Super Bowl XXV

Today we welcome back guest blogger and Giants fan, bigbluelarry, aka Larry Schmitt, with a feature on the Giants' second Super Bowl Championship, Super Bowl XXV, which was played on January 27, 1991 in Tampa.

Super Bowl XXV
by Larry Schmitt

Super Bowl XXV was one of the most exciting and compelling games in NFL history. It featured the only win-it or lose-it kick in a title game (Jim O'Brien's attempt in SB V and Adam Vinetari's in SB's XXXVI & XXXVIII came with the scores deadlocked. Had they missed, those respective games would've gone into OT. Only Scott Norwood has been burdened with the outcome of the Super Bowl being squarely on his foot. 

Giants running back Ottis Anderson
carried the ball 21 times for
102 yards and one touchdown
was named Super Bowl MVP.
Strategically fascinating, the "Smashmouth" Giants, with their powerful running game and stout defense (they were #1 in points allowed and #2 in yards allowed), were a throwback team, playing a style of football that was reminiscent of the 1950's. The Buffalo Bills were "the new thing," using a no-huddle attack that was a hybrid of the Run-and-Shoot, only the Bills kept a TE on the field instead of four WR's. Buffalo was unstoppable in the playoffs. They ran over, through and around Miami and Los Angeles in the playoffs, scoring a total of 95 points and accumulating 995 yards of offense in only two games! 

The Giants lost their starting quarterback Phil Simms to a broken foot in mid-December, but back up Jeff Hostetler came in and led the Giants to wins in their last two regular season games to finish the season 13-3, and the Giants smothered Chicago and San Francisco in the playoffs, surrendering only a single touchdown and 16 total points in the postseason.

When the irresistible force met the immovable object, the battle of wills swung back-and-forth. A late touchdown before half time cut the Bills lead to 12-10. The Giants opened the second half with a 16-play, 75-yard TD drive that consumed 9:29 - the longest drive in Super Bowl history to that point [coincidentally, it would be broken by the Giants in Super Bowl XLII]. The Bills' Thurman Thomas put on an impressive performance, rushing for 135 yards on only 15 carries and catching 5 passes for 55 yards. He gave Buffalo the lead with a 31 yard run on the first play of the 4th quarter. 

Giants defensive coordinator Bill Belichick's hybrid "Big Nickel" defense tested the patience of QB Jim Kelly, who called his own plays. Fielding two down linemen and five or six defensive back on every play, the Giants forced the Bills to run short routs underneath the coverage shell and physically punished their receives after the catch and surrendered very few big plays the Buffalo had been accustomed to. Trailing 20-19 and possessing the ball on their own 10-yard line and 2:16 on the clock, Kelly began a heroic drive. Moving the Bills mostly on the ground - three scrambles and two Thomas runs accounted for 51 of the drive's 61 yards -  Kelly set up the infamous FG attempt at the New York 29 yard-line. Of course, Norwood's kick has forever been tabbed as "Wide Right" and the Giants celebrated their second Super Bowl win in for years. Buffalo would return the big game three more times successively, an unprecedented run of conference supremacy.

For the first time, the teams uniforms featured the logo for that season' Super Bowl - a large shield with the roman numeral XXV, a practice that would not become commonplace until Super Bowl XXXII after the 1997 season.

Box Score:

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