Thanksgiving weekend is upon us, which means million of Americans are about to gather with family and friends to give thanks while feasting on turkey and other fixings.
As that feast gives way to leftovers, the celebration will move from the dinner table to the sofa, where another tradition — watching college football — will be indulged.
Given our appetite for consuming football on this holiday, is it any wonder that so many Heisman moments from past Thanksgiving weekends have become ingrained in our collective memories? Kind of makes you wonder what memories will be made this time around, doesn’t it?
In that spirit, here are video highlights of some of the more unforgettable moments in Heisman history from Thanksgiving weekend.
1971: Johnny Rodgers’ amazing punt return against Oklahoma
Rodgers’ dramatic punt return against Oklahoma in the ‘Game of the Century’ on Thanksgiving Day in 1971 didn’t win him the Heisman that season. However, it did launch his successful campaign for the trophy in 1972.
1984: Doug Flutie’s Hail Mary against Miami
Thirty years later, it still stirs. Doug Flutie’s 48-yard touchdown pass to Gerard Phelan came as time expired as Boston College beat Miami, 47-45. Shortly after, Flutie became the first quarterback to win the Heisman since 1971.
2002: Carson Palmer throws for 425 yards and four touchdowns vs. Notre Dame
USC capped its ‘return to glory’ as Palmer set Irish opponent records in Troy’s 44-13 triumph. The victory helped Palmer win USC’s first Heisman since 1981.
1998: Ricky Williams breaks Tony Dorsett’s all-time rushing record
Williams’ 60-yard run in the Longhorns’ 26-24 victory over Texas A&M allowed him to topple Tony Dorsett’s 22-year-old rushing record on his way to capturing Texas’ second Heisman.
2010: Cam Newton leads the ‘Camback’ against Alabama
Newton tossed three touchdown passes as Auburn overcame a 24-0 deficit to beat Alabama, 28-27. Newton guided the Tigers to the national title and also won Auburn’s third Heisman.
1976: Tony Dorsett switches to fullback, runs wild in win over Penn State
Tony Dorsett ran for 224 yards and two touchdowns on 38 carries — 173 after switching to fullback in the second half — to break the NCAA’s single-season rushing mark in Pitt’s 24-7 victory over Penn State. The Panthers won the national title that year, while Dorsett won the Heisman.
1993: Charlie Ward pummels Florida for 475 yards, 4 TDs
Ward completed an FSU-record 38 passes in 53 attempts for 446 yards and four touchdowns as the Seminoles beat the Gators, 33-21, in the Swamp. Ward later won FSU’s first Heisman.
1963: A fallen President
This weekend is important for what didn’t happen…and why. That year’s game between Army and Navy (featuring eventual Heisman winner Roger Staubach) was postponed due to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy the previous weekend.