The Longhorns’ Thanksgiving Tradition … is Wrong!

by Travis Normand
November 29, 2020
(Update for editing December 2, 2020; and added introduction on December 4, 2020)

[INTRODUCTION: I went back and re-read parts of this post only to realize that it is not the most “exciting” thing to read. However, it really wasn’t meant to be. Mainly, this post is my research, and proof, of what I would consider a fairly decent sized error in the 2020 Texas Longhorn’s Football Media Guide; but that in and of itself is not necessarily exciting (and I am sure there are some who will disagree as to my characterization of this error). If I had to add some editorial content to prepare the reader for what this is about, and potentially make it a bit more exciting, I would preface this post by saying: “The Longhorns think so highly of their ‘Thanksgiving Day Tradition’ that they felt it important to include a section in their media guide about it; however, it is readily apparent that the Longhorns should do a little more research into their own history before they claim to have a ‘Thanksgiving Day Tradition.'” – See Table 2 below.]

Mistakes happen in college football media guides all the time; after all, no one is perfect and typos are often missed (this blog is no exception). However, there is a fine line between a typo or mistake, and misinformation based on ignorance. Having said that, I recently noticed an interesting section in the 2020 Texas Football Media Guide (hereinafter, sometimes referred to as the “2020 Media Guide”). The section I found, which is discussed below, appears to be more than a simple typo, and is much closer to misinformation caused by the author’s ignorance.

Across the bottom of page 183 of the 2020 Media Guide is a section titled “Thanksgiving Day Tradition.” When I found this section, I began to wonder how long it had been appearing in Longhorn football media guides. After a review of the media guides I had available, it appears as if this section shows up at least as far back as the 2006 Texas Football Media Guide (and every year since then).

In fact, it appears on page 173 of the 2006 Texas Football Spring Guide; page 177 of the 2007 Texas Football Spring Guide; page 165 of the 2007 Texas Football Holiday Bowl Guide; page 187 of the 2008 Texas Football Spring Guide; page 217 of the 2008 Texas Football Fiesta Bowl Guide; page 209 of the 2009 Texas Football Spring Media Guide; page 222 of the 2010 Texas Football BCS National Championship Guide; page 202 of the 2010 Texas Football Spring Media Guide; page 202 of the 2011 Texas Football Spring Media Guide; page 206 of the 2011 Texas Football Holiday Bowl Media Guide; (online PDF) page 178 of 275 of the 2012 Texas Football Media Guide; (online PDF) page 65 of 162 of the 2012 Texas Longhorn Media Guide – Supplement; (online PDF) page 200 of 278 of the 2013 Texas Football Media Guide; page 220 of the 2013 Texas Football Alamo Bowl Guide; page 195 of the 2014 Texas Football Texas Bowl Guide; (online PDF) page 167 of 229 of the 2015 Texas Football Media Guide; (online PDF) page 77 of 89 of the 2016 Texas Football Media Guide; page 189 of the 2017 Texas Football – Texas Bowl Media Guide; page 167 of the 2017 Texas Football Media Guide; page 212 of the 2018 Texas Longhorns Football Media Guide; page 198 of the Texas Football 2019 Sugar Bowl Media Guide; page 162 of the 2019 Texas Football Media Guide; page 193 of the 2019 Texas Bowl Media Guide; and page 183 of the 2020 Texas Football Media Guide.

(Note: The footer of some media guide pages are incorrect as the pages were apparently lifted from a previous media guide and placed in the next year’s guide without revision. For example, the 2015 Media Guide contains a footer that reads “2014 Texas Football Record Book.”)

I have been unable to find a copy of a pre-2006 Texas Longhorn Football Media Guide, so I cannot tell if this section appeared before 2006; however, as of November 2020, this section has been a consistent feature of the Longhorns’ football media guides for the past 14+ years.

The following is the text from this section as it appears on page 183 of the 2020 Media Guide (emphasis added):

Thanksgiving Day Tradition

Including its first Turkey Day game in 1893, UT has played 87 times on the Thanksgiving holiday and posted a 59-25-3 mark. Texas A&M is the most common opponent with 69 matchups and UT holding a 46-20-3 advantage. The teams first met on Thanksgiving Day in 1900, however, that tradition ended in 2011 with A&M departing the Big 12 for the SEC. Texas faced TCU in 2012 and 2014, and Texas Tech in 2013 and 2015. The Horns have also faced Arkansas (1894, 1912, 1917), Notre Dame (1913, 1915) and Oklahoma (1910). Prior to 2012, Baylor (1994-95) is the only other team the Horns faced besides Texas A&M on Thanksgiving Day since 1917. Below is a breakdown of UT’s Thanksgiving Day notables.

First Thanksgiving Day game: Nov. 30, 1893 • 18-16 W • Dallas University

First game at Memorial Stadium: Nov. 27, 1924 • 7-0 W • Texas A&M

Last Thanksgiving Day game: Nov. 26, 2015 • 48-45 L • Texas Tech

Longest streak of Thanksgiving Day games: 17 (1957-73)

Longest stretch without a Thanksgiving Day game: 12 (1996-2007)

Record on Thanksgiving Day: 59-25-3 (.695)

Home Record on Thanksgiving: 41-13-1 (.755)

Road Record on Thanksgiving: 18-12-2 (.594)

Record against Texas A&M on Thanksgiving Day: 46-20-3 (.688)

Longest Thanksgiving Day winning streak: 15 (1949-66)

Longest Thanksgiving Day losing streak: 7 (1985-93)

Current Thanksgiving Day streak: Lost one: vs. Texas Tech (2015)

“Thanksgiving Day Tradition” from page 183 of 2020 Texas Longhorn Football Media Guide.

