X

Super Bowl History: This Date in History, Giants Beat Bills in Super Bowl XXV

Doug Rush@Doug_RushSenior Analyst IJanuary 27, 2012

Today's date is an extremely important one for a lot of Giants fans.

For me, today's date is important on two ends. First, January 27th is my birthday, and I turn 28 today.

But in a historical date in sports history, on January 27, 1991, the Giants were playing in their second Super Bowl in team history.

At the time, it was my seventh birthday, and even though I was young and was still getting to know football in depth, I knew how important this game was for the Giants and their fans.

In the NFC Championship Game on January 20, the Giants knocked off the San Francisco 49ers 15-13 at Candlestick Park to advance to Tampa.

Their opponents would be the Buffalo Bills, who in the AFC Championship Game the previous week, decimated the Los Angeles Raiders 51-3.

Before the game started, a very emotional version of the Star Spangled Banner was played by Whitney Houston. Right around this time, the United States had entered the Gulf War on January 17, 1991, so there was a lot of patriotic spirit in the country at the time.

Houston's rendition of our national anthem ended up being a top billboard hit.

The game featured the classic great offense against great defense battle.

The Bills were lead by great quarterback Jim Kelly, dangerous running back Thurman Thomas and wide receivers Andre Reed, James Lofton and Don Beebe.

Buffalo had the number-one ranked offense that year, with 428 total points and averaged 26.8 points per game.

They were coached by Marv Levy, who had a 145-112 career record with the Bills and Chiefs(112-70 with Buffalo), and was 19-11 in his career in the playoffs.

On the other side, the Giants' defense was as well the number one ranked unit in the NFL, allowing 221 total points, which came out to 13.2 per game.

They were led by perhaps the best linebacker to ever play in Lawrence Taylor, plus linebackers Carl Banks, Pepper Johnson and Steve DeOssie. Steve's son, Zak, is a linebacker on the current Giants roster.

Their defensive coordinator was the Patriots' head coach, who will be opposed to the Giants next Sunday in Bill Belichick.

The Giants' offense was not the best unit in the NFC, but was a solid unit that used a philosophy of running the ball behind a strong offensive line and controlling the clock.

And in this game, the Giants did just that, holding the record for longest time of possession in Super Bowl history with 40 minutes, 33 seconds.

In the second half alone, the Bills only had the ball for a total of eight minutes. This was the type of strategy Giants head coach Bill Parcells preached to his squad.

It's also one of the same philosophies that current head coach, and former wide receivers coach Tom Coughlin, has used for the current roster.

The game started out slowly in the first quarter, with field goals by Matt Bahr and Scott Norwood to make it 3-3.

In the second quarter, the Bills took a 10-3 lead on a one-yard run by Don Smith.

The Bills then got a safety to make it 12-3, when Bills defensive end Bruce Smith sacked Giants quarterback Jeff Hostetler in the end zone.

Hostetler was playing in place for the injured Phil Simms, who ended up missing the rest of the season due to a broken foot suffered in Week 15 against the Bills at Giants Stadium.

Hostetler got the Giants back into the game with a 14-yard touchdown pass to Stephen Baker to cut the lead to 12-10 just before halftime.

In the third quarter, the Giants took over the tempo of the game and put their offensive hopes in Ottis Anderson.

Anderson scored on a one-yard touchdown to put the Giants ahead 17-12 with 9:29 to go.

The Bills opened up the fourth quarter with a 30-yard scoring run by Thomas, which made it 19-12 with 14:52 left in the game.

A 21-yard Bahr field goal with 7:40 left put the Giants up 20-19.

Both the Giants' and Bills' defenses held up, as Buffalo forced the Giants to punt with 2:16 remaining and had to start their final drive on their own 10-yard line.

Kelly led the Bills down the field and got them all the way to the Giants' 29-yard line, setting up a 47-yard field goal for Norwood.

During the season, Norwood was 20-for-29, a 69-percent ratio, not exactly the most accurate rate you will ever see for a kicker.

With eight seconds left, in what was some fans know as the "Missed Kick Heard Around the World," Norwood's kick sailed wide right, and the Giants took over possession and won the game.

The Giants, the seven-point underdogs, defeated the Bills 20-19 to win Super Bowl XXV, their second in team history.

Anderson, who had 21 carries for 102 yards and a touchdown, was named Super Bowl MVP.

It was Parcells' second Super Bowl with the Giants. Shortly after the Giants won the Super Bowl, Parcells announced his first retirement due to health reasons.

The Giants ended up going with offensive coordinator Ray Handley as their next head coach, which resulted in utter disaster.

It took the Giants 10 years to get back to the Super Bowl where they lost in Super Bowl XXXV, and didn't win one for another 17 years until Super Bowl XLII

Because of the Giants efforts in winning the Super Bowl, Belichick got the head coaching job for the Cleveland Browns, and Coughlin got the head coaching job at Boston College University.

The Bills went to three more Super Bowls and were defeated by the Redskins in January of 1992 and the Cowboys in January of 1993 and 1994.

For all of us Giants fans everywhere, January 27, 1991 will forever be a big part of Giants history, as the date the Giants won Super Bowl XXV.