Earlier this week my wonderful boss, WGR Program Director Andy Roth, reminded me that Thursday will be the 20th Anniversary of Super Bowl 25. I'm sure he was doing it mostly from a professional standpoint but I'll bet there was a part of him that was laughing inside because he is a Giants fan. He refers to it as Super Bowl 25 while I would say it is the 20th anniversary of "Wide Right." We've done a very good job of having catchy names for our painful sports moments like "Home Run Throwback" or "No Goal" or the "Just give it to him" game.
After reminding me of the significance of the date, he then asked "do you wish you could forget it?" to which I replied "Why would I want to remember!" Here's what I remember and it’s really all there is to it, Norwood missed the kick and the Bills lost. Anything beyond that and I would just be torturing myself. I don't know if there is a psychological reason behind it or maybe it’s just the aging process (I have forgotten a lot of things, ask my wife) but I don't really recall specific moments/plays that well. Although I do remember the Bills holding hands on the sidelines before Norwood's field goal attempt because I thought how far they had come in a year, going from the "Bickering Bills" to this unified team, seconds away from winning their first Super Bowl and sending Western New York into a party mode no one had ever seen before.
The saying goes that time will heal all wounds. Not for me. It still hurts which is why I've never watched the entire game back and will turn the channel any time highlights are being shown. It’s funny but my wife sometimes makes fun of me for watching replays of old games on the various sports networks. She always wonders why I watch when I know the outcome already but I'll watch games where my team wins in the end, not where they suffer a rip your heart out loss. Just so you know, I won't watch any of the other Bills Super Bowls or "Home Run Throwback" or "No Goal."
Now don't get me wrong, I can give any sports fan a really good battle when it comes to obsessing over a miserable moment in Buffalo sports history. For some reason, I still have nightmares of Scott Gomez playing for the Rangers and running Ryan Miller. But I draw the line at Super Bowl 25. Fellow WGR staffer Brian Koziol and I were talking about that game recently and Brian mentioned that he's gone back several times to watch the game and each time he picks up plays that if they had gone differently, the outcome may have been different and I told him he was nuts and that I couldn't do that to myself. I don't know, maybe it’s medicinal? I took Psychology 101 at Buffalo State but I didn't really pay attention because the book was way too thick and the material way too confusing.
I think it was Jeremy who asked me if I knew the outcome of the game would I still want to go through the buildup to the game and as painful as the loss was, I would say yes to that. I remember how everyone felt the day they crushed the Raiders and what that whole week was like. It was a foregone conclusion; the Bills just won the AFC Championship 51-3! Okay they probably wouldn't blow out the Giants but there was no way the Giants could shut them down and win that game.
I do sometimes wonder, of the 4 Super Bowl losses, which one stings the most? I suppose for many of you it would be "Wide Right". Perhaps for some it was the embarrassment of being blown to smithereens in SB 27. For me, the last one hurt the most, in part, because it’s the only one I attended. I figured they were way overdue so the odds had to be with them. They won at Dallas in week 2 although Emmitt Smith missed that game in a contract dispute and as we saw in SB 28, he made a big difference. Some sentiment seemed to shift the Bills way that year because fans felt bad that they had lost the previous 3 Super Bowls. I will remember to the day I take my last breath, walking around the Georgia Dome at halftime, seemingly walking on air, excitedly telling anyone who would listen, "they're REALLY going to win this time! Ouch. So getting back to Andy's question about SB 25 and whether I'd like to forget it? I've been successful with most of the game; I just can't get that ending out of my head.