Super Bowl 25 reflectionsJanuary 27th, 2011 at 4:39 pm by John Murphy under 4 Warn Weather
It was twenty years ago today–and Buffalo sports fans are reminiscing about where they were for Super Bowl XXV–the Bills first appearance in the big game. I had the privilege of covering the game, sitting in the auxiliary press area at Tampa Stadium. And I have vivid memories of that day and that game.
I remember Whitney Houston’s version of the national anthem with its unusual time signature and the military fly over right before kickoff.
I’m haunted by Bruce Smith’s safety in the second quarter–how close he came to stripping the ball from Jeff Hostetler and maybe scoring a Buffalo touchdown. The game, and maybe the history of the Bills, might have been changed forever.
I remember the Giants inexorable nine minute drive in the third quarter when they took the lead. Fourteen plays, including Mark Ingram’s tackle breaking first down catch on third and 13.
And of course, I remember watching from the media staging area outside the Buffalo locker room as Scott Norwood’s kick sailed wide right. We watched him miss on TV monitors and we immediately started getting ready to go to work getting postgame reaction in the locker room.
I’ll always remember talking to Norwood on live TV, with tears in his eyes, as he quietly, calmly, mechanically explained what went wrong on the kick. “I just pushed it right” he said, over and over. And during the live interview we were interrupted by Ralph Wilson who told him it wasn’t his fault.
Today is the anniversary but it was the next day, the day after Super Bowl XXV, that I still consider the greatest day in Buffalo Sports history. That was the day thousands gathered to salute the Super Bowl losers in Niagara Square and absolve Scott Norwood. An amazing act of civic forgiveness revealing the true heart and soul of Buffalo sports fans. And I still believe, twenty years later, that heart, that soul, that passion will someday be rewarded with a championship.