Super Bowl XXV

Super Bowl XXV

Infobox SuperBowl
sb_name = XXV

visitor = Buffalo Bills
home = New York Giants
visitor_abbr = BUF
home_abbr = NYG
visitor_conf = AFC
home_conf = NFC
visitor_total = 19
home_total = 20

visitor_qtr1 = 3
visitor_qtr2 = 9
visitor_qtr3 = 0
visitor_qtr4 = 7

home_qtr1 = 3
home_qtr2 = 7
home_qtr3 = 7
home_qtr4 = 3

date = January 27, 1991
stadium = Tampa Stadium
city = Tampa, Florida
attendance = 73,813
odds = Bills by 8
MVP = Ottis Anderson, Running back
anthem = Whitney Houston
coin_toss = Pete Rozelle
referee = Jerry Seeman
halftime = New Kids on the Block
network = ABC
announcers = Al Michaels, Dan Dierdorf, and Frank Gifford
rating = 41.8
share = 63
commercial = $800,000
last = XXIV
next = XXVI

Super Bowl XXV was an American football game played on January 27, 1991 at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion following the 1990 regular season. The National Football Conference (NFC) Champion New York Giants (16-3) defeated the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Buffalo Bills (15-4), 20–19, the smallest margin of victory in Super Bowl history.

Super Bowl XXV was played under much patriotic fervor, due to the Gulf War. The proceedings included a rousing rendition of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Whitney Houston. This was the first Super Bowl involving two teams representing the same state (though the New York Giants play in East Rutherford, New Jersey).

Giants running back Ottis Anderson, who carried the ball 21 times for 102 yards and one touchdown, was named Super Bowl MVP. Anderson also recorded one reception for seven yards.

However, the game is best remembered for Bills placekicker Scott Norwood's last second field goal attempt which went wide right, losing the game for the Bills and beginning that team's four-Super Bowl losing streak.


NFL owners voted to award Super Bowl XXV to Tampa during a May 20] 1987 meeting. This was the second time that Tampa hosted the game; the city previously hosted Super Bowl XVIII on January 22, 1984.

The Bills and the Giants entered the game using contrasting styles: While the Bills led the league in total points scored (428), the Giants led the league in fewest points allowed (211).

New York Giants

The Vikings won this bowl were built to head coach Bill Parcells' specifications of "power football": a powerful defense and an offense that sustained extremely long drives. The Giants' defense ranked second in the league in fewest total yards allowed (4,392) and first in fewest points allowed, and boasted three Pro Bowl selections: defensive tackle Erik Howard, and linebackers Pepper Johnson and Lawrence Taylor. The secondary was led by defensive back Everson Walls, an offseason acquisition from the Dallas Cowboys, who recorded 6 interceptions. The Giants' offense was unspectacular, ranking just 17th in the league in yards gained and 13th in points scored. But they wore down opposing teams' defenses with extremely long drives, thus keeping their opponents' offense on the sidelines and preventing them from scoring. More importantly, the Giants set an NFL record by losing only 14 turnovers in a 16-game regular season. A big reason for the team's offensive success was the blocking of linemen Bart Oates and William Roberts, the only Pro Bowlers on the offense. Kick returner Dave Meggett led the NFL in punt return yards (467), while also gaining 492 yards on kickoff returns, rushing for 164 yards, and catching 39 passes for 410 yards.

New York began the regular season by winning their first 10 games, and then went into a tailspin and lost three of their next four. One week after losing to division rival Philadelphia Eagles, 31–13, the Giants were defeated on "Monday Night Football" in a 7–3 defensive battle with the San Francisco 49ers, who had won the previous two Super Bowls and ultimately finished the regular season with an NFL best 14–2 record. Then, in their 17–13 loss to the Bills, New York suffered a major setback when starting quarterback Phil Simms went down for the season with a broken bone in his foot.

