by Zachary Levin
Entering Super Bowl XXV (January 27, 1991), no one expected a low-scoring game--and certainly no one expected the Buffalo Bills to need a last-second field goal to beat the New York Giants. The Giants werre without star quarterback Phil Simms, while the Bills had dismantled AFC foes in the playoffs, scoring 51 points against the Oakland Raiders in one playoff game and 41 against the Miami Dolphins in the next. But with seconds to play, the Giants were up by a point, and the championship rested on the shoulders of Buffalo kicker Scott Norwood.
Norwood was in this spot due to a gutsy performance by New York's back-up quarterback, Jeff Hostetler. He'd replaced Simms late in the regular season, after Simms injured his ankle. Simms had been having a career season and had led the Giants to a 12-2 record before the injury. Unsurprisingly, few people felt Hostetler's Giants had a chance against the Bills lightning-fast, no-huddle offense in Super Bowl XXV.
But the Giants never panicked. Running the ball and focusing on shorter, high-percentage passes, New York ate up the clock and kept Buffalo's potent offense on the sidelines. When Hostetler threw a 14-yard touchdown, he cut the Bills halftime lead to a mere two points, 12-10.
The Giants continued to control the game and the clock in the second half, eventually setting a Super Bowl record for time of possession by monopolizing the ball for 40:33 of the game's 60 minutes. New York led 20-19 as the game entered its final two minutes, but Buffalo's quarterback Jim Kelly drove his team 61 yards to put Norwood in field-goal range with fewer than ten seconds. But Norwood's 47-yard attempt sailed wide right. Buffalo appeared in the next three Super Bowls, but never again came this close to winning.