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.

Thurman Thomas
refer to caption
Thomas at ESPN The Weekend in 2010
No. 34
Position:Running back
Personal information
Born:May 16, 1966 (age 52)
Houston, Texas
Height:5 ft 10 in (1.78 m)
Weight:206 lb (93 kg)
Career information
High school:Willowridge (Houston, Texas)
College:Oklahoma State
NFL Draft:1988 / Round: 2 / Pick: 40
Career history
Career highlights and awards
Career NFL statistics
Rushing yards:12,074
Yards per carry:4.2
Rushing touchdowns:65
Receptions:472
Receiving yards:4,458
Receiving touchdowns:23
Player stats at NFL.com
Player stats at PFR

Early years

Thomas was born in Houston, Texas. He grew up playing football on the Missouri City Junior High School (now Missouri City Middle School) and Willowridge High School teams. During the 1982-83 season, Thomas led the Willowridge football team to a Texas Class 4A State Title. He formerly resided in the Willow Park II subdivision, located southeast of the Fort Bend Tollway and Beltway 8.

College career

Thomas attended college at Oklahoma State University where he was an upperclassman teammate of running back Barry Sanders. At Oklahoma State, Thomas had 897 rushes for 4,595 yards, 43 touchdowns, 5,146 total yards, and 21 100-yard rushing games. He was also a Heisman Trophy candidate in his senior year, finishing seventh in voting.[2] He was a first team selection on the College Football All-America Team in 1985[3] and 1987.

Thomas led the Big Eight in rushing and scoring in 1985 and 1987 and was voted the conference's Offensive Player of the Year both seasons. Thurman Thomas starred as a sophomore in 1985 when he posted 1,553 yards rushing, fourth best in the country. Between his sophomore and junior seasons he suffered a tear to his ACL in his left knee, missing some games during the 1986 season. He bounced back his senior season, rushing for 1,613 yards and finishing third nationally in rushing. From 1984-87, Thomas carried the ball a remarkable 897 times for the Cowboys, the most rushing attempts in a career in Oklahoma State history.[4]

In the 1987 Sun Bowl, Thomas ran for 157 yards and four touchdowns in the 35-33 comeback victory over West Virginia, keeping sophomore Barry Sanders on the sidelines for the majority of the game. Thomas left OSU as the school's all-time leading rusher and his number 34 (chosen in honor of Earl Campbell and Walter Payton)[5] is one of only three jerseys retired at Oklahoma State.

In 2008, Thomas was inducted to the College Football Hall of Fame.

Professional career

Buffalo Bills

A knee injury damaged Thomas's certain first round pick status and caused him to slip into second round (40th overall) of the 1988 NFL Draft by the Buffalo Bills, their first choice in the draft. Thomas is well known as part of the offense that included Jim Kelly and Andre Reed, which led the Bills to four straight Super Bowl appearances.

Thomas was the AFC rushing leader in 1990, 1991, and 1993. In the first three seasons of his career, Thomas had a total of 12 games with at least 100 yards rushing. The Bills won every one of those games. In 1989 and 1990, his combined total yards from scrimmage was 3,742. This was more than 200 yards better than any other player in the NFL. He was voted to the All-Pro team in 1990 and 1991, was selected to 5 straight Pro Bowls from 1989–1993, and was named NFL's Most Valuable Player in 1991, after becoming the 11th player in NFL history to finish a season with over 2,000 all-purpose yards. Currently, he is 15th on the NFL all-time list for most rushing yards in a career.

Thomas currently holds the all-time Buffalo Bills rushing record with 11,938 yards and the team record for yards from scrimmage with 16,279 over 12 years. He is also 4th overall in team scoring. Overall, Thomas finished his 13 seasons (his 13th season he played for Miami) with 12,074 rushing yards, 472 receptions for 4,458 yards, and 88 touchdowns (65 rushing and 23 receiving) with 16,532 total yards from scrimmage.

Thomas is the only player in NFL history to lead the league in total yards from scrimmage for four consecutive seasons. He is one of only six running backs to have over 400 receptions and 10,000 yards rushing. Walter Payton, Marshall Faulk, Marcus Allen, Tiki Barber, and LaDainian Tomlinson are the other five. Thomas is also one of five running backs to have rushed for over 1,000 yards in 8 consecutive seasons along with Curtis Martin, Barry Sanders, Emmitt Smith and Tomlinson.

