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Patriots Thanksgiving Tradition Comes Down to Butt One, Infamous Play

New England hasn't played on Thanksgiving in 10 years, since it benefitted from the New York Jets' iconic "Butt Fumble."

The New England Patriots played their first game on Thanksgiving in 1984. But when it comes to football on this holiday, the indelible memory is what happened in their last game.

As they prepare to visit the 8-2 Minnesota Vikings Thursday night, the Pats take a three-game Thanksgiving winning streak into the important game with playoff implications. Overall, they are 3-2 on turkey day:

Despite two late touchdowns by quarterback Tony Eason, they lost to the Dallas Cowboys in 1984. In 2000 they were blown out by the Lions in Detroit, in a game known as the NFL debut of quarterback Tom Brady. In 2002 back in Detroit they beat the Lions, thanks to Tedy Bruschi's Pick Six. And in 2010 a polished Brady produced a perfect passer rating (158.3) in throwing for 341 yards and four touchdowns in a 21-point rout.

All those, however, pale in comparison to 2012 and the iconic "Butt Fumble." Happy 10-year anniversary.

In fact, it was a decade ago Tuesday that New York Jets' quarterback Mark Sanchez produced one of the funniest bloopers in NFL history.

With the Patriots already leading 14-0, Sanchez took the snap and turned to hand-off to ... nobody. With his running back sprinting out of the backfield, he attempted to salvage something out the broken play. But as he ran toward the line of scrimmage, he slipped and stumbled right into the butt of offensive lineman Brandon Moore. The resulting - and hilarious - face-to-fanny contact caused a fumble that New England's Steve Gregory scooped up for a walk-in touchdown.

The play was part of a Patriots' onslaught of 21 points in 52 seconds, leading to a 49-19 blowout.

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Ironically, the Jets again played a part is shocking Patriots' play last week. Providing a little Thanksgiving appetizer, New York allowed rookie Marcus Jones to return a punt 84 yards for a touchdown with five seconds remaining.

There have been roughly 300,000 offensive snaps in the NFL since Thanksgiving night 2012, and exactly zero of them remotely as funny as the "Butt Fumble."


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