As you will see below, the information contained in this “Thanksgiving Day Tradition” section is incorrect. To make matters worse, this information comes from, and is compiled from, another section of the 2020 Media Guide (see “Year-By-Year Results” on pages 174-182); and, therefore, that section is incorrect as well.

There is no telling how many mistakes are to be found throughout the 2020 Media Guide, but the purpose of this post is not so much editorial in nature as it is to point out the inaccuracies, in an effort to get them corrected.

Lets start by looking at each of these sections, starting with the “Thanksgiving Day Tradition” section on page 183.

Updates to the above quoted text based on the information presented in the 2020 Media Guide:

(1) The above-quoted-text from the 2020 Media Guide clearly states that …UT has played 87 times on the Thanksgiving holiday and posted a 59-25-3 mark.” This stat appears in media guides as far back as 2014 despite the fact that the Longhorns played Texas Tech on Thanksgiving during the 2015 season. You can see above that they added the 2015 Texas Tech game to the text of the line-item stats, but they did not update the overall record to a total of 88 games and a record of 59-26-3 (as the 2015 Texas Tech game was a Longhorn loss).

(2) Some of the individual line-item stats that are found in the quoted text above also need to be updated in order to reflect this 2015 Texas Tech loss. The stat line: “Record on Thanksgiving Day: 59-25-3 (.695)” should be updated to 59-26-3; and the next line: “Home Record on Thanksgiving: 41-13-1 (.755)” should be updated to 41-14-1.

Once these corrections are made, I believe the quoted text will more accurately reflect the “Year-By-Year Results” found on pages 174-182 of the 2020 Media Guide; as that is the section of the media guide from which these stats are pulled and compiled from.

“Year-By-Year Results”
(pages 174-182 of 2020 Media Guide)

However, just because the quoted text of the “Thanksgiving Day Tradition” section (on page 183) now matches the information as presented in the “Year-By-Year Results” (found on pages 174-182), does not mean the information found in the 2020 Media Guide is actually correct. In fact, upon further review, it appears as if the information presented in these two sections is inaccurate and will require some work to correct.

The last time the Longhorns played on Thanksgiving was November 26, 2015 (when they played Texas Tech). However, the 2015 Thanksgiving day game would have been the 99th time that the Longhorns played football on Thanksgiving day (and not their 87th as stated in the quoted text; or 88th as corrected). In other words, after adding the 2015 Texas Tech game to the total, brining it to 88, it became clear that something in their media guide was still wrong as the 2015 Texas Tech game should have brought their total to 99.

I began my review of the information as presented in the 2020 Media Guide (pages 174-182) in order to see where things went wrong. What I found was pretty interesting; as it demonstrated some pretty sloppy research and a total lack of knowledge regarding Texas history.

I figured that the best way to demonstrate what was wrong with their media guide was to simply reprint the incorrect information and show how it was wrong. Therefore, below is a table (Table 1) that shows information taken from the 2020 Media Guide. This information is found on pages 174-182 under the section titled “Year-by-Year Results.” This section shows a break-down of every single Longhorn football season; and page 182 contains a “Key” indicating that a game marked with a “t” is a “Thanksgiving Day game,” while a game marked with an “f” is a “Friday after Thanksgiving Day game.”

Upon review of the information in this section, I found that the Longhorns have mislabeled many of their Thanksgiving day games, which has resulted in their “Thanksgiving Day Tradition” section on page 183 being full of misinformation and incorrect numbers.

(Also note: While the following information is specific to the 2020 Media Guide; it appears as if most, if not all, of the above referenced media guides containing this “Thanksgiving Day Tradition” section are incorrect.)

TABLE 1
Dates marked as Thanksgiving day in the 2020 Texas Football Media Guide

Here is a complete list of all 88 games marked as Thanksgiving day games in the “Year-By-Year Results” found on pages 174-182 of the 2020 Media Guide. The notes below Table 1 (A-H) correspond to specific games, and these notes contain information regarding the various dates that are marked as Thanksgiving (‘t”) in the 2020 Media Guide.

However, you will see that the really problematic section appears in Table 2, which is discussed following the Table 1 notes.

