Super Bowl XXVIII

Super Bowl XXVIII was an American football game between the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys and the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Buffalo Bills to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1993 season. The Cowboys defeated the Bills by the score of 30–13, winning their fourth Super Bowl in team history, tying the Pittsburgh Steelers and the San Francisco 49ers for most Super Bowl wins. The game was played on January 30, 1994, at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, Georgia. Since the 1993 regular season was conducted over 18 weeks (two byes per team), the traditional bye week between the conference championship games and the Super Bowl was not employed; the last time this happened was before Super Bowl XXV.

This is the only time that the same two teams have met in consecutive Super Bowls. The defending Super Bowl XXVII champion Cowboys finished with a 12–4 regular season record, despite key players missing games due to injuries. The Bills were making their fourth consecutive Super Bowl appearance, but still seeking their first title, after also finishing with a 12–4 regular season record, largely through the strength of their no-huddle offense.

After trailing 13–6 at halftime, the Cowboys scored 24 unanswered points in the second half. The Bills had built their lead off of running back Thurman Thomas' 4-yard touchdown run. But just 45 seconds into the third quarter, Thomas was stripped of the ball, and Dallas safety James Washington returned the fumble 46 yards for a touchdown to tie the game. From there, Cowboys running back Emmitt Smith, who was named the Super Bowl MVP, largely took over the game. On Dallas' next possession, Smith was handed the ball seven times on an eight-play, 64-yard drive that was capped off with his 15-yard touchdown run. He later scored on a 1-yard touchdown in the fourth quarter. Overall, Smith had 30 carries for 132 yards and 2 touchdowns, while also catching 4 passes for 26 yards.

Super Bowl XXVIII
Super Bowl XXVIII logo
Dallas Cowboys (1)
(NFC)
(12–4)
Buffalo Bills (1)
(AFC)
(12–4)
30 13
Head coach:
Jimmy Johnson
Head coach:
Marv Levy
1234 Total
DAL 601410 30
BUF 31000 13
DateJanuary 30, 1994
StadiumGeorgia Dome, Atlanta, Georgia
MVPEmmitt Smith, running back
FavoriteCowboys by 10.5[1][2]
RefereeBob McElwee
Attendance72,817[3]
Current/Future Hall of Famers
Cowboys: Jerry Jones (owner), Troy Aikman, Charles Haley, Michael Irvin, Emmitt Smith
Bills: Ralph Wilson (owner), Marv Levy (coach), Jim Kelly, Andre Reed, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas
Ceremonies
National anthemNatalie Cole American Sign language translation by Courtney Keel Foley
Coin tossJoe Namath
Halftime showThe Judds (feat. Wynonna Judd, Naomi Judd), Clint Black, Travis Tritt, Tanya Tucker
TV in the United States
NetworkNBC
AnnouncersDick Enberg and Bob Trumpy
Nielsen ratings45.4
(est. 90 million viewers)[4]
Market share66
Cost of 30-second commercial$900,000

Background

NFL owners voted to award Super Bowl XXVIII to Atlanta, Georgia, during their May 23, 1990, meeting in Dallas. The Georgia Dome was under construction at the time of the vote.

Dallas Cowboys

The Cowboys' journey to Super Bowl XXVIII proved more difficult than the previous season. Pro Bowl running back Emmitt Smith held out the first two regular season games over a contract dispute, and Dallas lost both of those contests, including a 13-10 loss at home to the Bills. Pro Bowl quarterback Troy Aikman, along with a few other key players, missed games due to injuries.

Following the loss to the Bills, Cowboys linebacker Charles Haley was so upset he slammed his helmet through a locker room wall, screaming "We'll never win with a fucking rookie running back, and we have the greatest one ever sitting at home watching TV!" in reference to Smith's replacement, Derrick Lassic.[5] Team owner Jerry Jones apparently agreed, quickly signing Smith to a contract that made him the highest paid running back in the NFL. Jerry Jones stated that when the helmet was thrown, it missed him by about 2 feet. Jerry Jones was in the locker room at the time the helmet was thrown and it was thrown in Jerry's direction.

With Smith back in the starting lineup and Aikman healthy, Dallas went on to win their next seven games, including a dominating 26-17 win over the San Francisco 49ers and a 23-10 win on the road against the Philadelphia Eagles in which Smith rushed for 237 yards, the 6th highest total in NFL history. Their winning streak was finally snapped against the Atlanta Falcons, with Aikman on the sidelines with an ankle injury, and Smith knocked out of the game after his first carry. They also lost their next game against Miami due to an infamous error by defensive lineman Leon Lett that enabled the Dolphins to kick a game-winning field goal, but then went on to win their remaining five games. In the season finale against the New York Giants, with the Cowboys desperately trying to clinch the NFC East title and a first-round bye in the playoffs, Aikman showed he was at full health, completing 24 of 30 passes with no interceptions, while for Smith it was his career signature game. He suffered a first-degree separation in his right shoulder during the first half, but still finished with 229 total yards (168 yards rushing, 10 passes caught for 61 yards, and the team's only touchdown) in a 16-13 overtime win which enabled Dallas to finish with an NFC-best 12–4 record.

Though not as dynamic as the previous year, Dallas' offense remained incredibly efficient, led by Aikman, who finished the regular season completing 271 out of 392 passes for 3,100 yards, 15 touchdowns, and six interceptions. Smith recorded 1,486 rushing yards and nine touchdowns, while catching 57 passes for 414 yards and another touchdown, earning him his third consecutive NFL rushing title and the NFL Most Valuable Player Award. Fullback Daryl Johnston was also a reliable backfield threat, scoring four touchdowns and contributing a career-high 50 receptions for 371 yards. Pro Bowler Michael Irvin was once again the team's leading wide receiver, catching 88 passes for 1,330 yards and seven touchdowns. Wide receiver Alvin Harper caught 36 passes for 777 yards and five touchdowns, while Pro Bowl tight end Jay Novacek had 44 receptions for 445 yards and one touchdown. Pro Bowlers Mark Stepnoski, Erik Williams, and Nate Newton anchored the offensive line. On special teams, rookie receiver Kevin Williams ranked seventh in the NFL with 381 yards on 36 punt returns, while also gaining 689 kickoff return yards and catching 20 passes for 151 yards.

