Super Bowl XXV was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Buffalo Bills and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion New York Giants to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1990 season. The Giants defeated the Bills by the score of 20–19, winning their second Super Bowl.
The game was held at Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida, on January 27, 1991, during the time of the Gulf War. It was preceded by a memorable performance of "The Star-Spangled Banner" by Whitney Houston during the pre-game ceremonies. The American Broadcasting Company (ABC), who broadcast the game in the U.S., did not broadcast the Super Bowl XXV halftime show (headlined by the American boy band New Kids on the Block) live. Instead, the network televised a special ABC News report anchored by Peter Jennings on the progress of the war, and then aired the halftime show on tape delay after the game.
The Bills and their explosive no-huddle offense were making their first Super Bowl appearance after finishing the regular season with a 13–3 record, and leading the league in total points scored with 428. In advancing to their second Super Bowl, the Giants also posted a 13–3 regular season record, but with a ball-control offense and a defense that allowed a league-low 211 points. This thus became the first Super Bowl to feature two teams representing the same state, even though the Giants technically play in New Jersey.
The game is best remembered for Bills placekicker Scott Norwood's last-second missed field goal attempt that went wide right of the uprights, starting a four-game losing streak in the Super Bowl for the Bills. The game became the only Super Bowl decided by one point, and the first Super Bowl in which neither team committed a turnover. The Giants set a Super Bowl record holding possession of the ball for 40 minutes and 33 seconds. The Giants also overcame a 12–3 second-quarter deficit, and made a 75-yard touchdown drive that consumed a Super Bowl-record 9:29 off the clock. Giants running back Ottis Anderson, who carried the ball 21 times for 102 yards and one touchdown, was named Super Bowl MVP. He was the first awardee to receive the newly named "Pete Rozelle Trophy" (named for the former commissioner, Pete Rozelle). Anderson also recorded one reception for seven yards.
|Super Bowl XXV|
|Date||January 27, 1991|
|Stadium||Tampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida|
|MVP||Ottis Anderson, running back|
|Favorite||Bills by 7|
|Current/Future Hall of Famers|
|National anthem||Whitney Houston|
|Coin toss||Pete Rozelle|
|Halftime show||New Kids on the Block|
|TV in the United States|
|Announcers||Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf, Lynn Swann, and Jack Arute|
(est. 79.51 million viewers)
|Cost of 30-second commercial||$800,000|
NFL owners voted to award Super Bowl XXV to Tampa during a May 20, 1987 meeting held at Coronado, California. It was the second time that Tampa hosted the game; the city previously hosted Super Bowl XVIII on January 22, 1984.
The Bills and the Giants entered the game using contrasting styles: While the Bills led the league in total points scored (428), the Giants led the league in fewest points allowed (211).
The teams had met earlier in the season as well. On December 15, in another nationally televised game, the Bills completed a season sweep at Giants Stadium, beating the Giants 17–13, a game which was close, but would prove to be not as close as this one.
The 1990 New York Giants were built to head coach Bill Parcells's specifications of "power football": a powerful defense and an offense that sustained extremely long drives. The Giants' defense ranked second in the league in fewest total yards allowed (4,392) and first in fewest points allowed, and boasted three Pro Bowl selections: defensive tackle Erik Howard, and linebackers Pepper Johnson and Lawrence Taylor. The secondary was led by defensive back Everson Walls, an offseason acquisition from the Dallas Cowboys, who recorded 6 interceptions, and safety Greg Jackson, who recorded 5 interceptions and 4 sacks. The Giants' offense was unspectacular, ranking just 17th in the league in yards gained and 13th in points scored. But they wore down opposing teams' defenses with extremely long drives, thus keeping their opponents' offense on the sidelines and preventing them from scoring. More importantly, the Giants set an NFL record by losing only 14 turnovers in a 16-game regular season. A big reason for the team's offensive success was the blocking of linemen Bart Oates and William Roberts, the only Pro Bowlers on the offense. Ottis Anderson was the team's leading rusher with 784 yards and 11 touchdowns, while also catching 18 passes for 139 yards. Kick returner Dave Meggett led the NFL in punt return yards (467), while also gaining 492 yards on kickoff returns, rushing for 164 yards, and catching 39 passes for 410 yards.
New York began the regular season by winning their first 10 games, and then went into a tailspin and lost three of their next four. One week after losing to the division rival Philadelphia Eagles, 31–13, the 10–1 Giants were defeated on Monday Night Football in a 7–3 defensive battle with the 10–1 San Francisco 49ers, who had won the previous two Super Bowls and ultimately finished the regular season with an NFL best 14–2 record. Then, in their 17–13 loss to the Bills, New York suffered a major setback when starting quarterback Phil Simms, who had thrown for 2,284 yards and 15 touchdowns with only 4 interceptions during the year, went down for the season with a broken bone in his foot.