Total # of “t” Games according to
2020 Media Guide
(through 2019 season)
Dates Marked as Thanksgiving (“t”) in
2020 Media Guide
Opponent Longhorn
W or L
Notes
111/30/1893Dallas U.W(A)
211/29/1894ArkansasW
311/28/1895San AntonioW(A)
411/26/1896Dallas U.W
511/25/1897Fort Worth U.W
611/24/1898Dallas U.W
711/30/1899LSUW
811/29/1900A&MW
911/28/1901A&MW
1011/27/1902A&M L(B)
1111/24/1904A&MW
1211/29/1906A&MW
1311/28/1907A&MW
1411/25/1909A&ML(C)
1511/24/1910OklahomaL(C) & (D)
1611/28/1912ArkansasW(C)
1711/27/1913Notre DameL(C)
1811/26/1914WabashW(C)
1911/25/1915Notre DameL
2011/30/1916A&MW
2111/29/1917ArkansasW
2211/28/1918A&MW
2311/27/1919A&ML
2411/25/1920A&MW
2511/24/1921A&MT
2611/30/1922A&ML
2711/29/1923A&MW
2811/27/1924A&MW
2911/26/1925A&ML
3011/25/1926A&MW
3111/24/1927A&ML
3211/29/1928A&MW
3311/28/1929A&ML
3411/27/1930A&MW
3511/26/1931A&ML
3611/24/1932A&MW
3711/30/1933A&MT
3811/28/1935A&ML
3911/26/1936A&MW
4011/25/1937A&ML
4111/24/1938A&MW
4211/26/1942A&MW
4311/25/1943A&MW
4411/28/1946A&MW
4511/27/1947A&MW
4611/25/1948A&MT
4711/24/1949A&MW
4811/27/1952A&MW
4911/26/1953A&MW
5011/25/1954A&MW
5111/24/1955A&MW
5211/28/1957A&MW(E)
5311/27/1958A&MW
5411/26/1959A&MW
5511/24/1960A&MW
5611/23/1961A&MW(F)
5711/22/1962A&MW
5811/28/1963A&MW
5911/26/1964A&MW
6011/25/1965A&MW
6111/24/1966A&MW
6211/23/1967A&ML
6311/28/1968A&MW
6411/27/1969A&MW
6511/26/1970A&MW
6611/25/1971A&MW
6711/23/1972A&MW
6811/22/1973A&MW
6911/25/1976A&ML
7011/26/1981A&MW
7111/25/1982A&MW
7211/28/1985A&ML
7311/27/1986A&ML
7411/26/1987A&ML
7511/24/1988A&ML
7611/28/1991A&ML
7711/26/1992A&ML
7811/25/1993A&ML
7911/24/1994BaylorW
8011/23/1995BaylorW
8111/27/2008A&MW
8211/26/2009A&MW
8311/25/2010A&ML
8411/24/2011A&MW(G)
8511/22/2012TCUL(H)
8611/28/2013Texas TechW(H)
8711/27/2014TCUL(H)
8811/26/2015Texas TechL(H) & (I)
Dates in BOLD indicate that there were five (5) Thursdays in November that year.

NOTES: TABLE 1

(A) Texas A&M did not field a football team in 1893 and/or 1895.

(B) The 2020 Media Guide states that the Longhorns played Texas A&M on October 25, 1902 (San Antonio) and again on November 27, 1902 (Thanksgiving day). However, page 200 of the 1903 Cactus Yearbook states that the Longhorns played Texas A&M on November 28, 1902 (which would have been the day after Thanksgiving). The 1903 Cactus also lists all 10 Longhorn games for the 1902 season, and of the 10 dates given all but the November 28 date match what is printed in the 2020 Media Guide for the 1902 season. In other words, the 1903 Cactus says the Texas A&M game was on November 28 while the 2020 Media Guide says it was November 27 (Thanksgiving). Fortunately, the “The Houston Daily Post” ((Houston, Tex.), Vol. XVIIIth, No. 238, Ed. 1, Friday, November 28, 1902, Page: 8 of 12), confirms that the game was on November 27, 1902 (as shown in the 2020 Media Guide) as opposed to November 28 (as shown in the yearbook).

1903 Cactus Yearbook (Page 200)

1903 Cactus Yearbook – Page 200

(C) Charles B. “Charlie” Moran was Texas A&M’s head coach during the 1909, 1910, 1911, 1912, 1913, and 1914 seasons. Between the 1894 and 1901 seasons, the Aggies played the Longhorns seven (7) times with the Aggies losing all seven. The Aggies tied the Longhorns 0-0 in October of 1902, and then defeated the Longhorns for the first time later that same season in November 1902. The Aggies then played the Longhorns eight (8) more times over the next couple of seasons, losing seven and tying once (in 1907). It was not until 1909, with new head coach Charlie Moran, that the Aggies would defeat the Longhorns for a second time. In fact, the Aggies defeated the Longhorns twice in 1909 and once again in 1910 (winning all three games played during the 1909 and 1910 seasons). Finally, in 1911, the Longhorns got back on the winning side of the rivalry when they put an end to the Aggie win streak. As the story goes, following the 1911 Longhorn victory, the Longhorns issued Texas A&M the following ultimatum: “Fire coach Moran or we will not play you anymore” (does that sound familiar?). The Aggies decided to keep Coach Moran for the 1912, 1913, and 1914 seasons, and thus they did not play the Longhorns during those three (3) seasons. This was one of the reasons the Longhorns needed a different Thanksgiving day opponent for 1912 (Arkansas), 1913 (Notre Dame), and 1914 (Wabash). With the formation of the Southwest Conference looming in 1915, and A&M’s need for the revenue that was usually generated from ticket sales at Longhorn-Aggie football games; A&M decided to give-in to the pressure and let Coach Moran go, thereby resuming the rivalry for the 1915 season.

(D) The 1910 game against the University of Oklahoma is marked in the 2020 Media Guide as having been played on November 24, 1910 (which was Thanksgiving day); however, page 196 of the 2020 University of Oklahoma Football Media Guide says the game was played on November 28, 1910 (which would have been the following Monday). However, according to “The Houston Post” newspaper (page 15 of 61, Vol. 26, Ed. 1, Sunday, November 27, 1910), the game was played on Thanksgiving day, November 24, 1910, and thus the 2020 Media Guide is correct (and thus it appears as if OU’s media guide has a typo).

(E) Thanksgiving: November 28, 1957 – “The Switch:” This was the first Thanksgiving where the State of Texas celebrated Thanksgiving on the fourth Thursday of November (as opposed to the last Thursday of November). Before 1957, the State of Texas had celebrated Thanksgiving on the last Thursday of November (which made a difference when there were five Thursdays in November). Further, in 1957, the last and fourth Thursday were the same day, as there was no fifth Thursday in November of 1957 (like there had been in 1956). See TexasAlmanac.com’s History of Thanksgiving in Texas at TexasAlmanac.com/topics/history/timeline/first-thanksgiving.