The Cowboys' defense was anchored by such Pro Bowlers as lineman Russell Maryland, and Ken Norton Jr., and defensive backs Thomas Everett and Kevin Smith, who intercepted six passes during the season. Defensive end Tony Tolbert led the team with 7.5 sacks, while Charles Haley added 4.

Buffalo Bills

The Bills finished at the top of the AFC by clinching the conference's best regular season record, winning 7 of their first 8 games and finished the season at 12–4. Quarterback Jim Kelly once again led Buffalo's no-huddle offense by passing for 288 out of 470 regular season completions for 3,382 yards, 18 touchdowns, with 18 interceptions. Kelly was joining an elite class by starting his fourth Super Bowl. The only other quarterbacks to start four were Roger Staubach, Terry Bradshaw and Joe Montana, with John Elway, Tom Brady and Peyton Manning later doing so. Kelly is the only one to start four consecutive Super Bowl games.

Running back Thurman Thomas led the AFC with 1,315 rushing yards and six touchdowns, while also catching 48 passes for 387 yards. Running back Kenneth Davis rushed for 391 yards and six touchdowns, while also recording 21 receptions for 95 yards. Pro Bowl wide receiver Andre Reed caught 52 receptions for a team-leading 854 yards and six touchdowns; wide receiver Bill Brooks had 60 receptions for 714 yards and five touchdowns; and wide receiver Don Beebe recorded 31 receptions for 504 yards and three touchdowns. Also, tight end Pete Metzelaars led the team with 68 receptions (a higher amount than his last four seasons combined) for 609 yards and four touchdowns. Pro Bowl offensive lineman Howard Ballard anchored the line.

Buffalo's defense was the team's weakness, ranking 28th (then-last) in the league, giving up 5,810 total yards. The defense did have a few good contributors, such as Hall of Fame lineman Bruce Smith (14 sacks, one fumble recovery), Pro Bowl linebacker Cornelius Bennett (five sacks, two fumble recoveries), linebacker Darryl Talley (101 tackles, two sacks, two fumble recoveries, three interceptions) and cornerback Nate Odomes, who led the NFL with nine interceptions and one fumble recovery. Linebacker Marvcus Patton, who had moved up to the starting lineup to replace departed Pro Bowler Shane Conlan, was also an impact player, intercepting two passes and recovering three fumbles.

Playoffs

In the NFC, Dallas' first opponent in the playoffs was the Green Bay Packers, who were coming off a thrilling 28–24 win over the Detroit Lions in the Wild Card Game, in which quarterback Brett Favre had thrown the winning touchdown pass to Sterling Sharpe with only 55 seconds left in the game. In this game, the Packers scored first with a field goal, but Dallas stormed back with 17 consecutive points in the second quarter. First, Aikman threw a 6-yard touchdown pass to Harper. Then with time running out the period, Dallas scored again on an Eddie Murray field goal. Green Bay then fumbled the ensuing kickoff, allowing the Cowboys to score again with Aikman's 6-yard pass to Novacek. The Cowboys went on to stave off an attempted Packers comeback in the second half and win the game, 27–17. Aikman finished the game with 28 of 37 completions for 302 yards and 3 touchdowns, with 2 interceptions. Irvin recorded 9 catches for 126 yards and 2 touchdowns.

One week later, Dallas faced the San Francisco 49ers in the NFC Championship Game for the second year in a row in what was, at the time, the last NFL game to air on CBS. The 49ers had the NFL's highest scoring offense with 473 points, 97 more than the runner-up Cowboys. The last time the two teams played for the NFC title, Dallas won when Aikman thwarted an attempted 49ers comeback with a touchdown drive late in the fourth quarter. But this time, the game was extremely one-sided. The Cowboys scored touchdowns on four of their five first-half possessions. By the end of the half, Dallas had a commanding 28–7 lead. Aikman completed 14 of 18 passes for 177 yards and three touchdowns with no interceptions, while also rushing for 25 yards, but was knocked out of the game with a concussion in the third quarter. Then San Francisco scored a touchdown, making the score 28-14 with plenty of time left for a comeback. However, their hopes were soon dashed as backup quarterback Bernie Kosar, who had already played in three conference championship games and was unable to advance to the Super Bowl each time, led the Cowboys 82 yards to go up 35-14 on his 42-yard touchdown pass to Alvin Harper. Murray then put the finishing touches on San Francisco with a 50-yard field goal, while all the 49ers could do was score a useless touchdown in "garbage time" to make the final score 38-21. Smith rushed for 88 yards, caught seven passes for 85 yards, and scored two touchdowns. Meanwhile, the Dallas defense held 49ers running back Ricky Watters, who rushed for over 100 yards and scored 5 touchdowns in the divisional round, to just 37 yards on 12 carries.

