In previous editions of Throwback Thursday, I have tried to take Bills fans back to the happy times of our beloved Bills. This one, well, I had no choice. This was the only game that happened on this day in history. We now throw it back to January 8, 2000, and to something that is only known now, as the Music City Miracle:
In the minds of everybody who was watching, covering, or even listening to the game, it was all over. Steve Christie had just hit a 41-yard field goal with 16 seconds left, giving the Bills a 16-15 lead in Nashville in the AFC Wild Card Game against the Tennessee Titans.
Adelphia Coliseum was anxious to see if the Titans would have a response, as they had just blown a lead they gained 1:32 earlier on Al Del Greco‘s 36-yarder.
It was a wild final two minutes in Tennessee, and special teams coach Alan Lowry was about to amp it up another level. Lowry ran up and down the sidelines, calling out his play selection, which has now known as Home Run Throwback.
In a situation like this, you would expect a squib kick by Christie to keep the ball out of the hands of the Titans’ best kick returners. Instead, Christie booted it deep.
Field by Lorenzo Neal at the 25-yard line, he handed it off to Frank Wycheck who was right behind Neal to his right. Wycheck turned and ran directly to his right for six steps, turned 180 degrees around and whipped the ball to Kevin Dyson who was standing on the near sideline.
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It also killed what mojo the Bills had coming into the millenium as well. Wade Phillips lost his job after the next season, but he generated a ton of controversy at the quarterback position in this game.Doug Flutie
led the Bills all season long, throwing for 3171 yards and 19 touchdowns on his way to an 11-5 record as a starter.
But with Rob Johnson throwing for 287 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the final game of the season, Phillips leaned towards him to take the ball in the Wild Card game the next weekend.
Johnson finished the day 10-22 for a miniscule 131 yards, with his longest pass being 37 yards. Smith finished the day with 14 carries and 79 yards along with that pair of touchdowns that brought Buffalo back into the game.
The aftermath of the miracle? The Titans lost the Rams in Super Bowl XXXIV famously by “one yard.” In the long term for Buffalo, it is hard to think that this did not have something to do with their mojo from the 90’s.
Should it have taken 14 years to get back to a winning record? No. But it did. It also took seven coaches, and nine different leading passers to get back to this point. Now it’s time to get an eighth coach and a 10th different leading passer to move into the playoffs.
Would it have been different had the Miracle not happened? What do you think?