Simms' replacement, Jeff Hostetler, had started only two games in his seven years as a backup with the Giants. However, Hostetler displayed fine passing and scrambling ability in his limited playing time during the season, and threw only one interception and committed no fumbles. With Hostetler at the helm during the final two regular season games, the Giants ended up with a 13–3 record.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills had a very talented team with 9 Pro Bowl selections on their roster. Their defense was led by defensive end Bruce Smith, who recorded 19 sacks and won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award. Behind him, 3 of the Bills starting linebackers, Darryl Talley, Shane Conlan, and Cornelius Bennett, were selected to the Pro Bowl. And on special teams, Pro Bowler Steve Tasker was a major threat, forcing fumbles, delivering jarring tackles, and blocking kicks.

But as good as their defense was, it was the Bills' flashy, high-powered offense that gained the most attention. Unlike the Giants, the Bills routinely used the no-huddle offense to storm down the field and score points very quickly. Instead of going into a huddle after each play, quarterback Jim Kelly would immediately send his offense back to the line of scrimmage and call the play there after reading the defense. This strategy prevented opposing defenses from properly reading the Bills formation, making substitutions, or even catching their breath.

The Bills' no-huddle K-Gun offense worked well enough for Kelly to finish the regular season as the top rated quarterback in the AFC (101.2), throwing for 2,829 yards, 24 touchdowns, and only 9 interceptions. One reason for his success was that he had 2 outstanding wide receivers: Andre Reed, who made his specialty going across the middle on slants and crossing routes, recorded 71 receptions, 945 yards, and 8 touchdowns, and future hall of famer James Lofton, who was the deep threat with 35 receptions for 712 yards (a 20.3 yards per catch average). Tight end Keith McKeller contributed 34 receptions for 464 yards and 5 touchdowns. Pro Bowl running back Thurman Thomas had 1,297 rushing yards, caught 49 passes for 532 yards, and scored 13 touchdowns. Thomas led the NFL in yards from scrimmage. A key to the Bills' prolific offense was the blocking of its superb offensive line, led by All-Pro center Kent Hull and Pro Bowl guard Will Wolford.

Even though Kelly missed the last 2 games of the season with a knee injury, suffered in the same game in which the Giants lost Simms, the Bills finished with a 13–3 regular season record.


The Giants began their championship postseason run by easily eliminating the Chicago Bears, 31–3. In leading the Giants' "power football" offense, Hostetler threw only 17 passes, throwing for two touchdowns and committing no turnovers. He also directed a rushing attack that gained 194 yards, including 43 (and a touchdown) from Hostetler himself. But New York lost another key player for the season when rookie running back Rodney Hampton, the team's second leading rusher during the regular season with 455 yards, suffered a broken leg.

The following Sunday, the Giants upset the San Francisco 49ers, 15–13, in the NFC Championship Game. The 49ers, an NFL-best 14–2 in the regular season and winners of the last two Super Bowls, were 6½ point favorites at kickoff. Their outstanding defense was led by future Hall of Fame defensive back Ronnie Lott and linebacker Charles Haley, who led the NFC in sacks. San Francisco's offense was considered the best in the NFC, led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana and wide receiver Jerry Rice. However, with the exception of a 61-yard touchdown pass from Montana to wide receiver John Taylor, the Giants contained the 49ers' offense extremely well. A sack by Giants' defensive end Leonard Marshall early in the fourth quarter knocked Montana out of the game. Despite their great defensive effort, the Giants still trailed 13-9 late in the fourth quarter, but a 30-yard run from linebacker Gary Reasons on a fake punt set up kicker Matt Bahr's fourth field goal, cutting their deficit to 13-12. The 49ers (now led by Steve Young) tried to run out the clock on their ensuing possession, but San Francisco running back Roger Craig fumbled the ball and Lawrence Taylor recovered it with 2:36 remaining. Five plays later, Bahr kicked his 5th field goal as time expired to give New York the win.

As for the Bills, Jim Kelly returned from his injury to lead Buffalo to a 44–34 playoff victory over the Miami Dolphins. The Bills jumped to an early 20–3 lead, but Miami quarterback Dan Marino rallied his team back and cut Buffalo's lead to 30-27 going into the fourth quarter. However, Buffalo scored a touchdown on their first drive of the period with a five-yard run by Thurman Thomas. Miami then lost a fumble on the ensuing kickoff, allowing the Bills to put the game away with Kelly's 26-yard touchdown pass to Andre Reed. Kelly finished the game with 336 passing yards, three touchdowns, and 37 rushing yards. Reed was also a big factor, recording 123 receiving yards and a pair of touchdown catches. Lofton caught 7 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown. Thomas led the Bills ground attack with 32 carries for 117 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns, while also catching 3 passes for 38 yards.