Buffalo's first opponent was the Los Angeles Raiders, led by quarterback Jeff Hostetler, who had led the New York Giants to victory over the Bills in Super Bowl XXV three years earlier. The Raiders had also edged out the Bills 25-24 in week 14 of the regular season. In this game, the Raiders built up a 17–13 halftime lead, but Buffalo stormed back with 16 second half points. First, they scored on Kelly's 25-yard touchdown pass to Brooks. Then on their next drive, kicker Steve Christie kicked a 29-yard field goal to give the Bills a 23–17 lead. Los Angeles managed to respond with an 86-yard scoring strike from Hostetler to receiver Tim Brown, but Buffalo stormed right back with Brooks' 22-yard touchdown reception in the fourth quarter. The Bills ended up winning the game 29–23, having scored 16 points in a span of 6:18 in the second half. Kelly threw for 287 yards and two touchdowns with no interceptions.

One week later, the Bills took on the Kansas City Chiefs for the AFC title. Led by 4-time Super Bowl winning quarterback Joe Montana, Kansas City had defeated the Bills 23-7 during the regular season, and were coming off thrilling narrow wins against the Pittsburgh Steelers and Houston Oilers in the playoffs. In the days leading up to the game, many sports writers and fans were eager for the possibility of a Super Bowl in which Montana took on the San Francisco 49ers led by Steve Young, who had replaced Montana as their starting quarterback, or the Dallas Cowboys, who had displaced the 49ers to become the most dominant team in the NFC. However, Buffalo quickly crushed this prospect, burying Kansas City with a dominating 30–13 victory in the AFC Championship Game. Thomas rushed for 186 yards and three touchdowns, and caught two passes for 22 yards. On defense, the Bills limited Montana to just 9 of 23 completions for 125 yards and no touchdowns, with one interception. In addition, Kansas City's future Hall of Fame running back, Marcus Allen, was held to just 50 rushing yards on 18 carries.

Both Dallas and Buffalo were the top seeded teams in their respective conferences, earning home field advantage throughout the playoffs. Until the New Orleans Saints and Indianapolis Colts qualified for Super Bowl XLIV, this was the last time that both number one seeds advanced to the Super Bowl.[6]

Pregame news

Many sportswriters and fans were a bit upset that the Bills advanced to their fourth consecutive Super Bowl. They were distressed with Buffalo having lost the three previous Super Bowl games and did not want to see them lose again. Some Bills fans appeared to be defensive about their team's presence in the game; during Buffalo's victory in the AFC Championship Game a week earlier, one fan displayed a banner defiantly proclaiming, "We're back; deal with it, America!"[7][8]

Therefore, the Super Bowl hype was more focused onto Cowboys owner/general manager Jerry Jones and head coach Jimmy Johnson. Although the two rebuilt the team with young talent that eventually won the previous year's Super Bowl, both men had huge egos that conflicted with each other. Both had different ideas on the future personnel plans for the Cowboys, and both wanted equal credit for the team's recent success (eventually, Johnson would leave the team after the season).

This was the fourth rematch in Super Bowl history, and the first time that both teams met in consecutive years.[9]

Before the game, the Super Bowl became the target of protests over the Georgia state flag, which includes the stars of bars of the Confederate States of America and was seen as offensive by many. Several high-profile Georgia politicians got involved, including state senator Ralph D. Abernathy. The NFL tried to duck the issue, with spokesman Greg Aiello stating "We're not a political-advocacy group. It's not our role to get involved in political issues that have nothing to do with the Super Bowl." However, the NFL had cancelled plans to hold the Super Bowl in Phoenix three years earlier after a referendum to make Martin Luther King's birthday an Arizona state holiday was defeated.[10] Ultimately, the flag was not flown inside the Georgia Dome, but was mounted on a pole outside the stadium.

Vice President Al Gore attended the game. [1]

Broadcasting

The game was broadcast in the United States by NBC, with play-by-play announcer Dick Enberg and color commentator Bob Trumpy. Jim Lampley hosted all the events with the help of analysts Mike Ditka and Joe Gibbs and sideline reporters O. J. Simpson (on Buffalo's sideline) and Will McDonough (on Dallas' sideline). While Lampley was busy covering the trophy presentation, Bob Costas (who also interviewed Dallas head coach Jimmy Johnson and Dallas owner/general manager Jerry Jones together prior to the game) covered for Lampley at the host and analysts' desk (and signed off the broadcast for NBC).

It was the first time a network had held consecutive Super Bowls outright. The five-year NFL contract signed in 1989 had a provision where the last Super Bowl in the contract (XXVIII) would not be rotated, but would go to the highest bidder. NBC, which had held XXVII (according to the original rotation, NBC would have had XXVI and CBS XXVII, but the NFL allowed the networks to switch the two games in order to allow CBS a significant lead-in to its coverage of the 1992 Winter Olympics), was the only network to bid on XXVIII. Less than two weeks before the game was aired, NBC had shown a Peanuts special, You're In the Super Bowl, Charlie Brown, in which the character Melody-Melody wins the Punt, Pass & Kick contest wearing a Dallas Cowboys uniform. For this game, NBC introduced a new theme for NFL broadcasts by composer John Colby that would be retained for the 1994 season.

Previously, the league alternated the Super Bowl broadcast among its television networks, except for Super Bowl I in which both NBC and CBS televised it simultaneously. CBS broadcast Super Bowl II, then the league rotated the broadcast between CBS and NBC until 1985 when ABC entered the rotation when they broadcast Super Bowl XIX.

NBC aired the premiere of The John Larroquette Show following the game.[11]

Entertainment

Pregame ceremonies

The pregame show held before the game was titled "Georgia Music Makers" and featured performances by the rap music duo Kris Kross, the rock band The Georgia Satellites, country musician Charlie Daniels, and the Morehouse College Marching Band.

The United States Trampoline Association (USTA) performed on 4 trampolines during "Jump-Jump" performed by Kris Kross.

Later, singer Natalie Cole, accompanied by the Atlanta University Center Chorus, sang the national anthem.