(F) Thanksgiving: November 23, 1961: Following the State of Texas’ decision to recognize the fourth Thursday of November as Thanksgiving (as opposed to the last Thursday of November), the 1961 season was the first time that there was both a fourth and a fifth Thursday in the month of November! Thus, while the fourth Thursday and last Thursday were often the same day, this was the first time after making the switch that they were different days. Therefore, this was the first time following the switch that there was a real effect due to the change in Thanksgiving holiday. However, this game is marked correctly as a Thanksgiving day game in the 2020 Media Guide.

(G) Thanksgiving: November 24, 2011: This is the last Thanksgiving day game between the Longhorns and Texas A&M; and the two teams have not played since 2011. For this reason, the Longhorns have had to find new opponents for their Thanksgiving day games in 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. (See Note “C” above).

(H) Thanksgiving: November 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015: During these seasons, all of the Thanksgiving day games were played against teams other than Texas A&M. Just like the 1912, 1913, and 1914 seasons in which the Longhorns refused to play A&M (see Note “C” above); the Longhorns have again refused to play Texas A&M since 2011, resulting in new/different Thanksgiving day opponents for the 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015 seasons.

(I) Thanksgiving: November 26, 2015: Through the 2020 football season, the last time the Longhorns played a football game on Thanksgiving was five (5) years ago on November 26, 2015 (vs. Texas Tech).

As you can see in Table 1, the 2020 Media Guide shows that the Longhorns have played on Thanksgiving day 88 times. Further, the 88 games listed appear to be correct. However, as I have stated previously, just because these 88 games are correctly marked does not mean that all of the information in the 2020 Media Guide is correct.

After all, upon further review, the 2020 Media Guide mislabels eleven (11) Thanksgiving day games. Currently, these eleven games are either marked as: (i) having been played on the wrong date (when they were actually played on Thanksgiving), or (ii) having been played on the correct date, but that date is not labeled as having been Thanksgiving day. It is for this reason that I have also compiled Table 2 (below).

TABLE 2
Mislabeled Thanksgiving Day Games in the “Year-By-Year Results” section (pages 174-182) of the 2020 Texas Football Media Guide

Table 2 lists all of the Thanksgiving day games played by the University of Texas but that are not currently designated (“t”) in the 2020 Media Guide as having been played on Thanksgiving day. Therefore, these eleven (11) games in Table 2 are not counted in the “Thanksgiving Day Tradition” stats due to the fact that they are either not properly labeled or they have been marked as played on the wrong date. Without these corrections, the Longhorns are missing over a decade’s worth of games in their Thanksgiving day statistics!

Date of Game in
2020 Media Guide
Is Game Labeled w/ “t”?OpponentCorrection NeededNotes
111/29/1903NoA&MDate of A&M game listed as 11/29/1903; but game was actually
on 11/26/1903 (Thanksgiving)
(a)
211/29/1908NoA&MDate of A&M game listed as 11/29/1908; but game was actually
on 11/26/1908 (Thanksgiving)
(b)
311/28/1934NoA&MDate of A&M game listed as 11/28/1934; but game was actually
on 11/29/1934 (Thanksgiving)
(c)
411/30/1939NoA&MCorrect date of game given; but not labeled as Thanksgiving(d)
511/28/1940NoA&MCorrect date of game given; but not labeled as Thanksgiving(e)
611/27/1941NoA&MCorrect date of game given; but not labeled as Thanksgiving(f)
711/30/1944NoA&MCorrect date of game given; but not labeled as Thanksgiving(g)
811/29/1945NoA&MCorrect date of game given; but not labeled as Thanksgiving(h)
911/30/1950NoA&MCorrect date of game given; but not labeled as Thanksgiving(i)
1011/29/1951NoA&MCorrect date of game given; but not labeled as Thanksgiving(j)
1111/29/1956NoA&MCorrect date of game given; but not labeled as Thanksgiving(k)
Dates in BOLD indicate that there were five (5) Thursdays in November that year.

NOTES: TABLE 2

Date of Texas A&M game is incorrect &
A&M game was played on Thanksgiving (but no game marked with “t”)

(a) 11/29/1903 vs. 11/26/1903: In the 2020 Media Guide, the 1903 season does not have a game marked or designated as having been played on Thanksgiving day, so there is no “t” next to any of the games played. This is because Thanksgiving, in 1903, was on 11/26/1903; and as you can see from the 2020 Media Guide, there was no game on 11/26/1903. Further, the 2020 Media Guide states that the Longhorns played Texas A&M on 11/29/1903 (which would have been the Sunday following Thanksgiving).

However, page 180 of the 1904 Cactus Yearbook refutes the 2020 Media Guide by stating that the Texas A&M game was played in Austin on November 26 (the Longhorns won 29-6). Further, “The Houston Post” newspaper (Vol. 19, No. 236, Ed. 1 Friday, November 27, 1903 Page: 3 of 12), confirms that the Texas A&M game was played on Thanksgiving day, which was November 26, 1903.

Therefore, the 2020 Media Guide needs to be corrected in order to show that the 1903 Texas A&M game was played on November 26; and that game needs to be labeled with a “t”, indicating that it was played on Thanksgiving day.

1904 Cactus Yearbook – Page 180

1904 Cactus Yearbook – Page 180
1904 Cactus Yearbook – Page 180 (Close-up)

(b) 11/29/1908 vs. 11/26/1908: In the 2020 Media Guide, the 1908 season does not have a game marked or designated as having been played on Thanksgiving, so there is no “t” next to any of the games played. This is because Thanksgiving, in 1908, was on 11/26/1908, and as you can see from the 2020 Media Guide, there was no game on 11/26/1908. However, the media guide does state that they played Texas A&M on 11/29/1908 (which would have been the Sunday following Thanksgiving).

