A look back at Super Bowl XXV — Giants win on ‘wide right’ kick
As we head into Super Bowl weekend, let’s look back at another Super Bowl played in Tampa: Super Bowl XXV, played 30 years ago.
It’s remembered fondly around this area because the champions actually played their home games in New Jersey; of course, it was the Giants who won the Lombardi Trophy in one of the most famous Super Bowls of all time (although they’re all pretty famous). It’s best known for the way it ended, with a missed last second field goal that would have given the favored Buffalo Bills their first Super Bowl title; unfortunately for Bills’ fans, it sailed wide right.
With the start of the Gulf War as a backdrop, the National Anthem was sung by New Jersey’s Whitney Houston; she gave a rendition that was so popular, it was released as a single.
Both teams had regular season records of 13-3; the Bills had the NFL’s top offense while the Giants had the league’s top rated defense. Having beaten New York 17-13 and then scoring 95 points in their two playoff games, the Bills were a full touchdown favorite; they had led the league in points behind their high flying offense that included stars Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, and James Lofton. Bill Parcells’ Giants, however, allowed the fewest points in the NFL, led by the great Lawrence Taylor.
The Bills went out to a 12-3 lead in the first half with a touchdown, field goal, and safety. Jeff Hostetler led the G-Men on an 87 yard drive just before the end of the half to cut the lead to 12-10. The Giants got the ball to start the second half and drove 75 yards (and using over 9 minutes of the clock) and scored on an Ottis Anderson TD run, making the score 17-12. In the fourth quarter, Buffalo scored on a 31 yard Thurman Thomas run to go back on top 19-17. New York then took another 7 minutes off the clock, marching 74 yards; they settled for a field goal by Matt Bahr to provide a 20-19 lead. The Bills got the ball back with 2:16 left in the game and made it to the Giants 29 yard line; with eight seconds left, Bills kicker Scott Norwood had the chance to give his team the title with a 47 yard field goal, but it sailed (just) wide right and the Giants won their second Super Bowl title.
Ottis Anderson, who rushed for 102 yards and that touchdown, was named the game’s MVP. Bill Parcells retired after the win, although he would return to coaching, but not with the Giants. The phrase “wide right” lives in infamy in Buffalo to this day.
The post above reflects the thoughts and observations of New Jersey 101.5 talk show host Bill Doyle. Any opinions expressed are Bill Doyle's own.