To honor the 25th anniversary of the New York Jets' upset win in Super Bowl III, that game's MVP, former Jets quarterback Joe Namath joined the coin toss ceremony.

Halftime show

The halftime show was titled "Rockin' Country Sunday" and featured country music stars Clint Black, Tanya Tucker, Travis Tritt, and Wynonna Judd. The show's finale included a special appearance by Naomi Judd, who joined Wynonna in performing The Judds' single "Love Can Build a Bridge", to which everyone eventually joined in.

This was the first Super Bowl halftime show in which the main stadium lights were turned off for the performance. The show included dancers with yard-long light sticks.

Game summary

Though the Bills had a lead at halftime, Super Bowl XXVIII would have an identical outcome to the three preceding Super Bowls and end with a Buffalo loss.

First Quarter

Dallas kick returner Kevin Williams returned the opening kickoff 50 yards to the Buffalo 48-yard line. The Cowboys began the drive with quarterback Troy Aikman's 20-yard pass to wide receiver Michael Irvin. But on third down and six from 24-yard line, Aikman threw an incomplete pass, and the Cowboys had to settle for kicker Eddie Murray's 41-yard field goal.

The Bills then responded with a 7-play, 43-yard scoring drive. Quarterback Jim Kelly's 24-yard pass to running back Thurman Thomas advanced the ball across the Dallas 40-yard line. After a 3-yard run by running back Kenneth Davis, however, Kelly threw two straight incompletions. The Bills then tied the game, 3–3, with Steve Christie's 54-yard field goal, the longest field goal in Super Bowl history.

Buffalo then forced Dallas to punt, but on the first play of the Bills' ensuing possession, Dallas safety James Washington forced Thomas to fumble, and safety Darren Woodson recovered the ball at midfield. Aided by wide receiver Alvin Harper's 24-yard reception, the Cowboys drove to the Bills' 7-yard line, but once again were forced to settle for a field goal; a 24-yarder by Murray to regain the lead, 6–3.

After receiving Murray's kickoff, the Bills could only reach their own 41-yard line before being forced to punt. However, Dallas cornerback Dave Thomas was penalized for running into punter Chris Mohr on the play, giving Buffalo a first down.

Second Quarter

Taking advantage of their second chance, the Bills marched down the field with runs by Thomas and short completions by Kelly. Thomas eventually finished off the 17-play, 80-yard drive with a 4-yard touchdown run, giving the Bills a 10–6 lead early in the 2nd quarter.

Dallas started out their ensuing drive with a 15-yard reception by Irvin and a 13-yard run by running back Emmitt Smith to get to midfield. They were eventually forced to punt, but Cowboys defensive end Matt Vanderbeek downed John Jett's 43-yard punt at the Bills' 1-yard line. A 19-yard completion from Kelly to receiver Andre Reed moved Buffalo out from the shadow of their own end zone, and they eventually reached the Cowboys 46-yard line, but they too were forced to punt. However, Mohr matched Jett's feat with a 45-yard punt that was downed at the Dallas 1-yard line by Buffalo special teams expert Steve Tasker.

As the Bills had done, Dallas managed to get out of their own territory and advance to the Buffalo 47-yard line. However, Bills defensive back Nate Odomes intercepted a pass intended for Irvin, and returned it 41 yards to the Dallas 47-yard line with 1:03 left in the half. After a 1-yard run by Thomas, Kelly completed a pair of passes to Thomas and Reed for gains of 12 and 22 yards, respectively, to move the ball to the Cowboys 12-yard line. But the Dallas defense tightened up on the next three plays, as Kelly threw a 3-yard completion to Thomas, an incomplete pass, and a completion to Thomas for no gain. Christie then kicked his second field goal as time expired in the half, increasing Buffalo's lead to 13–6.

Third Quarter

Buffalo's command over the game proved short-lived, as the Cowboys dominated the second half. After 45 seconds had elapsed from the third quarter, Leon Lett forced a Thomas fumble, which Washington returned 46 yards for a touchdown to tie the game, 13-13.

Bills receiver Russell Copeland then returned the ensuing kickoff 22 yards to the Buffalo 37-yard line, but on third down, Cowboys linemen Jim Jeffcoat and Charles Haley shared a 13-yard sack on Kelly to force the Bills to punt. The Cowboys then scored on an 8-play, 64-yard drive in which Smith carried the ball on seven of the eight plays, gaining all but 3 of the 64 yards himself, and finished the drive with a 15-yard touchdown run to give Dallas a 20–13 lead.

Fourth Quarter

Meanwhile, Dallas' defense continued to stop Buffalo's offense throughout the second half. Washington intercepted a pass from Kelly on the first play of the 4th quarter and returned it 12 yards to the Bills 34-yard line. A false start penalty on the next play moved the ball back to the 39, but on the next three plays, Smith ran twice for 10 yards and caught a screen pass for 9. Aikman then completed a 16-yard pass to Harper, giving Dallas a first and goal at the 6-yard line. The Bills managed to prevent a touchdown on the next three plays, but on fourth and goal from the 1-yard line, Smith ran into the end zone for the score, giving the Cowboys a 27–13 lead.

The Bills started their ensuing drive from their own 22-yard line and managed to reach their own 36. Cowboy defensive lineman Jimmie Jones made two key plays, however; a second-down tackle on Thomas for a one-yard loss and a 13-yard sack on third down to push the ball back to the 22-yard line and force Buffalo to punt; a poor, 29-yard kick which the Cowboys recovered at their own 49-yard line. Dallas then put the game away with a 9-play, 49-yard scoring drive that took 4:10 off the clock. On the sixth play of the drive, Aikman completed a 35-yard pass to Harper to the Bills 1-yard line. After a false start penalty pushed them back to the 6-yard line, the Cowboys ran the ball on their next three plays to force Buffalo to use up all of their timeouts. Murray then kicked a 20-yard field goal with 2:50 left in the game, increasing the Cowboys' lead to 30–13, and effectively ending any chance of a Bills comeback.

