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Dallas Cowboys Top 10 Thanksgiving Memories: New Helmets to New York Giants

From Clint Longley in the clutch to Leon Lett in the snow, the Cowboys on Thanksgiving is always a traditional, appetizing feast.

New helmets. Old friends. Older foes.

The Jones family, the Jonas Brothers, the New York Giants, the Salvation Army and all the other familiar Thanksgiving trimmings centered around - not turkey - but the Dallas Cowboys.

When the Cowboys host their division-rival Giants Thursday afternoon at AT&T Stadium, it will be both a chance to shoot up the NFC standings and to savor one of the richest, most iconic traditions in American sports.

For all but two years - the St. Louis Cardinals took Dallas' place in 1975 and '77 - since former executive Tex Schramm volunteered his team to play on a holiday in 1966, the Cowboys' late-afternoon kickoff has been a Thanksgiving staple. The turkey and dressing. Relatives and heartburn, both of which painfully linger. The post-lunch nap, which is always too short. The Salvation Army's red kettle. The grand halftime musical act, this year featuring the first repeat performer - Kevin, Joe and Nick Jonas, who also played the Cowboys' final Thanksgiving at Texas Stadium in 2008.

More often than not - with a turkey-day record of 31-22-1 - a Cowboys' win is also on the menu.

Dallas, however, has lost its last three Thanksgiving games, including losses to the Buffalo Bills in 2019, Washington in 2020 and 36-33 in overtime a year ago to the Las Vegas Raiders.

With the Giants coming off a home loss to the lowly Detroit Lions and the Cowboys riding high after the largest road win in franchise history - 40-3 over the Minnesota Vikings - this one sets up for Dallas to get fat 'n happy. And to do so in their throwback alternate helmets.

But through the years Thanksgiving has provided indelible memories - good and bad. The Top 10:

10. 2012 - Washington 38, Cowboys 31: Scintillating rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III burns the turkey and splatters the dressing with three second-quarter touchdown passes en route to a bewildering 28-3 halftime lead.

9. 1987 - Vikings 44, Cowboys 38 (OT): Darrin Nelson’s game-ending, 24-yard touchdown run overcomes Danny White’s five touchdowns and drops 5-6 Dallas out of the playoff race.

8. 2005 - Broncos 24, Cowboys 21 (OT): After Billy Cundiff misses a 34-yard field goal late in regulation, Denver’s Ron Dayne sets up the heart-breaking loss with a 55-yard rumble.

7. 2016 - Cowboys 31, Redskins 26: Dallas pushes its win streak to 10 by getting a combined four touchdowns from rookies Dak Prescott and Ezekiel Elliott and surviving a wild 34-point fourth quarter by recovering a late onside kick.

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6. 1998 - Vikings 46, Cowboys 36: Rookie receiver Randy Moss haunts the team that passed him over for Greg Ellis in the draft with three touchdowns and 163 yards receiving.

5. 2011 - Cowboys 20, Dolphins 19: A 10-play drive fueled by Jason Witten and DeMarco Murray eats up the final five minutes and sets up Dan Bailey’s game-winning 28-yard field on the game’s final play.

4. 1989 - Eagles 27, Cowboys 0: Philly’s Buddy Ryan injects some “Bounty Bowl” humiliation with a $200 reward for one of his players taking out Cowboys’ kicker Luis Zendejas.

3. 1994 - Cowboys 42, Packers 31: With Troy Aikman and Rodney Peete sidelined with injuries and his team trailing 17-3, Jason Garrett steps in and throws for 311 yards and leads Dallas to a record 36 second-half points.

2. 1993 - Dolphins 16, Cowboys 14: Ice storm. Leon Lett. You know the rest. Grumble mumble …

1. 1974 - Cowboys 24, Redskins 23: Replacing an injured Roger Staubach, Abilene Christian rookie Clint Longley — making his first NFL appearance — orchestrates a dramatic and improbable rally, climaxed by a 50-yard touchdown pass to Drew Pearson with 28 seconds remaining.


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