeating the Cleveland Browns 26-14.
Thanksgiving Day, NFL football, and Cowboys football go hand in hand. It has become a tradition in the United States to sit down for a turkey dinner with family and friends while keeping one eye on the football game. For some fans, Thanksgiving Day revolves around the NFL’s Thanksgiving Day Classic and their TV. The lucky few that have tickets to the game get to enjoy their Thanksgiving Day cheering on their team, front and center.
Needless to say, there has been some classic Cowboys football played on Thanksgiving Day. In 1974 the Cowboys, trailing their rival Washington Redskins and playing with rookie quarterback, Clint Longley, in for an injured Roger Staubach, managed to steal victory with 28 seconds left when Longley threw a 50-yard touchdown pass. The Cowboys won the game 24 to 23. In 1990 the Cowboys were again matched against the Redskins on Thanksgiving Day. Rookie Emmitt Smith carried the ball 23 times and ran for 132 yards, including two second half touchdowns, as the Cowboys scored the final 17 points of the game to defeat the Redskins 27 to 17. In 1998 the Cowboys were matched against the Minnesota Vikings. Randy Moss, the Vikings rookie wide receiver, caught only three passes that game but they were all for touchdowns as he finished the day with 163 receiving yards. Troy Aikman passed for 455 yards in the same game. Despite Aikman’s efforts, Minnesota went on to defeat the Cowboys 46 to 36.
The Dallas Cowboys and Thanksgiving Day are inextricably linked. You can’t have one without the other. Each year fans of the game look forward to enjoying their football with a side helping of turkey dinner. The Thanksgiving Day Classic has been around for many years – it is part of the NFL and Dallas Cowboys history. Indeed, the Thanksgiving Day Classic has become a tradition in endless households across the United States and North America.