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Super Bowl XXVII Review

Super Bowl XXVII Review: Cowboys vs. Bills

By Loot, NFL Handicapper,

Date: January 31, 1993

Site: Rose Bowl, Pasadena, California

Point Spread: Dallas Cowboys -6.5/Buffalo Bills +6.5

Score: Dallas Cowboys 52, Buffalo Bills 17

MVP: QB Troy Aikman

Super Bowl XXVII was a tale of two teams. For Dallas, it signified the rise of one of the greatest teams of the decade and the revival of a once-glorious franchise that had been absent from the big game since the late 70’s. For Buffalo, unfortunately, it represented another disappointment--their 3rd straight loss in the Super Bowl. They had a chance to win their first one against the GIants, but were now running into bad luck in terms of their opponents. In Super Bowl XXVI, they ran into an awesome Redskins team and now ran smack into the meteoric rise of the Cowboys.

This one was ugly, with the 35-point margin of victory one of the worst beatings in a game known for some awfully lopsided scores. The Bills hung tough, but instead of mounting a comeback, they saw Dallas explode with 3 touchdowns in the 4th quarter. Dallas was loaded, bolstered by the draft and now hitting their stride. A 1-15 season soon gave way to improvement. They were 11-5 in 1991 and after going 13-3 were now considered the best team in the league.

The Cowboys had drafted the offensive nucleus of their team--QB Troy Aikman, RB Emmitt Smith, and WR Michael Irvin. They also had the number-one ranked defense in the league, led by a great line and secondary. For Buffalo, all the pieces were still in place. Thurman Thomas was way over 1000 yards, with receivers Andre Reed and James Lofton having good seasons. QB Jim Kelly was near 3500 yards.


Buffalo was 11-5 and needed to win 3 games to get to Super Bowl 27. In that first game, known as “The Comeback,” the Bills remarkably came back from a 35-3 second-half deficit to the Oilers to win 41-38 in overtime. Buffalo then beat Pittsburgh on the road 24-3, before beating Dan Marino and the Dolphins in the AFC title game. Dallas, meanwhile, crushed the Eagles 34-10, before beating the 49ers 30-20 in the NFC Championship.

Super Bowl 27 Recap

First Half: Looking at the final score, it’s easy to forget how well Buffalo started. After a three-and-out, Buffalo’s Steve Tasker blocked the punt, giving Buffalo the ball at the Cowboys’ 16. Thurman Thomas ran it in from the 2-yard line to put the Bills up 7-0. Things looked even better for the Bills when they got the ball back and embarked on another drive. But Jim Kelly was intercepted, beginning a terrible pattern for the Bills, who broke a superbowl record with 9 turnovers. Now at midfield, Aikman easily drove his team downfield, scoring on TE Jay Novacek’s 23-yard touchdown catch to make the score 7-7.

Pinned deep, Jim Kelly fumbled after a Charles Haley sack. The ball was snagged out of mid-air by DT Jimmie Jones, who ran it in from 2 yards out to make it 14-7, Dallas. Kelly got the ball deep again on Dallas, but they stalled out as they got close. A 4th down pass was intercepted in the end zone and the Bills came away empty-handed. Buffalo got the ball back, but a hit took out Jim Kelly, paving the way for the return of Frank Reich--who engineered Buffalo’s gigantic comeback against the Oilers. Reich took the team down the field and a field goal by Steve Christie made it 14-10.

Scant remaining time in the half didn’t dissuade the Cowboys, who stormed down the field. Aikman sprayed the ball around and a 38-yard run by Smith got them in the red zone. A 19-yard pass to Irvin made it 21-10. The Bills got the ball back, but a fumble by Thomas was returned to the Buffalo 18. Aikman hooked up with Irvin again to make it 28-10--with two touchdowns in just over 3 minutes to end the half.

Second Half: Dallas kept the foot on the gas to start the second half. But when the Cowboys’ drive stalled out, Lin Elliot kicked a field goal to make it 31-10. Super Bowl 1993 was getting away from the Bills. But later in the third quarter, Reich connected with WR Don Beebe from 40 yards to make it a game at 31-17.

The Bills were lucky to be within two touchdowns considering all the miscues, but a comeback was not in the cards. In fact, the 4th quarter was a disaster, with Dallas putting up three unanswered touchdowns to make the score an unseemly 52-17. That’s even with the Cowboys squandering a touchdown--in the famous botched Leon Lett fumble return. But a big Alvin Harper touchdown reception, an Emmitt Smith scoring run, and a Ken Norton fumble return put issues to rest.

The Dallas resurrection from football purgatory was complete, with their third overall Super Bowl title. For Buffalo, the third time wasn’t a charm--as their frustrations mounted. With 4 touchdown passes and 273 yards in the air, Aikman was named the Super Bowl MVP.

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