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Friday, July 11, 2014
Bills' top play winner: 'Wide Right'

By Mike Rodak

Scott Norwood
Score: Giants 20, Bills 19
Date: Jan. 27, 1991 Site: Tampa Stadium

We have a winner. The voters picked "Wide Right" as the most memorable play in Buffalo Bills history.

The heartbreaking missed field goal at the end of Super Bowl XXV was a runaway winner in the fan poll, earning 55 percent of the votes. The "Music City Miracle" came in second with 26 percent, while Don Beebe running down Leon Lett was third with 19 percent.

It's the right call. It's important to note that we highlighted the top three most memorable plays in Bills history -- good or bad -- so a kick where inches were the difference between winning and losing a title game is a natural choice.

Also worth mentioning: We considered only single plays for this project, so while the "comeback game" in the 1992 playoffs is likely the most memorable game in Bills history, it wasn't defined by a single play or moment.

Likewise, Mike Stratton's "hit heard 'round the world" in the 1964 AFL championship and Jim Kelly's touchdown run to beat the Miami Dolphins in 1989 are among the honorable mentions for the Bills, but didn't receive the same support as the other three plays when we held a Twitter poll last month.

"Wide Right" came on the NFL's biggest stage, in the Bills' first Super Bowl appearance, and at the end of the game. Had Scott Norwood's 47-yard field goal been successful, that 1990 Bills team would be toting championship rings. But Norwood missed, and it isn't.

It's that dramatic, all-or-nothing swing that separates Norwood's kick from the "Music City Miracle" or Beebe's hustle play. Had the 1999 Bills stopped the Tennessee Titans on that kickoff, they would have advanced only to the divisional playoffs. It wasn't the Super Bowl.

Beebe ran down Lett in a Super Bowl but it wasn't a critical play in the game. The Dallas Cowboys had already locked up the win in the fourth quarter, and while Beebe prevented a touchdown, the fumble didn't turn the tide.

Frank Wycheck and Kevin Dyson might be most known for their combination effort on the "Music City Miracle," and Beebe and Lett will be forever linked by that iconic play more than 21 years ago. But they can't match Norwood's miss and the crushing feeling that followed.