Simms's replacement, Jeff Hostetler, had started only two games in his seven years as a backup with the Giants. However, Hostetler displayed fine passing and scrambling ability in his limited playing time during the season, and threw only one interception and committed no fumbles. With Hostetler at the helm, the Giants responded by winning their final two games to finish the regular season 13–3, good enough to win the NFC East and earn the second seed in the NFC playoffs.
The Bills had a very talented team with nine Pro Bowl selections on their roster. Their defense was led by defensive end Bruce Smith, who recorded 19 sacks and won the NFL Defensive Player of the Year Award. Behind him, three of the Bills' starting linebackers, Darryl Talley, Shane Conlan, and Cornelius Bennett, were selected to the Pro Bowl. And on special teams, Pro Bowler Steve Tasker was a major threat, forcing fumbles, delivering jarring tackles, and blocking kicks.
But as good as their defense was, it was the Bills' flashy, high-powered offense that gained the most attention. Unlike the Giants, the Bills routinely used the no-huddle offense to storm down the field and score points very quickly. Instead of going into a huddle after each play, quarterback Jim Kelly would immediately send his offense back to the line of scrimmage and call the play there after reading the defense. This strategy prevented opposing defenses from properly reading the Bills' formation, making substitutions, or even catching their breath.
The Bills' no-huddle K-Gun offense worked well enough for Kelly to finish the regular season as the top rated quarterback in the NFL (101.2), throwing for 2,829 yards, 24 touchdowns, and only 9 interceptions. One reason for his success was that he had two outstanding wide receivers: future Hall of Famer Andre Reed, who made his specialty going across the middle on slants and crossing routes, recorded 71 receptions, 945 yards, and 8 touchdowns, and future Hall of Famer James Lofton, who was the deep threat with 35 receptions for 712 yards (a 20.3 yards per catch average). Tight end Keith McKeller contributed 34 receptions for 464 yards and 5 touchdowns. Pro Bowl running back Thurman Thomas had an AFC-best 1,297 rushing yards, caught 49 passes for 532 yards, and scored 13 touchdowns. Thomas also led the NFL in yards from scrimmage for the second consecutive season. A key to the Bills' prolific offense was the blocking of its superb offensive line, led by All-Pro center Kent Hull and Pro Bowl left tackle Will Wolford.
Even though Kelly missed the last 2 games of the season with a knee injury, suffered in the same game in which the Giants lost Simms, the Bills finished with a 13–3 regular season record.
The Giants began their championship postseason run by easily eliminating the Chicago Bears, 31–3. In leading the Giants' "power football" offense, Hostetler threw only 17 passes, but two went for touchdowns and he threw no interceptions. He also directed a rushing attack that gained 194 yards, including 43 (and a touchdown) from Hostetler himself. This game offered a preview of what lay in store for Super Bowl XXV, as the Giants scored on drives of 75, 80, 49 and 51 yards, which lasted nine, 11, 11 and 16 plays. Overall, New York held the ball for 38:22, compared to Chicago's 21:38. But New York lost another key player for the season when rookie running back Rodney Hampton, the team's second-leading rusher during the regular season with 455 yards, suffered a broken leg.
The following Sunday, the Giants upset the San Francisco 49ers 15–13 in the NFC Championship Game. The 49ers, an NFL-best 14–2 in the regular season and winners of the last two Super Bowls, were 6½-point favorites at kickoff. Their outstanding defense was led by future Hall of Fame defensive back Ronnie Lott and linebacker Charles Haley, who led the NFC in sacks. San Francisco's offense was considered the best in the NFC, led by future Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana and wide receiver Jerry Rice. However, with the exception of a 61-yard touchdown pass from Montana to wide receiver John Taylor, the Giants contained the 49ers' offense extremely well. A sack by Giants defensive end Leonard Marshall early in the fourth quarter knocked Montana out of the game. Despite their great defensive effort, the Giants still trailed 13–9 midway through the fourth quarter, but a 30-yard run from linebacker Gary Reasons on a fake punt set up kicker Matt Bahr's fourth field goal, cutting their deficit to 13–12. The 49ers (now led by Steve Young) tried to run out the clock on their ensuing possession, but running back Roger Craig had the ball dislodged by nose tackle Erik Howard, and Lawrence Taylor recovered the fumble in mid-air with 2:36 remaining. Five plays later, Bahr kicked his fifth field goal, a 41-yarder, as time expired to give New York the win.
As for the Bills, Jim Kelly returned from his injury to lead Buffalo to a 44–34 playoff victory over the Miami Dolphins. The Bills jumped to an early 20–3 lead, but Miami quarterback Dan Marino rallied his team back and cut Buffalo's lead to 30–27 going into the fourth quarter. However, Buffalo scored a touchdown on their first drive of the period with a 5-yard run by Thurman Thomas. Kicker Scott Norwood then recovered a fumble from Miami on the ensuing kickoff, allowing the Bills to put the game away with Kelly's 26-yard touchdown pass to Andre Reed. Kelly finished the game with 336 passing yards, three touchdowns, and 37 rushing yards. Reed was also a big factor, recording 123 receiving yards and a pair of touchdown catches. James Lofton caught 7 passes for 149 yards and a touchdown. Thomas led the Bills' ground attack with 32 carries for 117 rushing yards and 2 touchdowns, while also catching 3 passes for 38 yards.
