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How Did The Bills Lose 4 Super Bowls in a Row?

It is hard for many franchises to recover from the heartbreak and disappointment of making and losing a Super Bowl. It is heart-wrenching emotionally to fall short of one Super Bowl after coming so close to it.

Therefore, one can imagine the emotional turmoil a team and its fanbase must endure after losing four Super Bowls in a row. Unfortunately, the Buffalo Bills did just that as they lost four Super Bowls between 1990 -1993. Given their regrettable Super Bowl history, I do not doubt that sports betting in New York would explode if the Bills made the Super Bowl.

This piece will examine how the Buffalo Bills lost four consecutive Super Bowls. 

Bills vs. Giants -  Super Bowl XXV

The Buffalo Bills took on the New York Giants in Super Bowl XXV. They were heavily favored to win the game. This matchup was a classic encounter in which a great offense took on a great defense. The Buffalo Bills had an unstoppable no-huddle offense that made them the top-scoring team in the NFL. On the other hand, the Giants had a defense that allowed the least amount of points in the league.   

Knowing that the Buffalo Bills offense would be hard to stop if they get their no-huddle offense, the Giants (namely then-defensive coordinator Bill Belichick) came up with a full-proof plan against the Bills’ passing attack. Bill Belichick put extra defensive backs in the Giants' secondary and ensured the secondary was as physical as possible with the Bills’ wide receivers. Additionally, the Giants switched up their coverages each drive, so Bills QB Jim Kelly wouldn’t know what to expect. This limited the Bills offense. 

On the other hand, the New York Giants dominated the time of possession thanks to Ottis Anderson and their power running game. QB Bootlegs and play-action fake play calls were squeezed in. Overall, the NY Giants kept the Buffalo Bills offense off the field for the most part, as they had over 40 minutes of offensive possession. This was highlighted by a 14-play, 75-yard TD drive in the third quarter that took over nine minutes! The drive was capped by a 1-yard touchdown by Super Bowl MVP Ottis Anderson. 

Despite all that, the Buffalo Bills had the chance to win the game with a field goal in the final possession. Thanks to a series of scrambles and short passes by Jim Kelly and solid runs by Thurman Thomas, the Buffalo Bills found themselves at the 29-yard line. Bills K Scott Norwood had a chance to win the game with a 47-yard field goal. However, they sailed wide right, giving the Giants a 20-19 win!

Bills vs Redskins – Super Bowl XXVI

This match-up would feature two high-powered offenses.   The Redskins led the league in points scored, while the Buffalo Bills’s offense led the league in total yards. Regarding the defensive side of the ball, the Redskins had a superior advantage. The Redskins allowed the second-fewest points in the NFL that season. On the other hand, the Bills were near the bottom of the league in yards allowed and were below average in points allowed.

The Redskins were well-balanced on both ends of the ball, and the Bills were not. This would become very clear in Super Bowl XXVI. 

The Bills had miscues that gave a foreshadowing of what was to come. Thurman Thomas missed the first two plays of his game because he misplaced his helmet. Jim Kelly would end up being picked off by Redskins safety Brad Edwards. 

After a scoreless 1st quarter, the Redskins would score 17 points in the second quarter to take a 17-0 halftime lead. One of the Redskins’ scoring drives was set up by Jim Kelly being intercepted by legendary Redskins defensive back Darrell Green. Later in the quarter, the Bills would have a promising drive that got them to the Redskins’ 20-yard line. However, they would score zero points on the drive thanks to a 15-yard unsportsmanlike penalty by Andre Reed that would take them out of field-goal range. 

Things would go from bad to worse for the Buffalo Bills at the start of the third quarter. Jim Kelly would throw another interception to Redskins linebacker Kurt Gouveia. Given that the interception was returned to the Bills' 2-yard line, the Redskins would score a TD immediately.   

This effectively put the game out of reach. The Redskins would end up winning Super Bowl XXVI 37-24.  

Jim Kelly would end up throwing four interceptions overall. Furthermore, Thurman Thomas had a game to forget, as he only rushed for 13 yards on 10 carries. 

Bills vs. Cowboys – Super Bowl XXVII

All the pressure was on the Bills as they were looking to avoid being the 1st team in history to lose three consecutive Super Bowls. Unfortunately, they buckled under the pressure as their defense was no match for the Dallas Cowboys and their legendary offensive line. 

The Bills would take an early 7-0 lead, but the nightmare would begin later as Jim Kelly threw an interception to James Washington. The Cowboys would tie the game 7-7 six plays later. 

Later on in the quarter, Jim Kelly was sacked by Cowboys DE Charles Haley and fumbled the ball at the Bills 10-yard line. Cowboys DT Jimmie Jones recovered it.  Jones would dive into the endzone, giving the Cowboys the lead for good. 

The Cowboys would extend the lead in the second quarter thanks to 2 passing TDs from Troy Aikman to Michael Irvin. To make matters worse, Jim Kelly injured his knee during the second quarter and was out for the rest of the game.

Backup QB Frank Reich would enter the game. However, he could not move the needle as Cowboys DB Larry Brown picked him off at the end of the first half. 

The Bills could stay within striking distance heading into the 4th quarter. However, the Cowboys would pull away with 21 4th-quarter points to win 52-17. The Buffalo Bills had nine turnovers, a Super Bowl record. The turnovers consisted of four interceptions and five forced fumbles. 

Bills vs. Cowboys – Super Bowl XXVIII

With three Super Bowl losses in a row, the Buffalo Bills were looking to avoid the dubious distinction of being the 1st team to lose four Super Bowls in a row. At this point, there was no doubt that this pressure was weighing on the team like an anchor. 

The Buffalo Bills seemed poised to finally withstand the pressure as they would take a 13-6 halftime lead highlighted by a four-yard TD run by Thurman Thomas during the second quarter. This capped off a 17-play, 80-yard drive. The Bills seemed to have momentum as Buffalo Bills K Steve Christie kicked a field goal

 to end the half.  It seemed like the Bills were finally poised to break through with a Super Bowl win. 

However, everything went wrong in the second half. Cowboys DT Leon Lett would end up forcing a fumble by Thurman Thomas. The fumble was recovered by James Washington and returned for a TD to tie 13-13. After forcing a three-and-out, the Cowboys would take the lead 20-13 on a 15-yard touchdown by Emmitt Smith. 

James Washington would pick off Jim Kelly at the start of the 4th quarter. The Cowboys would capitalize on this quickly as Emmitt Smith scored a 1-yard touchdown. The Cowboys gained complete control of the game and would not relinquish it. The Bills had no answer for Emmitt Smith, as he rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns. The Dallas Cowboys would end up winning the game 30-13.   

The Buffalo Bills ran out of gas emotionally in the second half. It was as if all of the doubt from the prior Super Bowls hit the team at once and became too much for the team to handle.


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