In case you didn’t read my last post, this is the comic that I foolishly abandoned for some reason. Better, right? I think so.

Since this will be the first of 4 comics about the 90’s Bills, we can separate the topics a bit and spend this one on poor Scott Norwood. Poor poor Scott Norwood. He might be the most famous NFL kicker in history. Seriously, think about it. If you are a casual, mild sports fan (not even football specifically), what Football Kickers might you have heard of? Justin Tucker? Not likely. Gary Anderson? Possible. Adam Vinatieri? There’s a decent chance there, although two decades later I feel his importance to those early Patriots championships has been slightly diminished and absorbed into the Tom Brady mythos. Scott Norwood? I knew who Scott Norwood was as a child simply through cultural osmosis. I was exactly 2 years old when that game happened so I don’t remember it, but I knew Norwood’s name and Wide Right from my earliest sports memories.

Not that you want to be the most famous kicker for this. The Bills of the early 90’s were a powerhouse and Norwood was a solid (not brilliant) kicker. Wikipedia states that he had difficulties at ranges over 40 (citation needed) and was just 1 for 5 on 40+ yard attempts on grass. 40+ yard field goals are not easy, I think any fan gets a bit nervous at any kick attempt over 45 yards, but those are pretty bad numbers that weren’t great at the time and would be borderline unacceptable now. The kick also wasn’t that bad. It wasn’t a shank. He almost had it. Wide right kind of feels mean. Just Right might be a more appropriate term. Regardless, he missed, and the game is now a classic.

I can’t imagine the level of emotional trauma that miss caused him. It’s the biggest missed kick in NFL history. It was for everything. Instead, that foot or so to the right of the goalpost is the closest the Bills have ever come to a championship. It hurts even worse in retrospect with the next three years going the way they did. I don’t know if Bills fans gave Scott grief or were kind to him (my guess is he got plenty of both). It seems now though that he’s largely come to terms with his infamy, which is the best you could hope for. It sucks to be famous for a failure, but in some ways, it might still be nice to have a legacy.

If I was a fan of any other team, I’d have wished he made it. The Bills deserved to get at least one of those rings. But that game is an utter classic for more than just the unfortunate ending. Bill Belichick’s defensive gameplan is literally in the hall of fame for that game. He sold out against the pass completely and the Bills just couldn’t figure it out until it was too late. The Bills absolutely got outcoached that game. A Giants team with no real stars on offense did just enough to pull it off. Jeff Hostetler became the most fortunate backup QB in history (until Nick Foles) by leading that team through to the end. Otis Anderson ended his career with some joy. Mark Ingram had arguably the most critical play of the entire game for the Giants and probably deserves to be better remembered in team lore.