Miami Dolphins History on Thanksgiving

By Craig Ballard

I want to extend a Happy Thanksgiving to you Dolfans! Today’s article is going to be a look at the Miami Dolphins and their history when playing on turkey day.

Some of Miami’s best, and worst, performances have come on Thanksgiving. Overall they are 5-2.

1973 – Bob Griese had a very small impact, but the Dolphins did beat the Dallas Cowboys 14-7.

1977 – Miami played a strong St. Louis Rams team. Miami ran up 295 yards on the ground (wow) in a 55-14 beat-down. Griese tossed 6 TDs (wow). This was a historic day for the Dolphins organization with all kinds of franchise records set in this game.

1993 – By far my favourite Dolphins game ever. As a high-schooler, I skipped class to watch this afternoon tilt vs the Cowboys. Don Shula was fresh off becoming the NFL all-time winningest coach, and this was a matchup with the defending champs. Steve DeBerg was the QB for Miami as every other QB was injured at this time.

The field was covered in snow, which is always a cool visual for a football game in my opinion. In my lifetime, I have watched Ricky Williams, Reggie Bush, and Ronnie Brown have great performances for Miami, but my all-time favorite run was FB Keith Byars rumbling for 77 yards for a TD early in this game. I have great memories of cheering wildly as Byars made snow angels in the end-zone!

This game has one of the most famous endings in NFL history. Pete Stoyanovich had a 55-yard game winning attempt blocked. We remember Cowboys owner Jerry Jones celebrating on the sideline (that is what the tv was showing) and then all of a sudden you hear Dan Dierdorf shouting “wait a minute…wait a minute” as Leon Lett (fresh off his Super Bowl blunder of getting stripped at the goal-line by Don Beebe) had slid into the ball. He lost his footing in the snow, but all other Cowboys were waiving off each other wildly to make sure no one touched the ball which by rule would make it a live ball…Lett messed it up anyway.

Ed Hochuli was in good shape back then, but hardly the muscles from Brussels he is these days. He huddled with his crew and then announced that it was Miami’s ball on the 1 yard line. Stoyanovich made the ensuing 16 yard FG to win the game (closer than an extra point!).

In another crazy turn coming out of that game Miami would not win again in ’93, while the Cowboys would not lose again en route to their 2nd straight Super Bowl Title.

1999 – Nightmare game for Dolfans as the Cowboys smoked the ‘Phins 20-0. Dan Marino was coming off a injury layoff and he was unrecognizable in this game. He tossed an amazingly high 5 INTs (1 was returned for a TD). Again we would see Miami struggle mightily coming out of the Thanksgiving game as they limped to the finish line with just 1 win in their final 5 games (8-2 plummeted to 9-7).

2003 – Great day for Dolfans as Jay Fiedler-to-Chris Chambers combined for 3 TD passes. Jason Taylor returned a fumble to the house, and Williams went for over 100 yards on the ground in a 40-21 drubbing of the Cowboys.

2006 – Revenge game for former Detroit Lions QB Joey Harrington as he led the Dolphins to a 27-10 victory. I watched this game at work and it started poorly. Detroit got out to a 10-0 lead, but Miami scored the games final 27 points.

2011 – The Cowboys won this game 20-19. In very typical Tony Sparano fashion the ‘Phins settled for FG attempts waaaay too often in this one. FG kicker Shayne Graham played 2 games for Miami, and this was one of them. He was 4 for 5 in this loss.

I hope that this trip down memory lane was a good read for you, and I hope you enjoy your Thanksgiving!

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