Tuesday, April 16, 2024

The Most Memorable Moments from NFL Games During the Festive Season

The NFL may have a tradition of holding games at Thanksgiving, but it’s also become something of a tradition for the NFL to schedule some of its festive season games for Christmas Day. At one time, there were complaints about games taking place on the big day and the organization changed the Christmas schedule to avoid it. In 2004, however, it increased the frequency of games being played on Christmas Day. After families have tucked into their turkey and opened all their presents, they’ve been able to sit down and watch some memorable encounters on the grid on December 25th and other days of the festive holiday. Below is a look at some of the seasonal clashes that have etched themselves into the memories of NFL fans and others.  

San Diego Chargers 42 vs Tennessee Titans 17

As you can tell from the scoreline, the boys from San Diego played their opposition from Tennessee off the grid, a result that put the Titans out of playoff contention. The sheer dominance of the Chargers made the game nothing to write home about. What made this game on Christmas Day of 2009 stand out was the individual brilliance of Chris Johnson for the Titans. The running back ran for more than 142 yards and passed for 100 yards for the 10th consecutive game, against a Chargers club that was having a fabulous season under Norv Turner and quarterback Philip Rivers.

Kansas City Chiefs 31 vs Oakland Raiders 30

On Christmas Day of 2004, the Chiefs squared off against an AFC rival, the Oakland Raiders. Despite it being the season of goodwill, the Raiders weren’t feeling charitable, and things weren’t going well for the Kansas side. Lawrence Tynes had failed to kick two field goals early in the game, whereas at the opposite end of the field and the game, Sebastian Janikowski kicked two in the last four minutes to put the Raiders 30-28 into the lead with just 1.03 seconds left on the clock. Luckily for the Chiefs, Tynes found his form when he needed it most. With only 22 seconds remaining, he kicked a 37-yard field goal, allowing the Chiefs to have a happier Christmas Day than the Raiders.

Philadelphia Eagles 23 vs Dallas Cowboys 7

In 2006, the day of the game may have been Christmas Day, but there was still tension. The Cowboys were much disliked, and Philadelphia fans harbored a special grudge against Terrell Owens, the Dallas receiver who had been a Philadelphia man the season before.

Unfortunately for quarterback Jeff Garcia, the fans didn’t have the most positive attitude toward him either. When he replaced Donovan McNabb in mid-November, who was out due to injury, the team lost their first two games with Garcia under center. This soured the situation with the fans, who even cheered once when he got crushed by a tackle. However, as the wins started to stack up in December, they found their affection for him. The Christmas Day win was exceptionally sweet and when Garcia delivered the line “Merry Christmas, Philadelphia” on TV, he finally won the fans over.

Miami Dolphins 27 vs Kansas City Chiefs 24

When the players strode out onto the grid and the fans sat down to watch the Dolphins vs the Chiefs on Christmas Day of 1971, none of them knew it would be the longest game in league history. The game lasted 82 minutes and 40 seconds. It spanned two overtimes.

It was an epic clash and Chiefs’ running back Ed Podolak posted 350 all-purpose yards. He carried almost all of the team, but even his running wasn’t going to save them. Dolphin kicker Garo Yepremian hit a 37-yard field goal and made it a miserable Christmas Day for Kansas. The win took the Dolphins to the AFC Championship game.

Christmas Games in 2023

On Christmas Day this season, three games will take place. The Las Vegas Raiders will visit the Kansas City Chiefs, the Philadelphia Eagles will be hosting the New York Giants and the Baltimore Ravens will be spending their Christmas Day evening at the home of the San Francisco 49ers.

The Chiefs have a strong record against the Raiders under head coach Andy Reid, but the revamped Raiders could throw up a few surprises. The New York Giants will be making the most of their Christmas Day opportunity to try out their new roster, and Philadelphia provide them with the perfect measuring stick since the Giants haven’t won in Philadelphia since 2013. The match that could have everyone talking, though, is the Ravens vs the 49ers, a matchup that doesn’t happen very often at all. The last time, in 2019, was a real thriller, and fans are expecting it to still be so several seasons later.

Clashes between NFL teams during the festive season have produced many memorable moments. All eyes will be on the NFL at Christmastime to see what exciting moments the matchups deliver, which they undoubtedly will.

Abu Bakar
Abu Bakar
Abubakar is a writer and digital marketing expert. Who has founded multiple blogs and successful businesses in the fields of digital marketing, software development. A full-service digital media agency that partners with clients to boost their business outcomes.
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