The Pythagorean NFL

Discussion in 'Alternate History Discussion: After 1900' started by Garrett Garlits, Mar 27, 2018.

  1. Unknown Member

    Jan 31, 2004
    Corpus Christi, TX
    The Bills IOTL were lucky that this was before the era of replay review and challenge flags, because, if that had been in effect, the Oilers would have thrown the challenge flag on the play where Don Beebe stepped out of bounds, and the challenge would have been upheld...

    Then again, if your team blows a 32-point lead, there's something wrong there...

    Edit: Thanks, @AltSptHst...
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
  2. AltSptHst Well-Known Member

    Jan 22, 2009
    Andre Rison? I think you mean Don Beebe.
  3. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 1992 AFC Divisional Playoff from Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego. Game time temperature is 50 degrees, with cloudy skies and a south wind at 7 MPH.

    The first half was scoreless. The Chargers took the second-half kickoff and went on a thirteen-play drive for the game's first points. The biggest plays were a ten-yard run off tackle by running back Marion Butts and a seventeen-yard pass from quarterback Stan Humphries to wide receiver Shawn Jefferson. The touchdown came from two yards out, as running back Rod Bernstine popped off the left side and into the end zone for the touchdown. Kicker John Carney added the extra point, and the Chargers led 7-0 with 8:46 to play in the third quarter.

    The Bolts added another touchdown before the end of the third quarter. They caught a break when linebacker Steve Hendrickson blocked Rohn Stark's punt. Former Cleveland Brown Brian Brennan recovered the ball at the Pittsburgh thirty-two. From there, Humphries connected with wide receiver Anthony Miller for twenty-four yards and a first and goal at the eight. One play later, Bernstine skirted right end and walked into the end zone untouched. Carney's extra point extended the Chargers' lead to 14-0 after three quarters.

    The home squad put the game away with a fourth-quarter field goal. Eric Bieniemy's punt return set up the offense at its own forty-three. Humphries hit Miller over the middle for seventeen yards, the found tight end Derrick Walker for twenty more. The drive stalled at the Steelers' twenty-yard line, but Carney's thirty-seven yard field goal established our final score: Chargers 17, Steelers 0.

    Butts was named Player of the Game by NBC after gaining ninety-four yards on sixteen carries. That was enough to offset a poor passing day from Humphries, who finished thirteen of twenty-six for 171 yards and three interceptions. Miller was his leading receiver with five catches for seventy yards, which was matched by the Steelers' Jeff Graham. Defensive end Leslie O'Neal sacked Steelers quarterback Neil O'Donnell twice. Speaking of O'Donnell, he finished fifteen of twenty-four for 163 yards and an interception. Running back Barry Foster managed seventy-nine yards on twenty carries. The interceptions of Humphries were notched by linebackers Jerrol Williams and Hardy Nickerson and cornerback Rod Woodson.

    The Chargers will now host the Buffalo Bills in the AFC Championship Game. Because both conference championship games are being played in the Pacific time zone, the AFC game has been moved to Saturday, January 16. Kickoff is still set for 4PM on NBC, with Dick Enberg and Bob Trumpy calling the action and O.J. Simpson and Todd Christensen serving as the sideline reporters.

    Next: The AFC Championship Game.

    Last edited: Nov 16, 2018
  4. AltSptHst Well-Known Member

    Jan 22, 2009
    If this matchup would have happened in reality, it would have been intriguing. At the time, the Bills had Pittsburgh's and Miami's number, and the Oilers were chokers. However, they hadn't played the Chargers since 1985 (in OTL, the next time they would play after 85 was 1998, Ryan Leaf's rookie year). And, the Chargers ran an NFC-style power running game offense, which could have caused the Bills problems (to go with the Boltergeist defense).
  5. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2017
    Thirteen years between games for two teams in the same conference? That's incredible! I didn't know that was possible in the NFL.

    I didn't know about the nickname "Bolttergeist", either. I'm sure it would have been picked up on had the Chargers been more successful during this period; it fits a great defense perfectly in the same way that "Doomsday" or "Steel Curtain" does.
  6. AltSptHst Well-Known Member

    Jan 22, 2009
    I think Chris Berman started calling them that on NFL Primetime that year (he would go on to call the Rams the Greatest Show on Turf eight years later).

    It probably didn't catch on because they didn't go to the SB that year, and then they missed the playoffs the next year.
  7. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2017
    It wasn't around by the time the Chargers played (and beat) the Steelers in the '94 AFC Championship Game.
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  8. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the 1992 AFC Championship Game from Jack Murphy Stadium in San Diego. Game time temperature is 60 degrees, with cloudy skies and a south wind at 18 MPH.

    The Bills scored first after Kenneth Davis took the opening kickoff back eighty-six yards to the Chargers' thirteen-yard line. The Boltergeist defense was able to hold them without a first down, but kicker Steve Christie converted a twenty-two yard field goal attempt to give the Bills a 3-0 lead with 12:33 to play in the opening quarter.

    The Bills put another three points on the board before the end of the first quarter. Jim Kelly hit passes of twenty-one yards to Andre Reed and twenty-five yards to Al Edwards to put his offense in range, and Christie did the honors from thirty-four yards out to give the Bills a 6-0 lead after one quarter of play.

    The Bills extended their lead again with a touchdown midway through the second quarter. Chargers quarterback Stan Humphries threw a pass directly to Buffalo free safety Mark Kelso, who returned the ball to the Bills' forty. The key play on the drive was a thirteen-yard pickup on a draw play by Thurman Thomas, and on first and goal from the Chargers' three, Kelly found James Lofton in the end zone for the easy touchdown. Christie added the extra point, and the Bills led the Chargers at halftime 13-0.

    The visitors added another field goal on their first possession of the second half. The biggest play of the drive was an accidental ten-yard gain that occurred when Reed fumbled a catch at his own forty-nine and the ball eluded both teams until Lofton jumped on it at the San Diego forty-one. The drive got as far as the thirty-two, and Christie blasted a forty-nine yard field goal to make the score Buffalo 16, San Diego 0 with 10:39 to play in the third quarter.

    The Bills added their fourth field goal of the day at the end of the third period. Cliff Hicks' punt return gave them the ball on their own forty-four, and Reed's eleven-yard gain on an end around was augmented by a five-yard incidental facemask penalty on San Diego linebacker and future Hall of Famer Junior Seau. A twenty-five yard catch-and-run by Don Beebe gave the Bills a first down at the Chargers' fourteen, and three plays later from the fifteen Christie was good from thirty-two yards out to extend the Buffalo lead to 19-0 at the end of three quarters.

    The Bills added one last three-pointer after the Chargers failed to convert a forth-down play from the Buffalo forty-seven. Davis picked up thirteen yards on a draw play, and Kelly hit veteran tight end Pete Metzelaars for fourteen yards and another first down. The drive eventually stalled at the San Diego seventeen, but Christie converted from thirty-four yards out to make it 22-0 Buffalo with about nine minutes left in regulation time.

