NFL Thanksgiving Day all-time best players by the numbers: Tony Romo, Barry Sanders lead impressive group

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The NFL has a longstanding custom of Thanksgiving Day football, folklore that has actually been used the vacation every year given that 1945 (the custom in fact began in 1920, however was stopped from 1941 to 1944 due to World War II). The Detroit Lions and the Dallas Cowboys have actually hosted a Thanksgiving Day video game for over 40 seasons, with the Lions hosting a Thanksgiving Day video game every year given that 1945 and the Cowboys given that 1978. Detroit in fact began hosting Thanksgiving Day video games in 1934, however stopped briefly the custom from 1939 to 1945 due to World War II. The Cowboys began in 1966. 

Since the Lions and the Cowboys have actually hosted video games on the Thanksgiving slate every year given that 1978, it’s not a surprise their gamers own the all-time records on Thanksgiving in a number of classifications. The NFL included a Thanksgiving night video game in 2006, and have actually usually pinned the vacation’s marquee match in the primetime slot, so some standout efficiencies have actually emerged from the nightcap. 

In today’s “By The Numbers,” we provide thanks to the league’s all-time leaders on Thanksgiving. 

Most Passing Yards on Thanksgiving (perpetuity)

  1. Matthew Stafford (Lions) — 3,000
  2. Tony Romo (Cowboys) — 2,338
  3. Troy Aikman (Cowboys) — 2,174

Most Passing TDs on Thanksgiving (perpetuity)

  1. Tony Romo (Cowboys) — 18
  2. Matthew Stafford (Lions) — 18
  3. Bobby Layne (Lions) — 14
  4. Danny White (Cowboys) — 14

Most Rushing Yards on Thanksgiving (perpetuity)

  1. Emmitt Smith (Cowboys) — 1,178
  2. Barry Sanders (Lions) — 931
  3. Tony Dorsett (Cowboys) — 723
  4. Walter Payton (Bears) — 423

Most Rushing TDs on Thanksgiving (perpetuity)

  1. Emmitt Smith (Cowboys) — 13
  2. Tony Dorsett (Cowboys) — 9
  3. Barry Sanders (Lions) — 8
  4. Joique Bell (Lions) — 5

Most Receiving Yards on Thanksgiving (perpetuity)

  1. Jason Witten (Cowboys) — 903
  2. Herman Moore (Lions) — 834
  3. Calvin Johnson (Lions) — 769
  4. Michael Irvin (Cowboys) — 722

Most Receiving TDs on Thanksgiving (perpetuity)

  1. Calvin Johnson (Lions) –11
  2. Cloyce Box (Lions) — 7
  3. Michael Irvin (Cowboys) — 6

Not unexpected to see Cowboys and Lions gamers control this list — given that both groups play on the vacation every year — despite the fact that it’s an excellent appearance back at the gamers who have actually played a great deal of video games on Thanksgiving. Tony Romo has actually had lots of standout efficiencies on Thanksgiving, having 3 video games with three-plus goal hands down the vacation. Romo has actually tossed 18 goal passes to 11 interceptions in 10 Thanksgiving begins.

Barry Sanders has 4 130-plus backyard efficiencies on Thanksgiving, conserving his finest video games for the vacation. Even though Sanders balanced 4.47 lawns per continue Thanksgiving, the Lions went 7-3 in his 10 video games played. Smith has 8 100-plus backyard hurrying efficiencies on Thanksgiving in 12 video games, the most noteworthy when he ran for 144 lawns on 23 brings in his last Thanksgiving Day video game for the Cowboys in 2002 — at the age of 33. 

Johnson had simply one video game on Thanksgiving where he didn’t have a getting goal — in 9 starts. Moore has 3 125-plus backyard getting video games on the vacation, the most noteworthy being the 7 catch, 169-yard efficiency versus the Buffalo Bills in 1994. 

Let’s take a glimpse on top single-game efficiencies on Thanksgiving.

Most Passing Yards on Thanksgiving (single video game)

  1. Troy Aikman (Cowboys, 1998) — 455
  2. Kirk Cousins (Washington, 2016) — 449
  3. Tony Romo (Cowboys, 2012) — 441
  4. Matthew Stafford (Lions, 2012) — 441
  5. Philip Rivers (Chargers, 2017) — 434

Most Passing TDs on Thanksgiving (single video game)

  1. Peyton Manning (Colts, 2004) — 6
  2. Bob Griese (Dolphins, 1977) — 6
  3. Matthew Stafford (Lions, 2015) — 5
  4. Tony Romo (Cowboys, 2006) — 5

Most Rushing Yards on Thanksgiving (single video game)

  1. O.J. Simpson (Bills, 1976) — 273
  2. Bob Hoernschemeyer (Lions, 1950) — 198
  3. Earl Campbell (Oilers, 1979) — 195
  4. Walter Payton (Bears, 1981) — 179
  5. Barry Sanders (Lions, 1997) — 167

Most Receiving Yards on Thanksgiving (single video game)

  1. Andre Johnson (Texans, 2012) — 188
  2. Lance Alworth (Chargers, 1964) — 185
  3. Anthony Carter (Vikings, 1987) — 184
  4. Amari Cooper (Cowboys, 2018) — 180
  5. Don Maynard (New York Titans, 1960) — 179

A couple of other nuggets from standout Thanksgiving Day efficiencies:

  • Sterling Sharpe has the most getting goals on Thanksgiving with 4, which he achieved for the Green Bay Packers in 1994. 
  • Cameron Jordan has the most sacks on Thanksgiving with 4, reached in 2018 when the New Orleans Saints dealt with the Atlanta Falcons.
  • No gamer has actually ever taped 3 interceptions on Thanksgiving. 
  • Five gamers have actually hurried for 3 goals on Thanksgiving: Jim Braxton (Cardinals), DeMarco Murray (Cowboys), Ed Podolak (Chiefs), Barry Sanders (Lions), and Emmitt Smith (Cowboys) — Smith achieved the task two times (1996 and 1998). 
  • Tom Brady (Patriots) and Dave Krieg (Lions) are the only 2 beginning quarterbacks with an ideal passer ranking of 158.3 on Thanksgiving (minimum 20 efforts). Krieg did it in 1994 and Brady in 2010. 
  • Simpson’s 273 hurrying lawns were an NFL record at the time. He likewise ran for 2 ratings in a loss to the Lions in 1976. 
  • Randy Moss (21 years, 286 days) is the youngest gamer to capture a goal on Thanksgiving (1998). Donald Driver (34 years, 297 days), is the earliest. Ezekiel Elliott (21 years, 125 days) is the youngest gamer to run for a goal on Thanksgiving (2016) while Marcus Allen (36 years, 247 days) is the earliest (1996). 
  • Drew Brees (39 years, 311 days) is the earliest gamer to toss a goal hand down Thanksgiving (2018) while Robert Griffin III (22 years, 284 days) is the youngest (2012). 

The NFL has lots of custom on Thanksgiving, in addition to more records made to be broken over the coming years (some perhaps in 2022). Enjoy the football and have a delighted Thanksgiving! 



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