Watching Super Bowl 28 – 20 Years Later

Last year, for the 20th anniversary of the Cowboys 1992 Super Bowl appearance in Pasadena in Jan 1993, I wanted to pop in the DVDs – that I have with the expressed written consent of the NFL and the Dallas Cowboys – and view Super Bowl 27 again.  Linked is my running diary of the experience.

Well, we all appeared to have such a great time doing that, so, let’s do it again.  This week is the 20th anniversary of the Cowboys 1993 Super Bowl appearance in Atlanta in Jan 1994.  So, here are the DVDs again, and here is my running diary of Super Bowl 28.  Enjoy.


Offensive starters are introduced and run out of the giant Cowboys helmet.  The Cowboys are wearing white and range from Erik Williams sprinting out of the helmet to Michael Irvin just putting his arm in the air and walking out in that Michael Irvin way of his.  It ends with Troy Aikman and Jimmy Johnson and the special teams guys tearing out of there like they were covering a very crucial kick.

The Bills of course are trying not to lose their 4th straight Super Bowl.  It had almost reached comical proportions over the years from 1990-1993 where each season was great and then ended the same maddening way.  Marv Levy looks like he would love to avoid losing yet another one, but in some ways appears aware of how this is likely going to end.

Here is our extremely tricked-up national anthem featuring 7-time grammy award winner Natalie Cole with the some Atlanta choir or other that appears to be pretty pleased to be on the field.  There is no way the cynics that just want the anthem to be sung on its normal merits and arrangements enjoyed the license that was taken there.  

Now, the coin toss with Eddie Murray, Bill Bates, Jim Jeffcoat, Ken Norton, Kevin Gogan, and Michael Irvin.  Buffalo has Jim Kelly, Kent Hull, Andre Reed, Steve Tasker, Mark Kelso, and maybe someone else I missed.  And, of course, flipping for us will be 25th anniversary MVP of SB 3, Joe Namath.  Captain Bill Bates will call it in the air, he calls tails, and tails it is.  He starts screaming that "we want it, we want the ball!"  Very excited for a coin flip.  Steve Tasker had said they hoped they lose the flip because he can’t wait to cover the first kick and get a tackle, so he gets his wish.

One other pre game note worth noting that had not occurred to me until viewing this again, Emmitt Smith had on his earring before the game for the anthem, but right before kickoff, you can spot an equipment guy actually removing his earring, so we can only assume the key objective was to be seen wearing said diamond earring by the tv cameras during the anthem.  Weird.  

Dick Enberg on the call, and he uses the moments before the opening kick to alert us to the Super Bowl oddity that this will feature a Super Bowl with 2 kickers from Canada, Steve Christie and Eddie Murray, so there you go.  

1st Quarter:

Kevin Williams will return the kickoff all the way out over midfield as Tasker did not keep his word and missed on a tackle attempt and the Cowboys nearly broke it all the way.  Dallas starts its first drive at the Buffalo 48.

First play of the first possession is the dig to Michael Irvin out of 21 Personnel (which is pretty much all they will run) and they gain a quick 20.  Bruce Smith crunches Emmitt on a run left behind Mark Tuinei.  3rd and 6 is an incomplete pass to Kevin Williams on a out right and maybe a missed pass by Aikman forces a field goal.  It looked like Aikman missed an uncovered Alvin Harper as the safety busted his coverage.  Murray nails the field goal, and Dallas leads 3-0 with 12:41 to go.

Buffalo gets the kick return out to the 21 where they start their first possession.  2nd and 9 is a cross to Andre Reed for 12 yards and a first down and he is popped by James Washington.  They discuss their 4-5 defense which employs Darren Woodson as a linebacker.  Thurman Thomas gains 24 on a bit of a screen pass.  Then, Kenneth Davis of TCU and Temple, Texas gets some work after a strong Super Bowl 27.  Don Beebe is nailed by Thomas Everett over the middle on an incomplete pass, setting up 3rd and 7 and a first down pass is dropped by Bill Brooks.  Poor job by Brooks and Steve Christie for a Super Bowl record long field goal 54-yarder which is good.  We are locked up at 3-3, with 10:19 left in 1st.