The Longhorns played several games against Texas A&M in Houston, Texas (at West End Park) between the 1908 and 1911 seasons. In fact, I believe they two teams played four games in Houston.

As for 1908, according to the 2020 Media Guide, the Longhorns played the Aggies twice that season; with the first game being on November 9, 1908 (in Houston), and the second game being on November 29, 1908. The first game on November 9, 1908 is probably correct and was very likely played at Houston’s West End Park. The games at West End Park are often reported as having been played on a Monday, and November 9, 1908 was a Monday. However, the November 9, 1908 Texas A&M game is not the subject of this post.

The second 1908 game is listed in the 2020 Media Guide as having been played on Sunday, November 29, 1908. However, I can find no report stating that the 1908 game was played on a Sunday. I believe the confusion as to the date of this second 1908 game stems from page 209 of the 1909 Cactus Yearbook; as there is a 1908 football schedule (with dates) printed on this page. Further, page 209 lists the second 1908 Texas A&M game as having been played on November 29, 1908 in Austin, Texas; and all nine games and dates listed on page 209 of the Cactus Yearbook match the dates as listed in the 2020 Media Guide.

1909 Cactus Yearbook – Page 209

1909 Cactus Yearbook – Page 209

However, pages 210-213 of the 1909 Cactus Yearbook provide a recap of the second Texas A&M game under a header titled “The Thanksgiving Game.” In other words, it appears as if the game was played in Austin, on Thanksgiving day (11/26/1908). This would make the date given on page 209 of the 1909 Cactus Yearbook (11/29) a typo.

1909 Cactus Yearbook – Page 210

1909 Cactus Yearbook – Page 210

Further, according to the “Abilene Daily Reporter” newspaper (Abilene, Texas, Vol. 13, No. 83, Ed. 1 Friday, November 27, 1908, page: 1 of 8), the second 1908 Texas A&M vs. Longhorn football game was played on Thanksgiving day (11/26/1908). In fact, the front page of the “Abilene Daily Reporter” clearly states that the Aggies and Longhorns played in Austin on 11/26/1908 (Thanksgiving day).

To be sure, “The Daily Express” newspaper (San Antonio, Texas, Vol. 43, No. 334, Ed. 1 Sunday, November 29, 1908, page: 39 of 56) has at least three (3) references to the second 1908 game being in Austin on Thanksgiving day (11/26/1908); and The Houston Post,” ((Houston, Texas) Vol. 24, Ed. 1 Friday, November 27, 1908 Page: 4 of 16) also indicates that the game was played on 11/26/1908 in Austin, Texas.

Therefore, the 2020 Media Guide needs to be corrected in order to show that the second 1908 Texas A&M game was played on November 26, 1908; and that game needs to be labeled with a “t”, indicating that it was played on Thanksgiving day.

(c) 11/28/1934 vs. 11/29/1934: In the 2020 Media Guide, the 1934 season does not have a game marked or designated as having been played on Thanksgiving, so there is no “t” next to any of the games played. This is because Thanksgiving, in 1934, was on 11/29/1934, and as you can see from the 2020 Media Guide, there was no game on 11/29/1934. However, the media guide does state that they played Texas A&M on 11/28/1934 (which would have been the day before Thanksgiving; or Wednesday).

According to page 114 of the 2019 Texas A&M Football Media Guide the game against the Longhorns was played on Thursday, November 29, 1934 (Thanksgiving day). Further, the 1935 Longhorn (Texas A&M’s Yearbook) references the Aggies game against the Longhorns on Thanksgiving day (11/29/1934).

Sizzling Southwest Football for 60 Years – See Page 73

The Daily Sun newspaper included a review of the 1934 A&M vs. Longhorn football game and stated that it was played on Thanksgiving day, Thursday, November 29, 1934 (see “The Daily Sun,” Vol. 16, No. 151, Ed. 1, Friday, November 30, 1934, page 7). Further, the “Brownwood Bulletin” newspaper from Wednesday, November 28, 1934 stated the game would be on Thursday, November 29 (see the “Brownwood Bulletin” newspaper, Brownwood, Tex., Vol. 35, No. 39, Ed. 1 Wednesday, November 28, 1934, page 2).

If that is not enough, the results of all games from the 1934 Southwest Conference (“SWC”) season are printed on page 73 the book titled “Sizzling Southwest Football for 60 Years,” by J.W. Williams (1956). Here it shows that the Longhorns defeated Texas A&M on November 29, 1934, by a score of 13-0.

Finally, I noticed that the 1934 game program states that the date of the game was November 29, 1934; which was, of course, Thanksgiving Day. The game program has a turkey on it and the word “THANKSGIVING” appears in large print across the front. I am assuming the program was printed by the University of Texas as the game was played at Memorial Stadium in Austin.

November 29, 1934 Game Program

Texas A&M vs. University of Texas – Game Program – November 29, 1934

In any event, I think it is pretty clear that this game was played on Thanksgiving Day, November 29, 1934, despite the information provided in the 2020 Media Guide. Therefore, the 2020 Media Guide needs to be corrected in order to show that the 1934 Texas A&M game was played on November 29, 1934; and that game needs to be labeled with a “t”, indicating that it was played on Thanksgiving day.