Buffalo then crushed the Los Angeles Raiders 51–3, the most lopsided score in AFC Championship Game history. The Bills' defense dominated the Raiders' offense, which was without running back Bo Jackson, who suffered a career-ending injury against the Cincinnati Bengals the week before, limiting them to an early field goal and intercepting five passes from quarterback Jay Schroeder. Meanwhile, the Bills' offense racked up 502 yards, piling up yards and points so fast the game was out of reach by the end of the first half. Kelly was 17 of 23 for 300 yards passing, and two touchdowns to Lofton. Thomas had 138 yards rushing, 61 yards receiving, and his backup, Kenneth Davis, tied a playoff record with three touchdowns.
The Bills were heavily favored to win Super Bowl XXV. Most experts expected that the Giants' defense would not be able to contain the Bills' turbo-charged no-huddle offense, which had scored 95 points in 2 playoff games. Many also questioned how effective the Giants' offense would be after failing to score a single touchdown in the NFC Championship Game. Also, in Week 15 of the regular season, the two teams met at Giants Stadium, where the Bills defeated the Giants 17–13.
For the first time, each player wore a Super Bowl logo patch on his jersey. This would not become a regular practice in Super Bowls until Super Bowl XXXII. The Super Bowl XXV logo was painted at midfield, and the NFL logo was placed at each of the two 35-yard lines. With the Gulf War having begun 10 days prior to this Super Bowl's scheduled date of January 27; rumors had begun circulating of a possible delay or cancellation of the conference championship games and the Super Bowl. However, the NFL quickly denied those rumors by stating the games would go on as scheduled.
The game was broadcast in the United States by the American Broadcasting Company (ABC), featuring the Monday Night Football broadcast team of play-by-play announcer Al Michaels and color commentators Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf. Brent Musburger hosted all the events with the help of then-ABC Sports analysts Bob Griese and Dick Vermeil, Musburger's regular color commentator on ABC's college football telecasts. Also, sponsors Coca-Cola and Diet Pepsi had to withdraw planned contest promotions or advertisements, due to the Gulf War situation (PepsiCo's contest, a heavily promoted $3 million giveaway in which viewers would be invited to call a toll-free number during the first three quarters; with the caller receiving a Diet Pepsi coupon and an opportunity to win one of 3 prizes totaling $1 million each, was also withdrawn due to FCC and Congressional fears and complaints from the telephone communications industry that the United States telephone system would be overwhelmed).
On radio, the game was broadcast nationally on CBS. Jack Buck served as play-by-play with Hank Stram his color commentator. In the teams' local markets, the game was carried on WNEW-AM in New York City with Jim Gordon, Dick Lynch and Karl Nelson and WGR in Buffalo, New York with Van Miller, Ed Rutkowski and Pete Weber.
The game was broadcast in the United Kingdom on Channel 4, in Mexico on the Canal de las Estrellas, Canada on CTV and on Venezuela on Venevisión. Because of the Gulf War situation, this marked the first time the Super Bowl would be telecast in most countries around the world. Outside of North America and England, this Super Bowl was broadcast for the first time in countries such as Australia and Russia.
Whitney Houston performed "The Star-Spangled Banner" for Super Bowl XXV, backed by The Florida Orchestra under the direction of Maestro Jahja Ling. With America involved in the Gulf War, the positive response to the rousing performance was overwhelming, and it was released as a single and a video. It reached number 20 on the Billboard Hot 100 – making her the only act to turn the national anthem into a pop hit of that magnitude.
Houston's rendition was critically acclaimed and largely regarded as one of the best renditions of the U.S. national anthem in history. The track was included on the album Whitney: The Greatest Hits. Following 9/11, the single was re-released by Arista Records, peaking at number 6 on the Hot 100 and was certified platinum by the RIAA.
The halftime show was titled "A Small World Salute to 25 Years of the Super Bowl". It was produced by Disney and featured over 3,500 local children from different ethnic backgrounds and a performance by boy band New Kids on the Block, with special guest Warren Moon.
ABC did not broadcast the halftime show live. Instead, they televised a special ABC News report anchored by Peter Jennings on the progress of the Gulf War. The halftime show was later shown on tape delay after the game at around 10:40 EST, although most ABC affiliates ran the first episode of Davis Rules following the Super Bowl, and may have televised the remaining parts of the halftime show later.
To counteract the Bills' no-huddle offense, the Giants' used a tough-nosed, conservative plan on both sides of the ball. On offense, the plan was to use a power running game utilizing Ottis Anderson, aided by quarterback rollouts, bootlegs, and play-action fakes. As tight end Mark Bavaro later recalled, "We came out with three tight ends, fat slobs picking you up and moving you and letting you tackle O.J. [Anderson], if you could." This enabled them to take time off the clock and limit Buffalo's possessions. The Giants set a Super Bowl record for time of possession with 40 minutes and 33 seconds, including 22 minutes in the second half.
