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NFL: Greatest Thanksgiving games of all time

This year the NFL announced it would formally turn Thanksgiving week into a tribute to the late, great John Madden - a legendary figure in coaching and voice in broadcast booths, who helped make the third Thursday in November such a special date on the calendar.

Madden passed away last year, but his iconic voice and humour will live on in the memory of a generation of fans forever and some of the best recent games and performances were immortalised by his comments.

Thanksgiving Day 1998 - The Randy Moss Game

Randy Moss was already on his way to an impressive rookie campaign when his Minnesota Vikings headed south to take on the Dallas Cowboys in week 13 of the 1998 season.

The game clearly meant a lot to the phenomenally talented wide receiver, who had been passed over by 20 pro teams - partly due to apparent 'character concerns' - before the Vikings drafted him earlier that year.

Dallas was the destination Moss had coveted over any other and he was in the mood to show Cowboys fans and officials just what they had missed out on.

He finished the game with three catches and 168 yards, for three touchdowns in a once-in-a-lifetime performance that let the NFL know just how much of an impact he was going to make.

"I don't like to go overboard on the thing," Madden said of Moss, who added another catch for a two-point conversion in a statement 46-36 win for the Vikings.

"This is the second week in a row we've seen Randy Moss. I think, right now, he's the best wide receiver in football."

Thanksgiving Day 1982 - LT's INT game winner

Lawrence Taylor was already the reigning defensive rookie and player of the year before the New York Giants' Thanksgiving Day match-up with the Lions, but this was the game that made him a household name across America.

In a rugged defensive battle, the Giants and Lions were tied at 6-6 heading into the fourth quarter, but Detroit were poised to score the first touchdown of the game after driving down to the Giants three-yard line.

The Lions drew up a play for Horace King that LT read like a book and he jumped the route to intercept before going the length of the field to put New York up by seven points - as it would stay.

He became such a ubiquitous presence in the NFL later in his career that Hollywood beckoned, but at this point he was still relatively unknown outside of the New York market - even by football fans.

But the primetime pick-six changed all that and led Madden to say on the CBS broadcast:  "There are some defensive players who are great players, they play well.

"There are some that are great enough to dominate a game and win by themselves - and that's the type of defensive player Lawrence Taylor is."

Thanksgiving Day 1997 - Barry Sanders and the three-legged Turkey

Legendary Lions running back Barry Sanders led his team to a crushing victory over the Chicago Bears at Pontiac Silverdome in 1997.

Sanders scampered for 167 rushing yards and three touchdowns as the Lions dropped 55 points on the Bears in a total Thanksgiving Day rout.

In front of the national audience, it was probably the day that sealed Sanders' 1997 MVP-campaign.

By this stage Madden was known for giving out turkey legs to the player or players of the game and this year, due to the completeness of the Lions' performance, he had to get creative and hand out three - to Sanders, WR Johnnie Morton, and DT Luther Elliss.

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Thanksgiving Day 2004 - Six of the best from Peyton Manning

Peyton Manning was already a superstar by holiday time in 2004, but a six-TD shredding of the Lions defense to lead the Indianapolis Colts to a blowout victory of 41-9 was one of his most memorable performances.

Nights like this helped Manning go on to break Dan Marino's single-season touchdown record and secure his status as a Hall of Fame QB.

He probably could even have thrown for more than six TDs had the Colts coaching staff not taken him out of the game in the third quarter to spare the Lions more misery and embarrassment.

Thanksgiving Day 2012 - The Butt Fumble

The AFC East rivalry between the New England Patriots and New York Jets is defined by moments like the one that will still haunt Gang Green fans watching this matchup on Thanksgiving Day ten years ago.

With the Jets trailing 14-0 in the second quarter, QB Mark Sanchez attempted a run up the middle and collided with the posterior of New York lineman and teammate Brandon Moore, causing him to fumble.

Patriots' defensive tackle Vince Wilfork provoked the impact - which became one of the most infamous memes during a time where social media was really taking off.

And if it wasn't embarrassing enough for the Jets, a Patriots defensive back Steve Gregory scooped up the loose ball and ran it back 32 yards the other way for a touchdown.

The Jets actually fumbled the ball three times in a span of 52 seconds in 49-19 defeat that was quickly dubbed one of the most humiliating Thanksgiving games in NFL history.

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