Super Bowl XXV
Super Bowl XXV featured the New York Giants "Big Blue Wrecking Crew" that won Super Bowl XXI and led the National Football League in fewest points allowed against the Buffalo Bills no-huddle "K-Gun" offense that conversely led the AFC in points four straight years (1989-1992). The Giants D was led by future Hall of Famer Lawrence Taylor, considered one of the most feared linebackers in the league, All-Pro linebackers Carl banks and Pepper Johnson and Pro Bowl defensive end Leonard Marshall. They also still employed Super Bowl XXI MVP Phil Simms at quarterback and running back Ottis Anderson coming out of the backfield. New York posted a 13-3 record, second in the NFC behind the San Francisco 49ers, before they pummeled the Chicago Bears 31-3 in the NFC Division Playoff and then snuck past the Niners 15-13 in the NFC Conference title game. The high-powered Bills offense was led by future Hall of Famers Jim Kelly at quarterback and running back Thurman Thomas while also-future Hall of Famer defensive end Bruce Smith and All-Pro linebacker Cornelius Bennett and Pro-Bowler Darryl Talley led the punishing defense. Kelly completed 63.3% of his passes in the regular season for 2,829 yards and 24 touchdowns and Thomas ran for a league-bet 1,829 yards from scrimmage scoring 13 touchdowns. The Bills scored 30 or more points seven times during the regular season as they posted a 13-3 record heading into the playoffs. They then recorded two of the highest points totals in playoff history as they beat the Miami Dolphins 44-34 in the AFC Division game. They then tallied a recorded setting 41 points in the first half of the AFC Conference Championship game against the Los Angeles Raiders en route to a 51-3 thrashing.
Super Bowl XXV took place on January 27, 1991 at Tampa Stadium in Tampa Bay, Florida, just ten days after the Operation Desert Storm offensive was launched as the United States and U.N. coalition forces attempted to expel the Iraqi Army for Kuwait. Patriotism and love of country were front and center at the NFL title game after pop star Whitney Houston sang what many consider one of the greatest renditions of the national anthem ever. The crowd erupted and the game began. As both clubs faced off in their red, white and blue team colors, the Giants head coach Bill Belichick had a specific plan in mind to shut down Buffalo's high-powered offense. The Giants took the early lead on their first possession when they marched into Buffalo territory from their own 10-yard line and Matt Bahr kicked a 28-yard field goal to start the scoring. Buffalo came right back on the next possession and Scott Norwood booted the equalizer from the 23-yard line. Buffalo's no-huddle offense then took over and was nearly flawless. They kept the ball on the ground with Thomas while Jim Kelly connected with Andre Reed over and over driving to the New York 1-yard line where running back Don Smith scored on his only carry of the game and last of his career. With a 10-3 lead, the Bills' defense continued to pressure the Giants offensive line and future Hall of Fame defensive end Bruce Smith sacked Jeff Hostetler in the end zone for a safety to increase their lead to 12-3. New York, however, had an All-Pro back of their own in Ottis Anderson, who ran around and through the Buffalo defense for 102 total yards. Late in the second quarter, Hostetler found Stephen Baker for a 14-yard touchdown pass cutting the Bills lead to 12-10 heading into halftime. The halftime show featured the chart-topping and current pop stars, the New Kids on the Block, ushering in a new era of halftime entertainment that continues to feature music's top selling artist and iconic stars. At the beginning of the second half, Anderson went to work leading the Giants down the field on their first possession and scoring the go-ahead touchdown making the score 17-12. The Bills answered when Thomas burst through the line and scored a 31-yard TD to start the fourth. New York came right back and added a 21-yard Matt Bahr field goal to take the 20-19 lead. In one of the most dramatic drives in Super Bowl history, Kelly, Thomas, Reed and the rest of the Buffalo offense attacked and drove back to the New York 29 yard line to set up a 47-yard Scott Norwood field goal. It was at the very top of Norwood's range having only kicked one 48-yarder all year. With 8 second left, Norwood's kick sailed wide right to give the Giants the victory – the smallest winning margin in Super Bowl history. For his 102 yards rushing and one touchdown, Ottis Anderson was named the Super Bowl XXV Most Valuable Player – newly named The Pete Rozelle Trophy.