Thursday, January 28

Super Bowl Countdown #20: Super Bowl XXVI

During the two weeks preceding the Super Bowl, I will be counting down the best Super Bowls I have witnessed in my lifetime, starting in 1988. I created a ranking system and will go game by game reliving each edition until the top Super Bowl is listed.

The 20th Super Bowl on my ongoing countdown was the northernmost Super Bowl ever. At this point the Bills had only tasted Super Bowl defeat once, losing the previous year's game by one point to the Giants. However, there would be no close shave in this game as the Redskins returned to glory, and subsequently have not returned since. Read on for the Mincing in Minneapolis.

Washington Redskins 37, Buffalo Bills 24

Semi-Lame Nickname: "Winter Magic"


Historical Significance- 3.5: There was a lot of history on the side of the Redskins if they won this game. They were seeking to become the fourth team to win their 3rd Super Bowl. They were also seeking to do it with 3 different quarterbacks. Joe Gibbs was the man who had led the 'Skins to all their titles, spanning 9 years. The Bills were still riding their high-powered K-Gun but had faltered, scoring only a field goal in the AFC title game which was a 10-7(their scored their TD on defense). Gary Kubiak led the Broncos lone TD drive when Elway went out with a thigh injury.

Game Enjoyment by the Fans- 3.5: No matter their current state, the Redskins are one of the storied franchises of the NFL. How else can you explain that Daniel Snyder still makes money with how that team is run? That and the Bills offense captivated the pre-game hype, but once the game reached halftime, the air was out of the Dome.

High Profile Element- 3.5: The MVP of the season was Thurman Thomas. He racked up over 2,000 yards of offense and 12 TDs. Mark Rypien was not the biggest name at the position to play for the 'Skins and maybe not in this game but 1991 was easily his best year. Joe Gibbs and Marv Leavy were both multi-Super Bowl coaches and this was yet another title match-up with a high-powered offense versus a dominant defense.

Venue/Atmosphere- 3: For some reason I like to see Super Bowl's in northern venues. I really would not mind if it snowed during a Super Bowl. It is not like only one team battles the elements. I understand if windy conditions mess up everything, but worth the gamble. Oh, you think people won't show up if it is cold out? Maybe not for a season finale when the home team is 3-12, but for the Super Bowl they would. The Metrodome hosted the Super Bowl, Final Four, and the World Series within a 12-month span, which I find to be a compelling record. Harry Connick Jr. sang the anthem which is okay, but I can never forgive the man for 'Hope Floats', unforgivable son. The Halftime show featured Gloria Estefan(Super Bowl veteran!) and then in an awesome/awful display, Brian Boitano and Dorothy Hamil skated on Teflon sheets on stage. Nice to see Boitano took time from beating up Kubla Khan. Maybe the best part of the atmosphere created by CBS, which would not host another Super Bowl for 8 years, was the song they used in the introduction for the game. Observe:

Bangerang CBS! The NFL on CBS music was pretty boss(correct early 1990s slang?) too.

Personal Enjoyment- 2: Despite the fantastic intro, the game got out of hand quickly. By halftime it was 17-0 and the Bills never really had a chance. I was still young at the time of the game so my attention was lost rather quickly.

Cleet's Rating Index: 15.5

Where I was: I was a young, spry boy of 11 when the game took place. As I mentioned, my attention was lost from the game and by the late 3rd quarter I was attending to my main focus at the time: beating Super Ghouls and Ghosts for Super Nintendo. Always thought it was awesome that you can be knocked into a loin cloth.

What Happened In The World: The very day of the Super Bowl, Boris Yeltsin announced that Russia would no longer target American cities with nuclear weapons. So we have that going for us, which is nice unless Putin reversed that policy.

Record of Note: Both teams combined for the most points in a 3rd quarter with 24.

Game MVP: Mark Rypien went 18/33 for 292 yards, 2 TDs and a pick. He helped Gary Clark and Art Monk become the 3rd pair of receivers to gain 100 yards receiving in the big game.

LVP: Bills offense. Even though he hails from the U, my man machine gun Kelly had those 4 picks. He was under heavy pressure all night and the Bills running game was less than stellar. Thurman Thomas had 13 yards on 10 carries.

Most Memorable Play: In the first quarter the Redskins drove down the field but had to settle for a FG after the first instant replay overturn in Super Bowl history. They blew the snap which gave Buffalo the ball but Kelly promptly threw an interception. Three plays later Rypien turned it back over with a pick of his own.

NFL Fallout: The Redskins were riding high after the Super Bowl win. They made the playoffs the next year but after that Gibbs retired and the Hogs went into a tailspin that eventually landed them in the hands of Snyder. The Bills were once again thwarted but would return to the big game the next two years with again disappointing results.

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