Florham Park, NJ – When sitting down at the table with everyone, remember the three F’s of Thanksgiving: Family, Food, and Football.
The NFL began the tradition of playing two football games on Thanksgiving Day since 1920, when the NFL was first established. The Detroit Lions and Dallas Cowboys host every year while a third game was added in 2006 with two random teams. The New York Jets have a history of playing on Thanksgiving Day, having played eight times since their days as the New York Titans. Let’s take a look back at the games the Jets played on the fourth Thursday in November.
November 22, 2012- Patriots 49, Jets 19
This game will forever be engraved into the memories of Jets fans. Not only was this a humiliating loss to divisional-rival New England Patriots, but this was also the game of the “Butt Fumble”. Down 14-0 in the second quarter, the Jets lined up in an I-formation following a touchback. Mark Sanchez, intending to hand the ball off to fullback Lex Hilliard, turned the wrong way and was forced to scramble the ball. He ran into Brandon Moore and then fumbled the ball, which was recovered by the Patriots and returned for a touchdown. The fumble even caught NBC color commentator Cris Collinsworth off-guard during the game when he said , “I have never seen this before in my life.” Neither have Jets fans, Cris, neither have they.
November 25, 2010- Jets 26, Bengals 10
Thanksgiving Day football hasn’t been completely bad for the Jets. The Cincinnati Bengals were looking to avenge their AFC Wild Card Round loss to the Jets the previous season. It wasn’t meant to be for the Bengals, as the Jets limited them to one touchdown, a five-yard-pass from Carson Palmer to Jordan Shipley. For the Jets, Brad Smith was the star of the game. He ran the ball for 53 yards to the end zone in the second quarter, putting them out front 10-3. Smith followed that up with a kickoff-return touchdown in the fourth quarter that extended the lead to 24-10. One of the better performances for the Jets on Thanksgiving.
November 22, 2007- Cowboys 34, Jets 3
This matchup against the Dallas Cowboys was the first game for the Jets on Thanksgiving in over 20 years. The Cowboys dominated both offensively and defensively. On the ground, Marion Barber had a rushing touchdown along with a 103 yards. In the air, Tony Romo threw two touchdown passes on the way to 195 yards. Kellen Clemens struggled as he was intercepted by Terence Newman who returned it for a touchdown. The only score for the Jets was a 40-yard field goal by Mike Nugent. This is one game the Jets would like to forget.
November 28, 1985- Lions 31, Jets 20
Having one of their better seasons in 1985, the Jets (9-3) visited the Detroit Lions (6-6). The Jets played better in this game than any of the other Thanksgiving games mentioned. Quarterback Ken O’Brien threw for 261 yards and two touchdowns while halfback Johnny Hector rushed for 114 yards. However, the Jets had trouble containing the Lions’ defense. Defensive lineman William Gay led the Lions’ defensive line in sacks with three of the Lions’ seven. In addition, Eric Hipple threw for 269 yards and four touchdowns to led Detroit past New York. The Jets went on to the playoffs later that year, but taking this kind of loss is hard.
November 23, 1972- Lions 37, Jets 20
Broadway Joe Namath’s first Thanksgiving game didn’t end well. He led the Jets’ comeback in the third quarter to tie the game at 20, but the Lions’ ran away with the game in the fourth quarter, scoring 17 points. Namath ended the day 9-22 for 165 yards, a touchdown, and an interception. Meanwhile, the Jets’ running backs had a solid day. Both Cliff McClain and John Riggins rushed for over a 100 yards, but it wasn’t enough to beat the Lions.
Before New York rebranded themselves from the Titans to the Jets, they played three Thanksgiving games, all of which they won. Their first Thanksgiving game was the Dallas Texans, which they won 41-35. The following year, they beat the Buffalo Bills 21-14, and in 1962, they edged the Denver Broncos 46-45. The overall record for New York on Thanksgiving stands at 4-4. However, the Jets will have to get over the food coma and get ready for the Carolina Panthers on Sunday.
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