It is hard to believe that it has been almost 30 years since the Washington Football Team and the Buffalo Bills faced off in Super Bowl XXVI. The matchup was truly a “clash of the titans.” Both teams featured seven Pro Bowlers. Washington’s Pro Bowl players included Mark Rypien, Earnest Byner, Gary Clark, Jim Lachey, Mark Schlereth, Charles Mann, and Darrell Green. Buffalo’s Pro Bowl players included Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, James Lofton, Andre Reed, Jim Ritcher, Cornelius Bennett, and Darryl Talley.
Both teams also featured two 1,000+ yard wide receivers (Washington: Clark and Art Monk; Buffalo: Lofton and Reed), and a 1,000+ yard running back (Washington: Byner; Buffalo: Thomas). Washington won Super Bowl XXVI 37-24. This was Washington’s third Super Bowl victory. For Buffalo, it was their second consecutive Super Bowl appearance and their second loss. With the two teams set to face off on Sunday, let’s take a look at the journey each team has traveled since the 1991 season.
30 Years Later: The Football Team vs. the Bills
The Football Team Turmoil
The 1991 season marks the last time Washington made a Super Bowl appearance. Since 1991, Washington has had a combined regular-season record of 195-269-2. They have made the playoffs seven times in that span never making it past the divisional round. Washington has won 10 games only three times since 1991. The team has named 11 different head coaches and 32 different starting quarterbacks over the last 30 years.
Washington’s last 10 win season occurred in 2012 when Washington was led by head coach Mike Shanahan and quarterback Robert Griffin III. Griffin’s play, along with running back Alfred Morris and wide receiver Pierre Garcon brought life to a city that longed to return to championship glory. Griffin suffered a knee injury in Week 14 of the 2012 season that would ultimately derail Washington’s chance of rewriting their tumultuous post-Super Bowl history.
The Bills Blues
The Bills were the class of the AFC going to four consecutive Super Bowls (1990, 1991, 1992, and 1993). Their record in the Super Bowl is 0-4. Since the Bills loss to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XXVIII, they have not made another Super Bowl appearance. Since 1993, the Bills have had a combined regular-season record of 205-229. They have made the playoffs seven times making it to the conference championship in 2020.
The team finished last in the AFC East six consecutive seasons (2008-2013). The Bills have named 11 different head coaches and 20 different starting quarterbacks since 1993. In 2019, the Bills began to find some relief from their blues. With then, second-year quarterback Josh Allen, the team went 10-6 and made the playoffs. It was the first 10 win season for the Bills since 1999 but a loss in the Wild Card round left the Bills still reeling.
The Next Generation
In 2021, both Washington and Buffalo are looking to return to their Super Bowl glory. Washington is led by head coach Ron Rivera who has restored a winning culture in the nation’s capital. The Bills are led by head coach Sean McDermott who has revitalized Bills Mafia. McDermott was the defensive coordinator for the Carolina Panthers when Rivera was the head coach. Both teams are led by young quarterbacks. Washington’s Taylor Heinicke and Buffalo’s Allen are both looking to establish themselves among the league’s best signal-callers. Wide receivers Terry McLaurin (Washington) and Stefon Diggs (Buffalo) are the number one option for their young quarterbacks. Washington and Buffalo both feature an emerging running attack and stout defenses. Regardless of the outcome on Sunday, both teams are in a position to continue writing another championship chapter in their franchise’s history.
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