    The Chargers avoided a shutout by notching a field goal of their own on the ensuing possession. The biggest play of the drive came when backup quarterback Bob Gagliano hit running back Ronnie Harmon for a seventeen-yard gain on a screen pass. The Chargers eventually reached the Buffalo twenty-one, and John Carney's thirty-eight yard field goal spared the home squad a small measure of embarrassment. Final score: Bills 22, Chargers 3.

    Christie's five-for-five day on field goals earned him the MVP award from NBC. The rest of the Buffalo offense was rather pedestrian; Thomas was held to fifty-four yards on twenty-one carries, while Kelly was sixteen of twenty-two for 165 yards and a touchdown. Reed lead all receivers with four catches for fifty-four yards. The San Diego offense was nothing to write home about, either. Humphries and Gagliano combined to go twelve of twenty-nine for 152 yards with an interception which led to the Bills' only touchdown, and it was Gagliano who led the team to their only points of the day. Wide receiver Nate Lewis was San Diego's leading pass catcher with forty-seven yards on three receptions, while the Bills held Marion Butts to twenty-nine yards on fifteen carries and the Chargers' ground game as a whole to forty-one yards on twenty-one attempts. The Bills' defense also sacked Humphries four times.

    It was the Bills' turn to be embarrassed two weeks later in Super Bowl XXVII at the LA Coliseum, as the Cowboys destroyed them 52-17 to win their third Super Bowl as a franchise. Quarterback Troy Aikman was named MVP after completing twenty-two of thirty for 273 yards and four touchdowns. Wide receiver Michael Irvin caught six of those passes for 114 yards and two touchdowns, and tight end Jay Novacek added seven catches for seventy-two yards and another score. Running back Emmitt Smith added his two cents in the form of twenty-two carries for 108 yards and a score.

    The Boys also returned two Buffalo fumbles for touchdowns, one by defensive end Jimmie Jones (no relation to owner Jerry) and one by linebacker Ken Norton Jr. They would have had a third if defensive tackle Leon Lett hadn't fumbled his potential touchdown out of the end zone for a touchback after starting his celebration too soon. The Bills' day was effectively over when Kelly left in the second quarter after reaggravating his sprained knee, although backup Frank Reich played well in his place. The Dallas defense picked them off four times and sacked them four more. Davis was the leading rusher for Buffalo with eighty-six yards on fifteen carries, as Thomas was held to nineteen yards on eleven totes, though he scored a touchdown. Reed was the Bills leading receiver with 152 yards on eight catches.

    We've now contested twenty-five of a possible twenty-seven Super Bowls in the Pythagorean universe, and the NFC has a 15-10 all-time lead over the AFC.

    Next: The standings for 1993.

    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
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  9. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2017
    Now let's look at the AFC in 1993. We begin in the East:

    Buffalo Bills: 11-5 (-1)
    New York Jets: 9-7 (+1)
    Miami Dolphins: 8-8 (-1)
    New England Patriots: 6-10 (+1)
    Indianapolis Colts: 3-13 (-1)

    The Bills drop a game, but still take the division title by a pair over the Jets, who improve by a game to take second. The Fins can't overcome Danny Marino's season-ending Achilles tendon tear and struggle to .500 and third place, while the Pats improve by a game but still finish fourth in coach Bill Parcells' initial season. And then we have the Colts, who drop a game to sink further into the basement.

    Next, let's look at the Central:

    Houston Oilers: 12-4 (0)
    Pittsburgh Steelers: 9-7 (0)
    Cleveland Browns: 8-8 (0)
    Cincinnati Bengals: 4-12 (+1)

    The only movement comes from the cellar-dwelling Bengals, who add a game. Also of note: The Browns finish at exactly .500 for the third straight year under coach Bill Belichick.

    Finally, let's examine the West:

    Denver Broncos: 11-5 (+2)
    San Diego Chargers: 9-7 (0)
    Kansas City Chiefs: 9-7 (-2)
    Los Angeles Raiders: 7-9 (-3)
    Seattle Seahawks: 7-9 (+1)

    The big news here is the change on top, as the Broncos improve by two to take the crown in Wade Phillips' first year as coach. The Chiefs drop a pair and fall into a second-place tie with the Chargers, but the Raiders top that by shedding three games and falling from a wild card spot all the way into a tie for last with the Seahawks, who finish five games better than they did last year.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle the tie for fourth. The Raiders take it over the Hawks, 7.4 to 6.9.

    We have a four-way tie for the three wild card spots. Turning to the expected wins tiebreaker, the Chiefs lead the way with a score of 9.1, so they'll host a wild card game at Arrowhead Stadium. Next up are the Chargers with 9.0; they'll take on the Chiefs. Then, it's the Steelers with 8.9, and finally come the Jets with 8.8.


    1. Oilers (AFC Central champs): 12-4
    2. Bills (AFC East champs): 11-5
    3. Broncos (AFC West champs): 11-5
    4. Chiefs (AFC West second place; won four-way tiebreaker): 9-7
    5. Chargers (AFC West third place; second in four-way tiebreaker): 9-7
    6. Steelers (AFC Central second place; third in four-way tiebreaker): 9-7

    The Bills hold the expected wins tiebreaker for the two seed over the Broncos, 10.8 to 10.5.

    Here's the schedule for Wild Card Weekend (all times Eastern):

    Saturday, January 8:

    Chargers-Chiefs, 12:30, ABC- Al Michaels, Frank Gifford, Dan Dierdorf, Lynn Swann (sideline reporter)

    Sunday, January 9:

    Steelers-Broncos, 4, NBC- Charlie Jones, Todd Christensen, O.J. Simpson (sideline reporter)

    Next: A look at the NFC.

    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
  10. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time to look at the NFC. We begin in the East:

    Dallas Cowboys: 12-4 (0)
    New York Giants: 11-5 (0)
    Phoenix Cardinals: 10-6 (+3)
    Philadelphia Eagles: 7-9 (-1)
    Washington Redskins: 4-12 (0)

    The big story here is the three-game bump by the Cards, which gives them double-digit wins and puts them in good position for the franchise's first playoff berth since 1984, when they were still in St. Louis, Elsewhere, the fourth-place Eagles lose their .500 season by dropping a game, and the Skins go from NFC champs two years ago and playoff team last year to 4-12, which means that coach Richie Petitbon is one-and-done.

    Next, let's look at the Central:

    Green Bay Packers: 10-6 (+1)
    Detroit Lions: 8-8 (-2)
    Minnesota Vikings: 8-8 (-1)
    Chicago Bears: 8-8 (+1)
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: 4-12 (-1)

    The Lions drop a pair of games, which opens the door for the Pack to improve by one and take the division crown. The Vikes' one-game drop could strip them of their real-life playoff berth, while the Bears' one-game uptick earns them a .500 mark in coach Dave Wannstedt's first season. The Bucs continue their sojourn and the bottom of the heap, and with expansion officially coming in two years they remain the only active NFL franchise never to make the postseason in the Pythagorean universe.

    We go to the expected wins tiebreaker to settle the three-way tie for second. The Lions and Bears remain tied with 8.2 wins apiece, while the Vikings end up in fourth by way of their 7.6. Next we go to the head-to-head tiebreakers, and each team won a game in their season series. The Lions outscored the Bears 26-24, so they take second place.