Next kickoff is a touchback and Dallas starts their 2nd possession at the 20.   Emmitt with a middle run is met again by big Bruce Smith after Smith tosses Tuinei aside.  3rd and 1 is converted, but a hold to John Gesek brings it back and it will now be 3rd and 11.  Gesek is the 3rd center of the season after injuries took Mark Stepnoski and Frank Cornish out.  3rd and long is a disaster, too, as Aikman’s foot is stepped on by Gesek again and the punt team must come on.  And Steve Tasker almost got home to block another punt (like he did in SB 27) but Woodson got away with a hold.  

Buffalo with the ball at the 41 starts with a shovel pass to Thurman Thomas that was then fumbled to Dallas on the first snap.  After 9 giveaways last year, James Washington strips Thomas and Woodson recovers.  Dallas ball at midfield.  

Bob Trumpy shows us the graphic to demonstrate that the 4 worst turnover games in the history of the Super Bowl are all AFC teams and then we wonder why they do so poorly in this game.  A run for Emmitt and then a pass to Emmitt for a first down.  Play action dart from Aikman to Alvin Harper on another dig with great protection down to the 15.  Reverse to Kevin Williams with big Nate Newton out on the right for 5 yards and the Cowboys are down in Touchdown range.  3rd and 5 is a draw play to Emmitt and he is corralled down short by Darryl Talley and it is field goal time again.  6-3, Cowboys, with 3:55 to play and Thurman breathes a sigh of relief.  

On Buffalo’s next possession, Trumpy says the Cowboys front 4 gets off blocks faster than any defensive line he has ever seen.  Ever!  3rd down catch by Pete Metzelaars for a first down.  Kelly is now finding a rhythm with the K-gun hurry up, but Bill Brooks drops another one with Larry Brown on his back.  Kelly is angry and the Bills must punt.  Dave Thomas for the Cowboys rolls up on the punter and gives the Bills a free 1st Down on the penalty and Jimmy is not pleased.  Kelly then finds Beebe at the Dallas 43 on Larry Brown.  Jim Jeffcoat with a giant TFL against Thurman Thomas and the counter does not work against Dallas.  Middle pass to Andre Reed to the 34 ends the 1st Quarter and he is hurt as he gets popped by James Washington.  

2nd Quarter:

Reed is limping so Russell Copeland is replacing him on a 3rd and 1.  Kenneth Davis had to make Ken Norton miss to get the yard, because he was dead if Norton gets his man.  The tv cameras show Norton’s dad in the crowd rocking a White Sox hat, and he is watching his son play without invitation as Enberg tells us about their family feud.  Awkward.  No huddle again and Davis with another run that eats up plenty of yardage down to the 18.  Another conversion on 3rd down to the 5 with a quick out to Beebe.  On the very next play, Thurman makes a man miss nicely (Leon Lett) and walks in for a touchdown for the Bills and the rarest of leads.  80 yards on 17 plays with the help on the punt penalty.  12:26 to go in the half, Buffalo 10, Dallas 6.  What a move by Thomas.

Dallas has the ball back and we have play-action with the DIG behind it for Irvin.  This play is so easy and routine for Dallas over and over again.  First down.  Next play is Emmitt in the middle for 13 yards with almost nobody touching him.  Trumpy points out that Emmitt will only carry the ball in his left hand.   Aikman scrambles despite a concussion last week, and is hit hard by Cornelius Bennett.  Trumpy then indicates that Aikman told him that he is not sleeping well and cannot function since his concussion in the 49ers championship game but has not told anyone from the team because he wants to play.  Bizarre audio by today’s standards.  Next play is a near interception as Henry Jones almost picks off a pass to Irvin.  Punt time for the Cowboys.  The punt is downed at the 1 by Matt Vanderbeek.  

Buffalo must start at their 1 after Russell Copeland fell asleep on the punt return as the ball bounced at the 14.  But Kelly and Reed get them out of the mess with a quick 19 yarder.  Here the NBC guys start pointing out how little effect Charles Haley has had and that he has a bulging disc that requires surgery when this game is over.  Kelly looks in control and is driving them down the field with calm and composure.  Long shot down field to the goal-line misses Beebe.  But, the pass is too far and a real missed opportunity for the Bills.  3rd and long for Buffalo has Kelly throw one up against 7 defensive backs and 8 men in coverage and it is nearly picked off, but the INT is dropped by the Cowboys and Kevin Smith.  Punt for the Bills and of course, Steve Tasker of Northwestern downs it at the 1.  He really is amazing on special teams.  6:15 to go in the half.