Texas A&M game listed on the correct date (which was Thanksgiving);
but date is not marked with “t” (indicating it was on Thanksgiving day)

(d) 11/30/1939 – Thanksgiving day: In the 2020 Media Guide, the 1939 season does not have a game marked or designated as having been played on Thanksgiving, so there is no “t” next to any of the games played. The media guide correctly indicates that the game against A&M was played on 11/30/1939; however, it fails to label that date as Thanksgiving day. In other words, the 2020 Media Guide correctly lists the date of the A&M game; however, it fails to mark that game as Thanksgiving day. Seeing that 11/30/1939 was the last Thursday of the month, it was obviously Thanksgiving day.

To be sure, the “Cleburne Times-Review” newspaper ran a story on Tuesday, November 28, 1939 (two days before Thanksgiving) titled “Steers to Dedicate Game to Six Seniors” (see “Cleburne Times-Review” from Cleburne, Texas, Vol. 35, No. 46, Ed. 1 Tuesday, November 28, 1939, page 3 of 6). In this story it states that the “University of Texas Longhorns will dedicate their Thanksgiving Day efforts to six senior lettermen who will be playing their last game against the Texas Aggies.”

Finally, the 1939 game program clearly states that the game was played on November 30, 1939, and that it was Thanksgiving Day.

November 30, 1939 Game Program

Texas A&M vs. University of Texas – Football Game Program – Thanksgiving day – November 30, 1939

Therefore, the 2020 Media Guide needs to be corrected by labeling the November 30, 1939 Texas A&M game with a “t”, in order to indicate that it was played on Thanksgiving day.

(e) 11/28/1940 – Thanksgiving day: In the 2020 Media Guide, the 1940 season does not have a game marked or designated as having been played on Thanksgiving, so there is no “t” next to any of the games played. The media guide correctly indicates that the game against A&M was played on 11/28/1940; however, it fails to label that date as Thanksgiving day. In other words, the 2020 Media Guide correctly lists the date of the A&M game; however, it fails to mark that game as Thanksgiving day. Seeing that 11/28/1940 was the last Thursday of the month, it was obviously Thanksgiving day.

The 1940 game between the Aggies and Longhorns is one that most Longhorns are fairly familiar with, so this is an odd miss by the Longhorn media guide staff. After all, the Aggies entered the game undefeated and were closing-in on a Rose Bowl invitation and potentially a second (consecutive) national championship. Early in the game, Longhorn wide receiver Noble Doss made what is commonly referred to as an impossible catch, when he caught the ball over his shoulder and set up the Longhorns’ first and only touchdown (see “The Daily Sun” newspaper, from Goose Creek, Texas, Vol. 22, No. 134, Ed. 1 Friday, November 29, 1940, page: 6 of 8). The Longhorns upset previously undefeated Aggies and won the game 7-0!

According the the website TexasSports.com; under the football section labeled “Great Games and Moments: 1940s” you can find the following:

GREAT GAME
Texas 7, Texas A&M 0
Thursday, November 28, 1940
Memorial Stadium (Austin, Texas)

Noble Doss’ “impossible catch” on the third play of the game set up Texas’ only touchdown, a Pete Layden one-yard run on the very next play, as the Longhorns ended Texas A&M’s 19-game winning streak with a 7-0 victory at Memorial Stadium. The UT win prevented the Aggies from repeating as National Champions and also knocked A&M from a sure Rose Bowl appearance. Texas finished the season 8-2, its best record since 1932.

GREAT MOMENT
Texas 7, Texas A&M 0
Thursday, November 28, 1940
Memorial Stadium (Austin, Texas)

Noble Doss’ incredible over-the-shoulder pass reception on the third play of the 1940 Texas/Texas A&M game led to the winning TD in the 7-0 Longhorns victory that ended the Aggies’ bid for back-to-back National Championships.

See: https://texassports.com/sports/2013/7/21/FB_0721130936

Further, the 1940 game program clearly states that the game was played on November 28, 1940. The program also has the word “Thanksgiving” on a ribbon that is located behind the head of a turkey; a coat-of-arms-like shield with food; and a set of carving utensils clutched in the turkey’s feet.

November 28, 1940 Game Program

November 28, 1940 Longhorns vs. Aggies game program on Thanksgiving.

Therefore, while I am not sure how this date was overlooked as having been Thanksgiving day, the 2020 Media Guide needs to be corrected by labeling the November 28, 1940 Texas A&M game with a “t”, in order to indicate that it was played on Thanksgiving day.

(f) 11/27/1941 – Thanksgiving day: In the 2020 Media Guide, the 1941 season does not have a game marked or designated as having been played on Thanksgiving day, so there is no “t” next to any of the games played. The media guide correctly indicates that the game against A&M was played on 11/27/1941; however, it fails to label that date as Thanksgiving day. In other words, the 2020 Media Guide correctly lists the date of the A&M game; however, it fails to mark that game as Thanksgiving day. Seeing that 11/27/1941 was the last Thursday of the month, it was obviously Thanksgiving day.

As for the date of the game and whether it is correct; both the game program and ticket from the 1941 game state that the game was played on 11/27/1941.

November 27, 1941 Game Program

November 27, 1941 Longhorns vs. Texas A&M game program

November 27, 1941 Game Ticket

November 27, 1941 Longhorns vs. Texas A&M game ticket

Further, page 53 of the 1942 Cactus Year book clearly states that the game in College Station was played on Thanksgiving day.

