The Denver Broncos will not be part of the Thanksgiving slate this Thursday and the team has not played on the holiday in 14 years since they defeated the New York Giants 26-6 in dominant fashion.
For many years, the stations that televise the games have handed out awards and there are many great memories of players eating turkey legs and the like following a victory. If you can remember the days of John Madden, he could go off on quite the tangent talking about Thanksgiving.
The Broncos have a 4-7 all-time record on Thanksgiving and from those wins, some former players have taken home some awards.
CBS All-Iron Award
CBS began handing out its All-Iron Award in 1998. Using its own color commentator, Phil Simms, as the inspiration to counter what FOX was doing with Madden, who annually handed out the Turkey Leg Award.
The trophy itself was small silver iron and the winner also got some blackberry pie that was made by Simms' mother. Two Broncos were winners of this particular award.
2001- Mike Anderson: In 2001, the Broncos played a wild game against the Dallas Cowboys, a team that plays on Thanksgiving every year. In that game, the Broncos had a 26-3 lead in the fourth quarter before allowing a 21-point run by the Cowboys.
Broncos running back Mike Anderson was the difference that day, rushing for 118 yards on 33 carries with a touchdown. The Broncos won the game 26-24.
2005- Ron Dayne: For me, this is the most memorable Broncos Thanksgiving game and Ron Dayne, a running back who was a star in college at Wisconsin but only played in 10 total games for the Broncos, was the main reason for that.
Again playing the Cowboys, this game went into overtime. Dayne carried the ball just seven times in this game but rushed for 98 yards.
In overtime, facing a 2nd-and-3 from their own 39-yard line, Dayne took a handoff and rumbled 55 yards down the field all the way to the Dallas 6-yard line. This set up the game-winning field goal by Jason Elam and got the Broncos a 24-21 win.
Pudding Pie Award
Once the NFL Network became a thing, it had to have its own Thanksgiving award too. That ended up being the Pudding Pie Award. The network only handed this award out from 2007-2011 but it was an actual pie.
2009- Brandon Marshall: In that aforementioned Broncos-Giants win, it really was a complete team victory for the Broncos. But there had to be an MVP and that was Marshall, who had six receptions for 86 yards on that night. Rather than the chocolate pudding that NFL Network gave out in 2007 and 2008, Marshall was given a pumpkin pie for his efforts.
The Broncos only had one other Thanksgiving Day victory aside from the ones mentioned above, and that came way back in 1974, before there were any network awards. If there had been awards, the choice that year was easy.
1974- Otis Armstrong: The Broncos were able to get their first-ever Thanksgiving victory in November 1974 behind the running of Otis Armstrong, who gained 144 yards on the ground that day. He scored a touchdown and added four catches for another 32 yards for perhaps the best Thanksgiving game for a Broncos player ever.
Armstrong still ranks fourth on the team's all-time rushing list.