Thomas also set NFL playoff records with the most career points (126), touchdowns (21), and consecutive playoff games with a touchdown (9). Overall, he rushed for 1,442 yards and caught 76 passes for 672 yards in his 21 postseason games. In a 1989 playoff loss to the Cleveland Browns, Thomas recorded 13 receptions for 150 yards and 2 touchdowns, which was a postseason record for receptions by a running back and tied tight end Kellen Winslow's record for most receptions in a playoff game. At the time of his retirement, his 76 postseason receptions ranked him 4th all time, and to this day he remains the only running back among the NFL's top 10 leaders in that category.

Super Bowl XXV

Thomas had an outstanding performance in Super Bowl XXV, rushing for 135 yards and a touchdown, while also catching 5 passes for 55 yards. He would have almost certainly won the Super Bowl MVP award, but the Bills lost the game 20-19 when kicker Scott Norwood missed a 47-yard field goal attempt with 8 seconds remaining.

Some fans and sports writers, such as Sports Illustrated writer Paul Zimmerman,[6] have argued that Thomas had the best performance of the game, so therefore he should have won the MVP award even though his team lost. He had far more yards and catches than New York Giants running back Ottis Anderson, who won the MVP.

His performances in the Bills other postseason games that year were also superb. He rushed for a total of 255 yards, caught 8 passes for 99 yards, and scored 3 touchdowns in their 2 playoff games prior to the Super Bowl.

Super Bowl XXVI

Thomas is noted for a mishap in Super Bowl XXVI. Thomas had a pre-game ritual where he placed his helmet at the 34-yard line. His helmet was moved in order for the stage to be set up for Harry Connick, Jr. to perform the national anthem. This caused Thomas to miss Buffalo's first two offensive plays.[7] He went on to gain just 13 rushing yards and a touchdown on 10 carries. He also caught 4 passes for 27 yards. On August 8, 2009, during teammate Bruce Smith's Hall of Fame induction speech, while he was acknowledging his relationship with Thomas, Bruce proclaimed "I hid your helmet!" Following the ceremony on NFL Total Access, Bruce indicated this was merely a joke.

Super Bowl XXVII

Thomas scored the first points of the game for his team on a 2-yard touchdown run, but was limited to just 19 rushing yards on 11 carries and 4 receptions for 10 yards in Buffalo's 52-17 loss to the Dallas Cowboys. Thomas was still recovering from a hip injury he suffered in the first game of the postseason. As a result, running back Kenneth Davis got the majority of carries in the game. Thomas also committed a costly fumble that was converted into a Dallas touchdown.

Super Bowl XXVIII

Thomas had another disappointing Super Bowl performance in this game, which the Bills lost to the Cowboys 30-13. He scored the only touchdown of the game for his team, but was limited to just 37 rushing yards on 16 carries. He was a reliable target as a receiver out of the backfield, catching 7 passes for 52 yards but he lost 2 fumbles that led to 10 Dallas points.

Miami Dolphins

Thomas signed with the Miami Dolphins during the 2000 off-season, after the Bills had released him to clear space under the salary cap. He suffered a knee injury on November 12, 2000 against the San Diego Chargers which ended his NFL career. In his only season with the Dolphins, Thomas ran for 136 yards on 28 carries and no rushing touchdowns and 16 receptions 117 yards and one receiving touchdown in nine games.

Retirement, Pro Football Hall of Fame

After deciding to retire, Thomas signed a one-day ceremonial contract on February 27, 2001 with the Bills.

Thurman Thomas was first eligible for induction into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2006. In that year, he made it to the list of ten finalists, but was not one of the six players elected to the Hall that year. He was selected on February 3, 2007, to be inducted into the Hall of Fame. Thomas joined his former quarterback Jim Kelly and wide receiver James Lofton in the Hall of Fame.

Thomas, Steve Tasker, Andre Reed, Bruce Smith, Don Beebe, and Jim Kelly were the subject of the 30 for 30 film, Four Falls of Buffalo.

