Righting the Wrong


“After further review,” is now a part of our football lexicon.  And as we all know, it’s asserted just prior to a game official’s pronouncement of his decision relative to a challenge by a coach or an instant replay official.  Often it’s the opening line for what is as close to an apology as you’ll ever get from an official.  “After further review, it’s apparent that we screwed up and we’re truly sorry so we’ve decided to reverse our call.”  Well, maybe those aren’t the exact words they use, but I think I’ve captured their sentiment.  The important point here is that in pro football mistakes are acknowledged and in many instances a wrong is righted. And not just during a game. In fact, every game and individual stat is reviewed by the league and corrected whenever an error is found. And that’s a good thing.

And, you may not be aware, but in the pre-instant replay years there were actually instances where an official’s call was reversed long after the game was over.  An example that comes to mind involves the 1972 Miami Dolphins. After the final regular season game ended and the team was preparing for the playoffs, team management asked the NFL to review a play in which the aptly named running back Mercury Morris was charged with a 9-yard loss on a fumbled lateral. The loss of yardage left the speedy receiver with 991 rushing yards for the season.

Well, the league not only reviewed the game film, they reversed the call declaring that it was indeed a forward pass, not a lateral and therefore an incomplete pass not a fumble. Morris was awarded nine more yards giving him exactly 1,000 for the season and making him and his Hall of Fame teammate Larry Csonka the NFL’s first 1,000-yard rushers on the same team.


Now, I bring this up, not to cast doubt upon an NFL first or the integrity of the league’s decision to overturn the game official’s call, but rather as a great example of a righted wrong. And, you guessed it; I want to make a case for yet another wrong that needs righted.

ESPN has just released its latest “30 For 30” show.  This one “Four Falls of Buffalo” is about the Bills’ remarkable four consecutive Super Bowl appearances. Okay, now don’t get excited, the fact finders at ESPN didn’t uncovered new never-before-seen evidence that proves Scott Norwood’s missed field goal attempt was actually good.  That’s not the wrong I wish righted. What I’m suggesting is that 17 former Bills players should be credited with one more full season played.   

No, I didn’t go back and find 16 games that the collective football universe somehow magically forgot.  However, what I will point out is that during the Bills’ four consecutive Super Bowl runs, 22 players played in all four Super Bowls and counting the playoff games leading up to them, played in an additional 13 games.  And, more to my point, 17 of those 22 players were also with the team during the two seasons prior (1998 and 1999) bringing their total extra playoff games to 16. And that my friend is an additional season. And remember, those 16 games were against the best teams in the league each of those years.  No gimmes here.

One more thing not to overlook, four of the 17 players to pick up the 16 extra games – Jim Kelly, Andre Reed, Bruce Smith and Thurman Thomas -- are in the Hall of Fame as is their coach Marv Levy and team owner Ralph Wilson.

Okay, okay, before you jump all over me, I realize that the Pittsburgh Steelers also have 22 players who played in and won four Super Bowls.  And I understand that their 22 guys played in just as many if not more postseason games.  But, it’s just that as a native Buffalonian, lifelong Bills fan (and former ball boy) it just seems right that I try to do something to help take away some of the sting that still remains from those four consecutive Super Bowl losses.  

But wait, here’s a thought. Maybe if we can find that league official that changed Mercury Morris’ fumbled lateral to an incomplete pass, we might be able to right the wrong known as the “Music City Miracle.”

ESPN, the show is great, but the pain remains.


Super Bowl Rematch Update

Each week in my blog, I update the results of the Super Bowl rematches taken place throughout the season leading up to Super Bowl 50. Here they are through Week 10.

1 Sept. 13 Miami at Washington SB VII - Miami 14, Washington 7; XVII - Washington 27, Miami 17 Miami, 17 at Washington, 10
2 Sept. 21 New York Jets at Indianapolis SB III - New York Jets 16, Baltimore 7 New York Jets, 20 at Indianapolis, 7
3 Sept. 27 Pittsburgh at St. Louis SB XIV - Pittsburgh 31, Los Angeles 19 Pittsburgh, 12 at St. Louis Rams, 6
3 Sept. 28 Kansas City at Green Bay SB I - Green Bay 35, Kansas City 10 Kansas City, 28 at Green Bay, 38
4 Oct. 4 New York Giants at Buffalo SB XXV - New York Giants 20, Buffalo 19 New York Giants, 24 at Buffalo, 10
6 Oct. 18 Baltimore at San Francisco SB XLVII - Baltimore 34, San Francisco 31 Baltimore, 20 at San Francisco, 25
6 Oct. 18 Arizona at Pittsburgh SB XLIII - Pittsburgh 27, Arizona 23 Arizona, 13 at Pittsburgh, 25
6 Oct. 18 Kansas City at Minnesota SB IV - Kansas City 23, Minnesota 7 Kansas City, 10 at Minnesota, 16
7 Oct. 25 New Orleans at Indianapolis SB XLIV - New Orleans 31, Indianapolis 17 New Orleans, 27 at Indianapolis, 21
8 Nov. 1 Green Bay at Denver SB XXXII - Denver 31, Green Bay 24 Green Bay, 10 at Denver, 29
10 Nov. 15 Minnesota at Oakland SB XI - Oakland 32, Minnesota 14 Minnesota, 30 at Oakland, 14
10 Nov. 15 New England at New York Giants SB XLII - New York Giants 17, New England 14; XLVI - New York Giants 21, New England 17 New England, 27 at New York Giants, 26
11 Nov. 22 Dallas at Miami SB VI - Dallas 24, Miami 3 Dallas, 24 at Miami, 14
12 Nov. 29 Pittsburgh at Seattle SB XL - Pittsburgh 21, Seattle 10 Pittsburgh 30, at Seattle, 39
13 Dec. 6 Philadelphia at New England SB XXXIX - New England 24, Philadelphia 21 Philadelphia, 35 at New England, 28
15 Dec. 20 Buffalo at Washington SB XXVI - Washington 37, Buffalo 24 TBD
15 Dec. 20 Green Bay at Oakland SB II - Green Bay 33, Oakland 14 TBD
15 Dec. 20 Cincinnati at San Francisco SB XVI - San Francisco 26, Cincinnati 21; XXIII - San Francisco 20, Cincinnati 16 TBD
16 Dec. 27 Dallas at Buffalo SB XXVII - Dallas 52, Buffalo 17; XXVIII - Dallas 30, Buffalo 13 TBD

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Written by: Joe Horrigan