- Mike Rodak, ESPN Buffalo Bills reporter
- 0 Shares
@mikerodak How could it not be Wide Right?
— Keith Kraska (@keithkraska) June 12, 2014
This is one of three nominations for the most memorable play in team history. In the next two days we'll feature: the last-second "Music City Miracle" that kept the Bills from advancing in the 1999 playoffs; and Don Beebe chasing down Leon Lett to prevent a Dallas Cowboys touchdown in Super Bowl XXVII. Please vote for your choice as the Bills' most memorable play.
Score: Giants 20, Bills 19
Date: Jan. 27, 1991 Site: Tampa Stadium
Heartbreak doesn't even begin to describe it.
After stumbling their way through much of the 1970s and 1980s, the Bills clicked as soon as the calendar turned to 1990. Jim Kelly and four of his future Hall of Fame teammates helped steer the Bills to a 13-3 record and an AFC Championship. Just 25 years removed from their 1965 AFL Championship -- the last time Buffalo had tasted a title berth -- the Bills were in their first Super Bowl.
It was an ideal matchup to decide who walked away with the Lombardi trophy. The Bills' fast-paced offense ranked first in the NFL, scoring 26.8 points per game. The New York Giants' defense, which led them to a Super Bowl win four years prior, allowed an NFL-best 13.2 points per game. But coming off a 51-3 win against the Oakland Raiders in the AFC title match, the Bills weren't able to move the ball as easily against the Giants, holding a slim 12-10 lead at halftime.
The back-and-forth continued into the second half. Both teams traded touchdowns before the Giants took a one-point lead on a Matt Bahr field goal in the fourth quarter. Trying to respond, the Bills' offense stalled, but the Giants weren't able to capitalize, handing the ball back to Buffalo with 2:16 left on the clock. Kelly and Bills pushed downfield, reaching the Giants' 29-yard line with less than 10 seconds left.
On came Scott Norwood to attempt a 47-yard field goal. If successful, the Bills were virtually assured their first Super Bowl ring. Out of Kelly's hands, out of Marv Levy's hands and out of Thurman Thomas' hands, the game came down to Norwood's right leg.
He didn't deliver. The kick sailed wide right -- the two words that will stick out most in Bills history.
The play that could have been the start of a Bills dynasty instead kicked off a stretch of crushing Super Bowl defeats. Norwood's missed kick is a memory that haunts Bills fans and the play remains one of the most important -- for all the wrong reasons -- in franchise history.
This is one of three nominations for the most memorable play in team history. In the next two days we'll feature: the last-second "Music City Miracle" that kept the Bills from advancing in the 1999 playoffs; and Don Beebe chasing down Leon Lett to prevent a Dallas Cowboys touchdown in Super Bowl XXVII.