1) Randy Moss, WR, Minnesota Vikings:
When I think of the Thanksgiving Day games, the first thought in my mind is Randy Moss. Randy Moss was a phenom during his 1998 rookie season in Minnesota, and on Thanksgiving Day, he made his point to a Dallas Cowboys team that passed on him during the NFL Draft. Randy Moss caught three passes–all of which were over 50-yards touchdowns and captivated fans around the NFL everywhere.
2) Tom Brady, QB, New England Patriots:
During Tom Brady’s first hall of fame career–Brady displayed perfection on Thanksgiving Day in 2010. Tom Brady carved up the Detroit Lions’ defense like a turkey to a tune of 21 of 27 for 341 yards and four touchdowns. A perfect quarterback rating of 158.3 in a 45-24 victory.
3) Peyton Manning, QB, Indianapolis Colts:
In a remarkable performance, Peyton Manning completed 23 of 28 for 236 yards and six touchdowns! The 2004 season would be a magical run for Manning as he would break the record for most touchdown passes in a season with 49.
4) O.J. Simpson, RB, Buffalo Bills:
Even in a defeat, ‘The Juice’ was a dominant force on the football field. O.J. Simpson broke his record for most rushing yards in a game on Thanksgiving Day in 1976 when he rushed for 273 yards against the Detroit Lions.
5) Matthew Stafford, QB, Detroit Lions:
Matthew Stafford and the Detroit Lions tend to wind up on the wrong side of the Thanksgiving Day games. 2015 against the Philadelphia Eagles was not one of these occasions. Stafford lit up the Eagles’ secondary to a tune of 27 of 38 for 337 yards and five touchdowns.
6) Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions:
Calvin Johnson was on the receiving end of many Matthew Stafford touchdown passes and was on Thanksgiving in 2015. Megatron caught three touchdown passes against the Eagles, giving him the record for most touchdown passes on Thanksgiving Day games with ten.
7) Tony Romo, QB, Dallas Cowboys:
Back in 2006, Tony Romo had just climbed to the top of the Dallas Cowboys quarterback position. Some wondered if Romo was the long-term answer under center for Dallas. On Thanksgiving Day, Tony Romo connected on 22 of 29 for 306 yards and five touchdowns. Tony Romo removed any doubt that he was the Cowboys starter from then on in a 38-10 victory over Tampa Bay.
8) Barry Sanders, RB, Detroit Lions:
In what would be Barry Sander’s final Thanksgiving Day game in 1997, he put on quite a display. The elusive one rushed for 167 yards and three touchdowns as he climbed into second place in the all-time rushing list.
9) Clint Longley, QB, Dallas Cowboys:
When readers recognize the name of Clint Longley, they will recall the Thanksgiving Day memories from 1974. Roger Staubach was knocked out of the game in the 3rd quarter. Longley marched the Cowboys back to a tune of three touchdown passes. The final touchdown pass came with just 28 seconds left, giving the Dallas Cowboys the victory 24-23 over Washington.
10) Jason Garrett, QB, Dallas Cowboys:
We move from one Dallas backup quarterback story to another, only this time, it’s important to mention that Jason Garrett was the 3rd string quarterback. In 1994, Garrett unthinkably outdueled Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers 42-31.