    Finally, let's examine the West:

    San Francisco 49ers: 12-4 (+2)
    New Orleans Saints: 7-9 (-1)
    Atlanta Falcons: 6-10 (0)
    Los Angeles Rams: 4-12 (-1)

    The Niners two-game bump coupled with a one-game drop by the Saints increases the Niners' margin of victory in the division to five games. The Falcons stay where they are and finish third, while the last-place Rams drop a game amid rumors of their impending move to owner Georgia Frontiere's hometown of St. Louis. (Their crosstown neighbors the Raiders are said to be looking into a return to Oakland.)

    The Cowboys hold the expected wins tiebreaker for the top seed over the Niners, 12.2 to 12.1.


    1. Cowboys (NFC East champs): 12-4
    2. 49ers (NFC West champs): 12-4
    3. Packers (NFC Central champs): 10-6
    4. Giants (NFC East second place): 11-5
    5. Cardinals (NFC East third place): 10-6
    6. Lions (NFC Central second place; won tiebreaker with Bears and Vikings): 8-8

    On Saturday, January 8 the Lions met the Packers at Lambeau Field in the first NFC Wild Card Game. The Packers prevailed 28-24 on the strength of three Brett Favre touchdown passes to wide receiver Sterling Sharpe and a 101-yard interception return for a touchdown by free safety George Teague. Favre finished his day fifteen of twenty-six for 204 yards, while Sharpe netted 101 yards on five receptions. The Lions received great days from wideout Brett Perriman, who caught ten passes for 150 yards, and Barry Sanders, who gutted the Green Bay defense in a losing effort with 169 yards on twenty-seven carries. Quarterback Erik Kramer completed twenty-two of thirty-one passes for 248 yards despite being intercepted twice and sacked four times. The Packers will move on to face the Niners in an NFC Divisional Playoff on Saturday, January 15 at Candlestick Park. Kickoff is set for 4PM Eastern on CBS, with Pat Summerall and John Madden on the call.

    The other NFC Wild Card Game will take place on Sunday, January 9, when the Giants will host the Cardinals at Giants Stadium. Kickoff is set for 12:30 PM Eastern on CBS, with Pat and John again set to call the action.

    Next: To be determined.

    Last edited: Nov 18, 2018
  11. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2017
    I've decided to stop where I am and sim the two Super Bowls I have in my hopper before I forget. We begin with Super Bowl XXV from Tampa Stadium in Tampa, Florida. Game time temperature is 71 degrees, with cloudy skies and a south-southeast wind at 7 MPH.

    This one was a defensive struggle from the outset. The Giants crossed midfield after taking the opening kickoff, as Jeff Hostetler completed a twenty-two yard pass to wide receiver Mark Ingram for a first down at the Dolphins' forty-nine. and Ottis Anderson gained a yard on the next play. But the Fins stiffened on defense and the next two plays lost two yards, which forced the Giants to punt. Unfortunately for Miami, Tony Martin could only return Sean Landeta's kick to his own seven-yard line, and a holding call for half the distance to the goal forced Danny Marino and the offense to start at its own three.

    Passes of twenty-nine yards to tight end Ferrell Edmunds and twenty-five yards to wideout Mark Duper got the AFC champs across midfield, but Marino went sour after that, overthrowing running back Sammie Smith and wideout Jim Jensen. His third down pass to Edmunds hit Ferrell in the hands and bounced away, and the Fins were forced to punt. An eleven-yard completion to Jensen brought the Dolphs across midfield just before the end of the quarter, but Marino proceeded to overthrow Martin, then get sacked by linebacker Pepper Johnson for a four-yard loss, His third down pass to Martin was complete for only two yards, and the Fins were forced to punt once more. After one quarter in Super Bowl XXV, we were scoreless.

    The Dolphins were the only team to cross midfield in the second quarter, but nothing came of their three invasions of Giants' territory. The farthest they got was the New York thirty-five, thanks in large part to Smith's thirty-three yard gain on a draw play. But running back Troy Stradford was stoned for no gain on the first play, and Marino overthrew Mark Clayton twice in a row, then was thrown for a five-yard loss by Johnson after coach Don Shula decided against a forty-seven yard field goal attempt from Pete Stoyanovich on fourth down. "He made seven field goals the last time we saw them against the Raiders (in the Wild Card round), and now Shula doesn't trust him? I have a real hard time with this one, guys," opined ABC's Dan Dierdorf after the fourth-down failure. Another Dolphin drive was stalled by a sack, as Marino was dumped for an eight-yard loss by Leonard Marshall on third and three from the New York thirty-four with less than a minute remaining in the half.

    The teams headed to the locker room at halftime locked up in a scoreless tie. As inefficient as the Fins had been on offense, the Giants were much worse; Hostetler had completed just two of eleven passes for thirty-six yards, and Anderson had been held to just eleven yards on seven carries. More importantly, they hadn't crossed midfield since the game's opening drive. It came out several years later that coach Bill Parcells had seriously thought about replacing Hostetler with Landeta at quarterback, and only backed down after angry protests from offensive coordinator Ron Erhardt.

    The third quarter wasn't much better for either team. The Fins' Marc Logan returned the second half kickoff to the Miami forty-four, but despite crossing midfield the Fins went three and out. On their next drive Smith busted off right tackle for eleven yards and Marino hit Clayton for fourteen, but Marino's third-down pass was swatted back in his face by the one and only Lawrence Taylor. A fifteen-yard pass to Duper brought them across the fifty for a third time in the quarter, but a flea-flicker on third down went nowhere, as Marino overthrew Martin by five yards. Just before the end of the period, Martin returned a punt inside Giants' territory to the forty-eight, but on third and seven from the forty-five Marino was decked by Taylor for a six-yard loss and stayed down so long that he had to leave the game for two plays in favor of backup Scott Secules. Meanwhile, the Giants could only struggle as far as their own thirty-one. As we slogged to the final period, there was still no score.

    There was finally an honest-to-God scoring opportunity on the Dolphs' first drive of the final quarter. The two biggest plays were a ten-yard gain on a draw play by Smith and a seventeen-yard pass to Clayton. But Smith couldn't gain anything on first and ten from the New York thirty-one, and Marino overthrew Jensen at the fifteen on second down, then had another pass batted back at him by linebacker Carl Banks on third down. Shula elected to try for the field goal this time, but Stoyanovich's forty-eight yard attempt fell just short.

    The Giants finally crossed midfield with 3:10 left in regulation thanks to a twenty-four yard catch-and-run by tight end Mark Bavaro. But with the ball at the Miami forty-eight, the next three plays only gained six yards. With 1:48 remaining and facing a fourth and four at the Dolphins' forty-two, Parcells elected to have Landeta pooch punt and thus pin the Fins deep in their own territory. The plan worked for the moment, as the Giants killed the ball at the Miami five with 1:38 to play.

