Watching the Los Angeles Rams play football on Thanksgiving Day is not a holiday tradition. Yes, you may very well settle into an over-stuffed easy chair after an overly-indulgent meal and sip on a digestif as the afternoon wanes, but you won’t raise your blood pressure one point cussing Sean McVay’s clock management.
You won’t see the blue and sol today, or any other Rams uniform combination for that matter. It’s even likely that many of you aren’t old enough to have ever seen them on Thanksgiving. You see, L.A. hasn’t had a Turkey Day date since 1975.
If you jonesing for some holiday Rams media coverage to go with your bird, gravy and pumpkin pie, here’s a look at how the Rams have fared when they did get some late November action.
November 22, 1945
On their way to the NFL Championship, the Cleveland Rams made a Thanksgiving stop in Detroit to play the Lions in Briggs Stadium, better known as Tiger Stadium. In a game marred by 11 combined turnovers, the Rams were outscored in the fourth quarter by 14 points, but held on for a 28-21 win. Rookie quarterback Bob Waterfield threw for 329 yards and end Jim Benton caught 10 passes for 303 yards. Fred Gehrke, Don Greenwood, and Jim Gillette combined for 112 yards rushing.
November 23, 1967
Another trip to Detroit and the now official, Tiger Stadium. George Allen was in his second year of rebuilding the Rams and they used a stifling defense to pound the Lions 31-7. Detroit was held to 108 total yards and committed four turnovers. L.A. quarterback Roman Gabriel threw for 171 yards and touchdowns to wide receiver Jack Snow and tight end Billy Truax. Halfback Les Josephson added 74 and two scores on the ground.
November 25, 1971
The Rams took a trip to the Dallas suburb of Irving, Texas to do battle with the Cowboys in brand new Texas Stadium. The ‘Pokes home was famous for a partial roof, which left the field of play uncovered. Cowboy Linebacker D.D. Lewis said at the time,
“Texas Stadium has a hole in its roof, so God can watch His favorite team play”).
The Rams outplayed Dallas on that day, but committed three turnovers and allowed the opening kickoff to be returned 89 yards for a score in a 28-21 loss. Although Cowboys QB Roger Staubach only completed eight passes on the day, two were touchdowns. L.A. QB Roman Gabriel threw for 234 yards and two touchdown, but it wasn’t enough to win on the road.
November 27, 1975
Once again, the Rams were on the road in a new stadium’s christening season. On this day, they would spoil the Detroit Lions home cooking 20-0 at the shiny, new suburban Pontiac Silverdome. L.A.’s defense held the maned ones to just over 200 total yards and on offense, used a run game triumvirate of Lawrence McCutcheon, Cullen Bryant, and Jim Bertelsen to gain 177 yards rushing. QB James Harris chipped in three touchdown passes, two to Harold Jackson and another to Ron Jessie.
And then there was none
48 years later and no Rams football on Thanksgiving. The NFL schedule makers haven’t made many accommodations for West Coast teams even when the holiday slate was expanded to three games in 2006. The San Francisco 49ers join the Rams at five starts, while Seattle has nabbed four. The Oakland/LosAngeles/Las Vegas Raiders have garnered eight invites, but four of those were in the 1960’s when the AFL was doing its own thing. Same with the San Diego/Los Angeles Chargers, where four of five Turkey Day outings were back when the AFL was in direct competition with the NFL.