His jersey number, 34, was retired by the Bills on national TV on Monday October 29, 2018 in honor of his achievements.[8]

Personal life

Thomas is married to Patti Mariacher, who is from Buffalo and was on the Oklahoma State University golf team. They have four children, Olivia, Angel, Annika, and Thurman III.[9]

He is involved with several business enterprises including sports, energy, telecommunications and construction.[10] He was appointed as vice chair of the New York State Tourism Advisory Council in 2014.[11]

Thomas has been involved in community issues since early in his career, establishing the Thurman Thomas Foundation in 1992.[12] He has talked about mental health and the effects of concussions suffered during his football career.[13][14]

References

  1. ^ "No more doubting Thomas: Bills' back selected as Offensive Player of Year". The Victoria Advocate. Associated Press. December 30, 1991. p. B1. Retrieved July 6, 2016.
  2. ^ "1987 Heisman Trophy Voting". Sports-Reference.com. Archived from the original on June 10, 2017.
  3. ^ Thomas also finished 10th in Heisman voting in 1985, Sports-Reference.com: 1985 Heisman Trophy Voting Archived October 10, 2011, at the Wayback Machine
  4. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on November 5, 2014. Retrieved November 5, 2014.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  5. ^ http://www.buffalobills.com/news/article-1/Thurman-Thomas-No-34-to-be-retired-by-the-Bills/8a3ea9ad-0a81-4bb8-9176-b4fab1dcdb28'
  6. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 21, 2006. Retrieved July 6, 2006.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  7. ^ "Oklahoma State's Thurman Thomas Still Living Down Super Bowl Gaffe – Lostlettermen.com". Archived from the original on September 24, 2011.
  8. ^ "Jason Wolf: Thurman Thomas' greatness not lost on dreary night". The Buffalo News. October 29, 2018.
  9. ^ "Up Close With Thurman Thomas: Conversations on Life After The Game and Fatherhood". www.nflplayerengagement.com. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  10. ^ "About Us". 3480 Group, LLC. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  11. ^ "Governor Cuomo Announces the Appointment of Former Buffalo Bills Running Back Thurman Thomas to the New York State Tourism Advisory Board". Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. September 28, 2014.
  12. ^ Lieber, Jill (February 1, 1993). "Mistaken Identity". SI.com. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  13. ^ Spiteri, Ray (April 22, 2016). "NFL legend breaks silence about concussions". Niagara Falls Review. Retrieved January 14, 2018.
  14. ^ Kawaya, Jordan (December 14, 2017). "Thurman Thomas gives back in life after football". www.wnypapers.com. Retrieved January 14, 2018.

External links

1985 Oklahoma State Cowboys football team

The 1985 Oklahoma State Cowboys football team represented Oklahoma State University in the Big Eight Conference during the 1985 NCAA Division I-A football season. In their second season under head coach Pat Jones, the Cowboys compiled an 8–4 record (4–3 against conference opponents), tied for third place in the conference, and outscored opponents by a combined total of 255 to 188.The team's statistical leaders included Thurman Thomas with 1,650 rushing yards and 102 points scored, Ronnie Williams with 1,757 passing yards, and Bobby Riley with 659 receiving yards.The team played its home games at Lewis Field in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

1986 Oklahoma State Cowboys football team

The 1986 Oklahoma State Cowboys football team represented Oklahoma State University in the Big Eight Conference during the 1986 NCAA Division I-A football season. In their third season under head coach Pat Jones, the Cowboys compiled a 6–5 record (4–3 against conference opponents), finished in fourth place in the conference, and were outscored by opponents by a combined total of 191 to 181.The team's statistical leaders included Thurman Thomas with 741 rushing yards, Mike Gundy with 1,525 passing yards, and Hart Lee Dykes with 814 receiving yards and 42 points scored.The team played its home games at Lewis Field in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

1987 Oklahoma State Cowboys football team

The 1987 Oklahoma State Cowboys football team represented the Oklahoma State University in the 1987 NCAA Division I-A college football season. The Cowboys finished the regular season with a 9–2 record. Thurman Thomas was in his senior year for the Cowboys. In his career at Oklahoma State, Thomas had 897 rushes for 4,595 yards, 43 touchdowns, and 21 100-yard rushing games. He was also a Heisman Trophy candidate and a first team selection on the College Football All-America Team in 1987. In the 1987 Sun Bowl, Thomas ran for 157 yards and four touchdowns in the 35–33 victory over West Virginia, keeping Barry Sanders on the sidelines for the majority of the game. Thomas left OSU as the school's all-time leading rusher and his number 34 is one of only three jerseys retired at Oklahoma State. Sanders replaced Thomas as starter the next year in 1988.

