NFL Jersey Patches: What Is on Cowboys, Lions & Seahawks Thanksgiving Unis?

Dallas Cowboys

Getty The Dallas Cowboys are among the NFL teams wearing a special jersey patch on Thanksgiving.

Football fans watching NFL games during Thanksgiving may be wondering what the jersey patches are that teams are wearing during the 2023 holiday games. The Dallas Cowboys, Detroit Lions, Green Bay Packers, Washington Commanders, Seattle Seahawks and San Francisco 49ers are all wearing patches on their jerseys to honor the late John Madden. The yellow and brown patches features a silhouette of Madden wearing a headset.

Madden passed away on December 28, 2021 at the age of 85. The former NFL coach and longtime football announcer’s affinity for Thanksgiving is well documented. The league announced the 2023 holiday will mark the second annual John Madden Thanksgiving Celebration.

“The day combines all the aspects of life Madden loved, including family, football, food, tradition and fun,” the NFL noted in a November 21, 2023 statement. “Madden’s contributions to football will be celebrated, both on the field and in the broadcast booth, with tributes interspersed throughout each game on Thanksgiving Day. Each telecast will begin with a Madden hallmark and each network will select a player of the game; the NFL Foundation will then donate $10,000 to a youth or high-school football program in those players’ names because the developmental levels of the game were important to Madden.

“On the field, each of the six Thanksgiving teams will wear jersey patches with the Madden silhouette. The NFL will also feature that silhouette on the coin at each coin toss (heads), while the reverse side of the coin (tails) will be a six-legged turducken. What’s more, commemorative John Madden Thanksgiving Celebration stencils will show prominently at Ford Field, AT&T Stadium and Lumen Field.”

Why Do the Dallas Cowboys & Detroit Lions Always Play on Thanksgiving?

Thanksgiving has become one of the marquee days on the NFL calendar with three games taking place each year. The Lions and Cowboys are the two teams who always play on Thanksgiving each year with the additional four teams rotating. This season, the league also added a Black Friday game between the Jets and Dolphins on November 24.

Detroit began the tradition of playing on Thanksgiving in 1934. Decades later, the Cowboys followed suit as an additional team that joined the Lions as a holiday regular.

“The Lions began the tradition in 1934 when the owner George A. Richards wanted to attract more fans,” CBS Sports’ Shanna McCarriston wrote on November 19. “The marketing wizard’s plan worked and the team who usually lost fans to the more popular Detroit Tigers sold out their stadium and then some. The team had to turn people away at the gates because so many people showed up to watch their Lions play.

“… [The Cowboys] tradition began in 1966 when general manager Tex Schramm signed up to play on that day to get more national publicity. Like the Lions, the Cowboys had record-shattering crowds show up at the Cotton Bowl.”

More Teams Are Able to Wear Throwback Uniforms on Thanksgiving Thanks to Revised NFL Rules

NFL rule changes have allowed for teams to now wear multiple helmets during the season. This has allowed for more teams to reintroduce their throwback uniforms, a popular theme on Thanksgiving.

Not only are the Cowboys wearing their throwback jerseys but now have been able to add the old-school white helmets to complete the look. Elsewhere, the Seahawks went for a more modern look this year opting to wear their bright Action green uniforms instead of the throwbacks. The one thing all six team’s uniforms have in common is the patch that is a nod to Madden’s lasting legacy.