"This one is the worst," Reed said after the game, referring to the Bills' streak of four consecutive Super Bowl losses. "We should have won. Then they come up with 24 unanswered points. That last fumble was once in a million. These things always happen to the Bills. It rips the heart out of you." "Dallas didn't wear us down in the second half," added Thomas. "I fumbled. I cost us the game." However, center Kent Hull managed to find some consolation. "In the immediate future we'll be thought of as losers," he said. "But one day down the road, when I'm no longer playing, they'll say, 'Wow, they won four straight AFC championships. They must have been good.'"

For the Cowboys, Troy Aikman completed 19 out of 27 for 207 yards with 1 interception, while Alvin Harper was the team's top receiver with three catches for 75 yards. Emmitt Smith, still suffering the effects of a shoulder injury during the regular-season finale, became just the second player in Super Bowl history to rush for 100 yards in back-to-back Super Bowls (the other being Larry Csonka, who did it in Super Bowls VII and VIII). He also became the fourth player to rush for touchdowns in back-to-back Super Bowls (joining Franco Harris, John Riggins and Thomas). Smith also became the first player to lead the league in rushing yards, win the NFL Most Valuable Player Award, and win Super Bowl MVP all in the same season. He was also the fourth player, after Bart Starr (1966), Terry Bradshaw (1978), and Joe Montana (1989) to win both the NFL MVP and Super Bowl MVP during the same season. Defensively, James Washington, who began as the nickel-back to counter Buffalo's "no-huddle" and frequent use of three wide receivers, had a phenomenal game with his 46-yard fumble return touchdown, an interception, forcing a Thurman Thomas fumble that Darren Woodson recovered, and collecting 11 tackles. Washington had only started in one game for the Cowboys during the season, but finished this one just a few votes short of earning the MVP award.

For the Bills, wide receiver Andre Reed finished the game with 6 receptions for 75 yards to lead Buffalo, with Don Beebe catching 6 passes for 60 yards and returning 2 kickoffs for 63 yards. Thomas was limited to just 37 rushing yards, but he also caught 7 passes for 52 yards (Thomas became the first player in Super Bowl history to score touchdowns in four Super Bowls: he scored one touchdown in each of the Bills' four straight appearances, XXV-XXVIII). Kenneth Davis was the Bills' top rusher with 38 yards. Kelly finished the game completing 31 of 50 passes for 260 yards and 1 interception. His 31 completions was a then-Super Bowl record. Kelly became the only player ever to throw 50 passes in two Super Bowls. In addition to his 50 passes in this game, he threw a Super Bowl-record 58 passes in Super Bowl XXVI.

Box score

Final statistics

Sources: NFL.com Super Bowl XXVIII, Super Bowl XXVIII Play Finder Dal, Super Bowl XXVIII Play Finder Buf

Statistical comparison

Dallas Cowboys Buffalo Bills
First downs 20 22
First downs rushing 6 6
First downs passing 14 15
First downs penalty 0 1
Third down efficiency 5/13 5/17
Fourth down efficiency 1/1 2/3
Net yards rushing 137 87
Rushing attempts 35 27
Yards per rush 3.9 3.2
Passing – Completions/attempts 19/27 31/50
Times sacked-total yards 2–3 2-20
Interceptions thrown 1 1
Net yards passing 204 227
Total net yards 341 314
Punt returns-total yards 1–5 1–5
Kickoff returns-total yards 2–72 6–144
Interceptions-total return yards 1–12 1–41
Punts-average yardage 4–43.8 5–37.6
Fumbles-lost 0–0 3–2
Penalties-total yards 6–50 1–10
Time of possession 34:29 25:31
Turnovers 1 3

Individual leaders

Cowboys Passing
C/ATT1 Yds TD INT Rating
Troy Aikman 19/27 207 0 1 77.2
Cowboys Rushing
Car2 Yds TD LG3 Yds/Car
Emmitt Smith 30 132 2 15 4.40
Kevin Williams 1 6 0 6 6.00
Troy Aikman 1 3 0 3 3.00
Daryl Johnston 1 0 0 0 0.00
Bernie Kosar 1 –1 0 –1 –1.00
Lincoln Coleman 1 –3 0 –3 –3.00
Cowboys Receiving
Rec4 Yds TD LG3 Target5
Michael Irvin 5 66 0 20 8
Jay Novacek 5 26 0 9 7
Emmitt Smith 4 26 0 10 5
Alvin Harper 3 75 0 35 4
Daryl Johnston 2 14 0 11 2
Kevin Williams 0 0 0 0 1
Bills Passing
C/ATT1 Yds TD INT Rating
Jim Kelly 31/50 260 0 1 67.1
Bills Rushing
Car2 Yds TD LG3 Yds/Car
Kenneth Davis 9 38 0 11 4.22
Thurman Thomas 16 37 1 6 2.31
Jim Kelly 2 12 0 8 6.00
Bills Receiving
Rec4 Yds TD LG3 Target5
Bill Brooks 7 63 0 15 9
Thurman Thomas 7 52 0 24 7
Andre Reed 6 75 0 22 10
Don Beebe 6 60 0 18 11
Kenneth Davis 3 –5 0 7 5
Pete Metzelaars 1 8 0 8 1
Keith McKeller 1 7 0 7 3
Russell Copeland 0 0 0 0 1

1Completions/attempts 2Carries 3Long gain 4Receptions 5Times targeted

Records Set

The following records were set in Super Bowl XXVIII, according to the official NFL.com boxscore[13] and the ProFootball reference.com game summary.[14]
Some records have to meet NFL minimum number of attempts to be recognized.[15] The minimums are shown (in parenthesis).