1987 Sun Bowl

The 1987 John Hancock Sun Bowl was the 54th annual Sun Bowl. The contest featured the West Virginia Mountaineers and the 11th-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys. Oklahoma State edged out West Virginia, 35–33. The game was decided with 1:13 to play. The game was played on snowy, cold Christmas Day of 1987 before a crowd of 43,240 in front of a CBS national television audience.

The game featured West Virginia's exciting new quarterback Major Harris, who had defeated Browning Nagle in the offseason for the Mountaineers' starting quarterback position. Nagle later transferred to Louisville. It was also the final college game for Oklahoma State running back Thurman Thomas, went on to Pro Football Hall of Fame career in the National Football League (NFL). Oklahoma State also featured tailback Barry Sanders. Sanders won the Heisman Trophy the following season and also went on to Pro Football Hall of Fame career.

1988 Buffalo Bills season

The 1988 Buffalo Bills season was the franchise's 29th overall season as a football team and the 19th in the [[National Football League. The Bills ended a streak of four consecutive losing seasons by winning the AFC East; they finished the NFL's 1988 season with a record of 12 wins and 4 losses; it was the club's first winning season since 1981, its first 12-win season since the 1964 AFL championship season, and only the fifth double-digit win season in team history. The Bills were 8–0 at home for the first time in their franchise history. On the road, the Bills were 4–4. From an attendance standpoint, the franchise set a record for attendance with 631,818 fans.The Bills started the season 11–1 before losing three of their final four games, costing them the top seed in the AFC, and home-field advantage throughout the playoffs.

It was Buffalo's first trip to the postseason since 1981. The Bills were the #2 seed in the AFC (behind #1 Cincinnati), giving the Bills their first home playoff game since the 1966 AFL Championship, and their first ever playoff game at Rich Stadium. The 1988 season would be the first of five AFC Championship game appearances over six seasons, and their only loss in the conference championship game.

The 1988 season was the first for running back Thurman Thomas, nose tackle Jeff Wright, and linebacker Carlton Bailey. Thomas would rush for 881 yards, despite only carrying the ball 207 times (42.7% of total team carries by a running back) while sharing carries with Robb Riddick, Jamie Mueller and Ronnie Harmon.

The Bills had a dominant defense in 1988: they gave up the fewest points (237) and the fewest total yards (4,578) in the AFC in 1988. The defensive unit was given the nickname "Blizzard Defense," alluding to Buffalo's harsh winters.

Four Bills players made the All-Pro team in 1988: defensive end Bruce Smith, linebackers Shane Conlan and Cornelius Bennett, and kicker Scott Norwood.

Head coach Marv Levy was named NFL Coach of the Year by The Sporting News and UPI.

1989 Buffalo Bills season

The 1989 Buffalo Bills season was the franchise's 30th overall season as a football team and the 20th in the [[National Football League. The Bills finished in first place in the AFC East and finished the National Football League's 1989 season with a record of 9 wins and 7 losses. Although Buffalo won the division and qualified for the postseason, their record was a drop off from their 12–4 mark in 1988.

1990 Buffalo Bills season

The 1990 Buffalo Bills season was the 31st for the franchise and the 21st in the National Football League. The team finished the year with a record of 13 wins and 3 losses, and first in the American Football Conference (AFC) East division. They were 8–0 at home for the second time in their franchise history. On the road, the Bills were 5–3. Buffalo qualified for their first Super Bowl appearance.

The Bills' offense was one of the best in the league; their 428 points (26.75 points per game) scored was first in the league, and since they only gave up 263 points (6th in the league), their point differential was 165 points (10.3 per game), which was the best in the NFL in 1990, as well as the best point-differential in franchise history. Buffalo's 48 offensive touchdowns (28 passing, 20 rushing) also led the league.

