THIS DAY IN SPORTS: The Bills hope this record is broken someday


This Day In Sports…January 30, 1994, 30 years ago today:

Most teams are thankful to so much as get there, but the Buffalo Bills are not thankful for this. The Dallas Cowboys handed the Bills their fourth consecutive Super Bowl loss, 30-13, as Most Valuable Player Emmitt Smith rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns. The Bills were stacked with NFL sacks leader Bruce Smith and AFC rushing leader Thurman Thomas—plus quarterback Jim Kelly and wide receiver Andre Reed—all of them future Pro Football Hall of Famers (like their coach, Marv Levy). Buffalo was a veteran team, but the Super Bowl cloud that started with kicker Scott Norwood’s “Wide Right” miss three years earlier, and two routs since, hung over its head.

The Bills led 13-6 at halftime, and there was hope that they could end the epic frustration. But the Cowboys outscored Buffalo 24-0 in the second half and coasted home. The game turned just 45 seconds after halftime, when Thomas was stripped of the ball and the Cowboys’ James Washington took it 46 yards for a scoop-and-score. Thomas, who became the game’s tragic figure, had fumbled in the first quarter, and Washington recovered that one, too. Washington added an interception of Kelly on the first play of the fourth quarter. But overall the stage belonged to Smith, who scored his TDs in the third and fourth quarters. 

“This one is the worst,” Reed told Sports Illustrated. “We should have won. Then they come up with 24 unanswered points. That last fumble was once in a million. These things always happen to the Bills. It rips the heart out of you.” Thomas was frank after the wrenching loss. “No, Dallas didn’t wear us down in the second half,” he said. “I fumbled. I cost us the game.” The word “goat” had a different meaning three decades ago. And Buffalo general manager John Butler bristled when he heard someone suggest that Thomas was in that category. “Let me tell you something,” said Butler. “If he’s a goat, I’d like to have a whole herd of them.”

It’s still the only time the same two teams have met in consecutive Super Bowls, with Dallas having pounded Buffalo 52-17 the year before. But the word “only” has mostly to do with the Bills. They’re the only team in history to win four straight AFC Championship Games, and the only club to reach four consecutive Super Bowls. Consequently, Buffalo infamously remains the only team to lose four Super Bowls in a row. The only other club to go 0-4 in the Super Bowl to date is the Minnesota Vikings. But those weren’t back-to-back-to-back-to-back.

(Tom Scott hosts the Scott Slant segment during the football season on KTVB’s Sunday Sports Extra. He also anchors four sports segments each weekday on 95.3 FM KTIK and one on News/Talk KBOI. His Scott Slant column runs every Wednesday.)


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