Player Records Set [14]
Passing Records
Most attempts, career 145 Jim Kelly
Most completions, game 31
Highest completion
percentage, career, (40 attempts)
71.9%
(41-57)
Troy Aikman
Other Records
Most receptions, career 27 Andre Reed
Longest field goal 54 yds Steve Christie000(Buf)
Records Tied
Most points scored, career 24 Thurman Thomas
Most touchdowns, career 4
Most rushing touchdowns, career 4
Most interceptions thrown, career 7 Jim Kelly
Most rushing touchdowns, game 2 Emmitt Smith
Most fumbles recovered, career 2 Kenneth Davis000(Buf)
Most fumble returns for touchdowns, game 1 James Washington000(Dal)
Team Records Set [14]
Most Super Bowl appearances 7 Cowboys
Most consecutive Super Bowl appearances 4 Bills
Most consecutive Super Bowl losses 4
Most passes completed 31
Records Tied
Most Super Bowl victories 4 Cowboys
Most consecutive Super Bowl victories 2
Most Super Bowl losses 4 Bills
Fewest points, second half 0 pts
Fewest passing touchdowns 0 Bills
Cowboys
Records tied, both team totals [14]
00Total00 Cowboys 00Bills00
Most field goals made 5 3 2
Fewest passing touchdowns 0 0 0
Fewest punt returns, game 2 1 1

Starting lineups

Source:[16][17]

Dallas Position Position Buffalo
Offense
Alvin Harper WR Don Beebe
Mark Tuinei LT John Fina
Nate Newton LG Glenn Parker
John Gesek C Kent Hull
Kevin Gogan RG John Davis
Erik Williams RT Howard Ballard
Jay Novacek TE Pete Metzelaars
Michael Irvin WR Andre Reed
Troy Aikman QB Jim Kelly
Emmitt Smith RB Thurman Thomas
Daryl Johnston FB WR Bill Brooks
Defense
Tony Tolbert LE Phil Hansen
Tony Casillas LT NT Jeff Wright
Leon Lett RT RE Bruce Smith
Charles Haley RE LOLB Marvcus Patton
Ken Norton, Jr. MLB LILB Cornelius Bennett
Darrin Smith RLB RILB Mark Maddox
Darren Woodson DB ROLB Darryl Talley
Kevin Smith LCB Mickey Washington
Larry Brown RCB Nate Odomes
Thomas Everett SS Henry Jones
James Washington FS Mark Kelso
Special Teams
Eddie Murray K Steve Christie
John Jett P Chris Mohr

Officials

Source:[16]

  • Referee: Bob McElwee #95 second Super Bowl (XXII)
  • Umpire: Art Demmas #78 third Super Bowl (XIII, XVII)
  • Head Linesman: Sid Semon #109 second Super Bowl (XXV)
  • Line Judge: Tom Barnes #55 first Super Bowl
  • Back Judge: Al Jury #106 fourth Super Bowl (XX, XXII, XXIV)
  • Side Judge: Nate Jones #97 first Super Bowl
  • Field Judge: Don Orr #77 third Super Bowl (XVII, XXIV)
  • Alternate Referee: Jerry Markbreit #9 (referee for XVII, XXI, XXVI)
  • Alternate Umpire: Bob Boylston #101 (umpire for XVI, XXI, XXVI)

References

Specific citations
  1. ^ DiNitto, Marcus (January 25, 2015). "Super Bowl Betting History – Underdogs on Recent Roll". The Linemakers. Sporting News. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  2. ^ "Super Bowl History". Vegas Insider. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  3. ^ "Super Bowl Winners". National Football League. Retrieved February 4, 2015.
  4. ^ "Historical Super Bowl Nielsen TV Ratings, 1967–2009 – Ratings". TVbytheNumbers. Retrieved October 9, 2012.
  5. ^ Brenner, Richard (1996). The Complete Super Bowl Story. ISBN 978-0943403311.
  6. ^ "Top Seeds". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved January 6, 2019.
  7. ^ Murray, Jim (January 25, 1994). "SUPER BOWL XXVII: Buffalo Bills vs. Dallas Cowboys : It's Tough to Deal With It". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  8. ^ Warner, Gene (January 24, 1994). "The Bills go fourth!". The Buffalo News. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  9. ^ The Dolphins and Redskins met twice (VII and XVII), as did the Steelers and Cowboys (X and XIII) and 49ers and Bengals (XVI and XXIII). The Steelers and the Cowboys would also meet again, in Super Bowl XXX.
  10. ^ "Archives - Philly.com". articles.philly.com.
  11. ^ "Best & Worst: Post-Super Bowl TV". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved May 2, 2010.
  12. ^ "Super Bowl Game-Time Temperatures". Pro Football Hall of Fame. Retrieved March 10, 2018.
  13. ^ "Super Bowl XXVIII boxscore". NFL.com. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  14. ^ a b c d "Super Bowl XXVIII statistics". Pro Football reference.com. Retrieved November 6, 2016.
  15. ^ "2016 NFL Factbook" (PDF). NFL. Retrieved November 7, 2016.
  16. ^ a b "Super Bowl XXVIII – National Football League Game Summary" (PDF). National Football League. January 30, 1994. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  17. ^ Neft, David S., Cohen, Richard M., and Korch, Rick. The Complete History of Professional Football from 1892 to the Present. 1994 ISBN 0-312-11435-4
General references
1993 Buffalo Bills season

The 1993 Buffalo Bills season was the 34th season for the Buffalo, New York team in the National Football League. The Buffalo Bills finished the National Football League's 1993 season with a record of 12 wins and 4 losses, and finished first in the AFC East division.

