Cold and snowy Turkey Bowls at Reifsteck Field

The Dallas-Miami 1993 Thanksgiving Day classic. With seconds left, the Cowboys' Leon Lett fumbled a missed field goal kick allowing the Dolphins a second -- and successful -- game winning attempt.

The Dallas-Miami 1993 Thanksgiving Day classic. With seconds left, the Cowboys’ Leon Lett fumbled a missed field goal kick allowing the Dolphins a second — and successful — game winning attempt. (Youtube and USA Today)

Texas Stadium, Thanksgiving, 1993. (dallas.com)

Texas Stadium, Thanksgiving, 1993. (dallas.com)

Twenty five Thanksgivings ago in Dallas, a rare snow and sleet storm  cascaded through the open roof of then-unenclosed Texas Stadium, making play treacherous.  With 15 seconds left, Dallas led Miami 14-13.  On the icy surface, the Dolphin’s Pete Stoyanovich attempted a 41-yard field goal attempt.

The Cowboys’ Jimmie Jones blocked the kick which squirted into the snow near the Dallas goal line.

Stoyanovich makes game winning field goal. (Youtube)

Stoyanovich makes game winning field goal. (Youtube)

Dallas lineman Leon Lett attempted to recover the ball. Lett slipped as he went down, however, and knocked the ball forward. In the resulting chase for possession, the Dolphins recovered in the end zone.

Had Lett merely let the ball lie where it was, Dallas would have won. Given a second chance, Stoyanovich made the game winning field goal.

Fittingly, Lett called his play — one of the most dramatic and weird in NFL history —  “a brain freeze.”

It was 32 degrees in Dallas that day.  Today, Rochester broke the record low for Thanksgiving at 9° Fahrenheit. Persistent squalls created occasional whiteouts, depositing a couple of inches of snow.

11_26_15 Reifsteck-Field-Brighton-NY

This group’s 29th Turkey Bowl. Thanksgiving Day, November 26th, 2015. Reifsteck Field Brighton, NY. [Photo: David Kramer] From Barons prevail in first televised football game at Reifsteck Field

No matter for the dozens of football and soccer players gathered in Brighton for the annual Turkey Bowl traditionally held on Thanksgiving morning.

Unlike Jerry Jones’ monstrous AT&T Stadium, Reifsteck Field has no roof, retractable or otherwise.

Three years ago — in better weather — I met Brighton High School alums and others gathered for their 29th pre pig out pigskin game. Not so hardy this year, the group was AWOL, hopefully back next year for a 32nd edition.

On the practice field adjacent to Reifsteck, meteorologically undeterred, another group of about 25 people convened for their approximately tenth Bowl. The players and fans are mainly from the Brighton school and local community, including Kevin McGowan, Brighton Central School District Superintendent, and sons.

Brighton football practice field, Thanksgiving, 2018. [Photo: David Kramer]

Brighton football practice field, Thanksgiving, 2018. [Photo: David Kramer]

Brighton football practice field, Thanksgiving, 2018. [Photo: David Kramer]

Brighton football practice field, Thanksgiving, 2018.

Brighton Central School District Superintendent.

Quarterback Kevin McGowan, Brighton Central School District Superintendent. (top left) Given time by offensive line; (top center) completes short pass under pressure; (top right) inside handoff; (bottom right) completion over the middle; (bottom center) long bomb touchdown; (bottom right) incomplete short of the goal line.

On Reifsteck’s artificial turf field, a larger group has played for many years now. As explained by organizer Len Aronson, the friends previously played at Buckland Park but prefer the softer Reifsteck surface vs. the hardened ground at Buckland.  The footballers are from all over Monroe Country but find Brighton centrally located. They don’t call their game the Turkey Bowl per se, but the concept — a pre pig out pigskin game — is the same.

The first to arrive. Ken (left) and Len with cones, balls, etc.

The first to arrive. Ken (left) and Len with cones, balls, etc. [Photo: David Kramer, 11/22/18]

Ball in air on after-touchdown throw. Reifsteck Field, 11/22/18. [Photo: David Kramer]

Ball in air on after-touchdown throw, Reifsteck Field.

Reif 1Reif 3

A couple of dozen soccer players — mostly from the Brighton soccer community — held their own Turkey Bowl.

Soccer

As seen in Barons prevail in first televised football game at Reifsteck Field and Working on the Chain Gang at Reifsteck Field, Rochester weather is always an issue at Reifsteck.

As seen in Adding Yeshiva football to the Cobb’s Hill series, the boys at the Talmudical Institute of Upstate New York play football in the snow.  Unlike their elder Turkey Bowlers, the students play tackle football.

From Adding Yeshiva football to the Cobb's Hill series

From Adding Yeshiva football to the Cobb’s Hill series. Quarterback David “Sid Luckman” Kramer

In the 1980s, we played a precursor to the Turkey Bowl.  At the Holidays, we gathered for street football.

Sometime in the 80s at our annual Holiday street football game. (l-r) Andre Marquis, Steve Shapiro, Phil Ghyzel, David Kramer. [Photo: Dean Tucker]

Sometime in the 80s at our annual Holiday street football game. (l-r) Andre Marquis, Steve Shapiro, Phil Ghyzel, David Kramer. [Photo: Dean Tucker]

As seen in “An early-spring renewal of the spirit” over 10,000 fungos later, Reifsteck is also used for hitting and fielding fungoes.

SEE ALSO

Barons prevail in first televised football game at Reifsteck Field

Working on the Chain Gang at Reifsteck Field

Adding Yeshiva football to the Cobb’s Hill series

No Jills; no playoffs for the Bills

Site says Brighton is best place to live in New York

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