Buffalo then crushed the Los Angeles Raiders 51–3, the most lopsided score in AFC Championship Game history. The Bills' defense dominated the Raiders' offense, which was without running back Bo Jackson, who suffered a career-ending injury against the Cincinnati Bengals the week before, limiting them to an early field goal and intercepting five passes from quarterback Jay Schroeder. Meanwhile, the Bills' offense set an NFL playoff record with 41 points in the first half, putting the game out of reach by halftime. Kelly was 17 of 23 for 300 yards passing, and two touchdowns to James Lofton. Thomas had 138 yards rushing, 61 yards receiving, and his backup, Kenny Davis, tied a playoff record with three touchdowns.

uper Bowl pregame news

The Bills were heavily favored to win Super Bowl XXV. Most experts expected that the Giants defense would not be able to contain the Bills' turbo-charged, no-huddle offense, which had scored 95 points in 2 playoff games. Many also questioned how effective the Giants' offense would be after failing to score a single touchdown in the NFC Championship Game. Also, in week 15 of the regular season, the two teams met at Giants Stadium where the Bills defeated the Giants 17–13.

Due to threats of terrorism associated with the Gulf War, extra security measures were put in place at Tampa Stadium, including the positioning of FBI sharpshooters at the upper levels of the stadium.

For the first time, each player wore a Super Bowl logo patch on his jersey. This would not become a regular practice in Super Bowls until Super Bowl XXXII. The Super Bowl XXV logo was painted at midfield and the NFL logo was placed at each of the two 35-yard lines. For the past Super Bowl games since Super Bowl VI, the NFL logo was painted on the 50-yard line.

Television and entertainment

The game was broadcast in the United States by ABC with play-by-play announcer Al Michaels and color commentators Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf. Brent Musburger hosted all the events with the help of then-ABC Sports analyst Dick Vermeil, Musburger's regular color commentator on ABC's college football telecasts. Also sponsors Coca-Cola and Diet Pepsi had to withdraw planned contest promotions or ads due to the Gulf War situation. The game was broadcast in the United Kingdom on Channel 4.

Pregame ceremonies

Singer Whitney Houston's rendition of the national anthem during Super Bowl XXV, backed by the Florida Orchestra, was later released as a single, where it reached number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100, making her the only artist to turn the national anthem into a hit single.Fact|date=October 2008 The single was also reissued after the September 11, 2001 attacks a decade later and charted even higher on the Hot 100, reaching number six.

Former NFL commissioner Pete Rozelle joined the coin toss ceremony.

Halftime show

The halftime show was titled "A Small World Salute to 25 Years of the Super Bowl". It was produced by Disney and featured over 3,500 local children from different ethnic backgrounds and a performance by boy band New Kids on the Block, with special guest Michael Jackson, who were quite popular at the time.

ABC did not broadcast the halftime show live. Instead, they televised a special ABC News report anchored by Peter Jennings on the progress of the war. The halftime show was later shown on tape delay after the game, although most ABC affiliates ran the first episode of "Davis Rules" following the broadcast.

After the game

This Super Bowl was the inspiration for the Ray Finkle character in the 1994 movie ""Fact|date=September 2008 and provided a critical plot point for the 1998 Vincent Gallo film "Buffalo '66". [ [,,1982103,00.html It's Super Bowl loser Norwood's unlucky number. Here's why...] Gary Imlach, "The Guardian", January 7, 2007]

In an episode of "Everybody Loves Raymond", Ray and Debra are watching their wedding video when all of a sudden the tape cuts to the opening kickoff of the game. Debra says "did you hit something?" Ray says no, then Debra says, "Then why am I seeing football?" Later on in the episode, Ray has a group of his friends over to watch the tape of the game, and just as Scott Norwood misses his kick, the tape cuts back to the wedding, to the dismay of his friends. Ray says "We all know what happened." One of his friends (The Priest) then said, "I forgot."