On defense, New York wanted to be physical with Buffalo's wideouts, and play with extra defensive backs to concentrate on stopping the Bills' passing game, while shifting focus away from trying to stop Buffalo's running game. In his book The Education of a Coach, David Halberstam wrote that one of defensive coordinator Bill Belichick's specific plans to combat the Bills involved convincing his defense (who had been the best unit against the run in the NFL that season) that they would win the game if Thurman Thomas ran for more than 100 yards. Belichick also felt that Jim Kelly was not as good at reading defenses as some other elite quarterbacks were (for example, Joe Montana), and that Kelly tended to "freeze" what he was seeing from a series and then use that information on the next one, which meant the Giants could be a step ahead of him all game if they alternated their cover plans from drive to drive.
The contrast in strategies was evident during the first quarter. After forcing the Bills to punt on the opening drive of the game, the Giants consumed 6:15 off the clock by marching 58 yards in 10 plays to score on a 28-yard field goal from Matt Bahr. In that drive, New York ran five rushing plays and five passing plays. However, the Bills struck right back on their ensuing possession with a five-play, 66-yard drive that took 1:23 off the clock, including a tipped 61-yard completion from Kelly to wide receiver James Lofton that set up Scott Norwood's 23-yard field goal to tie the game 3–3.
After forcing the Giants to punt on their ensuing possession, the Bills' offensive strategy started to work to perfection. Kelly led the Bills on a 12-play, 80-yard scoring drive that consumed 4:27 and moved the ball so effectively that the team never faced a third down. Kelly completed six consecutive passes (four to Andre Reed) for 62 yards, and running back Don Smith capped it off with a one yard touchdown run to give Buffalo a 10–3 lead early in the second quarter. Smith's touchdown run was his only carry of the game and the last carry of his career. Reed's 5 first quarter receptions were a Super Bowl record.
After trading punts, the Giants were pinned at their own 7-yard line. On second down, defensive end Bruce Smith sacked quarterback Jeff Hostetler in the end zone for a safety, increasing the Bills' lead to 12–3. On the play, Smith had a chance to force a fumble, since Hostetler was holding the football with only his throwing hand. But to his credit, Hostetler held the ball away from Smith, helping to ensure that only two points would be surrendered.
Later on, the Giants got the ball at their own 13-yard line with 3:43 left in the second quarter. New York abandoned their long-drive strategy and employed a quick-strike attack of their own. It worked, as Hostetler led the Giants 87 yards and scored on a 14-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Stephen Baker with just 25 seconds left in the half to cut New York's deficit to 12–10.
The Giants opened the third quarter and resumed their original game strategy by driving 75 yards in 14 plays to score on Ottis Anderson's one yard touchdown run, giving the Giants a 17-12 lead. The drive consumed a then-Super Bowl record 9:29 (since surpassed by the Giants in Super Bowl XLII), and included four successful third down conversions. The highlight was a 14-yard pass to wide receiver Mark Ingram on third down and 13 yards to go. Ingram caught a short pass and broke five Buffalo tackles to get the first down and keep the drive alive. By this point, the Bills offense had gone nearly two hours of real-time (counting the halftime show) since they last possessed the ball.
After forcing Buffalo to punt on its ensuing possession, New York drove to the Bills' 35-yard line. But on fourth and two, Smith tackled Anderson for a two yard loss. Buffalo then took over and stormed down the field, advancing 63 yards in just four plays and scoring on a 31-yard burst from running back Thurman Thomas on the first play of the fourth quarter, regaining the lead for Buffalo at 19–17. Thomas' touchdown run marked 1,000 points scored in Super Bowl history (1,001 with the extra point).
However, before the Bills' defenders had a chance to catch their breath, they found themselves back on the field trying to contain another long Giants drive. This one went for 14 plays and 74 yards, half of which came off passes from Hostetler to tight end Mark Bavaro, and took another 7:32 off the clock. The Bills managed to halt the drive at their own 3-yard line when linebacker Cornelius Bennett broke up Hostetler's third down pass, but Bahr kicked his second field goal to give New York a 20–19 lead. On the Bills' ensuing possession, they could only advance to their own 41-yard line before having to punt, enabling the Giants to take more time off the clock. The Bills finally forced New York to punt and took the ball at their own 10-yard line with 2:16 remaining.
On the Bills' final possession, Kelly led the team down the field with a mix of scrambles, short passes, and Thomas runs, of which the last was for a healthy, and very critical, seven yards, managing to get the Bills to the Giants 29-yard line, just within field goal range with eight seconds to play. Norwood attempted a 47-yard game-winning field goal. Norwood's kick sailed wide right, less than a yard outside of the goalpost upright. To this day, this is the only potential Super Bowl winning field goal attempt in which the kicker's team would lose if the kick were missed. After Norwood's miss, the Giants ran out the clock.