1942 Cactus Yearbook – Page 52

1942 Cactus Yearbook – Page 52

1942 Cactus Yearbook – Page 53

1942 Cactus Yearbook – Page 53

“Close-up” of page 53 from 1942 Cactus Yearbook

1942 Cactus Yearbook – Page 53 (Close-Up)

In any event, it is fairly clear that the 2020 Media Guide needs to be corrected by labeling the November 27, 1941 Texas A&M game with a “t”, in order to indicate that it was played on Thanksgiving day.

(g) 11/30/1944 – Thanksgiving day: In the 2020 Media Guide, the 1944 season does not have a game marked or designated as having been played on Thanksgiving day, so there is no “t” next to any of the games played. The media guide correctly indicates that the game against A&M was played on 11/30/1944; however, it fails to label that date as Thanksgiving day. In other words, the 2020 Media Guide correctly lists the date of the A&M game; however, it fails to mark that game as having been played on Thanksgiving day. Seeing that 11/30/1944 was the last Thursday of the month, it was obviously Thanksgiving day.

To be sure, “The Battalion” student newspaper from November 28, 1944 states that the football game was to be played on Thursday, November 30, 1944, and that that day was Thanksgiving. (See “The Battalion,” newspaper, Tuesday, November 28, 1944, page/image 1).

Further, the program from the 1944 game confirms that the date of the game was November 30, 1944.

November 30, 1944 Game Program

November 30, 1944 – Longhorns vs. Texas Aggies game program

Therefore, the 2020 Media Guide needs to be corrected by labeling the November 30, 1944 Texas A&M game with a “t”, in order to indicate that it was played on Thanksgiving day.

(h) 11/29/1945 – Thanksgiving day: In the 2020 Media Guide, the 1945 season does not have a game marked or designated as having been played on Thanksgiving day, so there is no “t” next to any of the games played. The media guide correctly indicates that the game against A&M was played on 11/29/1945; however, it fails to label that date as Thanksgiving day. In other words, the 2020 Media Guide correctly lists the date of the A&M game; however, it fails to mark that game as having been on Thanksgiving day. Seeing that 11/29/1945 was the last Thursday of the month, it was obviously Thanksgiving day.

The game program from 1945 game confirms that the game was played on November 29, 1945.

November 29, 1945 Game Program

November 29, 1945 game program – Longhorns vs. Texas Aggies

Further, the “Sweetwater Reporter” newspaper has a recap of the game and states that it was played on November 29, 1945 (See”Sweetwater Reporter” newspaper, Sweetwater, Texas, Friday, November 30, 1945, Volume 48, No. 282, Edition 1, page 6 of 8).

Finally, page 513 of the 1946 Cactus Yearbook states that the game against Texas A&M was on Thanksgiving day!

1946 Cactus Yearbook – Page 513

1946 Cactus Yearbook – Page 513

“Close-up” of page 513 from the 1946 Cactus Yearbook

1946 Cactus Yearbook – Close-up of page 513

Therefore, the 2020 Media Guide needs to be corrected by labeling the November 29, 1945 Texas A&M game with a “t”, in order to indicate that it was played on Thanksgiving day.

(i) 11/30/1950 – Thanksgiving day: In the 2020 Media Guide, the 1950 season does not have a game marked or designated as having been played on Thanksgiving day, so there is no “t” next to any of the games played. The media guide correctly indicates that the game against A&M was played on 11/30/1950; however, it fails to label that date as Thanksgiving day. In other words, the 2020 Media Guide correctly lists the date of the A&M game; however, it fails to mark that game as having been played on Thanksgiving day. Seeing that 11/30/1950 was the last Thursday of the month, it was obviously Thanksgiving day.

The game program from the 1950 contest confirms the date of the game as November 30, 1950. It also confirms that the game was played on Thanksgiving day, as the words “Thanksgiving Day” appear on the football that is printed on the program cover.

November 30, 1950 Game Program

November 30, 1950 – Longhorns vs. Texas Aggies game program

Therefore, the 2020 Media Guide needs to be corrected by labeling the November 30, 1950 Texas A&M game with a “t”, in order to indicate that it was played on Thanksgiving day.

(j) 11/29/1951 – Thanksgiving day: In the 2020 Media Guide, the 1951 season does not have a game marked or designated as having been played on Thanksgiving day, so there is no “t” next to any of the games played. The media guide correctly indicates that the game against A&M was played on 11/29/1951; however, it fails to label that date as Thanksgiving day. In other words, the 2020 Media Guide correctly lists the date of the A&M game; however, it fails to mark that game as having been played on Thanksgiving day. Seeing that 11/29/1951 was the last Thursday of the month, it was obviously Thanksgiving day.

To be sure, “The Battalion” student newspaper, from November 29, 1951 states that the game was on November 29, 1951; and it further shows that that day was Thanksgiving day (See The Battalion, November 29, 1951, page/image 1).

While it is a little hard to see in this particular photograph, the official game program from the 1951 game has the date of November 29, 1951 printed on the cover.

November 29, 1951 Game Program

November 29, 1951 – Game Program

Further, page 122 of the 1952 Cactus Yearbook states that the Longhorns lost their 1951 football game to the Aggies on Thanksgiving day.

1952 Cactus Yearbook – Page 122

1952 Cactus Yearbook – Page 122

Therefore, the 2020 Media Guide needs to be corrected by labeling the November 29, 1951 Texas A&M game with a “t”, in order to indicate that it was played on Thanksgiving day.

(k) 11/29/1956 – Thanksgiving day: In the 2020 Media Guide, the 1956 season does not have a game marked or designated as having been played on Thanksgiving day, so there is no “t” next to any of the games played. The media guide correctly indicates that the game against A&M was played on 11/29/1956; however, it fails to label that date as Thanksgiving day. In other words, the 2020 Media Guide correctly lists the date of the A&M game; however, it fails to mark that game as having been played on Thanksgiving day. Seeing that 11/29/1956 was the last Thursday of the month, it was obviously Thanksgiving day.

