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 Cowboys returned to glory at the expense of the Bills. Puffy Starter jackets for everyone! Although this game was a blowout, it stands out very vividly in my mind and had great plays, personalities, and laid the foundation for an epic rematch the next year. The Pasadena Pounding is next.
Dallas Cowboys 52, Buffalo Bills 17
Semi-Lame Nickname: "How Bout 'Em?"
Historical Significance- 4: The Cowboys had not sniffed the Super Bowl in 15 years, the Bills were back for a third helping. The Cowboys were favored by 6.5. Both teams featured prolific offenses but again the defense was the difference. The teams would be ultimately be linked for their back-to-back duels in the Super Bowl.
Game Enjoyment by the Fans- 3: The game was not close, but there are a lot of Cowboy fans throughout the land and the prolific return to dominance by Dallas increased the momentum of the NFL becoming the country's top sport. I would never and will never call Dallas "America's Team" but a lot of people out there care how this team does each year.
High Profile Element- 4.5: The names have reputations that precede them: Jimmy Johnson, Marv Leavy, Aikman and Kelly(both HoFs), Thurman Thomas and Emmit Smith, Andre Reed and Michael Irvin, Bruce Smith and Charles Haley, and the list goes on.
Dallas beat the 49ers in the NFC title game that would signal the reversal of fortune for the Cowboys in reverse that they got after the 1981 "The Catch" game. Buffalo meanwhile staged the epic comeback against the Houston Oilers led by Frank Reich. Kelly and Thomas were out for both playoff games until the Super Bowl.
Venue/Atmosphere- 4.5: As the BCS title game showed us last month, the Rose Bowl is a great place to watch championship football. The Rose Bowl received the bid after Arizona lost out thanks for their inability to get the MLK holiday passed in a timely manner. Garth Brooks sang the national anthem, does anybody remember when he came out with that alter ego Chris Gaines? Yeah that's when the country collectively realized Brooks had lost it. The halftime show featured the one and only Michael Jackson. Creepy as he was, Jackson pulled in more viewers than the actual game.
Awesome note about the aesthetic quality of the game: O.J. Simpson did the coin toss, awesome.
Personal Enjoyment- 3.5: Again despite the margin of defeat this was the first we saw of the 1990s Cowboys on the big stage and the Bills were now familiar with everyone, but not in a good way.
Cleet's Rating Index: 19.5
Where I Was: I was 12 but did not possess a Starter Jacket. I was rooting for the Bills, but had not developed any annoyance at Dallas or their fans that I have now.
What Happened in the World: Five days after the game, Belgium became a federal state instead of a kingdom. The world was forever changed.
Record of Note: The Bills had 9 turnovers, they turned the ball over NIIIIIIINE times, which was a record.
Game MVP: Troy Aikman won the MVP. 273 yards and 4 TDs, the Bills defense never had a chance.
LVP/Most Memorable Play: Nate Newton. The Bills did play horribly but everyone remembers this play by Don Beebe when Newton got a little premature with this celebration.
NFL Fallout: The two teams would meet again in Atlanta the next year in which both teams would be labeled as they were after this game; Dallas as the 90s dynasty, and the Bills as 4 in a row Super Bowl losers. Jimmy Johnson also became the first coach to win a Super Bowl and a college football national title. Who did he win the title with in college? U already know.