    The biggest positive plays on the ensuing drive were a fourteen-yard pass to Duper and a twenty-five yard catch-and-run by Clayton. But a pair of holding calls threatened to derail the march and force the AFC champs to play for overtime. Then came the play of the game. With twenty-one seconds left and just one timeout in their pocket, the Fins faced third and twenty-three from their own thirty-five. Most observers expected Marino to either throw short and have his receiver get out of bounds to set up fourth down or simply to kneel on the ball. Here's what happened instead, as called by Al Michaels:

    "Marino in the gun, three-man rush, sets up, fires over the middle, caught by the tight end James Pruitt, who's now at midfield, BREAKS A TACKLE, AND THIS COULD BE SOMETHING! FORTY, THIRTY-FIVE, THIRTY, ANOTHER TACKLE BROKEN! HE'S DOWN TO THE FIFTEEN, AND FINALLY PUSHED OUT OF BOUNDS AT THE TWELVE!...…...Three seconds left, and the Dolphins are now in range for Stoyanovich! A fifty-three yard gain."

    Dierdorf: "What horrible tackling by the Giants, Al. (Linebacker) Steve DeOssie has a clear shot at Pruitt just past midfield, but absolutely whiffs. Then at about the thirty, (free safety) Myron Guyton does the same thing. It's up to the veteran cornerback Everson Walls to push him out of bounds, and this should be a chip shot for Stoyanovich."

    Frank Gifford: "An awful lapse by the Giants at the worst possible time."

    Here's Al's call of Stoyanovich's field goal attempt:

    "From twenty-nine yards out to win the Super Bowl. Parcells has a timeout left, but from twenty-nine you wouldn't figure he'd use it. It's not like this is a hard kick. Here we go. Kick is up.....AND GOOD! The Miami Dolphins have won Super Bowl XXV, and whatever you could say about the first fifty-eight minutes and change, the last drive sure was something to see."

    Gifford: "A great win for Don Shula and Dan Marino, but as a former Giant my thoughts are with Bill Parcells, who's coaching his last game if all the rumors are true. Believe me, this is the last way he wanted to go out. The Giants simply didn't play well tonight on offense, and regardless of who the coach is you have to wonder how things will change on that side of the ball."

    Dierdorf: "Would Phil Simms have made a difference? We'll never know."

    Marino was named MVP; despite his occasional inconsistency, he finished twenty-four of forty-three for 286 yards. Pruitt was the leading receiver with seventy-eight yards on three catches, while Clayton caught five for seventy-one yards and Duper five more for sixty-six. Smith helped out on the ground with seventy-five yards on nineteen carries. The most amazing part of Marino's performance was that he managed it despite being sacked seven times, with Johnson and Taylor each recording a pair.

    How pathetic was the Giants' offense? They gained a total of seventy-two yards on twenty-nine rushing attempts, with Anderson held to twenty-six yards on thirteen carries. Take away his longest run of nineteen, and you have seven yards on twelve carries. Rodney Hampton "led" the running game with thirty-nine yards on eight carries, but one of those carries went for twenty-four yards. Hostetler was an abominable five of twenty for eighty-six yards, and to make matters worse he was only moderately pressured; the Fins didn't record a sack or an interception all day. Ingram was his leading receiver, catching a pair of passes for forty-five yards. Bavaro caught two more for thirty-seven yards, and Stephen Baker caught one for four yards. If you're scoring at home, that's 158 yards of total offense and just two trips into Miami territory, with nothing even close to the red zone.

    We've now contested twenty-six Super Bowls, and the NFC's all-time lead stands at 15-11. The Fins have now won two Super Bowls as a franchise.

    Next: I'll probably go back to the 1993 playoffs tomorrow, but Super Bowl XXVI will be up sometime this weekend.

    Last edited: Nov 20, 2018
  12. DTF955Baseballfan 12-time All-Star in some TL

    Oct 19, 2005
    10 miles north of 10 miles south
    Wow, that was crazy! I thought for sure a defender would get it but seeing Marino's stats given what he faced it's hard to argue against him, especially without 1-2 real standouts on defense.
  13. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2017
    Thanks, DTF. If I say so myself, I made a good read out of a bad game.

    The Dolphins' win would have done wonders for Marino in particular, but what would losing have done to Parcells' reputation, particularly if it came out that he was ready to bench Hostetler despite not having a third quarterback on the roster? (I almost succumbed to the temptation to either let Landeta play the second half or, even worse, to have kicker Matt Bahr as the emergency QB.) Would he have gotten another job as quickly, if at all? Or would the '86 team have been considered a one-hit wonder, with Parcells lucky to have gotten stellar play from the likes of Simms and Taylor at just the right time? Would Parcells have possibly ignored his health problems and stayed with the Giants? If so, for how long? They're back to being contenders in '93 after a couple of down years, although it's hard to imagine them getting past the Cowboys or the Niners.
  14. DTF955Baseballfan 12-time All-Star in some TL

    Oct 19, 2005
    10 miles north of 10 miles south
    Well, they still had an incredible defense. The problem was more one of planning on Parcells part. To not sign a third quarterback even that late in the season is probably going to go down as a real piece of brain freeze. But, as you say, Marino's reputation will go way up and yet his defense was able to keep a Hall of Fame quarterback off the scoreboard for over 59 minutes and one could argue that if it had been anybody but Marino they would have played for overtime.

    Too bad Super Bowl is in the same place as our timeline. I wonder if there's such a thing as Pythagorean rain. You know, just argue that a freakish rainstorm came up and the venue was covered in mud. :)
  15. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2017
    By, the way, in case anyone was wondering, I looked for a third quarterback on the Giants'' real-life 1990 roster and couldn't find one. If anyone out there is a Giants fan, who would Parcells have gone with if Hostetler had been injured in the middle of a game? Would it really have been either Sean Landeta or Matt Bahr, or would someone like Dave Meggett have been taking direct snaps?
  16. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for Super Bowl XXVI from the Metrodome in Minneapolis:

    After the Oilers went three-and-out to start the game, the Redskins caught a break when Greg Montgomery's punt was short and went almost straight up in the air. It only took a short return by Brian Mitchell to set up the Washington offense at the Houston twenty-two. Two short running plays set up third and five, when Mark Rypien hit Art Monk in the back of the end zone for the game's first touchdown. Chip Lohmiller added the extra point, and with 11:37 left in the opening period the Redskins led 7-0.

    The Oilers answered with a field goal. Running back Gary Brown picked up fifteen yards on a draw play, and later in the drive Allen Pinkett busted off left tackle for fourteen more. The longest pass on the march was just eleven yards, as Warren Moon connected with wideout Haywood Jeffires for a first down at the Washingto twenty-four. The drive fizzled out at the sixteen, but kicker Al Del Greco made a thirty-three yard field goal to bring the Oilers within 7-3 with six minutes left in the opening period.

    The Oilers had crossed midfield again when the first quarter ended, as cornerback Cris Dishman had leveled Redskins wide receiver Ricky Sanders after a catch, then recovered his own fumble at the Houston forty-two. Brown gained fourteen yards up the middle on the first play from scrimmage, and Moon had just connected with fullback Lorenzo White on a screen pass for twelve yards and a first down at the Skins' twenty-nine when the first quarter ended with the Redskins still leading 7-3. The Oilers drove as far as the thirteen before Moon was sacked on back-to-back plays, first by defensive tackle Bobby Wilson for six yards, then by fellow defensive tackle Eric Williams for five more. The Oilers thus had to settle for a forty-one yard attempt by Del Greco, which he converted to cut the Washington lead to 7-6 with 10:41 to play in the first half.