Defensive end Bruce Smith was named Associated Press Defensive Player of the Year for 1990, recording 101 tackles, four forced fumbles, and a career-high 19 sacks.The season was chronicled on October 2, 2008 for America's Game: The Missing Rings, as one of the five greatest NFL teams to never win the Super Bowl.

1991 Buffalo Bills season

The 1991 Buffalo Bills season was the 32nd season, and 22nd in the National Football League. The Buffalo Bills finished the National Football League's 1991 season with a record of 13 wins and 3 losses, the same record as their previous season, and finished first in the AFC East division. The Bills qualified for their second Super Bowl appearance, but lost to the Washington Redskins, 24–37.

1992 Buffalo Bills season

The 1992 Buffalo Bills season was the 33rd season for the team in the National Football League. The Buffalo Bills finished the National Football League's 1992 season with a record of 11 wins and 5 losses, and finished second in the AFC East division. The Bills qualified for their third straight Super Bowl appearance, but lost to the Dallas Cowboys 17–52.

Buffalo Bills

The Buffalo Bills are a professional American football team based in the Buffalo–Niagara Falls metropolitan area. The Bills compete in the National Football League (NFL), as a member club of the league's American Football Conference (AFC) East division. The team plays their home games at New Era Field in Orchard Park, New York. The Bills are the only NFL team that plays its home games in the state of New York. The Bills conduct summer training camp at St. John Fisher College in Pittsford, New York, an eastern suburb of Rochester.The Bills began play as an original franchise of the American Football League (AFL) in 1960. The club joined the NFL as a result of the AFL–NFL merger for the 1970 season. The 1964 and 1965 Bills were the only teams representing Buffalo that won major league professional sports championships ("back-to-back" American Football League Championships). The Bills are the only team to win four consecutive conference championships and are the only NFL team to lose four consecutive Super Bowl games. The team was owned by Ralph Wilson from the team's founding in 1960, until his death in 2014 at the age of 95. After his death, Wilson's estate reached an agreement to sell the team to Terry and Kim Pegula, which was approved by the other NFL team owners on October 8, 2014. The Bills formerly possessed the longest active playoff drought in any of the four major professional sports in North America: they did not qualify to play in the NFL playoffs from 1999 until 2017 and were the last NFL team (and last team in the major North American professional sports leagues overall) to compete in the playoffs in the 21st century.

Four Falls of Buffalo

Four Falls of Buffalo is a 2015 documentary film produced for ESPN's 30 for 30 series and directed by Ken Rodgers of NFL Films. The film profiles the Buffalo Bills teams of the early 1990s, when the franchise became the first team to play in — and lose — four consecutive Super Bowls.The film goes through the Bills four "Super Bowl" years featuring retrospectives and insight on such famous plays as Scott Norwood's 47-yard field goal miss at the end of Super Bowl XXV, Thurman Thomas' misplaced helmet at the start of Super Bowl XXVI, and Don Beebe's strip of Leon Lett's attempted fumble return in Super Bowl XXVII. Former Bills players Jim Kelly, Bruce Smith, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed, Don Beebe, Darryl Talley, Steve Tasker, Frank Reich, coach Marv Levy, and general manager Bill Polian all gave extensive interviews for the film.A highlight of the documentary is an emotional interview with Norwood and former Bills special teams coach Bruce DeHaven conducted on the steps of Buffalo City Hall, the site where, twenty-five years before, the crowd of Bills fans had cheered for Norwood following his ill-fated kick.

Hart Lee Dykes

Hart Lee Dykes (born September 2, 1966) is a former professional American football player who played wide receiver for two seasons in the National Football League (NFL) for the New England Patriots. He was awarded the Dial Award as the national high school scholar-athlete of the year in 1984. He played two seasons, with his career being cut short when he fractured his kneecap and because of an eye injury which occurred during a bar room fight that also involved teammate Irving Fryar in 1990. He was also drafted into the Chicago White Sox minor league system in 1989. As of 2002, Dykes was the owner of a trucking company in Sugar Land, Texas.He is perhaps best remembered for his involvement in NCAA recruiting corruption. Voluntarily dealing with an investigation, he was eventually granted immunity and detailed a bidding war that went on for his services between Texas A&M, Oklahoma, Illinois and Oklahoma State (all of whom ended up on probation). OSU paid him at least $23,000. Once he finally got to OSU, he was a member of a talented offense with Mike Gundy at quarterback and Thurman Thomas and later, Barry Sanders at running back.

