The kick went wide right.
Legions of fans can still see it flying through the air, an image still ingrained in football’s consciousness a few decades after it happened
I saw it all live, seated in the stands of Super Bowl XXV, supporting my clients on the Buffalo Bills, the NFL team that had my largest collection of players.
Kent Hull. Will Wolford. And several other important Bills’ players. It was the fourth quarter of an old-school, smash mouth game controlled by the New York Giants, who set a Super Bowl record for time of possession by holding the ball for more than 40 minutes.
The Giants were leading 20-19. But Jim Kelly and the Bills’ up-tempo offense got the ball back with just over two minutes to go. They still had a chance.
Kelly started the drive by scrambling for eight yards. Two more scrambles, two completed passes, and a Thurman Thomas run moved the ball past midfield. Thomas ran again and Kelly spiked the ball at the Giants’ 29-yard line.
This is an excerpt from The Book NFL Brawler.
There were eight seconds left to play. Buffalo was only down by one.
We all know what happened next. Bills kicker Scott Norwood went out for a 47-yard field goal – nothing near a chip shot – a kick that would decide the outcome of football’s biggest game. The Bills were holding hands on their sideline. Giants’ players seemed to be locked in prayer on the other. I held my breath in the stands.
The snap went back, the hold went down, and the kick went up, wide right as fate would have it, a wretched heartbreak sailing through the Super Bowl sky.
Norwood missed it by about a yard. He slumped his shoulders and hung his helmet and sidled off the field. After the game, he faced all the cameras and answered all the questions, even those that didn’t have an easy answer.
What happened? Why? How does it feel?
There wasn’t a man in America that felt worse than Scott Norwood that night. Or anyone who felt as lonely either.
Fortunately, Norwood had my client Kent Hull as a teammate. Hull was the Bills center and the backbone of the team, a leader and a mauler who was a driving force behind Buffalo’s success and all that offensive prowess behind him.
As Hull was heading out of the losing locker room, he noticed that Norwood was still there, sitting in his uniform.
Hull walked over…