In advance of the Super Bowl, LARams.net yesterday kicked off a list of the Top 5 Weirdest Super Bowls Ever starring our own Los Angeles Rams’ egregious, mysterious loss to the Pittsburgh Steelers back in no. XIV.
As historically disheartening as the Los Angeles Rams can be, however, there’s always the Buffalo Bills. Think L.A.’s lead back in the 1980 game disappeared like magic? Let's travel back in time again, this time to 1994 (cue time travel music)...
4. Super Bowl XXVIII – Dallas Cowboys 30, Buffalo Bills 13.
I sometimes wonder whatever happened to this guy –
– who in 1994 was, let’s face it, even more heartily chumped by his team in the Super Bowl than Rams fans had been in ’80. Super Bowl XXVIII was the Bills’ fourth consecutive trip, with the year previous resulting in a horrific 52-17 beatdown at the hands of these same monstrous Cowboys.
Like the 1979 Los Angeles Rams, the Bills entered the Super Bowl as big (10½-point) underdogs and were facing a Team Of The Decade. And like the Rams, the Bills almost fit the Team Of Destiny mold – except for a similar, sudden and emphatic late-game collapse.
Buffalo won the coin toss and controlled the tempo of the game throughout the first half, often going to their then-still revolutionary “hurry up offense.” Doug Christie nailed a record-setting 54-yard field goal easily in the first quarter; Thurman Thomas, shooting for redemption after two very lackluster Super Bowl performances, punched in the only first-half touchdown in the second.
The Bills D meanwhile managed to keep Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith and the high-scoring ‘Boys out of the red zone in the first 30 minutes – and ended a last-minute threat with Aikman’s only pick of the game.
Up 13-6, the Bills took the kickoff to start the third quarter and began with the hurry-up again, only for Thomas to fumble the ball away to James Washington, who’d score. And the rout from out of nowhere was on.
The “probability of winning” metric wasn’t widely known in 1994, but we can see today with clarity that Washington’s TD reduced Buffalo’s chance of victory by nearly 32% – just half of what it had been one play previously. At the time, all we could do was feel the Bills’ metaphorical window of opportunity slam shut emphatically as Smith hammered away play after play at a demoralized defense.
Said WR Andre Reed after the game, “That last fumble was once in a million. These things always happen to the Bills. It rips the heart out of you…”
And just to make the story of Super Bowl XXVIII a little stranger, the Buffalo Bills have yet to even come closer to the championship; in fact, the last play the Bills have seen in a playoff game was the “Music City Miracle.”
Crazy. Also, ouch.
-- written by Os Davis
Next: The most dominant performance in a Super Bowl of all-time – and the ugliest…