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Remembering The Buttfumble: A Patriots Thanksgiving Tradition

There’s always something to be thankful for if you’re a Patriots fan.

New York Jets V New England Patriots Photo By: Robert Sabo/NY Daily News via Getty Images

Is it me, or are the seasonal decorations going up earlier and earlier every year?

Don’t get me wrong; I’m all for Christmas decorations, (or holiday decorations, or whatever it is you want to call them in order to avoid getting canceled). The louder, flashier, and more obnoxious the better, I say. But I’ve always considered the holiday season to take place exclusively between Thanksgiving Day and New Year’s Day. It’s one of the things that makes the holidays special; it’s a very brief period where we all come together to celebrate peace, love, goodwill, and the fact that we aren’t New York Jets fans. If we start the party too early, we’re going to end up taking away from the things that really make the season shine.

And speaking of the Jets...Thanksgiving has been just that much more special for Patriot Nation ever since 2012, for reasons that need no elaboration.

But I’m going to anyway.

On Thanksgiving Night, in The Year of Our Lord Two Thousand and Twelve, one Mark Travis John Sanchez collided with the ample posterior of one Brandon Lamont Moore, which thus caused a turnover of most epic proportions and was returned for a touchdown by one Stephen Charles Gregory. It would forever become known in America, and throughout the world, as...

The Buttfumble.

What a play. What a game. What a night. The game when from 0-0 to 28-0 in a matter of minutes, and the Patriots went on to win one of the most lopsided contests of the entire season. Nobody remembers the final score (49-19, for those keeping track) or too many of the details of the game itself, but we all remember The Buttfumble.

Doubly so, I’d say, because it has become all but impossible to think about Thanksgiving, already synonymous with football as it is, without harking back to that glorious night seven years ago when Mark Sanchez became a legend for all the wrong reasons. Even casual fans, or folks who don’t really watch football at all, likely sit around the dinner table every Thanksgiving and say “hey, remember that game a few years back where that guy ran into that dude’s butt and the other team scored? That was hilarious!”, just before the meal descends into chaos as family members fight over politics or unlikable in-laws or when are you going to settle down and find a partner or whatever it is at your house that turns the night for the worse. The Buttfumble is as ingrained in the American cultural landscape as the moon landing and nerds camping out for Star Wars tickets. It has become almost as synonymous with Thanksgiving as stuffing and crotchety uncles. And it won’t be going away anytime soon.

At least not if I have anything to say about it.

Technically, the official anniversary of The Buttfumble already happened; Thanksgiving Day came early in 2012, so the actual game was played on the 22nd. However, much like Thanksgiving itself, I don’t think we should handcuff such a stupendous event to a specific date on the calendar. The Buttfumble happened on Thanksgiving, and so it’s on Thanksgiving that we all take a moment to be thankful that we got to see it live.

There’s nothing overly unique about a seven year anniversary (the traditional gift is copper, for those who care about such things), but this particular Buttfumbleversary is special because its shining star officially announced his retirement from the NFL this past summer. Mark Sanchez played QB for five different teams during his career, finishing with a record of 37-36 with 86 TDs and 89 interceptions. He led his team to a playoff win at Gillette Stadium against the Tom Brady-led Patriots, one of only two quarterbacks to ever do so. And yet, his crowning achievement in the NFL was the achievement of putting his crown somewhere it really, really doesn’t belong, and attaining immortality as a result. Enjoy your retirement, Mark Sanchez. We’ll never forget you.

So happy Thanksgiving, everyone. I hope you and yours have a great few days of eating, shopping, relaxing, and enjoying each others’ company.

And should you be among those families that has an annual pre-dinner football showdown in the backyard to work up an appetite, may all of your collective heads stay out of each other’s collective butts.