Thanksgiving is a time when friends and family come together, take part in the sacrificing of a wild bird and have fellowship around the glowing shrine that is a big screen television to watch football all day long. 20 years ago, while trying to recover from a food coma as a wayward 10 year old who thought he could hang with the adults at The Big Table*, I was sitting on my grandmother’s couch watching the Dallas Cowboys and the Miami Dolphins do battle in the snow.
On November 25th, 1993, Dan Marino was still showing the world that he was the best quarterback alive. His Dolphins came into the 8-2 on the season, and a trip to Cowboys Stadium, with snow flurries coming through that big hole in the sky, provided the national spotlight we all craved. Dallas was 7-3 at this point and were chugging along their path to try and repeat as Super Bowl champions. Could this be the two combatants in the big game in February? (“Nope,” said the Buffalo Bills. Then this happened in Super Bowl XXVIII.)
The game’s final seconds saw the Cowboys up 14-13 with just seconds remaining. Miami’s Pete Stoyanovich lined up for the potential game winning field goal. Then, well, you know what happened.
Bewilderment. Confusion. Chaos. Anger. Celebration.
ESPN got some of the key players in that game 20 years ago to discuss what happened, and it’s definitely worth the watch. Jimmy Johnson and Emmitt Smith’s faces in this piece are quite hilarious. It’s sad that that Leon Lett’s known for two plays in his career, this one and that other one with Don Beebe in the Super Bowl, but Lett was easily one of the best defensive tackles of his generation. We remember this play because of how outlandish it will always seem, but we’re thankful to Leon for giving us memories that are tied to his fumble too.
Because I’ll never forget the first time I got to sit at The Big Table.
Have safe travels this Thanksgiving holiday weekend, and try to save me a piece of that delicious sweet potato pie.
*Because there are few things in life that will make someone feel grown like being allowed to sit with the adults at the big dining room table. That makeshift card table that your uncle sets up every year for the kids to eat at is like junior varsity. You get paper plates, the crappy napkins and rudimentary conversations about X-Men and Legos. At the big table? You get to hear your Uncle tell all the salacious stories about his past experiences with women. I call this, reaching puberty.