There were many impressive performances in the game by players from both teams. Jim Kelly completed 18 of 30 passes for 212 yards with no interceptions, while adding another 23 yards on six rushing attempts. Jeff Hostetler completed 20 of 32 passes for 222 yards and a touchdown, and rushed for 10 yards. Dave Meggett recorded 129 combined net yards (48 rushing, 18 receiving, 37 on punt returns, 26 on kickoff returns). But the best performances came from both teams' starting running backs. Ottis Anderson rushed for 102 yards, caught a pass for seven yards, and scored a touchdown. Thurman Thomas scored a touchdown, rushed for 135 yards, and caught five passes for 55 yards, giving him 190 total yards from scrimmage. Thomas' 135 yards are the most yards rushing for a member of a losing team. This was also only the second Super Bowl to have two 100-yard rushers.
The defensive game plan for the Giants, written by then-defensive coordinator Bill Belichick, has been included in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. The Giants' triumph helped Belichick and wide receivers coach Tom Coughlin make their names and eventually land head-coaching jobs with the Cleveland Browns and Boston College, respectively. Currently, Belichick is head coach of the New England Patriots, while Coughlin went from Boston College to be the first head coach for the Jacksonville Jaguars, and spent 12 seasons as the head coach of the New York Giants before resigning in 2016. Giants head coach Bill Parcells retired shortly after winning his second Super Bowl with the Giants. However, he went on to coach three other teams since then: the New England Patriots (whom he helped bring to Super Bowl XXXI) from 1993–1996, the New York Jets from 1997–1999, and the Dallas Cowboys from 2003–2006. Both Coughlin and Belichick have gone on to win Super Bowls as head coaches: Belichick with the Patriots in Super Bowls XXXVI, XXXVIII, XXXIX, XLIX, LI, and LIII; Coughlin with the Giants in Super Bowls XLII and XLVI, coincidentally both against Belichick's Patriots.
It was the first Super Bowl in which neither team committed a turnover. The only other Super Bowl to date without a turnover is Super Bowl XXXIV, in which the St. Louis Rams defeated the Tennessee Titans 23–16. Because of Thomas's high production, some sports writers, such as Sports Illustrated's Paul Zimmerman, felt that he should have won the game MVP even though his team lost, just as Chuck Howley had done in Super Bowl V.
|Buffalo Bills||New York Giants|
|First downs rushing||8||10|
|First downs passing||9||13|
|First downs penalty||1||1|
|Third down efficiency||1/8||9/16|
|Fourth down efficiency||0/0||0/1|
|Net yards rushing||166||172|
|Yards per rush||6.6||4.4|
|Passing – Completions/attempts||18/30||20/32|
|Times sacked-total yards||1–7||2–8|
|Net yards passing||205||214|
|Total net yards||371||386|
|Punt returns-total yards||0–0||2–37|
|Kickoff returns-total yards||6–114||3–48|
|Interceptions-total return yards||0–0||0–0|
|Time of possession||19:27||40:33|
1Completions/attempts 2Carries 3Long gain 4Receptions 5Times targeted
Super Bowl XXV was the first Super Bowl where no new player records were set. Three players tied a record. One single team record was set according to the official NFL.com boxscore, the 2016 NFL Record & Fact Book and the Pro-Football-Reference.com game summary.
|Player and Team Records Set |
|Smallest margin of victory||1 point||Giants|
|Most safeties, game||1||Bruce Smith|
|Most fair catches, game||3||Al Edwards (Buffalo)|
David Meggett (New York)
|Most safeties, game||1||Bills|
|Fewest passing touchdowns||0|
|Fewest punt returns, game||0|
|Fewest turnovers, game||0||Bills|
Turnovers are defined as the number of times losing the ball on interceptions and fumbles.
