Last time the Eagles were in town for Thanksgiving I was a snotty-nosed rookie beat writer for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram and Luis Zendejas was a hunted man.
Bounty Bowl, anyone?
It was 1989 and the Cowboys were atrocious, in the midst of a 1-15 season. Eagles' coach Buddy Ryan turned an otherwise forgettable 27-0 Philadelphia rout in NFL lore when he offered a $200 reward for one of his players taking out the Cowboys' kicker, who earlier in the season was the Eagles' kicker.
Ryan nor Jimmy Johnson nor Zendjeas or even Nick Foles won’t be factors Thursday at AT&T Stadium. But Armando Christian Perez will.
While backup quarterback Mark Sanchez will lead the Eagles into their NFC East showdown against the Cowboys, it will be Perez – aka Pitbull – who will kick off the Salvation Army’s annual Red Kettle campaign with a halftime performance.
In other words, another memorable Thanksgiving is on the menu.
Turkey. Dressing. Relatives and heartburn, both of which are slow to leave. The belt-loosening nap. And, somewhere in between, a Cowboys’ victory.
More times than not, that’s been the menu for Turkey Day as the Cowboys are 29-16-1 on Thanksgiving including a 31-24 over the Raiders sandwiched around a couple Selena Gomez songs. With the teams tied for first place in the division at 8-3, this year the game is the crucial centerpiece. Last time Pitbull performed – in 2011, with Enrique Iglesias – Dan Bailey kicked a last-second field goal for a win over the Dolphins.
For better or worse - Bounty Bowl or not - the Cowboys on Thanksgiving usually provide lasting memories.
10. 11.25.2010: Saints 30, Cowboys 27 – After trailing 20-6 at halftime the Cowboys rally for a 27-23 lead and were on their way to icing the upset before Roy Williams fumbles after a 47-yard catch inside New Orleans’ 10 with three minutes remaining.
9. 11.26.87: Vikings 44, Cowboys 38 (OT) – Darrin Nelson's game-ending run overcomes Danny White's five touchdowns and drops 5-6 Dallas out of the playoffs.
8. 11.24.05: Broncos 24, Cowboys 21 (OT) – After Billy Cundiff misses a 34-yard field goal late in regulation, Denver's Ron Dayne sets up the heartbreak loss with a 55-yard rumble.
7. 11.23.06: Cowboys 38, Buccaneers 10 – Tony Romo's ascension from free agent to superstar gains traction as his franchise-record tying five touchdowns lead Dallas into first place in the NFC East.
6. 11.26.98: Vikings 46, Cowboys 36 – Rookie receiver Randy Moss haunts the team that passed over him in the draft with three touchdowns and 163 yards receiving.
5. 11.22.01: Broncos 26, Cowboys 24 – Dallas' rally from a 26-3 deficit is thwarted when coach Dave Campo inexplicably shuns a two-point conversion attempt after a Reggie Swinton touchdown in the fourth quarter.
4. 11.23.89: Eagles 27, Cowboys 0 – Philly's Buddy Ryan adds to the "Bounty Bowl" humiliation with a $200 reward for one of his players taking out Cowboys' kicker Luis Zendejas.
3. 11.24.94: Cowboys 42, Packers 31 – With Troy Aikman and Rodney Peete sidelined with injuries and his team trailing 17-3, a Cowboys’ backup quarterback named Jason Garrett steps in and throws for 311 yards and leads Dallas to a record 36 second-half points.
2. 11.25.93: Dolphins 16, Cowboys 14 – Ice storm. Leon Lett. Grumble mumble ... Don’t look now, but it’s been 21 years already.
1. 11.28.74: Cowboys 24, Redskins 23 – Replacing an injured Roger Staubach, Abilene Christian rookie Clint Longley - making his first NFL appearance - orchestrates a dramatic and improbable rally, climaxed by a 50-yard touchdown pass to Drew Pearson with 28 seconds remaining.
A native Texan who was born in Duncanville and graduated from UT-Arlington, Richie Whitt has been a mainstay in the Metroplex media since 1986. He’s held prominent roles on all media platforms including newspaper (Fort Worth Star-Telegram, Dallas Observer), radio (105.3 The Fan) and TV (co-host on TXA 21 and numerous guest appearances, including NBC 5). He currently lives in McKinney with his wife, Sybil, and two very spoiled dogs.