The Bills qualified for their fourth straight Super Bowl, where they faced the Dallas Cowboys in a rematch of the previous season's Super Bowl. However, just like with the previous Super Bowl, the Bills would lose to the Cowboys 13–30.

1993 Dallas Cowboys season

The 1993 Dallas Cowboys season was the franchise's 34th season in the National Football League and was the fifth and final year of the franchise under head coach Jimmy Johnson which the Cowboys made two of three Super Bowl appearance between 1992-95.

and a won back-to-back Super Bowl titles. The season is notable for seeing the Cowboys that became the first team to start 0–2 and still reach (and subsequently win) the Super Bowl. The following off-season was marked by the sudden resignation of Johnson, though he would coach the Miami Dolphins for the 1996 season.

1993 NFL season

The 1993 NFL season was the 74th regular season of the National Football League. It was the only season in league history where all NFL teams played their 16-game schedule over a span of 18 weeks. After the success of expanding the regular season to a period of 17 weeks in 1990, the league hoped this new schedule would generate even more revenue. This was also done to avoid scheduling playoff games on January 1 and competing with college football bowl games. However, teams felt that having two weeks off during the regular season was too disruptive for their weekly routines, and thus it reverted to 17 weeks immediately after the season ended.

On March 1, 1993, the current free agent system was introduced to the league.When new TV contracts were signed in December 1993, CBS lost their rights to broadcasting NFC games to the then seven-year old Fox Network, which took effect next season.

The season ended with Super Bowl XXVIII when the Dallas Cowboys defeated the Buffalo Bills 30–13 for the second consecutive season at the Georgia Dome. This remains the only time both Super Bowl participants have been the same in successive seasons. The Cowboys became the first team to win a Super Bowl after losing their first two regular season games. This game also marked the fourth consecutive Super Bowl loss by the Bills.

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.

Alvin Harper

Alvin Craig Harper (born July 6, 1967) is a former American football wide receiver who played in the National Football League. He played college football at Tennessee, and was drafted by the Dallas Cowboys in the first round of the 1991 NFL Draft. Harper played in Dallas for four years as the Cowboys won Super Bowl XXVII and Super Bowl XXVIII, twice against the Buffalo Bills.

Bill Bates

William Frederick "Bill" Bates (born June 6, 1961) is a former American football safety who played for fifteen seasons in the National Football League, all of which were spent with the Dallas Cowboys. A fan favorite, he was a Pro Bowl selection in 1984, played in Super Bowl XXVIII and Super Bowl XXX, and was on the Cowboys' roster for Super Bowl XXVII. He played college football at the University of Tennessee.

Bill Brooks (American football)

William T. Brooks, Jr. (born April 6, 1964 in Boston, Massachusetts) is a former American football wide receiver who was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts in the fourth round of the 1986 NFL Draft. A 6'1", 190 lb (86 kg). wide receiver from Boston University, Brooks played in 11 NFL seasons from 1986–1996 for the Colts, the Buffalo Bills, and the Washington Redskins.

Brooks was the Colts' leading receiver for five of his seven seasons with them, and recorded a career best 1,131 yards in 1986. With the Bills, he assisted them to a championship appearance in Super Bowl XXVIII in the 1993 season. Taking over for retired starter James Lofton, he caught 60 passes for 712 yards and five touchdowns during the season. He also caught six passes for 92 yards and two touchdowns in the Bills 29–23 win over the Los Angeles Raiders in the divisional playoff round. In his final season with the Bills, he caught a career-high 11 touchdown passes.

Brooks finished his career with 583 receptions for 8,001 yards and 46 touchdowns. He also gained 106 yards on 18 carries.

Brooks has been honored by being the first Indianapolis Colts player to be inducted into the Indianapolis Colts Ring of Honor on August 22, 1998. He is currently Executive Director of Administration for the Colts front office.

James Washington

James McArthur Washington (born January 10, 1965) is a former American football safety in the National Football League (NFL) for the Los Angeles Rams, Dallas Cowboys and the Washington Redskins. With the Cowboys, he won back-to-back titles in Super Bowl XXVII and Super Bowl XXVIII, both against the Buffalo Bills. He played college football for the UCLA Bruins.

Jerome Henderson

Jerome Virgil Henderson (born August 8, 1969) is a former American football Cornerback for the New England Patriots, Buffalo Bills, Philadelphia Eagles and New York Jets of the National Football League. He played college football at Clemson University and was drafted in the second round of the 1991 NFL Draft. He is currently the defensive passing game coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons. Prior to coming to Atlanta, Henderson the defensive backs coach for the Dallas Cowboys. He played in two Super Bowls; one with the Buffalo Bills in Super Bowl XXVIII and another with the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI.

In the 2016 season, Henderson and the Falcons reached Super Bowl LI, where they faced the New England Patriots on February 5, 2017. In the Super Bowl, the Falcons fell in a 34–28 overtime defeat.

Jerry Markbreit

Jerry Markbreit (born March 23, 1935) is a former American football referee in the National Football League (NFL) for 23 seasons and became one of the most recognizable referees in the game. Markbreit officiated football games for 43 seasons. From 1965 to 1975, Markbreit officiated college football games in the Big Ten Conference. He then joined the NFL in 1976 as a line judge before being promoted to the head referee position in just his second year. His uniform number in the league was 9, which is now worn by Mark Perlman. Until he retired from the NFL after the 1998 season, Markbreit officiated in two wild card (1991 and 1994), ten divisional (1979, 1981, 1982, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1995, 1997, and 1998), eight conference championship (1980, 1983, 1984, 1989, 1990, 1992, 1993, and 1996) playoff games, one Pro Bowl (1978), and four Super Bowls: Super Bowl XVII, Super Bowl XXI, Super Bowl XXVI, and Super Bowl XXIX and was an alternate in Super Bowl XIX, Super Bowl XXII, and Super Bowl XXVIII. To date, he is the only NFL head referee to officiate four Super Bowl games.