|Records Set, both team totals |
|Fewest times intercepted||0||0||0|
|Records tied, both team totals|
|Fewest fumbles lost||0||0||0|
|Fewest punt returns, game||2||0||2|
|Buffalo||Position||Position||New York Giants|
|James Lofton‡||WR||Mark Ingram|
|Will Wolford||LT||Jumbo Elliott|
|Jim Ritcher||LG||William Roberts|
|Kent Hull||C||Bart Oates|
|John Davis||RG||Eric Moore|
|Howard Ballard||RT||Doug Riesenberg|
|Keith McKeller||TE||Mark Bavaro|
|Andre Reed‡||WR||Stephen Baker|
|Jim Kelly‡||QB||Jeff Hostetler|
|Thurman Thomas‡||RB||Ottis Anderson|
|Jamie Mueller||FB||Maurice Carthon|
|Leon Seals||LE||Eric Dorsey|
|Jeff Wright||NT||Erik Howard|
|Bruce Smith‡||RE||Leonard Marshall|
|Cornelius Bennett||LOLB||Carl Banks|
|Shane Conlan||LILB||Gary Reasons|
|Ray Bentley||RILB||Pepper Johnson|
|Darryl Talley||ROLB||Lawrence Taylor|
|Kirby Jackson||LCB||Mark Collins|
|Nate Odomes||RCB||Everson Walls|
|Leonard Smith||SS||Greg Jackson|
|Mark Kelso||FS||Myron Guyton|
|Scott Norwood||K||Matt Bahr|
|Rick Tuten||P||Sean Landeta|
The 1990 NFL season was the 71st regular season of the National Football League. To increase revenue, the league changed the regular season so that all NFL teams would play their 16-game schedule over a 17-week period. Furthermore, the playoff format was expanded from 10 teams to 12 teams by adding another wild card from each conference, thus adding two more contests to the postseason schedule; this format remains in use today (although there are now four division spots and two wild card spots available with realignment in 2002). During four out of the five previous seasons, at least one team with a 10–6 record missed the playoffs, including the 11–5 Denver Broncos in 1985; meanwhile, the 10–6 San Francisco 49ers won Super Bowl XXIII, leading for calls to expand the playoff format to ensure that 10–6 teams could compete for a Super Bowl win. Ironically, the first ever sixth-seeded playoff team would not have a 10–6 record, but instead, the New Orleans Saints, with a paltry 8–8 record, took the new playoff spot.
This was also the first full season for Paul Tagliabue as the league's Commissioner, after taking over from Pete Rozelle midway through the previous season.
ABC was given the rights to televise the two additional playoff games. Meanwhile, Turner's TNT network started to broadcast Sunday night games for the first half of the season.
On October 8, the league announced that the Super Bowl Most Valuable Player Award would be named the Pete Rozelle Trophy. The season ended with Super Bowl XXV when the New York Giants defeated the Buffalo Bills 20–19 at Tampa Stadium. This would be the first Super Bowl appearance for Buffalo, who would lose the next three Super Bowls as well.
Late in the season, with the Gulf War looming closer, the NFL announced that starting in Week 16 (and continuing until Super Bowl XXV), the league would add American flag decals to the back of the helmet. The flag would return on a permanent basis in 2001 following the September 11 attacks.1990 New York Giants season
The 1990 New York Giants season was the franchise's 66th season in the National Football League. The Giants, who play in the National Football Conference (NFC) of the National Football League (NFL), won their sixth championship and second Super Bowl. Led by linebacker Lawrence Taylor and quarterbacks Phil Simms and Jeff Hostetler, the Giants posted a 13–3 record before defeating the Chicago Bears and the two-time defending Super Bowl champion San Francisco 49ers in the NFC playoffs. In Super Bowl XXV, they defeated the Buffalo Bills 20–19 in Tampa Stadium against a patriotic backdrop inspired by the recently started Gulf War. The story of the season is the subject of a recent book, When the Cheering Stops, by defensive end Leonard Marshall and CBSsports.com co-writer William Bendetson.
After making the playoffs in 1989, the Giants entered the 1990 season as a Super Bowl favorite, though most believed they stood little chance of stopping the 49ers. The Giants began the season with a 27–20 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, then won their next nine games before losing a rematch to Philadelphia 31–13 in Week 12. The Giants also lost close games to the 49ers on the road and to the Bills at home in the regular season before defeating both teams in playoff rematches. In the Week 15 game against Buffalo, starting quarterback Phil Simms was injured and ultimately lost for the season with a broken foot. He was replaced by Hostetler, who did not lose a game. The Giants' defense led the NFL in fewest points allowed (211), and the team set an NFL record by committing only 14 turnovers in the regular season. After the season, six Giants were selected to the Pro Bowl.
In 2007, ESPN.com ranked the 1990 Giants' defense as the sixth-greatest in NFL history, noting that the team "allowed only 13.2 points a game against a very tough schedule – they played against seven playoff teams during the regular season. Led by Hall of Fame outside linebacker Lawrence Taylor and First Team All-Pro inside linebacker Pepper Johnson, New York's defense also came through in the playoffs, holding the Bears to just three points in the divisional playoff game. The Giants then held a resilient 49ers offense to just two field goals and one touchdown, and set up the game-winning score by both forcing and recovering a late Roger Craig fumble involving NT Erik Howard and OLB Lawrence Taylor to win the NFC Championship Game 15–13. In Super Bowl XXV, the Giant defense held its own against the Bills' no-huddle offense while the Giants' offense executed long methodical drives that gave the Giants a time of possession advantage of 2-to-1, and New York won 20–19."Adam Lingner
Adam James Lingner (born November 2, 1960) is a former American football offensive lineman who played thirteen seasons in the National Football League with the Kansas City Chiefs and the Buffalo Bills. Lingner was drafted in 1983 in the 9th round by the Kansas City Chiefs, and was the lowest draft pick to make the squad. He was a member of Buffalo's teams in four consecutive Super Bowl games: Super Bowl XXV, Super Bowl XXVI, Super Bowl XXVII and Super Bowl XXVIII.