    The Redskins answered with a field goal of their own on their next drive. Rypien found Gary Clark for twenty-one yards and a first down in Oilers' territory, and two plays later running back Gerald Riggs took a pitchout from Rypien and cut back to the right, then turned on the speed and gained thirty yards before being brought down at the Houston seventeen. From there, Rypien tried to hit Monk twice, but one fell at his feet and one lost two yards thanks to alert coverage by Oilers strong safety Bubba McDowell. Earnest Byner could only gain a yard on third down, so Lohmiller was called on from thirty-five yards out. He converted, and the Skins now led 10-6 with 6:26 to play in the first half.

    The next shot in what was rapidly becoming a battle of field goals belonged to the AFC champs. White gained fourteen yards on a sweep to the left, and Moon converted a key third down by hitting Ernest Giivins over the middle for seventeen yards and a first down. at the Skins' thirty-five. After fellow wideout Curtis Duncan dropped a sure touchdown pass three plays later, it was up to Del Greco from the thirty, an attempt of forty-seven yards. Holder Montgomery juggled the snap, but managed to get it down just in time, and the kick was good as we hit the two-minute warning with 1:58 left in the half. Our score: Redskins 10, Oilers 9.

    The Skins retaliated by showing the quick-strike capability that had been the Oilers' stock in trade all year. First, Byner barged through a gaping hole in the middle of the Oilers' defense for forty-one yards. Then, reserve tight end Terry Orr turned a short toss in the flat into a bruising thirty-two yard catch-and-run before being forced out of bounds at the Houston nine-yard line. On first and goal, Rypien hit Clark on the same play that he'd run with Monk for the Skins' first touchdown, and the result was identical. Lohmiller added the extra point, and just like that the Washington lead was 17-9 with 1:17 still left before halftime.

    At this point, the Oilers' aggressive reputation got them in trouble. From his own twenty following a touchback on the kickoff, Moon tried to throw the bomb three straight times, overshooting Jeffires twice and fellow receiver Drew Hill once. Rather than punt on fourth down, the Oilers relied on Pinkett to break a big run off of a short toss, but he was tackled after a gain of only eight yards. The Skins were already in Lohmiller's range as they took over, and on the final play of the half Chip (a former Minnesota Golden Gopher) was good from forty-four yards out to extend Washington's halftime lead to 20-9. "We may have just seen the end of the Oilers today," warned CBS's John Madden. "Giving up those last ten points as easily as they just did is something even good teams have a hard time coming back from."

    But a comeback they tried. After forcing a three-and-out following the second half kickoff, the offense set up shop at its own thirty-eight. The key play of the drive was Moon's twenty-five yard strike to Jeffires, which gave them a first down at the Washington twenty-eight. But after a short pass to Duncan gave them a second and one, Moon was again sacked on back-to-back plays, first by linebacker Monte Coleman for six yards, then by defensive tackle Charles Mann for four more. That left the Oilers at the twenty-nine, which meant a forty-six yard attempt by Del Greco. This one hooked just inside the left upright, and with 8:43 left in the third quarter the Oilers had cut their deficit to 20-12.

    That was all the scoring in the third quarter, but the Oilers maintained their momentum by stopping what could have been a game-sealing drive by the Skins. Mitchell's kickoff return had given them the ball on their own forty-three, and a fifteen-yard pass to Monk brought the ball across midfield. Later, Byner took a sweep and cut back to the left, picking up twenty-five yards before being brought down at the Houston two-yard line. A touchdown figured to be a foregone conclusion, but Riggs was stopped by linebacker Lamar Lathon at the line of scrimmage on first down, then was forced out of bounds for no gain on second down. Ricky Ervins got the call on third down, but left defensive end William Fuller almost had his arms around Ervins before he got the ball, and the play was stopped cold. Byner finally got the ball again on fourth down, but this time it was right defensive end Sean Jones who stopped the play almost before it got started. A Lohmiller chip shot would have put the Skins up 23-12 with a little more than a quarter left against a Houston offense that hadn't come close to scoring a touchdown all day.

    Unfortunately, the Oilers couldn't capitalize on their lucky break. Once again, Moon tried to use the passing game to gain big yardage, and once again it failed him. Givins was running before he'd caught Moon's first down pass, and it hit him in the shoulder pads. Hill juggled and dropped his second down pass, and another try for Givins on third down was badly overthrown. The resulting punt and return set up the Skins at the Oilers' thirty-eight, but they couldn't get a first down, and Lohmiller's forty-nine yard attempt hooked wide left. We reached the end of the third quarter with the Redskins holding on to a 20-12 lead.

    The teams traded three-and-outs until midway through the final quarter, when a Rypien pass intended for Monk was picked off by McDowell, who returned the gift to the Skins' forty-yard line. On second and nine from the twenty-seven, Moon faked to Pinkett, then fired for Jeffires, who dove to catch the slightly underthrown ball and stabbed it just before he went down in the end zone. After a breathless moment, the touchdown signal was given. Del Greco's extra point made it a 20-19 game with 6:50 to play in regulation.

    After forcing another three-and-out, Luv Ya Blue got the ball back with a little more than five minutes left. Two attempted runs by Pinkett lost four yards, but Moon kept the drive alive by connecting with Hill for seventeen yards and a first down. Pinkett picked up three more on first down, which set up a second and seven at the Houston forty-two. Moon dropped back, but had to unload with Mann's hand right in his face, and the badly underthrown pass fluttered into the arms of cornerback Martin Mayhew, who returned it to the Oilers thirty-three. The Skins could now smell their first Super Bowl in six tries, and wasted no time putting the game away. Here's Pat Summerall with how they did it:

    "First and ten from the Oilers' thirty-three, 3:30 to play in the game. Rypien with the pitch to Byner, who cuts back to the right. Twenty-five, twenty, makes a move at the fifteen, the ten, and he'll score!...…….The Redskins look to have just won their first Super Bowl after six tries, and Lohmiller's extra point will make this a two-score game with three minutes and sixteen seconds to play."

    Madden: "Earnest Byner has been the heartbeat of the Washington offense all year long, and it's only fitting that he scores the clinching touchdown. Power, speed, he's shown it all this year, and he also has moves, which he uses to fake out Dishman, the last Oiler who could catch him."

    Lohmiller added the crucial extra point, and we had our final score. The Oilers' last desperation drive ended with a fourth-down sack by Mann, and after a few kneeldowns the Skins' long wait was over. After five straight losses, they'd finally won their first Super Bowl and their first overall NFL title since 1942. Final score: Washington 27, Houston 19.

    Byner was named Super Bowl MVP after gaining 136 yards on seventeen carries. Rypien wasn't nearly as prolific as he was in real life, but he was effective, completing ten of his thirteen passes for 114 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Clark was his leading receiver with three catches for forty-three yards and a touchdown. The defense was relentless, sacking Moon seven times and holding him to fifteen of thirty-one for 170 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Mann led the way with a pair of sacks. Jeffires was the game's leading receiver with four catches for sixty-nine yards and a touchdown, and Brown led the ground game with forty-three yards on just three carries. Pinkett carried thirteen times, but was held to just thirty-six yards.