Dykes was selected in the first round (16th pick) of the 1989 NFL Draft In two seasons with the Patriots, Dykes caught 83 passes for 1,344 yards and seven touchdowns.Dykes is a major advocate for charities such as the Jimmy Fund and Autism Awareness.

He was the winner of the Pitch, Hit and Run competition as a 10-year-old. He was honored at the 1977 MLB All-Star Game.Dykes played high school basketball with LaBradford Smith and the duo lead their high school, Bay City, to the 4A State Championship.

List of Buffalo Bills Pro Bowl selections

This is a list of Buffalo Bills players who were elected to the Pro Bowl.

The year indicates when the game was played, not the season that it followed.

Oklahoma State Cowboys football statistical leaders

The Oklahoma State Cowboys football statistical leaders are individual statistical leaders of the Oklahoma State Cowboys football program in various categories, including passing, rushing, receiving, total offense, defensive stats, and kicking. Within those areas, the lists identify single-game, single-season, and career leaders. The Cowboys represent Oklahoma State University–Stillwater in the NCAA's Big 12 Conference.

Although Oklahoma State began competing in intercollegiate football in 1901, the school's official record book considers the "modern era" to have begun in 1945. Records from before this year are often incomplete and inconsistent, and they are generally not included in these lists.

These lists are dominated by more recent players for several reasons:

Since 1945, seasons have increased from 10 games to 11 and then 12 games in length.

The NCAA didn't allow freshmen to play varsity football until 1972 (with the exception of the World War II years), allowing players to have four-year careers.

The Cowboys have played in 26 bowl games in their history, with 14 of them coming since 2002. While the NCAA didn't count bowl game statistics until 2002, and most schools follow this policy, Oklahoma State's official records count all bowl game statistics. This means that while the NCAA recognizes Barry Sanders's single-season rushing yards record of 2,628 as the national record, Oklahoma State counts his stats from the 1988 Holiday Bowl as well and recognizes the record as 2,850 yards.These lists are updated through the 2017 season.

Pat Jones (American football)

Pat Jones (born November 4, 1947) is a former American football player and coach. He served as the head football coach at Oklahoma State University–Stillwater from 1984 to 1994, compiling a record of 62–60–3.

Jones grew up in Little Rock, Arkansas, where he developed an intense interest in football at an early age. In junior high he was a lineman for the Forest Heights Eagles. He played guard for the Hall High Warriors and made All-State Honorable Mention in his senior year. In college, he played linebacker and nose guard at Arkansas Tech before transferring to Arkansas. Jones' coaching stops include Arkansas, SMU, Pittsburgh, and Oklahoma State where he coached Hall of Fame running backs Thurman Thomas and 1988 Heisman Trophy winner Barry Sanders.

Jones served as head coach of the Oklahoma State Cowboys from 1984 to 1994 after five years as an assistant under Jimmy Johnson. In 11 years at Oklahoma State, he compiled a 62–60–3 record, including three wins in four bowl games. Jones was the Big 8 Coach of the Year in 1984 and 1992. From 1984 to 1988, Jones led the Cowboys to the most successful period in school history at the time. With a talented roster that included running backs Barry Sanders and Thurman Thomas, wide receiver Hart Lee Dykes and quarterback and current Cowboy coach Mike Gundy, they went 44–15 over this five-year stretch, including the school's first three ten-win seasons.

Days after the 1988 season, Oklahoma State and the NCAA released the results of an unusual joint investigation into the football program. The investigation revealed several major violations dating prior to Johnson's tenure, principally involvement in a "bidding war" for Dykes out of high school. The Cowboys were banned from bowl games for three years and from live television for two years, and they were also limited to 20 scholarships from 1989 to 1992. Jones was not directly implicated in any wrongdoing; indeed, the investigation found that no violations had taken place in two years. He was unable to put together another winning team due to the sanctions, and left OSU after the 1994 season. In Jones' last six years, the Cowboys won only seven games in Big Eight play, including three winless conference records. As it turned out, they would need almost the entire decade of the 1990s to recover; they would only have one winning season from 1989 to 2001.

