National Weather Service United States Department of Commerce


On November 25th, 1993 at Texas Stadium the Dallas Cowboys (7-3) were playing the visiting Miami Dolphins (8-2) for a regular season matchup. The game was televised nationally because the winner controlled their own destiny for the rest of the year. This game was a huge game that had a lot on the line. Both teams being from the South meant they were extremely comfortable and used to playing in warm weather. However, for this game it would be the complete opposite as many knew the day before heading into this game what the conditions were going to be like.


A "Blue Norther" storm brought sleet and cold temperatures into the state of Texas impacting the location for the big Thanksgiving game. A Blue Norther  is a local cold front that occurs during the winter season which brings dark black and blue skies, cold temperatures, and a strong north to northwest wind to the southern Plains. Shown below is a four panel of the upper atmosphere on the morning of Thanksgiving Day. A deep trough of low pressure moved through the area. Look how the cold air is pulled in behind the localized cold front that brought sleet to the region.

There were reports of 0.3 inches of sleet on the ground which made playing conditions very difficult. The sleet covered the field and at every timeout the referees would ask for help to clear the lines on the field to make things easier to see. Both of the teams struggled with scoring because it was simply so hard to keep their balance and to not fall on the sleet. Emmitt Smith said "It was so bad that we might as well have worn ice skates." This was the first time ever that wintry precipitation was recorded on Thanksgiving in Dallas/Fort Worth and it impacted the game in a huge way later in the fourth quarter.


Miami found itself in the 4th quarter down 2 with 15 seconds to go. They were going for a go-ahead 41 yard field goal on the sleet covered field. The kick was blocked and the ball ended up around the 7 yard line spinning on the sleet. It looked like Dallas had this game won and they were going to be the leaders in their conference. Dallas players were yelling to stay back from the ball and to not touch it, almost making a full circle around the ball with their arms out as far as they would go backing everyone away from the ball. They wanted to let the referees blow the ball dead, however, Leon Lett, one of the Dallas Cowboys players, didn't cooperate and dove for the ball sliding on the sleet causing him to kick the ball and not gain control. Due to Dallas touching the ball, It was free for anyone to pick up.

(The picture above is from

Players from Miami ran and gave everything they had to try to get that ball back and eventually Miami recovered the ball at the one yard line and would have a chance for another field goal. This field goal however would be different as there was very little time on the clock and the field goal would win the game and run the clock out. Miami players quickly cleared a spot on the ground for the kicker to kick the ball as the referees blew the whistle. This time Miami would make the field goal and take the win and the lead in the standings. Dallas fans were in complete shock and disbelief. Miami was in complete control with the win. Dallas wouldn't give up though as they kept fighting hard in the remainder of the season's games. Miami would eventually go on to lose the next five games and Dallas would sneak into the playoffs and win the Super Bowl.

Miami receiver Irving Frayer summed it up best saying, "That is the most bizarre game I've ever seen."