So, now, Dallas starts it at the 1.  Slant to Irvin to the 15 gets things rolling for a first down.  Bruce Smith just about gets to Aikman again as Tuinei barely avoids disaster.  Play action in the flat to Moose Johnston converts another first down.  Then, a 3rd and 2 to Jay Novacek moves the chains with a real physical play.  Aikman 12-15 as he hits Emmitt for a 3rd down conversion again.  Aikman can hurt you in many ways.  Jinx.  Next play, Aikman throws a deeper pass and Nate Odomes is there on an under thrown pass to Alvin Harper.  Odomes is again the beneficiary of Bruce Smith getting around Tuinei again.

Buffalo ball with about a minute to go and the ball at midfield, so they hurry to Thomas for 12 yards inside the 40 with 0:44 to go.  Halftime is promoted and the Rockin Country Sunday is straight ahead.  Oh, boy!

Andre Reed is open at the 12 and beats coverage but stays in bounds, so Buffalo must use timeout #2 with 0:27 and a 1st down.  Kelly is 17-23-123 yards today and has 0 interceptions in the post-season.  3rd and 7 is a safe shovel pass to Thurman, and Buffalo is just happy to get another field goal and have a halftime lead.  

Christie’s kick is good.  Buffalo 13, Dallas 6 at the half.


Trumpy points out that Kelly is 12-12 under 10 yards and that the Bills are showing all sorts of patience.  Also, working from a lead position in the 2nd half is a rare treat for them.  Total yards are 216-170, Buffalo.  The Bills are also all over the time of possession and total snaps with the hurry-up offense.

3rd Quarter:

Cowboys CB Kevin Smith is hurt on the opening kickoff return for Buffalo but seems like he could possibly return.  Dave Thomas takes over for Smith, but only for a moment.

The Bills take the kickoff and begin to build a possession with a conversion to Bill Brooks.  But, on a 1st Down carry, Leon Lett strips Thurman Thomas and James Washington executes the scoop and score for 46 yards and the touchdown.  Washington has been annoyed to not start recently, but this Super Bowl has been all about his work.  Meanwhile, this is the 2nd crucial fumble for Thomas in this game as Lett destroyed Kent Hull and then Washington with a fantastic runback puts the Cowboys tied after that difficult 1st half.  Cowboys 13, Bills 13.  

On the next possession, Charles Haley takes over on a 3rd Down and finally shows his presence and joins Jeffcoat at the QB for a big team sack and a forced punt.  

Dallas gets the ball as Thurman Thomas is featured frequently on the sideline shaking his head and mentally beating himself up.  Emmitt starts taking over this drive with several nice runs and then Enberg tells the story of Emmitt’s dad playing semi-pro ball in his mid 40s.  Jimmy has unleashed 22 on a huge ground and pound drive here.  Darryl Talley checks out with a hurt shoulder and Emmitt took the ball on 6 straight carries right down the field.  Then, a screen to Moose where Bruce Smith looks hurt and then they give the ball to Emmitt again.  This time, he breaks a tackle behind the line by Jeff Wright and runs 15 yards behind a pulling Nate Newton for a Touchdown.  Total domination by the OL and Emmitt Smith and another hurt Bills defender with Phil Hansen being run over by Kevin Gogan and Erik Williams.  Cowboys jump right on Buffalo to start the 2nd half and the Cowboys are up 20-13 within 6 minutes.

Buffalo just looks demoralized on the bench with players limping and the game going in the wrong direction fast.  And then, the Bills roll out the quick screen to Kenneth Davis that is destroyed by Tony Tolbert.  Thurman Thomas is on the bench looking defeated.  3rd and long is a direct snap to Davis and he gained the yardage to move the chains and then the Bills start mounting a drive.  If they just hang on to the ball… Davis tries to reverse field on a ground and the superior speed of the Cowboys front is absurd.  3rd down and the Cowboys go with 4 DL/7 DB with Bill Bates and Woodson as LBs.  The rush gets there and Davis is stopped short.  Punt time for Buffalo.  6:01 to go in the quarter.

