November 27, 2008 in Sports

Seahawks make rare appearance

Seattle has played twice on Thanksgiving
By Scott M. Johnson Everett Herald

IRVING, Texas – When it comes to Thanksgiving memories, the Seattle Seahawks probably have many.

Just not on the football field.

The Seahawks’ only two Thanksgiving Day games were blowouts – a 31-14 win at Dallas in 1986 and a 51-7 dismantling by the Cowboys in 1980 – and so they have spent most of their holidays parked in front of a television set like the rest of us.

Over the years, some of the biggest Thanksgiving Day games have been turned in by some of the league’s biggest stars.

Ernie Nevers of the Chicago Cardinals scored six touchdowns against the Chicago Bears in a 40-6 in 1929. O.J. Simpson rushed for 273 yards on Thanksgiving Day 1976, giving him an NFL record that stood for 17 seasons.

Some of the memories are etched into our minds.Who can forget the 1998 game that saw Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman pass for 455 yards, only to lose after some Minnesota rookie named Randy Moss caught three long touchdown passes.

Or when Chicago’s Dave Williams returned the overtime kickoff 95 yards for a touchdown to beat the Detroit Lions in 1980?

Does the name Leon Lett ring a bell? That’s probably because of his Thanksgiving Day gaffe in the Cowboys’ 1993 loss to Miami.

Professional football has been holding Thanksgiving Day games since 1920, when a match between the Akron Pros and Canton Bulldogs featured future Hall of Famers Jim Thorpe and Fritz Pollard. Two-hundred and twenty-three games have been played since then, most of which included the Lions and Cowboys.

Of the Seahawks likely to play today, only eight have participated in a Thanksgiving game in the past: running back Julius Jones (four times, with the Cowboys), kicker Olindo Mare (three times, with Miami), snapper Jeff Robinson (three times, with Dallas), running back T.J. Duckett (twice, with Atlanta and Detroit), punter Jon Ryan (with Green Bay) and wide receivers Deion Branch (with New England), Bobby Engram (with Chicago) and Koren Robinson (with Green Bay).

The most experience player in that group, Jones, is expected to start today against his former team and is hoping to make some Thanksgiving Day memories of his own.

“It’s a big opportunity for me to go back and play against my old teammates,” he said this week. “Hopefully we can go back and get a win.”

Thanksgiving Day games are so rare that even Seahawks coach Mike Holmgren has taken part in only one during his illustrious career.

That came in 1994, when then-Cowboys quarterback (and current Dallas offensive coordinator) Jason Garrett came filled in for injured starter Troy Aikman and threw for 311 yards and two touchdowns to help rally his team past Holmgren’s Packers 42-31.

“Jason Garrett had one of the great games I’ve ever seen any quarterback have – in my life,” Holmgren recalled this week.

And afterward?

“The turkey just doesn’t taste quite the same,” Holmgren said.


Tight end Jeb Putzier was released on Wednesday so that the team could make room for tackle Kyle Williams on the active roster. Williams had been on the practice squad and will add depth to an offensive line that has been hit by injuries.

Thoughts and opinions on this story? Click here to comment >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email