Its Thanksgiving Week so who better to talk with about it than former All-Decade wide receiver Drew Pearson, the man who not only made the most famous Thanksgiving Day catch in NFL history but also called the play?
Along with the former Dallas Cowboys’ wideout, Talk of Fame Network also visited with the NZFL’s all-time leading scorer, Indianapolis Colts’ kicker Adam Vinatieri, who passed Morten Andersen this season and now is the all-time NFL leader in points in both the regular season and post-season, in field goals made, in successful overtime kicks made and is the only player in NFL history to have scored 1,000 points for two different teams.
For Pearson, Thanksgiving Day football has always been part of his life, dating back to his high school days when he would play his annual rivals at Rutgers Stadium and then go break bread (and a turkey leg) with his family. When he arrived in Dallas as an undrafted free agent in 1973 it didn’t take him long to make his Turkey Day mark.
In only his second Thanksgiving Day game with the Cowboys, Dallas trailed the Redskins 16-3 in the third quarter only to battle back despite having seen their quarterback, future Hall of Famer Roger Staubach, knocked out of the game. His replacement was unknown Clint Longley. Longley helped rally the Cowboys but it was Pearson who not only made the key play but also called it with only seconds left with Dallas still down six points.
“That 50-yard touchdown (pass) I caught, I called the play,’’ Pearson tells Talk of Fame Network listeners this week. “I told Clint to line me up on the left side and I’d run a turn in and takeoff.’’
Pearson explains how he got the coverage he wanted and burned the Redskins on a play but also explains why he doesn’t consider that the most important catch of his career even though it remains one of the most memorable. For Pearson, it was a year earlier when he made a catch in his first playoff game that he feels he established himself as an NFL receiver. To learn the full story tune in to our weekly radio show Wednesday night’s on SB Nation Radio or by either downloading the show podcast at iTunes or on the TuneIn app or going to our website, talkoffamenetwork.com and clicking on our logo icon.
When you do you’ll also hear Vinatieri explain why a kind gesture to his great, great grandfather from General George Armstrong Custer the day of the massacre at the Little Big Horn changed pro football history. Adam also recalls his memorable kicks, including two last-second ones that won Super Bowls for the Patriots and the 45-yarder through a swirling blizzard that literally kick-started the Patriots dynasty that remains in place 18 years later.
“As a kid, being able to play in the biggest games is what you dream about,’’ Vinatieri tells Talk of Fame. “There’s nothing quite like kicking the game winner in the Super Bowl.’’
Vinatieri should know. He’s the only guy to have done it twice with the game on the line in the final play. Yet the two things he remembers clearest after 23 years in the NFL are his kick through a blizzard that sent the Patriots into overtime in a playoff win over the Raiders that would be the first brick in their dynasty and a tackle, of all things, he made his rookie season.
Yes a tackle but not just any tackle. A tackle on a kickoff where he caught Herschel Walker from behind and dragged him to the ground. Tune in to hear the story behind the story of that play and how both Walker and then Patriots’ coach Bill Parcells reacted to it.
Also paying a visit is Hall of Fame voter and long-time NFL writer Bob Glauber of Newsday. Glauber has a new book out on the rivalry between three of the most famous coaches in NFL history: Parcells, Bill Walsh and Joe Gibbs. The three of them battled each other for a decade and Glauber dissects the behind-the-scene growth of that rivalry and what it wrought.
Co-host Clark Judge also states the Hall of Fame case for Gene Brito, a 1950s-1960s era defensive end on the Washington Redskins who was so feared that an opposing quarterback told his left tackle to hold Brito if he had to to keep him off him. The tackle responded, “I am.’’
Our Dr. Data, co-host Rick Gosselin delves into the incredible passing numbers being posted this season and what they may mean for the game’s long-term future. And the guys also issue their annual Thanksgiving Day “pardons’’ to some NFL culprits and announce their own version of Black Friday sales events for various NFL teams.
You can hear the entire show on SB Nation Radio Network, at iTunes and on the TuneIn app or by just going to our website, talkoffamenetwork.com, and tuning in whenever you’d like.