Bills running back O.J. Simpson set the bar higher than any running back ever has on Thanksgiving back in 1976. Simpson gave the Lions’ number one ranked defense nightmares, 273-yards worth. (a then single-game NFL record) The Lions were able to stop everyone else on Simpson’s team, winning 27-14. (Photo/Getty Images)
Thanksgiving football in the 1990s meant one thing for sure: Barry Sanders was going to put on a show. Sanders ran circles around the Chicago Bears in ’97, scampering for 167 yards and three touchdowns. The spectacularly exciting runs propelled Sanders’ Lions to a 55-20 thrashing. (Photo By Gregory Shamus/Getty Images)
After enduring the first benching of his veteran career the week before, McNabb responded triumphantly. In the ‘Thanksgiving Classic’, McNabb carved the Arizona Cardinals for 260 yards, four touchdowns and a QB rating of 121.7. His Eagles won 48-20. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
It’s hard to believe Randy Moss was still a rookie when he lit up the Cowboys on Thanksgiving Day in 1998. Moss had a bad taste in his mouth since the ‘Boys skipped over Moss in the draft earlier that year. On this day, the receiver caught only three passes – all for touchdowns and 163 yards to boot. The Vikings won 46-36. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)
Sometimes, it just takes one play to steal the show. Lawrence Taylor’s 97-yard pick six on Thanksgiving against the Lions in 1987 was one of those plays. Taylor’s interception proved to be the game-winning score in a hard fought 13-6 win over the Lions. (Photot: Rick Stewart/Allsport)
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Each year, Thanksgiving is a time families and friends get together over a great meal. But neck and neck with food on the priority list is good ‘ol fashioned football.
The NFL‘s Dallas Cowboys and Detroit Lions have been Turkey Day staples more than any other NFL franchise since the league began playing its games on the holiday back in 1920. In 2006, the league added a third slate of games which gave other teams the opportunity to shine on a national stage.
Hall-of-Fame running back Barry Sanders was a Thanksgiving day legend. Sanders’ nimble feet and breakaway speed carried his Detroit Lions throughout his illustrious career. On Thanksgiving, non-Lions fans had almost a guaranteed chance to see why.
Sanders, along with fellow Hall-of-Fame running back O.J. Simpson, earn well-deserved spots on theGrio‘s slideshow of memorable Thanksgiving Day performances.
Other stars making the cut include Eagles quarterback Donovan McNabb, Giants punisher Lawrence Taylor and Vikings receiver Randy Moss.
Check out why in our slideshow above!
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