Game summary

To counteract the Bills' no-huddle offense, the Giants' strategy was to use a power running game utilizing O.J. Anderson, aided by quarterback rollouts, bootlegs, and play-action fakes. As tight end Mark Bavaro later recalled, " [w] e came out with three tight ends, fat slobs picking you up and moving you and letting you tackle O.J., if you could." [O'Donnell, Chuck. [ Mark Bavaro: the former Giants tight end remembers being on pins and needles as Buffalo's Scott Norwood lined up for his ill-fated field goal in Super Bowl 25] , "Football Digest", June 2005, accessed May 9, 2007. ] This enabled them to take time off the clock and limit Buffalo's possessions. The Giants set a Super Bowl record for time of possession with 40 minutes, 33 seconds, including 22 minutes in the second half. On defense, New York wanted to be physical with Buffalo's wideouts, and play with extra defensive backs to concentrate on stopping the Bills passing game, while conceding the running game.

The contrast in strategies was evident during the first period. After forcing the Bills to punt on the opening drive of the game, the Giants consumed 6:15 off the clock by marching 58 yards in 10 plays to score on a 28-yard field goal from Matt Bahr. In that drive, New York ran five rushing plays and five passing plays. But the Bills struck right back on their ensuing possession with a five-play, 66-yard drive that took 1:23 off the clock, including a tipped 61-yard completion from quarterback Jim Kelly to receiver James Lofton that set up Scott Norwood's 23-yard field goal to tie the game at 3-3.

After forcing the Giants to punt on their ensuing possession, the Bills' offensive strategy started to work to perfection. Kelly led the Bills on a 12-play, 80-yard scoring drive that consumed 4:27 and moved the ball so effectively that the team never faced a third down. Kelly completed six consecutive passes (four to Andre Reed) for 62 yards, and running back Don Smith capped it off with a one-yard touchdown run to give Buffalo a 10-3 lead. Smith's 1-yard touchdown run was his only carry of the game and the last carry of his career. Reed's 5 first quarter receptions were a Super Bowl record.

After trading punts, the Giants were pinned at their own 7-yard line. On second down, defensive lineman Bruce Smith sacked quarterback Jeff Hostetler in the end zone for a safety, increasing the Bills' lead 12-3. On the play, Smith had a chance to force a fumble since Hostetler was holding the football with only his throwing hand. But to his credit, Hostetler held the ball away from Smith, helping to ensure that only 2 points would be surrendered.

The Bills started out on their next drive with great field position following the free kick, but were forced to punt after 3 plays. Taking the ball at their own 13-yard line with 3:43 left in the second quarter, the Giants abandoned their long drive strategy and employed a quick strike attack of their own. Hostetler led the Giants 87 yards, scoring on a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Stephen Baker with just 25 seconds left in the half to cut New York's deficit to 12-10.

The Giants opened the third quarter and resumed their original game strategy by driving 75 yards in 14 plays to score on Ottis Anderson's one-yard touchdown run, taking their first lead of the game at 17-12. The drive consumed a Super Bowl record nine minutes and 29 seconds, and included four successful third down conversions. The highlight was a 14 yard pass to wide receiver Mark Ingram on 3rd down and 13 yards to go. Ingram caught a short pass and broke five Buffalo tackles to get the first down and keep the drive alive.

After forcing Buffalo to punt on its ensuing possession, New York drove to the Bills' 35-yard line. But on fourth and two, Smith tackled Anderson for a 2-yard loss. Buffalo then took over and stormed down the field, advancing 63 yards in just four plays and scoring on a 31-yard burst from running back Thurman Thomas on the first play of the fourth quarter, regaining the lead at 19-17. Thomas' fourth quarter touchdown run marked 1,000 points scored in Super Bowl history (1,001 with the extra point).

However, before the Bills' defenders had a chance to catch their breath, they found themselves back on the field trying to contain another long Giants drive. This one went for 14 plays and 74 yards, half of which came off passes from Hostetler to tight end Mark Bavaro, and took another 7:32 off the clock. The Bills managed to halt the drive at their own 3-yard line when linebacker Cornelius Bennett broke up Hostetler's third down pass, but Bahr kicked his second field goal to give New York a 20-19 lead.