Dallas takes over at the 25.  14 yards on the out to Irvin for a first down.  But, a busted run and a few errant passes from Aikman on short plays stalls the drive.  John Jett, who was selling copiers last year, is on to punt.  Again, Copeland lets the ball bounce and gives up fine field position again for no discernible reason.

Kelly and Buffalo take over and speaking of confusing, another short screen is blown up, this time Darren Woodson destroys the play.  Butch Davis smiles.  Word is that cramps are keeping Thurman Thomas on the sideline and that joke wrote itself.  Another direct snap to Davis is fumbled and here comes the punt team again.  Yikes.  Kind of like the block thrown by Ken Norton on Carwell Gardner.  Earholed.  

No Emmitt Smith in this drive as they are looking at his back and Lincoln Coleman with a carry from the former garbage man.  3rd and long and Aikman is under pressure and throws it behind Novacek.  Both offenses are now officially out of sorts.  Michael Jordan is shown in the crowd in a nice red suit.

Buffalo’s next effort included a near interception as Kevin Smith tried to jump a route to Andre Reed. And with Thurman still on the bench, the 3rd Quarter expires.  

4th Quarter:

And on the first play of the 4th Quarter, there is your dagger.  James Washington jumps the route in the middle to Beebe and the man who wears Lester Hayes’ 37 turns the ball over again.  Huge day for Washington and surely enough for the MVP, right?  I kid.  

The Cowboys start the drive at the Bills 35, and, Emmitt takes over.  On the ground and then through the air.  Enberg points out the fun fact that this Georgia Dome is where Emory Smith won the Peach Bowl MVP recently, too.  They love the Georgia Dome.  Aikman takes a sack by running out of bounds rather than risk a throw at this point and has gone into win mode.  3rd and 8 and the Bills want a blitz and here Aikman reads it wonderfully and finds Harper out wide for an easy 1st Down.  Well done.  Emmitt inside the 5 with a few carries, and then, on 3rd and goal, Emmitt down to the goal-line.  4th and Goal?  Pitch left and Smith gets in for the Touchdown.  It made you nervous for a moment to see a play that goes laterally to the line, but it was well executed and outflanked Buffalo who were worried about the middle dive.   Cowboys 27, Bills 13.  9:50 to play.

Every Buffalo turnover has been cashed in with Field Goal, Touchdown, Touchdown.  

The Bills are now in desperation mode with Kelly scrambling and then Jimmie Jones takes over a drive with a blown up run play and then a beautiful cave in sack of Kelly.  Time for a Buffalo punt and then only thing left with 7:00 is the academics of running it out.  

Will Emmitt fumble?  Well, in 340 touches, he fumbled one time.  So, not bloody likely.  Enberg and Trumpy now try to wrap their heads around a team losing in the final championship game of a sport 4 straight years.  It is impossible.  And yet it is happening.  

During a Cowboys timeout, we see Jason Garrett, Bernie Kosar, and Jimmy Johnson offering Troy Aikman thoughts on life.  Out of the timeout, the Cowboys go for the bomb to Irvin and just miss.  And, then in the very next play they go again deep to Harper and connect to the 1 yard line.  

Then, the discussion turns to 3 Rings – Jimmy’s boat – and then, the talk of how surely a dynasty is happening and that Jimmy and Jerry have many years ahead to take over the league.  Oh my.  

Despite trying to punch it in from the 1, the Cowboys settle for Eddie Murray’s 3rd Field Goal and take a 30-13 lead with less than 3 minutes to go.  The Bill Bates story about his knee rehab, triplets, and how Tuinei, Jeffcoat, and Bates are the only 3 left from the Landry years.  


One last desperation drive for Buffalo allows us to ponder Jerry Jones’ new world of free agency where he will surely be active.  Jim Jeffcoat just about ends Jim Kelly’s life with a blindside hit as Leon Lett and Jimmie Jones guard the Gatorade bucket.  
The actual execution of the Gatorade dump was poorly done as they end up just throwing the jug at Johnson’s head and nearly knock him out.  On the field, Tony Tolbert hammers Kelly again and on the sideline, Emmitt plays with Johnson’s hair.  

Don Beebe thought he was making a great decision to run out of bounds, but did so on 4th Down to turn the ball over and that gives Bernie Kosar a Super Bowl snap!

As time expires, Aikman is taken down by the cameramen.  It is all so bizarre.

Cowboys 30, Bills 13