I mentioned this back on the Devin Hester Lateral, but it’s pretty much between that kickoff return and this play for the best play in super bowl history by the losing team.

In the 4th quarter of Super Bowl XXVII (the first of the two Cowboys losses, and the worst loss of all 4 games), the Bills had been absolutely destroyed all game by the dominant Cowboys. Jim Kelly wasn’t even in the game thanks to a knee injury in the second quarter, it was up to Frank Reich. Yes, current Colts HC Frank Reich. Reich got sacked by Jim Jeffcoat and Leon Lett took the ball 63 of the 64 yards towards the endzone. Don Beebe, a Bills WR, never gave up on the play and ran Lett down, forcing a fumble through the endzone and a touchback.

The play has become a sort of symbol of resilience among the Bills fanbase and NFL fans as a whole. In many ways, this and Wide Right are the two defining plays of the 90’s Bills non-dynasty. Wide right represents how close the Bills actually came to glory, and the Beebe hustle play represents their guts and courage to never give up even in the face of absolute failure. There was no real point to Don Beebe making that mad dash to save the touchdown. The game was long over. It was the 4th quarter and the Cowboys were winning by 35 points. To put that much effort into giving your team a hopeless second chance is, to many, what sports is all about. You never give up. You never give in. The Bills never gave up.

Much like the Hester return, it is probably the defining play of the game, which was otherwise a dull rout. Unlike the Hester return, it comes in different circumstances. Hester’s return was glorious, an explosion of excitement that gave us the greatest super bowl opening moment in history before the rest of the game put us to sleep. This one is more bittersweet. A final gasp of effort when all is lost. A play made entirely to save some dignity. Beebe would go on to win a Super Bowl with the Packers a few seasons later. The Bills would put up a better fight the next year, but fall to the Cowboys once again.