Garrett Sanders, Sports Correspondent
One of the biggest surprises of the year in the NFL so far heading into Week 4 is the Buffalo Bills. They are currently undefeated with a chance to dethrone the New England Patriots and take full control of the AFC East.
To understand the insanity that is the Buffalo Bills franchise, we first must take a trip down memory lane. This team is a franchise that has suffered the worst fortune any professional sports team could ever experience.
It all started back in the 1990 NFL Season in Super Bowl XXV. The Bills had a chance to win against Hall of Fame Head Coach Bill Parcells and the New York Giants. The Bills had beaten the Giants earlier in the season. So, it was evident that they were heavy favorites in this game. However, fast forward to the fourth quarter with eight seconds left, the Bills were down by one point.
The Bills kicker, Scott Norwood, was put in a position any kicker would dream of being in their life. A chance to win the Super Bowl with a game-winning kick. The only thing standing between the Bills winning a Super Bowl and Scott Norwood becoming the hero for the Bills was a 47-yard field goal.
The snap was perfect, the hold was good, but the kick sailed “wide right.” The Bills, who were a team of destiny to win the Super Bowl, lost. If you thought that was a brutal way to end a season, you might want to hold on to that thought.
The Bills once again in the 1991 NFL Season were back in Super Bowl XXVI. This time it would be against another Hall of Fame Head Coach Joe Gibbs and the Washington Redskins. The Redskins were the best team in the NFL, and it showed throughout the game.
However, what most people remember about Super Bowl XXVI was that Hall of Fame Running Back Thurman Thomas for the Bills did not start. Simply because Thomas happened to lose his helmet before the game, and he could not go out for the start of the game.
Remember, this is a Hall of Fame Running Back we are talking about here. The fact that Thurman Thomas, a Hall of Fame Running Back, didn’t start the game because he couldn’t find his helmet was a laughing joke. However, so were the Bills at this point.
Once again, the Bills found a way to lose the Super Bowl in back to back years.
Making the Super Bowl and losing back to back years was painful for the Bills, however, the pain of losing only got even worse.
This time, in the 1992 NFL Season, the Bills found themselves not winning the AFC East. However, they still found a way to manage to get in the AFC Wild Card Round. There was just one problem: their starting Hall of Fame Quarterback Jim Kelly was hurt and could not play.
For Buffalo, they had to start their backup quarterback, Frank Reich, who happens to be the current Head Coach of the Indianapolis Colts. However, things got ugly for the Bills.
All hopes were lost when the Houston Oilers came into town and put up a show scoring 35 points to Buffalo’s three. Down 32 points, it looked like the Bills season would be over.
However, that’s when “The Comeback” started. Frank Reich and the Bills found a way to keep clawing and fighting their way back into the game. Keep in mind, the Bills were down by an entire 32 points. Surely the Oilers wouldn’t blow a 32-point lead with the Bills misfortune of losing back to back Super Bowls, right?
As luck would have it, it went the Bills way this time. The Bills found a way to take the lead in the fourth quarter and eventually win the game in Overtime. This comeback is still the most massive ever in any NFL game ever played in the 100-year history of the NFL.
For the third year in a row, the Bills found their way back into the Super Bowl. However, just when the Bills thought their dreams of winning a Super Bowl were coming true, the Dallas Cowboys brought them back to reality. In Super Bowl XXVII the Bills were outmatched, outplayed, and outcoached.
Hall of Fame Quarterback, Troy Aikman, and the Dallas Cowboys dominated the Bills from start to finish. The Bills had no answers on offense as they turned over the football nine times! Today, remains the record of having the most turnovers in a Super Bowl. What also was almost another disaster for the Bills is that they gave up 52 points to the Cowboys!
Now, wait? How is that “almost” another disaster? Allowing anyone to score 52 points in a Super Bowl is an awful thing to have on your record! However, it was not the most points scored in a Super Bowl.
That record belonged to the San Francisco 49ers when they scored 55 points in Super Bowl XXIV. Thankfully, the Bills were not the recipient of that beatdown. However, if it weren’t for one player giving all his effort to chase down a Cowboys defensive line, the 49ers wouldn’t have been the record holder.
Don Beebe, a wide receiver for the Bills, saved the utter embarrassment for the Bills when he chased down Leon Lett. Lett had recovered a fumble and was returning the ball for a sure touchdown.
As Lett got closer to the goal line, he slowed down and celebrated by holding the ball in a dangerous position to lose it. That’s when out of nowhere, Beebe came flying down the field and knocked the ball out of Lett’s hand. This play ultimately resulted in a touchback and saved the Bills from utter embarrassment of allowing the most points scored in Super Bowl history. What it didn’t keep though was a third straight Super Bowl loss for the Bills.
Losing the Super Bowl not once, twice, but three times is gut-wrenching to have in your franchise’s history. However, once again, for the Bills, it only got more painful to bear.
In the 1993 NFL Season, the Bills were once a force to reckon with in the NFL. They ended up winning the AFC East and cruised their way through the Playoffs and made the Super Bowl, again.
The Bills had to play the Dallas Cowboys again for the second year in a row in Super Bowl XXVIII! However, things for the Bills started well. They had the lead going into halftime and were one more half away from ending this madness.
However, as the saying goes, it’s not over till the fat lady sings. The Cowboys and Hall of Fame Running Back Emmitt Smith got the ground game going and found a way to run away with the victory. This loss Bills fans everywhere was the final straw they could take.
Losing four Super Bowls is the ultimate epidemy of failure in an NFL franchise. The Buffalo Bills lived it all. Just as fans thought the madness was over, it came right back to haunt the Bills.
The Bills made the playoffs a couple times but didn’t have a heartbreaking loss until one cold day in January of 2000 in Nashville, Tennessee. Every Bills fan remembers this, The Music City Miracle.
Buffalo had kicked a go-ahead field goal and had the lead with very little time remaining in the game. All they had to do was not allow the Titans to score a touchdown. However, what happened next is just what you would expect to happen to the Bills.
The Bills kicked the ball very high to give their players time to get down the field to make the tackle. However, the speed of the ball went down quicker than anticipated. Lorenzo Neal of the Titans caught the ball and handed it to Titans legend Frank Wycheck. Wycheck then proceeded to throw the ball across his body down the field to another Titans legend, Kevin Dyson.
While the ball traveled across the field, it gave the Titans enough time to set blockers down the field. When Dyson caught the ball, he ran down the field with blockers in front of him and scored a touchdown. There were no flags on the ground, but in that season, instant replay came to play.
In real-time speed, it had looked like Wycheck’s pass to Dyson was a forward pass. That would mean the touchdown would not count and there would be a penalty against the Titans. However, instant replay showed the officials differently.
With the power of technology and high camera angles, the officials were able to determine that the ball was going backward and not forwards. Meaning it was a lateral. As the Bills fortune would have them, the call ended up standing, and the Titans ended up winning the game. While it was a controversial call, that pretty much summed up the Bills misfortune throughout the ’90s.
The Bills since that day to 2017 did not make the Playoffs. Having a 17-year playoff drought and losing four Super Bowls is so painful for any fan to witness in their lifetime. However, surprisingly enough, the Bills mafia is still one of the best and most loyal fanbases in the NFL.
With making the Playoffs in 2017, having one of the most underrated coaches in the NFL, and having the franchise quarterback of the future, the Bills are easily one of the biggest underdogs to root for in the NFL.
Moreover, a win against the Patriots this weekend would take away the pain and suffering the Bills have endured throughout the past 30 years. If you are a casual football fan looking for a team to cheer for, the Buffalo Bills are a perfect match!