As discussed in Table 1’s Note (E), and as every good-Texan knows, 1956 was the last year that Texas celebrated Thanksgiving differently from the rest of the U.S. See the following excerpt from a TexasAlamanac.com article on the subject (emphasis added):

Abraham Lincoln initiated the tradition of a national annual day of thanksgiving with a proclamation in 1863 … Franklin D. Roosevelt deviated from the practice of observing the last Thursday in November as Thanksgiving in 1939. Retailers noted that a November 30 [1939] observance of Thanksgiving that year would leave only 20 shopping days until Christmas, since the shopping season usually opens with the November holiday. A Nov. 23 observance was recognized by 23 states, and a similar number stuck to the November 30 celebration. Texas and Colorado commemorated both days … In 1941, FDR signed the law making the fourth Thursday in November the nation’s official Thanksgiving day. However, in 1944, 1945, 1950, 1951 and 1956, November had five Thursdays, and while other states changed their observances to coincide with the national law, Texas remained the lone holdout, observing the last Thursday in 1956. The Legislature changed the law in 1957 making the fourth Thursday in November the state’s official Thanksgiving.

See: https://texasalmanac.com/topics/history/timeline/first-thanksgiving
Calendar: November 1956 – Showing five Thursdays, with November 29th being Thanksgiving in Texas.

In other words, we know that November 29, 1956 was Thanksgiving day in Texas as it was the last year before Texas made the switch from observing the last Thursday of the month to the fourth Thursday of the month (which only made a substantive difference in months where there were five Thursdays; 1956 being one of those years).

The game program from 1956 clearly states that the game was played on November 29, 1956.

November 29, 1956 Game Program

November 29, 1956 – Longhorns vs. Texas Aggies game program

Further, “The Battalion” student newspaper from Tuesday, November 27, 1956 states that the game will be played on the following Thursday (November 29) and that that day is Thanksgiving. (See “The Battalion,” November 27, 1956, page/image 5).

Finally, page 509 of the 1957 Cactus Yearbook has a synopsis of the Longhorns’ 1956 season. It states clearly that the the Longhorns and Aggies finished their 1956 season on “Turkey Day.”

1957 Cactus Yearbook – Page 509

1957 Cactus Yearbook – Page 509

Therefore, the 2020 Media Guide needs to be corrected by labeling the November 29, 1956 Texas A&M game with a “t”, in order to indicate that it was played on Thanksgiving day.

Conclusion

One might read this post and ask “What’s the big deal?” After all, no one is perfect and mistakes will be made. I would respond to that by pointing out that this is a media guide, written for the purpose of providing factual information to members of the media. In this respect, getting it ‘right’ should be considered fairly important.

However, I will also agree that no one is perfect, especially at the University of Texas, and mistakes are often made in a publication of this size. On the other hand, this particular mistake would probably have gone unnoticed if not for the special section that incorrectly detailed the Longhorn “tradition” of playing football on Thanksgiving day. In other words, if it is really a tradition, you would think that the importance of getting it right would be self-evident.

After all, it is not like only one or two games were accidentally mislabeled. In fact, Table 2 shows that eleven (11) Thanksgiving day games (all played against Texas A&M) that were completely missed and left unlabeled. Again, for a football program that claims to have a tradition of playing games on Thanksgiving day, you would think that missing, or forgetting about, eleven (11) games would be rather significant.

2020 Media Guide – Page 183 – “Thanksgiving Day Tradition”

“Thanksgiving Day Tradition” from page 183 of 2020 Texas Longhorn Football Media Guide.

I don’t want to do the work of the Longhorn media staff for them, but these corrections require a basic understanding of Texas history, and without that, they will never get made.

Adding the eleven (11) missing Thanksgiving day games to their total, as well as the 2015 Texas Tech game, would bring their total Thanksgiving day games to 99. Plus, seeing that all eleven (11) missing games were against Texas A&M, adding this information will significantly change those stat-lines as well (as they have played 80 games against the Aggies on Thanksgiving; as opposed to the 69 they have listed and counted).

What about T+1 (or “f”)?

With such a large amount of glaringly obvious errors, there is no telling what else in their media guide is wrong. For example, as referenced above, they have another designation (“f”) in the media guide which stands for “Friday after Thanksgiving Day game.” While I am not going to go into the mislabeled “f” games, it is pretty clear that those are just as incorrect as the “t” (Thanksgiving) games.

Finally, I can’t wait for the 2021 Texas Football Media Guide to be released. Although that won’t be out for another year, it will be interesting to see if they read this post and update their stats so that the 2021 Media Guide properly reflects the total number of Thanksgiving day games; or will they continue their tradition of inaccuracy that has been consistent since at least 2006.

It will also be interesting to see if they give me any credit for having found these mistakes and making the corrections. While the failure to give any credit could be considered a violation of journalism ethics; I am not going to hold my breath.

*******

Other items of interest not included in the post above:

Five Thursdays in November at Purdue.edu;

From 1893-2020, the following years have had a November with five (5) Thursdays: 1893, 1894, 1899, 1900, 1905, 1906, 1911, 1916, 1917, 1922, 1923, 1928, 1933, 1934, 1939, 1944, 1945, 1950, 1951, 1956, 1961, 1962, 1967, 1972, 1973, 1978, 1979, 1984, 1989, 1990, 1995, 2000, 2001, 2006, 2007, 2012, 2017, 2018;

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