Adam Linger is most known for being the long-snapper on the "wide right" field goal by Scott Norwood in Super Bowl XXV. Most football experts agree that the snap on the play was perfect and not a factor in the kick being missed. Lingner is also one of only 22 players to play in all of the Buffalo Bills Super Bowl appearances in the early 1990s.Big Blue Wrecking Crew
The Big Blue Wrecking Crew was the defense for the New York Giants during the 1980s that won two Super Bowl Championships, the first in Super Bowl XXI in 1986 and the other in Super Bowl XXV in 1990. A 3-4 defense, it was among the greatest NFL defenses of all time, and featured Lawrence Taylor as its star, considered by many to be the greatest defensive player in NFL history.Bob Mrosko
Robert Allen Mrosko (born November 13, 1965) is a former American football tight end who played three seasons in the National Football League (NFL) with the Houston Oilers, New York Giants and Indianapolis Colts. He was drafted by the Oilers in the ninth round of the 1989 NFL Draft. Mrosko played college football at Pennsylvania State University and attended Wickliffe High School in Wickliffe, Ohio. He was a member of the New York Giants team that won Super Bowl XXV.Don Smith (running back)
Donald Michael Smith (born October 30, 1963 in Hamilton, Mississippi) is a former American football running back in the National Football League, after a successful college football career at Mississippi State University as a quarterback. He scored a touchdown in Super Bowl XXV for the Buffalo Bills in what turned out to be the final carry of his career.Eric Dorsey
Eric Hall Dorsey (born August 5, 1964 in Washington, D.C.) is a retired American football defensive end for seven seasons in the National Football League. He started in Super Bowl XXV for the New York Giants. He played college football at the University of Notre Dame and was drafted in the first round of the 1986 NFL Draft. He was a standout at McLean High School (McLean, Virginia), where he anchored their 10-1 1981 team, playing almost every position his senior year and becoming the most heavily recruited player in school history.Eric Moore (offensive lineman)
Eric Patrick Moore (born January 28, 1965) is a former American football guard who played for the New York Giants (1988–1993), the Cincinnati Bengals (1994), the Cleveland Browns (1995) and the Miami Dolphins (1995). Moore was drafted in the first round (tenth overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft. He was a starter for the Giants in their Super Bowl XXV triumph.
In 1993, Moore was sentenced to a six-month pretrial diversion program for steroid possession along with former New York Giants teammate Mark Duckens. They were described by federal agents as “pawns in international steroid ring.” Moore was also suspended for the first four weeks of the 1993 NFL season.Moore lived in the Wolf Creek subdivision in Macon, Georgia for a while and his nickname in college was "PK".
Currently Mr. Moore is a McDonald's owner operator in central Indiana.Erik Howard
Erik Matthew Howard (born November 12, 1964 in Pittsfield, Massachusetts) is a former professional American football defensive tackle who played eleven seasons in the National Football League. He played nine seasons with the Giants, and was a member of the 1986 Giants team that won Super Bowl XXI and the 1990 Giants team that won Super Bowl XXV.
In the 1990 NFC Championship game against the San Francisco 49ers, Howard came up with one of the biggest plays of the 1990 season and arguably the biggest play in Giants history. With just under three minutes left in the game, the Giants trailed 13-12, and the 49ers had the game nearly wrapped up when Howard fought through a double-team block by 49ers' Guard Guy McIntyre and Center Jesse Sapolu to force running back Roger Craig to fumble the football after getting his helmet on the ball. Teammate Lawrence Taylor fought through two blocks by 49ers' TE Brent Jones and RB Tom Rathman to get to the spot along the line of scrimmage where Craig was located to recover the fumble as the ball was forced out of Craig's grasp. The Giants went on to win the game on Matt Bahr's field goal, kicked with 4 seconds remaining on the game clock. The Giant went on to win Super Bowl XXV over the Buffalo Bills seven days later.
Howard signed with the New York Jets as a free agent in 1994, and played with them for two years before deciding to retire. He currently resides in Marshall, Texas, with his wife Jennifer Howard and three children Jackson Howard, Katelynn Howard, and Keaton Howard.Fred Hoaglin
Fred Hoaglin, (born January 28, 1944, in Alliance, Ohio) was a center in the NFL from 1966 to 1976. Graduated from East Palestine High School in East Palestine, Ohio and University of Pittsburgh. He was a member of the first Seattle Seahawks team after being acquired from Houston in the expansion draft.