Jones was also a NFL assistant coach with the Miami Dolphins from 1996 to 2003 and Oakland Raiders from 2004 to 2006. He is a member of the Gator Bowl, Arkansas and Oklahoma Halls of Fame.

Jones can be heard on weekdays on WWLS (AM) "The Sports Animal" in Oklahoma City, and on KYAL "The Sports Animal" in Tulsa. Pat also provides in-studio gameday commentary for Fox Sports Southwest college football programming.

Super Bowl XXV

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). Anderson also recorded one reception for seven yards.

Super Bowl XXVII

Super Bowl XXVII was an American football game between the American Football Conference (AFC) champion Buffalo Bills and the National Football Conference (NFC) champion Dallas Cowboys to decide the National Football League (NFL) champion for the 1992 season. The Cowboys defeated the Bills by the score of 52–17, winning their third Super Bowl in team history, and their first one in 15 years. This game is tied with Super Bowl XXXVII as the third-highest scoring Super Bowl ever with 69 combined points. The Bills became the first team to lose three consecutive Super Bowls, and just the second team to play in three straight (the Miami Dolphins played in Super Bowls VI–VIII, winning VII and VIII). The game was played on January 31, 1993 at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, California, the seventh Super Bowl held in the Greater Los Angeles Area. To date, this game represents the mid-point game in Super Bowl history as there are 26 Super Bowls both preceding and following it.

The Bills advanced to their third consecutive Super Bowl after posting an 11–5 regular season record, but entered the playoffs as a wild card after losing tiebreakers. The Cowboys were making their sixth Super Bowl appearance after posting a 13–3 regular season record. It was the first time that the two franchises had played each other since 1984.

The Cowboys scored 35 points off of a Super Bowl-record nine Buffalo turnovers, including three first half touchdowns. Bills backup quarterback Frank Reich, who replaced injured starter Jim Kelly in the second quarter, threw a 40-yard touchdown on the final play of the third quarter to cut the lead to 31–17. Dallas then scored three more touchdowns in the fourth quarter. Cowboys quarterback Troy Aikman was named Super Bowl MVP, completing 22 of 30 passes for 273 yards and four touchdowns for a passer rating of 140.6, while also rushing for 28 yards.

In response to the Fox Network's Super Bowl counterprogramming of a special episode of In Living Color during the previous year, the NFL booked Michael Jackson to perform during the entire Super Bowl XXVII halftime show. Jackson's performance started the league's trend of signing top acts to appear during the Super Bowl to attract more viewers and interest.

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.

Yards from scrimmage

Yards from scrimmage is an American football and Canadian football statistical measure. In the game of football, progress is measured by advancing the football towards the opposing team's goal line. Progress can be made during play by the offensive team by advancing the ball from the point of progress at the start of play known as the line of scrimmage. When the offensive team advances the ball by rushing the football, the player who carries the ball is given credit for the difference in progress measured in rushing yards. When the offensive team advances the ball by pass reception, the player who catches the reception is given credit for the difference in progress measured in reception yards. Although the ball may also be advanced by penalty these yards are not considered yards from scrimmage. Progress lost via quarterback sacks are classified variously by league of play with rules having changed over time within some leagues. The total of rushing yards and receiving yards is known as yards from scrimmage. This definition of yardage differs from total offense which gives credit for passing yardage to the person throwing the football rather than receiving the football.

This is an important statistic for running backs that contribute significantly to the passing attack. Many teams have special lineups for passing plays in which running backs who are better receivers are substituted into the game. Some running backs are notable for the fact that they are both a primary rushing and primary passing weapon. Notable running backs known for yards from scrimmage include Roger Craig, the first National Football League (NFL) player to have 1,000 yards rushing and receiving in the same season, Walter Payton, the NFL career record holder among running backs (until broken by Emmitt Smith), and Chris Johnson, the NFL single-season record holder. Thurman Thomas once led the NFL in yards from scrimmage four consecutive years.Yards from scrimmage differs from all-purpose yards, which include all forms of return yards such as yards on kickoff returns, punt returns, interception returns, and fumble recovery returns, in addition to yards from scrimmage.

Thurman Thomas—awards and honors

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