Talking All Things Thanksgiving

The Miami Dolphins were set to enjoy the holiday after a practice inside the bubble
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For the ninth consecutive season, the Miami Dolphins are not involved in any of the Thanksgiving Day games around the NFL, though there still was work on the schedule.

The Dolphins last played on Thanksgiving in 2011 when they dropped a 20-19 decision against the Dallas Cowboys, though they certainly could find themselves back in the mix for one of the traditional games if they continue their organizational rise.

On this day, though, the Dolphins players and coaches will be able to enjoy Thanksgiving — as much as can be done in 2020.

“Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday," head coach Brian Flores said. "I try to be honest with them about that and I understand that families are going to come in, but we also try to educate them and tell them that limiting the amount of people you come in contact with just helps the situation. I understand that. I think they understand that.

"At the same time, family is important, too, and we just try to educate them and tell them how important it is to mask and try to keep your distance as much as you can. For our single guys, I can’t definitively tell you what those guys are doing. Again, these are all adults. They’ve got to make decisions and hopefully they’re making good decisions. We’ve been preaching that really the entire year. I think this is a year of sacrifices. I don’t think we’re any different than a lot of other families and people around the country. ... We’ve all got to make sacrifices, especially if we want to continue playing this year.”

Wide receiver DeVante Parker said Wednesday his Thanksgiving plans weren't set yet, though he figured he'd go to somebody's house.

Safety Bobby McCain, meanwhile, talked about what would be on his menu (literally).

“For sure, I got dressing for sure," he said. "Collard greens, a little turkey, a little ham, a little bit of both. I’m not big on the yams. I’m not big on the yams. Some corn, green beans, couple rolls, warm rolls, butter rolls. That’s about it. A nice Sprite. I’ve got to drink so much water, I’ll get me a nice Sprite. (laughter)”

Flores, meanwhile, said this about the Thanksgiving meal at his house: “We’re a turkey and ham family, so you’ll see both on the table. My mom, this was her holiday, so she actually ... I think (wife) Jenny stole a few of her recipes, so I still get a little taste of Mom’s cooking for Thanksgiving. But, yeah, we’re a turkey, ham, stuffing, potatoes, greens; there’s a lot on the table. There’s always too much.”

The Dolphins have played in seven Thanksgiving Day games through the years and have done very well, putting together a 5-2 record in those games. The seven games is tied for 14th-most among NFL teams.

It's worth noting that based on the current schedule rotation system, the Dolphins are scheduled to play at Detroit in two years.

Regardless of whether that's picked as the early Thanksgiving Day game for 2022, the likelihood of the Dolphins returning to action on turkey day will only increase if they continue to have success.

In the meantime, here's a quick look at the Dolphins' Thanksgiving Day games:

Nov. 22, 1973

On their way to a second consecutive Super Bowl championship, the Dolphins took a 9-1 record into their game at Dallas to face a 7-3 Cowboys team. The Dolphins rushed for 157 yards and used their punishing ground game to kill off the final 8:41 of the game with a drive that featured four third-down conversions. The Dolphins scored on a 1-yard run by Larry Csonka and a 45-yard pass from Bob Griese to Paul Warfield. Safety Jake Scott set up Csonka's touchdown with an interception and had a big tackle to complete a goal-line stand in the second quarter.

Nov. 24, 1977

This game was memorable for a few reasons. First, it's one of only two Thanksgiving afternoon games since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970 hosted by somebody other than Dallas or Detroit, in this case the St. Louis Cardinals. Second, it was the game where Hall of Fame quarterback Bob Griese unveiled his glasses. Third was the game itself, which produced what remains to this day the biggest scoring output by one team on Thanksgiving as well as the biggest blowout. The Dolphins were on the positive side of both achievements as they left old Busch Stadium with a 55-14 victory. Griese set a franchise record (later tied by Dan Marino) with six touchdown passes, including three to wide receiver Nat Moore, but the Dolphins actually gained more yards on the ground than in the air that day (295-208).

Nov. 25, 1993

In one of the more famous Thanksgiving Day games in history, the Dolphins recorded an improbable victory at snow-filled Texas Stadium. The Dolphins seemed destined to leave Dallas with a 14-13 loss after Pete Stoyanovich's 40-yard field goal attempt was blocked in the final seconds, but that was before Leon Lett inexplicably attempted to fall on the loose ball after it had moved beyond the line of scrimmage. Lett slipped and knocked the ball forward, and Dolphins center Jeff Dellenbach recovered the loose ball at the 1-yard line with 3 seconds left. Stoyanovich then kicked an 18-yard field goal for a 16-14 Dolphins victory. Beyond the unusual weather conditions, the game had notable moments, such as Keith Byars' 77-yard touchdown run in the first quarter, which he punctuated by doing a snow angel in the end zone. 

Nov. 25, 1999

This was the most painful Thanksgiving Day for the Dolphins by far. Dan Marino returned to the lineup after missing five games with an injury but simply had an off day. He completed only 15 of 36 passes and tied a career high with five interceptions in a 20-0 loss at Dallas. The first score of the game was an interception return for a touchdown by linebacker Dexter Coakley. The Cowboys head coach that day, incidentally, was none other than Chan Gailey, currently in the midst of his second stint as Dolphins offensive coordinator.

Nov. 27, 2003

The Dolphins wore throwback uniforms for this late-afternoon game in Dallas, and they blew out the Cowboys 40-21 thanks to big performances by quarterback Jay Fiedler and wide receiver Chris Chambers. The two hooked up for three touchdowns to stake the Dolphins to a 37-14 lead through three quarters. Fiedler had almost as many TD passes (3) as incompletions (4) on the day when he posted a near-perfect 156.0 passer rating that earned him AFC Offensive Player of the Week honors. The defense chipped in with five sacks, including one by Adewale Ogunleye that produced a fumble that was returned for a touchdown by Jason Taylor, and three interceptions, one of which was returned 70 yards by safety Sammy Knight.

Nov. 23, 2006

This one was for Joey Harrington. Selected third overall in the 2002 draft by the Lions, Harrington returned to Detroit for this Thanksgiving Day game as the Dolphins' starting quarterback and enjoyed a happy homecoming. He threw three touchdown passes — two to Marty Booker and one to Randy McMichael — to lead the way to a 27-10 victory. The lone Detroit touchdown was scored by tight end Dan Campbell, the same Dan Campbell who would serve as Dolphins interim head coach for the final 12 games of the 2015 season.

Nov. 24, 2011

The Dolphins were riding a three-game winning streak following an 0-7 start to the season when they went to Cowboys Stadium and put up a good fight against a Dallas team that also was carrying a three-game win streak. Dallas won 20-19 on a 28-yard field goal by Dan Bailey on the last play of the game, the third lead change in the fourth quarter. The Dolphins got a 35-yard touchdown pass from Matt Moore to Brandon Marshall along with four field goals by Shayne Graham.