Happy Thanksgiving everyone. Eat responsibly today and enjoy all of your high school and NFL throughout the day. For the Marks family, Thanksgiving has always been a time of cramming too many people in a small house with the men huddled around the television listening to Pat Summerall and John Madden narrate a Dallas Cowboys game. As Ryan Glasspiegel of The Big Lead points out, there is only one video online of the duo on Thanksgiving, which is a damn shame. Here is a best of that Fox put together that is certainly worth the watch.
The Eagles have played 6 games on Thanksgiving, depending on who you ask. There is this controversy that claims they actually played a Thanksgiving game in 1939, but I’ll let you click on the link if you want to know more about that. So officially, they’ve played 6 games and are an impressive 5-1, with the last game being a 45-14 thrashing at the hands of the Detroit Lions just last season. Let’s take a look at them
— Nov. 23, 1939: Philadelphia Eagles, 17, Pittsburgh Pirates 14
In front of 20,000 fans at Philadelphia Municipal Stadium, the Eagles win their lone game of the season with the 3 point decision over the Pirates. Yes the Pirates! The team changed it’s nickname to the Steelers for the 1940 season. Heisman and Maxwell Trophy Award winner and Eagles number 1 draft pick Davey O’Brien opened the scoring with a 65 yard TD pass to Joe Carter. The Pirates held a 14-10 4th quarter lead, but Jay Arnold scored a 40 yard touchdown on a lateral to give the Eagles their win.
— Nov. 28, 1968: Philadelphia Eagles 12, Detroit Lions 0
It took 29 years before the Eagles finally played on Thanksgiving again and the Eagles win over the Lions was scandalous. The infamous “Mud Bowl” was coined after 36 consecutive hours of rain led to horrendous field conditions at Tiger Stadium in Detroit. The ankle deep mud allowed for only 329 total yards for both teams combined.
The Eagles scored their 12 points via 4 Sam baker field goals. The scandal surrounds the Eagles bringing out dry footballs for Baker to use to kick, breaking league rules. The Eagles win wasn’t elevated though. They came into the game at 0-11 and were positioned to finish with the leagues worst record, which would allow them to draft Heisman Trophy winning running back OJ Simpson. A win the following week against New Orleans set up for the final week of the season and the Santa Claus being booed and pelted with snowballs. Yes, the Santa incident started with the Mud Bowl.
— Nov. 23, 1989: Philadelphia Eagles 27, Dallas Cowboys 0
THE BOUNTY BOWL. The Eagles and Cowboys were on different ends of the spectrum on Thanksgiving Day 1989. The Eagles came into the game with a 7-4 record and were led by a star studded defense and Pro Bowler Randall Cunningham on offense. The Cowboys meanwhile were 1-10 and struggling through Jimmy Johnson’s first season in Dallas.
The Eagles embarrassed the Cowboys, but to add insult to injury, Buddy Ryan allegedly put a bounty on Cowboys kicker Luis Zendejas and quarterback Troy Aikman. Aikman was only sacked twice, but threw 3 interceptions, while Zendejas was knocked silly after a kickoff.
Here’s Ray Didinger via PhiladelphiaEagles.com
In the days leading up to the game, a story circulated in Dallas that Zendejas had received an ominous phone call from Eagles special teams coach Al Roberts. According to Zendejas, Roberts told him that Ryan had instructed his players to go after their former teammate. There was even a claim that Ryan offered a reward, “a bounty,” to any player who took out the kicker.
It seemed far-fetched. Zendejas wasn’t with the Eagles that long – just 20 games – but he did say some critical things about Ryan after his release earlier that season. Zendejas was upset that Ryan didn’t tell him face to face but instead had Roberts deliver the bad news. Zendejas felt it was classless on Ryan’s part and said so. Maybe Ryan didn’t appreciate being called out that way. The details remain murky.
This much is clear. During the Thanksgiving Day game, a rookie linebacker named Jessie Small, laid out the 5-foot-9, 200-pound Zendejas. He had just kicked off and out of nowhere came Small, a second-round draft pick relegated to special teams duty. The 6-foot-2, 220-pound Small hit Zendejas and sent him flying. The kicker was shaken up but not seriously hurt.
The game itself was non-competitive. The Eagles won 27-0 and it wasn’t even that close. When it ended, Zendejas went off on several former teammates as they left the field. He accused them of being part of Ryan’s plot, shouting “You know what you did.”
I was standing a short distance away. I recall Keith Byars looking bewildered and saying, “Luis, I can’t believe you. What are you talking about?”
Jimmy Johnson was famously not happy after the game and Buddy responded like you would expect Buddy to respond.
— Nov. 27, 2008: Philadelphia Eagles 48, Arizona Cardinals 20
I personally have never seen this game. I was working the Pitt/West Virginia Backyard Brawl the following day in Pittsburgh. It was an NFL Network game at night and they didn’t have the NFL Network at the hotel we were staying and we couldn’t find anything open since it was Thanksgiving Night.
Donovan McNabb threw for 4 touchdowns and Brian Westbrook rushed for 110 yards and 4 total TD’s as the Eagles scored the first 21 points of the game to put the Cardinals away early.
Unfortunately, the teams met again in the NFC Championship Game with a different result.
— Nov. 27, 2014: Philadelphia Eagles 33, Dallas Cowboys 10
Mark Sanchez looked like he could finally be the Sanchize! Powered by 2 total TD’s by Sanchez and 4 field goals from Cody Parkey, the Eagles defense pressured Tony Romo early and often, causing 2 interceptions.
— November 26, 2015: Detroit Lions 45 Philadelphia Eagles 14
The Motown Beatdown. This one was ugly. The Eagles were held to 227 total yards and their defense looked like they gave up in the 2nd half. Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford threw for 337 yards and 5 touchdowns. The beginning of the end for Chip Kelly.