    We've now contested twenty-seven Super Bowls, and the NFC leads the AFC in all-time victories 16-11.

    Next: We go back to the 1993 playoffs with an AFC Wild Card Game.

    Last edited: Nov 30, 2018
  17. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 1993 AFC Wild Card Game from Mile High Stadium in Denver. Game time temperature is 38 degrees, with cloudy skies and a north-northwest wind ay 8 MPH.

    The Steelers got on the board first midway through the opening period. With Neil O'Donnell sidelined by an ear infection, backup quarterback Mike Tomczak took over the offense. On this drive, he completed passes to wide receivers Jeff Graham and Ernie Mills, each for a fifteen-yard gain. Running back Merril Hoge also contributed, gaining ten yards off right tackle for one first down, then bulling his way up the middle for sixteen yards and another first. Fellow running back Leroy Thompson took care of the touchdown from ten yards out, courtesy of a giant hole on the right side of the Denver defense. Gary Anderson added the extra point, and after one quarter the Steelers led 7-0.

    The Black and Gold added a field goal midway through the second quarter. Tomczak again provided the biggest plays, connecting with Graham for twenty yards and fellow wideout Dwight Stone for seventeen more. The drive stalled at the Denver twenty-two, but Anderson was dead on from thirty-nine yards out to give the visitors a 10-0 halftime lead.

    The Steelers added another field goal as the third period wound down thanks to more of Tomczak's pinpoint passing. His short pass to tight end Eric Green turned into a twenty-yard catch-and-run, and he also found Mills for twenty-nine more yards and a first down at the Broncos' sixteen. The drive gained only two more yards, but Anderson converted a thirty-one yard attempt to extend the Pittsburgh lead to 13-0 with 4:33 left in the third.

    The broncos answered with a field goal of their own just before the third quarter ran out. Glyn Milburn's punt return set up the offense at the Steelers' forty-three, and Milburn also gained thirteen yards on a draw play. John Elway's fifteen-yard pass to wide receiver Derek Russell put the home squad in field goal range, and with just eleven seconds left in the quarter kicker Jason Elam made a thirty-yarder to cut the Steelers' lead to 13-3.

    The Broncos notched another three points early in the final quarter. Linebacker Mike Croel picked off a Tomczak pass and returned it to the Pittsburgh twenty-seven yard line. The offense didn't gain a first down, but Elam was good from thirty-seven yards out to cut the Steelers' lead to 13-6 with less than ten minutes remaining in regulation time.

    The Steelers put the game away with one last field goal drive. Again, it was Tomczak who did the lion's share of the work, hitting Graham for fourteen yards, Mills for thirteen, reserve wideout Yancey Thigpen for ten, and Hoge on a screen pass for eighteen. The drive was stopped at the Denver sixteen, but Anderson's thirty-three yard field goal salted the game away for the Steelers. Final score: Pittsburgh 16, Denver 6.

    Despite not throwing a touchdown pass, Tomczak was named Player of the Game by NBC. He finished eighteen of thirty-six for 237 yards and two interceptions, Mills caught three of his passes for fifty-seven yards, and Graham three more for forty-nine. Hoge led all rushers with sixty-five yards on eleven carries as he took the place of Barry Foster, who was out with an ankle injury. Tomczak delivered his performance despite being sacked five times, with Croel recording three of them. The Steelers' defense also got to Elway five times, and John had another disappointing postseason day, completing just twelve of his twenty-six passes for 118 yards and an interception. Russell was hos leading receiver with three catches for thirty-five yards. On the ground, the Broncos were held to forty-seven yards on twenty-six attempts. Rod Bernstine was the leading rusher with twenty-five yards on fourteen carries.

    The Steelers will now take on the top-seeded Houston Oilers in the second AFC Divisional Playoff game next Sunday at the Astrodome. Kickoff is scheduled for 4PM Eastern on NBC, with Dick Enberg and Bob Trumpy calling the action. O.J. Simpson and Todd Christensen will serve as sideline reporters.

    Next: The Chiefs host the Chargers in the other AFC Wild Card Game.


    Last edited: Nov 21, 2018
  18. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the first 1993 AFC Wild Card Game from Arrowhead Stadium in Kansas City. Game time temperature is 27 degrees, with fair skies and calm winds.

    The Chargers scored first after future Hall of Famer Junior Seau stripped his Hall mate Marcus Allen of the ball. Cornerback Darrien Gordon recovered for the visitors at the Chiefs' twenty-six. After a false start penalty backed them up five yards, quarterback Stan Humphries fired long for wideout Anthony Miller, who made a diving catch at the three and slid into the end zone. The officials ruled that he was downed by contact at the two-yard line, but it was still first and goal for San Diego. Running back Marion Butts chugged into the end zone on the next play, and the Bolts led 6-0. Unfortunately, John Carney missed the extra point, so that was the way things remained with 12:27 left in the opening period.

    The Chiefs answered with a touchdown of their own. Joe Montana hooked up with running back Kimball Anders on a ten-yard screen pass, then opened things up by finding wide receiver Willie Davis for twenty-five more. Running back Todd McNair took care of the rest, first by taking a pitchout around right end for a thirteen-yard gain, then by going over the top of the pile for the touchdown. Unfortunately for the Chiefs, it was Nick Lowery's turn to miss the extra point, so we stayed tied at six with 7:18 to play in the opening quarter.

    The Chiefs got the ball right back when Humphries was intercepted by cornerback Albert Lewis, who returned the pick to the San Diego thirty-one. The offense couldn't get a first down, but Lowery was good from forty-one yards out to put the Chiefs in front 9-6 with 4:16 to play in the quarter.

    The Bolts tied the game before the first period expired. Humphries completed passes of ten yards to all-purpose back Ronnie Harmon, twenty-four yards to Miller, and fifteen yards to fellow wideout Shawn Jefferson. Butts contributed a thirteen-yard burst off right tackle that gave the Chargers a first down at the Kansas City fourteen, but the drive stalled at the nine. Carney was good from twenty-six yards out on the final play of the quarter, and the teams switched ends of the field deadlocked at nine.

    The Chargers took the lead with a field goal midway through the second quarter. It came as a result of a Chiefs turnover, as tight end Jonathan Hayes was stripped of the ball from behind by linebacker Gary Plummer after catching a pass. Cornerback Darrien Gordon made the recovery at the Chargers thirty-six, and Butts promptly charged up the middle for twenty yards and a first down at the KC forty-four. From there, Humphries connected with Jefferson for fourteen yards and fellow wideout Nate Lewis for twenty more and a first and goal at the eight. A possible touchdown was thwarted when Humphries was decked by defensive end Neil Smith for a six-yard loss on third down, but Carney's thirty-one yard field goal gave the Bolts a 12-9 halftime lead.