Until 2008, he wrote a weekly sports column for the Chicago Tribune during the football season.

John Davis (offensive lineman)

John Henry Davis (born August 22, 1965 in Ellijay, Georgia) is a former American football offensive lineman in the National Football League, mainly for the Buffalo Bills. He played in Super Bowl XXV, Super Bowl XXVII, and Super Bowl XXVIII. He was also with the Bills for Super Bowl XXVI, but did not play in the game due to a knee injury.

John Jett

John Jett (born November 11, 1968) is a former American football punter in the National Football League for the Dallas Cowboys and the Detroit Lions. He played college football for East Carolina University. Jett won two Super Bowl rings with the Cowboys in Super Bowl XXVIII and Super Bowl XXX.

John Roper (American football)

John Alfred Roper (born October 4, 1965 in Houston, Texas) is a former American football linebacker in the National Football League for the Chicago Bears, Dallas Cowboys and the Philadelphia Eagles. He was on the Cowboys' Super Bowl XXVIII championship team that beat the Buffalo Bills. He played college football at Texas A&M University.

Monty Brown

Montaque N. Brown (born April 13, 1970) is an American former professional wrestler and National Football League linebacker. He is perhaps best known for his time with Total Nonstop Action Wrestling where he wrestled under his real name, and with World Wrestling Entertainment, where he wrestled on its ECW brand under the ring name Marcus Cor Von. In both companies, he utilized the nickname "The Alpha Male". As an American football player, he competed at Super Bowl XXVIII for the Buffalo Bills.

Morehouse College Glee Club

The Morehouse College Glee Club, founded in 1911, is the official choral group of Morehouse College. The Glee Club has a long tradition of significant public appearances, having performed at Martin Luther King Jr.'s funeral, President Jimmy Carter's inauguration, Super Bowl XXVIII, and the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta. The Glee Club's international performances include tours in Africa (Senegal, Ethiopia, Ghana, Uganda, and Nigeria) , Russia, Poland and the Caribbean. The group also appeared on the soundtrack for the movie School Daze, directed by Morehouse alumnus Spike Lee (Class of 1979).

Scott Galbraith

Alan Scott Galbraith (born January 7, 1967) is a former American football tight end in the National Football League for the Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Washington Redskins, and Green Bay Packers. As a member of the Cowboys, he was part of the Super Bowl XXVIII championship team over the Buffalo Bills. He played college football at the University of Southern California.

The Good Life (1994 TV series)

The Good Life is an American sitcom which aired on NBC in early 1994. (The fifth episode aired following NBC's coverage of Super Bowl XXVIII.) It starred John Caponera and Drew Carey.

Other members of the cast included Eve Gordon, Jake Patellis, Shay Astar, Justin Berfield and Monty Hoffman.

The show revolved around Caponera's character and featured both his home life and the lock company where he served as a middle manager. It was set in Chicago.

Thirteen episodes were produced and aired before the sitcom's cancellation in May 1994.

Thomas Smith (cornerback)

Thomas Lee Smith (born December 5, 1970 in Gatesville, North Carolina) is a former American football defensive back in the National Football League who played for the Buffalo Bills, the Chicago Bears, and the Indianapolis Colts. He played college football at the University of North Carolina.

After being drafted 28th overall in the first round of the 1993 NFL Draft, Smith played primarily on special teams during the 1993 season. He played in Super Bowl XXVIII for the Bills against the Dallas Cowboys. He became a starting cornerback for Buffalo in 1994, a position he would hold through the 1999 season. During this time, Smith became known as one of the top coverage cornerbacks in the NFL, but did not receive the Pro Bowl and/or All-Pro recognition his play deserved because he had terrible hands and dropped almost every potential interception he was in position to snare (at the time, advanced coverage statistics which would have benefited superb lockdown players like Smith did not exist, and his lack of interceptions was wrongly cited when he was seen as a good rather than great player). He left Buffalo following 1999 to sign with the Chicago Bears, where he played in 2000. He finished his playing career with the Indianapolis Colts in 2001.

Thurman Thomas

Thurman Lee Thomas (born May 16, 1966) is a former American football player who was a running back in the National Football League (NFL) for the Buffalo Bills and Miami Dolphins. Thomas was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2007 and into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2008. Thomas was an important part of the Bills "no-huddle offense" that won four consecutive AFC championships.

Scoring summary
Quarter Time Drive Team Scoring information Score
Plays Yards TOP DAL BUF
1 12:41 5 24 2:19 DAL 41-yard field goal by Eddie Murray 3 0
1 10:19 8 43 2:22 BUF 54-yard field goal by Steve Christie 3 3
1 3:55 7 43 4:02 DAL 24-yard field goal by Murray 6 3
2 12:26 17 80 6:29 BUF Thurman Thomas 4-yard touchdown run, Christie kick good 6 10
2 0:00 7 38 1:03 BUF 28-yard field goal by Christie 6 13
3 14:05 DAL Fumble recovery returned 46 yards for touchdown by James Washington, Murray kick good 13 13
3 8:42 8 64 4:32 DAL Emmitt Smith 15-yard touchdown run, Murray kick good 20 13
4 9:50 9 34 5:03 DAL Smith 1-yard touchdown run, Murray kick good 27 13
4 2:50 10 49 4:10 DAL 20-yard field goal by Murray 30 13
"TOP" = time of possession. For other American football terms, see Glossary of American football. 30 13
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