Hoaglin was an assistant coach for the Detroit Lions (1978–1984), New York Giants (1985–1992), New England Patriots (1993–1996), and Jacksonville Jaguars (1997–2000). He was an assistant coach for the Giants during their Super Bowl XXV championship season.Gary Reasons
Gary Phillip Reasons (born February 18, 1962) is a former American football linebacker for the New York Giants of the National Football League, winning Super Bowl XXI and Super Bowl XXV as a member of the team.Johnie Cooks
Johnie Earl Cooks (born November 23, 1958) is a former professional American football player who was drafted by the Baltimore Colts as the second overall pick in the 1982 NFL Draft. A 6'4", 251 lb (114 kg). linebacker from Mississippi State University, Cooks played in ten NFL seasons from 1982–1991 for the Colts, New York Giants, and Cleveland Browns. He was a member of the Giants when they defeated the Buffalo Bills 20-19 in Super Bowl XXV.
Cooks was inducted into the Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame in 2004.Larry Nemmers
Larry Nemmers is a retired educator and better known as a former American football official in the National Football League (NFL). Nemmers made his debut as an NFL official in the 1985 season and continued in this role until the end of the 2007 season. Prior to his officiating career, he was a college football player at Upper Iowa University. Nemmers is notable for officiating in Super Bowl XXV, as well as several playoff games.Myron Guyton
Myron Maynard Guyton (born August 26, 1967) is a former American football player. He played professionally as a defensive back in the National Football League (NFL) for the New York Giants (1989–1993) and the New England Patriots (1994–1995). He was a member of the Giants team that won Super Bowl XXV. Before his NFL career, he played college football at Eastern Kentucky University and was selected by the Giants in the eighth round of the 1989 NFL Draft. Guyton is a member of Phi Beta Sigma fraternity, Iota Delta chapter of Eastern Kentucky University.
On April 16, 2012, Guyton was among four former NFL players filing a lawsuit claiming the league did not properly protect players from concussions.Rodney Hampton
Rodney Craig Hampton (born April 3, 1969) is a former professional American football player who was drafted by the New York Giants in the first round of the 1990 NFL Draft. He was a starting running back for the 1990 New York Giants who finished the year at 13-3 during the regular season while winning Super Bowl XXV on January 27, 1991.Scott Norwood
Scott Allan Norwood (born July 17, 1960) is a former American football placekicker who played in the National Football League (NFL) for seven seasons and spent the entirety of his career with the Buffalo Bills. He also played for the Birmingham Stallions in the United States Football League (USFL). An integral part of Buffalo's offense during the late 1980s and early 1990s, Norwood kicked in the team's first two Super Bowl appearances. Despite his accomplishments, he is best known for missing a game-winning field goal attempt at the end of Super Bowl XXV.The Star Spangled Banner (Whitney Houston recording)
"The Star Spangled Banner" is a charity single recorded by American singer Whitney Houston to raise funds for soldiers and families of those involved in the Persian Gulf War. Written by Francis Scott Key, "The Star-Spangled Banner" is the National Anthem of the United States. The musical arrangement for Whitney Houston's rendition was by conductor John Clayton. The recording was produced by music coordinator Rickey Minor, along with Houston herself. The recording was included in the 2014 CD/DVD release, Whitney Houston Live: Her Greatest Performances and the US edition of the 2000 release, Whitney: The Greatest Hits.
Traditionally performed at sports games in the US, "The Star Spangled Banner" was performed by Houston at the original Tampa Stadium for Super Bowl XXV in 1991. Houston donated her portion of the proceeds.
After the September 11, 2001 attacks, Arista Records re-released Houston's "The Star Spangled Banner". She once again donated her share of the royalties, as did Arista Records, towards the firefighters and victims of the terrorist attacks. This time the single peaked at #6 on the US Hot 100, and was certified platinum by the RIAA. This made Houston the first musical act to take the national anthem Top 10 in the US, and have it certified platinum. The 2001 re-release of the single was Houston's last Top Ten hit on the US Hot 100 during her lifetime.Tom Rehder
Thomas Bernard Rehder II (born January 27, 1965) is a former American football offensive lineman who played three seasons in the National Football League with the New England Patriots and New York Giants. He was drafted by the New England Patriots in the third round of the 1988 NFL Draft. He played college football at the University of Notre Dame and attended St. Joseph High School in Santa Maria, California. Rehder was also a member of the Sacramento Surge of the World League of American Football. He was a member of the New York Giants team that won Super Bowl XXV.Wide Right (Buffalo Bills)
Wide Right, a.k.a. 47 Wide Right, was Scott Norwood's missed 47-yard field goal attempt for the Buffalo Bills at the end of Super Bowl XXV on January 27, 1991, as described by sportscaster Al Michaels. The missed field goal resulted in the game being won by the New York Giants. The phrase "wide right" has since become synonymous with the game itself, and has since been used in other sports. This game is also called The Miss by some Bills fans.
New York Giants Super Bowl XXV champions
|Division championships (22)|
|Conference championships (11)|
|League championships (8)|
|Current league affiliations|
Championship seasons in bold
|Division championships (10)|
|Conference championships (4)|
|League championships (2)|
|Wall of Fame|
|Current league affiliations|
|Former league affiliation|
Championship seasons in bold
National Football League Championship Games (1933–present)
|Lore televised by ABC|
|Results and standings|
Website: ABC News - NFL News