    The third quarter was scoreless, but the Chiefs were well into what turned out to be the game-winning drive at the end of it. Dale Carter's punt return set up the offense at the San Diego forty-five, and Montana made the key play of the drive when he hooked up with Davis for twenty-three yards. The touchdown came on the first play of the fourth quarter, when Joe Cool found wideout J.J. Birden wide open in the back of the end zone for the score. Lowery added the extra point, and the home squad had what turned out to be their final margin of victory. Final score: Chiefs 16, Chargers 12.

    Despite rather average stats, Montana was named Player of the Game by ABC. He completed fifteen of twenty-eight passes for 198 yards and the game-winning touchdown. Davis was his leading target with three catches for sixty-seven yards. The San Diego defense did a good job containing the KC ground game, as Allen was held to thirty-five yards on fifteen carries. Butts led all rushers with seventy-seven yards on fifteen carries and a touchdown, and Miller was the game's leading receiver with eighty-nine yards on five catches.

    The major reason that the Chargers lost the game was an awful, to say the least, performance by Humphries. He completed just eleven of his thirty-three passes for 175 yards, and the Chiefs sacked him three times and picked him off five times. Smith had a pair of the sacks, and strong safety Martin Bayless registered two of the picks. It came out later that Humphries' previously injured shoulder had stiffened up on him in the cold, but that didn't explain why Chargers coach Bobby Ross hadn't replaced him with backup John Friesz. Ross himself never offered an explanation, even a weak one; he simply said that Humphries was his man for the day, win or lose.

    As for the Chiefs, their Super Bowl dreams ended the following week in Buffalo, where the Bills dispatched them 30-13 in the divisional round. Jim Kelly was only seventeen of twenty-seven for 180 yards and no touchdowns, but this game belonged to Thurman Thomas, who carried thirty-three times for 186 yards and scored three touchdowns. Meanwhile, Montana was knocked out of the game with a concussion early in the third quarter, having completed just nine of twenty-three passes for 125 yards. Allen was once again held in check as well, gaining just fifty yards on eighteen carries. The Bills will now play in the AFC Championship Game on Sunday, January 23. If the Steelers beat the Oilers. they'll host the game at Rich Stadium. If the Oilers win, they'll repeat last year's trip to the Astrodome.

    Next: The Steelers take on the Oilers in the second AFC Divisional Playoff.

    Last edited: Nov 22, 2018
  19. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2017
    Now it's time for the second 1993 AFC Divisional Playoff Game from the Astrodome in Houston:

    The Oilers scored first. Willie Drewrey's punt return set up the offense at their own forty, and on the first play from scrimmage Gary Brown broke a draw play for eighteen yards and a first down. Later, he ran the same play for a twenty-nine yard gain and a first and goal at the Steelers' one-yard line. From there, Warren Moon hit wide receiver Webster Slaughter for the game's first touchdown. Al Del Greco's extra point gave the Oilers a 7-0 lead with 9:42 to play in the opening quarter.

    After forcing a three-and-out, the Oilers added a field goal on their next possession. Another Drewrey punt return put the Oilers at their forty again, and the big play of the drive was Moon's twenty-nine yard pass to Ernest Givins. The drive stalled at the Steelers' thirty-two thanks to a sack from defensive end Donald Evans, but Del Greco was good from forty-nine yards out to extend the Houston lead to 10-0 with 4:14 to play in the opening period.

    After the teams exchanged three-and-outs, the Steelers got on the board just before the end of the quarter. Rod Woodson returned a Greg Montgomery punt all the way to the Houston forty-nine, and the play of the drive was a twenty-nine yard catch-and-run by tight end Eric Green that gave the visitors a first down at the Oilers' nineteen. The Steelers lost three yards on the next three plays, but Gary Anderson was good from thirty-nine yards out to cut the Oilers' lead to 10-3 after one quarter of play.

    The Oilers came right back with a field goal of their own on their next possession. Moon hit passes of ten yards to Curtis Duncan and twenty-nine yards to Givins, and Del Greco boomed another long field goal, this one from forty-eight yards, to give Luv Ya Blue a 13-3 halftime lead.

    The Steelers cut into the Houston lead with a field goal in their first possession of the second half. Quarterback Neil O'Donnell, who was still taking antibiotics for his ear infection but had been cleared to play, found running back Merril Hoge with a screen pass for ten yards and a first down, then threw short to wide receiver Dwight Stone, whose world-class speed turned the pass into a thirty-one yard gain and a first down at the Houston twenty-one. The drive died out at the sixteen, but Anderson's thirty-three yard field goal cut the Houston lead to 13-6 with less than eight minutes to play in the third quarter.

    The Oilers extended their lead once again before the third quarter ended. A great punt by the Stelers' Mark Royals pinned the home squad back at its own fourteen, but Brown got them out of trouble immediately by storming through a hole on the right side of the Pittsburgh defense for forty-six yards. Fellow running back Lorenzo White stormed through a similar hole on the left side for eleven more later in the drive, and on first down from the Pittsburgh twenty-one Moon hooked up with Slaughter for their second touchdown of the game. Del Greco added the extra point, and at the end of three quarters it was Houston 20, Pittsburgh 6.

    Midway through the final quarter, the Steelers converted a third and eight from their own twenty-four with an eleven-yard pass to Hoge. That set up the play of the game up to the moment, and here's how Dick Enberg called it:

    "Steelers with a first and ten at their own thirty-five, with the clock ticking, we're under eight minutes to play. Leroy Thompson gives Hoge a rest in the backfield on first and ten, with (Eric) Green in motion. Three wide receivers, as O'Donnell will throw. Plenty of time, and it's complete to Green at midfield! He's down to the forty. breaks a tackle, thirty, twenty, to the sideline at the fifteen, ten, five, TOUCHDOWN PITTSBURGH!...….The big man, literally, of the Steelers' offense comes through on the receiving end of a sixty-five yard touchdown pass, and this game isn't over yet."

    Bob Trumpy: "This is why Eric Green is so dangerous, Dick. No other tight end in the game today is this big and strong, and yet can run like a wide receiver. He shucks his way out of (linebacker) Lamar Lathon's tackle like he's getting rid of a mosquito, and while the Oilers are slowing down, he's speeding up. We have a ballgame with 7:20 remaining at the House of Pain."

    Anderson's extra point cut the Houston lead to 20-13.

    But the biggest play was yet to come. With fifteen seconds left and no timeouts, the Steelers got the ball back at their own nineteen. A completion to Ernie Mills at the sideline gave them one last chance from the thirty. Here's Dick:

    "Five wide receivers for the Steelers. This is it. How far can O'Donnell throw in his condition? Shotgun snap...….DROPPED BY O'DONNELL! PICKS IT UP, OFF-BALANCE...…"

    Trumpy: "Tipped...….."

    Enberg: "It is...….."

    Trumpy: "Jeff Graham! He's got it, Dick!"

    Enberg: "Bubba McDowell claiming Graham pushed off, but there's the signal! TOUCHDOWN STEELERS!"

    Trumpy: "They can't believe it in the Astrodome. First of all, O'Donnell drops the snap and has to make his throw off his back foot, so how he got it to the end zone I don't know. Cris Dishman tips it, and there it is, right to Graham. Was there a pushoff? If there was I can't see it, and neither could the back judge."