On the Bills' ensuing possession, they could only advance to their own 41-yard line before having to punt, enabling the Giants to take more time off the clock. The Bills finally forced New York to punt and took the ball at their own 10-yard line with 2:16 remaining. Kelly then led them down the field with a mix of scrambles, short passes, and Thomas runs. Buffalo drove to the Giants' 29-yard line, setting up Norwood for a 47-yard field goal attempt with three seconds left. However, his kick sailed wide right, and the Giants ran out the clock.

There were many impressive performances in the game by players from both teams. Jim Kelly completed 18 of 30 passes for 212 yards with no interceptions, while adding another 23 yards on six rushing attempts. Jeff Hostetler completed 20 of 32 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 10 yards. Dave Meggett recorded 129 combined net yards (48 rushing, 18 receiving, 37 punt return, 26 kickoff return). But the best performances came from both teams' starting running backs. Ottis Anderson rushed for 102 yards, caught a pass for seven yards, and scored a touchdown. Thurman Thomas scored a touchdown, rushed for 135 yards, and caught five passes for 55 yards, giving him 190 total yards from the line of scrimmage. Thomas' 135 yards are the most yards rushing for a member of a losing team. This was also only the second Super Bowl to have two 100-yard rushers. [In Super Bowl III, New York Jets running back Matt Snell recorded 121 rushing yards while Baltimore Colts running back Tom Matte ran for 116.]

The Defensive game plan for the Giants (written by defensive coordinator Bill Belichick) has been included in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. [ [ gallery.jsp - Pro Football Hall of Fame ] ] The Giants' triumph helped Belichick and wide receivers coach Tom Coughlin make their names and eventually land head-coaching jobs with the Cleveland Browns and Boston College, respectively. Currently, Belichick is head coach of the New England Patriots, while Coughlin went from Boston College to be the first-ever head coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and is currently the head coach of the Giants. Giants head coach Bill Parcells retired shortly after winning his second Super Bowl with the Giants. However, he has coached three other teams since then: the New England Patriots (whom he helped bring to Super Bowl XXXI) from 1993-1996, the New York Jets from 1997-1999, and the Dallas Cowboys from 2003-2006. Coughlin and Belichick faced each other for Super Bowl XLII on February 3, 2008 which resulted in a Giants win 17-14.

coring summary

"First Quarter"
* NYG - FG: Matt Bahr 28 yards 3-0 NYG
* BUF - FG: Scott Norwood 23 yards 3-3 tie

"Second Quarter"
* BUF - TD: Don Smith 1 yard run (Scott Norwood kick) 10-3 BUF
* BUF - Safety: Bruce Smith sacked Jeff Hostetler in end zone 12-3 BUF
* NYG - TD: Stephen Baker 14 yard pass from Jeff Hostetler (Matt Bahr kick)12-10 BUF

"Third Quarter"
* NYG - TD: Ottis Anderson 1 yard run (Matt Bahr kick) 17-12 NYG

"Fourth Quarter"
* BUF - TD: Thurman Thomas 31 yard run (Scott Norwood kick) 19-17 BUF
* NYG - FG: Matt Bahr 21 yards 20-19 NYG

tarting lineups

Source: [Neft, David S., Cohen, Richard M., and Korch, Rick. "The Complete History of Professional Football from 1892 to the Present". 1994 ISBN 0312114354 ]

Quotes from the Super Bowl


* Referee: Jerry Seeman
* Umpire: Art Demmas
* Head Linesman: Sid Semon
* Line Judge: Dick McKenzie
* Field Judge: Jack Vaughan
* Side Judge: Larry Nemmers
* Back Judge: Banks Williams

ee also

* 1990 NFL season
* NFL playoffs, 1990-91
* "Buffalo '66"



* - Large online database of NFL data and statistics
* [ Super Bowl play-by-plays] from USA Today (Last accessed September 28, 2005)
* [ All-Time Super Bowl Odds] from The Sports Network (Last accessed October 16, 2005)

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