Countdown of the 20 Greatest Super Bowl’s: #2 Super Bowl XXV

Super Bowl XXV

#2 Super Bowl XXV: New York Giants vs. Buffalo Bills


Super Bowl XXV

Photo courtesy of

New York Giants – 20

Buffalo Bills – 19

Tampa Stadium

Tampa, Florida

January 27, 1991

Attendance: 73,813

MVP: Ottis Anderson, RB, New York Giants

Key Play: With :08 to play in the game Buffalo kicker Scott Norwood attempts a potential game-winning 47-yard field goal. He misses wide right giving the Giants the win

Super Bowl XXV is remembered as much for the game as for the singing of the Star-Spangled Banner before the game, performed by Whitney Houston with the Gulf War fresh on everybody’s mind. The game itself featured two of the NFL’s best teams from the season as Buffalo led the league in scoring with 428 points and New York led the league in defense allowing a league low 211 points.

The Giants had a game plan to control the clock and slow down Buffalo’s quick offense. They did just that on their opening drive by consuming 6:15 off the clock with a 10 play 58-yard drive that ended in a 28-yard field goal by Matt Bahr to open the scoring. On the very next drive of the game Buffalo executed their quick offense to perfection with a 66-yard drive in only 5 plays while using 1:23 to tie the game on a Scott Norwood 23-yard field goal.

On Buffalo’s third drive of the game they drove 80-yards on 12 plays in 4:27 and took the lead on a 1-yard Don Smith run, his only carry of the game. Bruce Smith increased Buffalo’s lead by sacking Giants quarterback Jeff Hostetler in the end zone for a safety. Hostetler, filling in for an injured Phil Simms (broken bone in left foot during week 14), made arguably the play of the game by preventing an end zone fumble by holding onto the ball with only one hand and keeping the Giants deficit at 12-3. With 3:43 left in the half Hostetler drove the Giants 87 yards and scored with a pass to Stephen Baker, cutting the Bills lead to 12-10 with 25 seconds left in the half.

New York took a 17-12 lead on the opening drive of the third quarter with a 75-yard 12 play drive capped off by game MVP Ottis Anderson’s one yard run. The drive took a Super Bowl record 9:29 (since broken) in which the Giants converted four 3rd downs. Buffalo stalled on the ensuing drive but used a Giants turnover on downs to drive 63-yards on 4 plays. The Bills took a 19-17 lead on Thurman Thomas’ 31-yard run on the first play of the fourth quarter.

The Giants weren’t down for long as they scored on the next drive of the game. A 14 play 74-yard drive led to a Matt Bahr 21-yard field goal and gave the Giants the lead at 20-19. It was another lengthy drive eating up 7:32 of game time. The Bills had one last chance in the game. They received the ball with 2:16 left at their own 10-yard line. Jim Kelly drove them down the field to New York’s 29-yard line and set up a potential 47-yard game winning field goal attempt. However, Scott Norwood pushed the kick and allowed announcer Al Michaels to make one of the most famous calls in NFL history, “WIDE-RIGHT!!!”.

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