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51 for LI: Wide Right in Super Bowl XXV

[lead align=”default”]This season’s Super Bowl is just 25 days away. We now take a few moments today to recall one of the most interesting of the big games, Super Bowl XXV.[/lead]

Not every Super Bowl contains it, but there comes a time in these games when a player has to make a big play, and that ends up becoming a memorable moment. Sometimes, it’s for something good a player accomplishes. In other situations, it’s what they don’t do. In Super Bowl XXXIV, it was Tennessee coming up a yard short of the end zone. Super Bowl XLII had the David Tyree helmet catch. This game between the New York Giants and the Buffalo Bills had one of these moments.

Super Bowl XXV: How They Got There

The 1990 New York Giants hadn’t been to the Super Bowl in four years, but got back on track with a 13-3 regular season record. 1989’s Giants made the playoffs, but were bounced in the infamous “Flipper Anderson Game” against the Los Angeles Rams. While that motivated this team, they also dealt with some adversity. Quarterback Phil Simms went down with a season-ending injury in Week 15, and Jeff Hostetler took the reins.

The Giants had a very stout defense, which still ranks as one of the best ever. It featured, in part, Lawrence Taylor, Carl Banks, Pepper Johnson, and Leonard Marshall (who ruined Joe Montana). Big Blue crushed Chicago in the Divisional Round and upset the San Francisco 49ers on a Matt Bahr field goal to reach Super Bowl XXV.

On the other end, Jim Kelly and the Buffalo Bills made their first-ever Super Bowl. This bunch, completely the opposite of the defensively-strong Giants, led the NFL in points. Not only was there Kelly, but also Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed.

Buffalo reached the Super Bowl after beating Miami, 44-34, in the Divisional round, and the Los Angeles Raiders, 51-3, in the AFC Championship.

Super Bowl XXV: The Game

In addition to the final plays, this game was famous for its beginning. Whitney Houston sang the national anthem at this Super Bowl, and to this day it rates as one of the best renditions in modern times. America was in the middle of the Gulf War, and this lifted people up in a big way.

No Super Bowl has ever gone to overtime, but this one came the closest: a one-point margin. Let’s skip right to the end: The Giants, seven-point underdogs, held a one-point lead in the closing moments. Jim Kelly led Buffalo down the field on what appeared to be a championship drive. The Bills ended up in field goal range, and set up a 47-yard kick by Scott Norwood to win the Super Bowl.

Wide right.

Four Super Bowls for Buffalo, three NFC East teams, and four losses.  In hindsight, this really wasn’t a great era for the Bills per se.  Oh sure, they won the AFC title four times, but to lose every Super Bowl, some in blowouts and some in soul-crushing fashion like this one, has to suck hard. Norwood’s kick ushered in an era of painful teasing for the Bills and their fans.

Super Bowl XXV: Highlights

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