    Anderson's extra point sent this game to overtime tied at twenty.

    The Oilers got the ball first in the extra period, but went three and out. but their punt pinned the Steelers back at their own thirteen. Figuring that one good long bomb deserved another, O'Donnell sent Graham deep again on first down, and Jeff came through once more, making a sliding catch at the Hosuton twenty-six, a sixty-one yard gain. The Oilers were stunned, and Steelers coach Bill Cowher decided not to wait to send out Anderson. Here's Dick:

    "The Oilers are rattled, that's two long passes to Graham that they were just beaten on, and now Anderson to try to win the game from forty-three yards. Hold is good, kick is long enough, AND GOOD!....The Pittsburgh Steelers have pulled another major upset in these playoffs, first knocking off the AFC West champion Denver Broncos last week, then doing the same to their AFC Central rivals the Oilers today."

    Trumpy: "This reminds me of the Steeler team from three years ago. Don Criqui and I did the Wild Card Game where they upset the Oilers here that year, and they went on to beat the Bills in Buffalo despite an injured quarterback in Bubby Brister. They get a chance to repeat that next week, only this time if they do it they're heading to the Super Bowl."

    Final score in overtime: Steelers 23, Oilers 20.

    O'Donnell was named MVP by NBC. He finished seventeen of twenty-nine for 384 yards and two touchdowns. Graham ended up with three catches for 142 yards, with one going for a touchdown and another setting up the game-winning field goal. Green caught four more passes for 111 yards and a score. Hoge finished as the Steelers' leading rusher with forty-nine yards on fourteen carries, and he also caught three passes for thirty-one yards. For the Oilers, Moon ended his day seventeen of twenty-nine for 204 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Givins led the receivers with fifty-nine yards on three catches, and Slaughter caught six for fifty-six yards and both Moon touchdowns. Each quarterback was sacked four times. Brown led all rushers with 112 yards on fifteen carries.

    As Bob Trumpy mentioned above, the Steelers' next stop is Buffalo for next Sunday's AFC Championship Game against the Bills. Kickoff is set for 12:30 Eastern on NBC, and Trump will join Dick Enberg in the booth for the call once again. O.J. Simpson and Will McDonough will serve as the sideline reporters.

    Next: The AFC Championship Game.

    Last edited: Nov 24, 2018
  20. Garrett Garlits Well-Known Member

    Mar 3, 2017
    I've just had an Internet failure wipe out my AFC Championship sim, so I'm going to switch gears and do the NFC Wild Card Game from Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Game time temperature is 24 degrees, with fair skies and west-northwest winds gusting to 29 MPH. Wind chill at kickoff is seven degrees above zero.

    The Giants took the opening kickoff and also took the early lead. Rodney Hampton took a sweep to the left for eighteen yards and a first down, and quarterback Phil Simms hooked up with tight end Aaron Pierce for twenty-six yards and another. A twenty-one yard gain on a draw play by Hampton gave Big Blue a first and goal at the Phoenix ten-yard line, and on third and goal from the nine Simms connected with former Broncos wide receiver Mark Jackson for the touchdown. Kicker David Treadwell added the extra point, and the Giants led 7-0 after one quarter of play.

    The Giants added to their lead with a field goal midway through the second quarter. Cardinals quarterback Steve Beuerlein had a pass intercepted by free safety Greg Jackson, who retuned it to the Cards' forty-three yard line. Consecutive draw plays gained thirteen yards for Hampton and fifteen yards for fellow running back Lewis Tillman, and although the drive stalled at the ten Treadwell was good from twenty-seven yards out to give Big Blue a 10-0 halftime lead.

    The visitors got on the board with a third-quarter field goal set up by Johnny Bailey's punt return to the New York forty-eight. Kicker Greg Davis connected from forty-three yards out. and after three quarters it was Giants 10, Cards 3.

    The Cards tied the game with a touchdown early in the final quarter. Beuerlein completed passes of fourteen yards to wide receiver Ricky Proehl and fifteen yards to fellow wideout Randal Hill, then went back to Hill for the score from seventeen yards out. Davis made the extra point, and we were tied at ten with a little over thirteen minutes remaining in the game.

    The Giants wasted no time retaking the lead. Simms connected with Jackson for sixteen yards and a first down in the drives biggest play, and running back Dave Meggett took a draw play to the house from seventeen yards out. Treadwell's extra point was good, and with less than nine minutes left in regulation the G-Men led 17-10.

    A missed forty-yard field goal from Davis led to another New York touchdown. After Davis' kick sailed wide right, Simms completed consecutive thirteen-yard passes to Jackson and fellow wide receiver Chris Calloway. An eleven-yard gain on a draw by Hampton gave the Giants a first and goal at the Phoenix eight, and from there Simms hit Meggett with a screen pass out of the backfield for the touchdown. Treadwell made the extra point, and it was 24-10 Giants with 4:30 left in regulation.

    The Redbirds were down to short strokes, and Beuerlein came out throwing on every down in his next possession, at least for two plays. On the third, the Giants put the game away. Here's how Pat Summerall called it:

    "First and ten from the Phoenix forty-one. 3:25 to play, and Beuerlein has to hurry. Back to throw, has Proehl over the middle...…… his hands and intercepted! That's three today for Greg Jackson, and this one's going the distance!...…..TOUCHDDOWN GIANTS, AND THEY'RE HEADED TO DALLAS! Three interceptions today for Greg Jackson, and he's taking a bow for the Giants fans in the end zone."

    John Madden: "He deserves to, Pat. He's been anticipating Beuerlein all day, and almost had two other interceptions in addition to the three he got. This one's an accident almost, as Ricky Proehl had it bounce off his hands, but the other two were the result of superior anticipation of where the ball was going. Beuerlein has five interceptions in all today, and there could have been at least three more. Just an awful day for him."

    Treadwell added one last extra point, and the Giants had wrapped up a 31-10 win. They'll take on the top-seeded Cowboys next Sunday at Texas Stadium in the second NFC Divisional Playoff. Game time is 12:30 PM Eastern on CBS, and Jim Nantz and Randy Cross will call the action.

    Jackson and Hampton shared MVP honors as given by CBS. Jackson picked off Beuerlein three times, as mentioned above, and Hampton gained 119 yards on twenty-eight carries. Simms was productive if unspectacular, completing thirteen of twenty-four for 168 yards and two touchdowns. Jackson was his leading target with four receptions for fifty-two yards and a touchdown.

    As for the Redbirds, Ronald Moore was their leading rusher with seventy-eight yards on sixteen carries, and Proehl caught four passes for eighty-eight yards, with former Redskin wideout Gary Clark adding three more catches for fifty yards. But none of that mattered thanks to Beuerlein's awful performance: fourteen of twenty-four for 208 yards with a touchdown and five interceptions. it was so bad that coach Joe Bugel stated in his postgame news conference that no team with Beuerlein at quarterback could ever win a postseason game. Those were Bugel's famous last words in Phoenix; he was fired the Wednesday after the game and replaced for the 1994 season by Buddy Ryan.

    Next: To be determined.

    Last edited: Nov 25, 2018