No Huddle, No Problem a.k.a Lawrence Taylor: 2. Thurman Thomas: 0

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February 3, 2013 by NowhereButPop

by Andrew Doscas

Disclaimer!:  When it comes to sports, Andrew Doscas is incredibly biased, unforgiving and takes no prisoners.  We wouldn’t have him any other way.

For some reason I’ve always seen the Bills and the Giants to be bigger rivals than the Bills and the Jets are despite the fact that the Bills and the Jets are in the same division.  I think the reason for this is that the Giants are more closely tied to New York city and the history of the city than the Jets are.  Also keep in mind that for every season besides the 1969 season, the New York Jets have been inconsequential to the NFL.[1]  The Giants are the NFL franchise of New York, and the Bills are the team of upstate New York as well as disgruntled New Yorkers who still haven’t gotten over the fact that the Giants and Jets play in Jersey.

The Jets and their fans know whether they will admit it or not know that the Giants are the superior franchise.  If the 4-1 Superbowl championship disparity doesn’t do it for you, keep in mind that the Jets have never owned their own stadium.  The Giants are the beloved franchise/favorite child of the city and the state.  The Bills on the other hand are the total manifestation of upstate New York’s resentment towards “downstaters” and their desire to supplant themselves over everything south of Putnam county as the dominant focal point of the state.

The Giants and the Bills represent everything you need to know about life in the same way that the Lakers/Celtics rivalry of the 1980s did.[2]  The battle for the soul of New York only lasted 60 minutes and took place ironically enough in Florida on a warm January evening back in 1991.  Marv Levy, head coach of the Bills futile stretch of four consecutive Superbowl losses would kill me for comparing football to actual combat, but it’s true; the victor of Superbowl XXV would determine the identity of the entire state.

What most people who espouse the “I’m a Bills fan because they’re the only team that plays in New York” bullshit forget is that the Bills are a team that strictly and only supports Buffalo, they are the Buffalo Bills and not the New York Bills.  The Giants are the New York Giants, not New York City, and not New Jersey.  Regardless of who represented who, Superbowl XXV was a battle for supremacy where one team sought to bring glory to their long suffering fans and region, and the other sought to prove themselves in the face of adversity and re-establish themselves as the preeminent defensive team of the time.  They even wear the same color as if they were saying that they and only they were the true representation of New York.  The colors were agreed upon, but it came down to who wore it better and who wore it truthfully.

The Bills and their high octane, no-huddle offense absolutely decimated opposing defenses and lit up the league for a total of 428 points in the 1990 season.  The Giants in contrast, led by the remnants of the Big Blue Wrecking Crew allowed the fewest points that same season with 211.  Bills Running back Thurman Thomas was one of the most explosive and arrogant players the league had ever seen.  Giants running back Ottis Anderson, a once prominent running back held back by injuries started the season as a backup but soldiered through the season and proved to be the MVP of the Superbowl.  Jim Kelly, stud quarterback of the Bills, and the only Bill to have his number retired threw for 33 touchdowns and almost 4,000 yards to lead the team favored to represent the AFC in the Superbowl.  Phil Simms, fan favorite and Superbowl XXI MVP was demolished by the Bills during a week 15 matchup in which the Bills won.  Suffering a broken foot, it was now up to disgruntled backup Jeff Hostetler to lead the Giants into the playoffs.

Even the head coaches had vastly different personalities.  Bills head coach, Marv Levy, former WWII vet who despised analogies between war and sports once said that “No game is a must-win, WWII was a must win”.  Giants head coach Bill Parcells would beg to differ.  Here was a man who was always yelling and cursing at anyone from players to coaches to staff for any mishap.  He was always fired up and detested losing, once showering his players in garbage after a pathetic first half.  These teams and how they got to the Superbowl couldn’t be any more different.

The Bills were supposed to go to the Superbowl, the Giants weren’t.  Instead it was supposed to be the 49ers looking to be the first NFL team to threepeat as champions.  The Bills scored a total of 95 points in two playoff games.  The Giants beat the heavily favored 49ers in the NFC championship game without scoring a touchdown.  They won by scoring five field goals; this should not happen in the NFL.  The Giants, heavily favored to lose by at least seven where the underdogs would not be denied and instead of simply outplaying the Bills, outfoxed them as well.

The key to the Bills success was to keep the ball, by shortening the game by constantly running the ball it kept the high powered and insanely effective Buffalo offense off of the field.  I’m saying this as a Giants fan, the Giants don’t win Superbowl XXV with a good quarterback such as Phil Simms because it would have been a shootout that the Bills would have won.  That’s just what their game was tailored to, an offense designed to score frequently within a short span of time.  The Giants also don’t win if OJ Anderson doesn’t have a good game.  They’re people out their (idiots) who believe that Thurman Thomas deserved to be the MVP of that game, but in reality it was OJ Anderson.  A player past his prime who was the key to success stepping up to the occasion on the biggest stage of all is more deserving of the MVP award because the Giants needed a good running game in order to win.  OJ Anderson supplied that and more.

Of course the second greatest Superbowl of all time would come down to the final seconds.[3]  With the Giants leading by one point it was up to Scott Norwood to kick the game winner for Buffalo.  One kick to win the Superbowl.  One kick to bring joy to upstate New York.  One kick to supplant (if temporarily) the hegemony of New York City.  Of course, Scott Norwood misses the 47-yarder and becomes has the words “Wide Right” forever associated with him.

It really was a role reversal x2.  Here was Buffalo a city representing an entire region that was constantly over shadowed by the city, a region that had to fight, and scratch, and claw just to be acknowledged and respected.  This was their chance to stick it to the “downstaters” with their own dominant team, fashioned to be the exact opposite of the gritty and physical and defensive oriented Giants.  Instead they lose to the New York Giants, a team representing a city that is the envy of everyone else, a city that outsiders think have had it so easy and so glamorous.  What everyone forgets though is that the 1990 Giants were not expected to even go to the Superbowl.  They were supposed to lose to the 49ers, and there was no way they could defeat Buffalo.  The fact that for once Buffalo was the one who had it easy, but was stymied by a team that struggled to even get to that point, a team misunderstood to only represent those “downstaters”, a team that stood for the hegemony presided over by the minority of the state.

Superbowl XXV both defied expectations and yet upheld a centuries long status quo vis a via the Giants victory over the Bills.  The upset over a dominant force in the AFC represented the continuation of the perpetual overshadowing of upstate New York by everything south of Putnam county.  The Giants winning though proved one thing that has always stood true about New Yorkers, regardless of what part of the state they’re from: we thrive as underdogs and do our best when everyone else least expects it.


[1] You guessed it, I’m a Giants fan.

[2] Chuck Klosterman wrote a killer article about the Lakers/Celtics rivalry.  Kudos to him.

[3] Superbowl XLII is the greatest Superbowl of all time.  However XXV was probably the most thrilling.  Had I been alive and not a 7 month old fetus I would have probably gone into cardiac arrest before the final kick.

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