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John Madden Coming to U.S. Bank Stadium on Thanksgiving


John Madden Coming to U.S. Bank Stadium on Thanksgiving
Sep 25, 2022; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; Minnesota Vikings fans react during the first quarter against the Detroit Lions at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

There’s nothing more synonymous with Thanksgiving football than the late, great John Madden. While he obviously can no longer be here in person, the NFL is set to honor the longtime coach and broadcaster throughout the slate of Thanksgiving Day games. This season, one of those features the New England Patriots and Minnesota Vikings.

It’s not a yearly occurrence for the Minnesota Vikings to be featured in primetime on Thanksgiving Day, and it’s even less often that the game takes place at home. This season, however, Kevin O’Connell’s club gets the night game to close out the action against Bill Belichick and the Patriots.

Jan 9, 2022; Miami Gardens, Florida, USA; New England Patriots head coach Bill Belichick. Mandatory Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports.

Over the years, John Madden made a mark with the Turkey Leg Award on Thanksgiving. Arguably, the greatest performance to receive one was Vikings legend Randy Moss going off against the Dallas Cowboys. Playing in just his 12th career game after being drafted 21st overall out of Marshall, Moss hauled in three receptions for 163 yards and three touchdowns. It was truly insane.

The NFL announced Friday that an inaugural “John Madden Thanksgiving Celebration” would commence. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell said, “No one cared more or contributed more to our game than John Madden. Honoring his memory and impact on the NFL is important, and Thanksgiving Day brings all of the elements significant to John to life –- family, football, food and fun.”

The league release highlighted the celebration elements by saying, “[games] will feature special broadcast tributes as CBS, FOX, and NBC will create their own segments dedicated to the football legend. These tributes will be interspersed throughout the broadcast of each game (Bills vs. Lions at 12:30 PM ET on CBS, Giants vs. Cowboys at 4:30 PM ET on FOX, and Patriots vs. Vikings at 8:20 PM ET on NBC). A recording of Madden – who called 20 Thanksgiving Day NFL games during his broadcasting career –- discussing Thanksgiving and the holiday’s special relationship to football will also serve as the lead-in to each of three games.”

The Vikings Final Injury Report: Week 8
Jul 29, 2022; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings head coach Kevin O’Connell. Mandatory Credit: Matt Krohn-USA TODAY Sports.

Although there won’t be a Turkey Leg Award, Madden’s namesake video game will be represented with an award dubbed the “Madden Player of the Game.” That player will receive a $10,000 donation in their name from the NFL Foundation to the youth or high school football program of their choice.

A few other key tributes of note for the celebration include:

  • Special “John Madden Thanksgiving” logo will be placed at the 25-yard lines of each field and a sticker on the back of each player’s helmet depicting the iconic image of Madden with his fist up in the air
  • Madden and Thanksgiving-related programming will air throughout the week on all NFL Media platforms and the NFL’s radio broadcast partners Westwood One and SiriusXM NFL Radio
  • EA Sports –- creators of the iconic Madden NFL video game series -– presents “Game Before The Game,” a Madden NFL 23 competition between two opposing players from Thanksgiving Day competing teams

View the full release here.

Ted Schwerzler is a blogger from the Twin Cities that is focused on all things Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings. He’s active on Twitter and writes weekly for Twins Daily. As a former college athlete and avid sports fan, covering our pro teams with a passion has always seemed like such a natural outlet.


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