The cries were "Back-to-back."
And indeed the Dallas Cowboys hung their name alongside only a handful of teams, winning back-to-back Super Bowl title by spanking the same Buffalo Bills for the second consecutive year, this time 30-13 in Super Bowl XXVIII.
Winning consecutive championships placed the Cowboys in elite company. Only Green Bay, Miami, Pittsburgh (twice) and San Francisco had won consecutive titles prior to the Cowboys doing so in Super Bowls XXVII and XXVIII.
The Cowboys discovered first-hand how much tougher championships are to come by the second time around. Not only did they become the first team to recover from an 0-2 start in the regular season to win a Super Bowl, they also had to recover from a 13-6 halftime deficit at the Georgia Dome in Atlanta, a far cry from their 52-17 blowout victory over Buffalo in Super Bowl XXVII the previous year at the Rose Bowl.
The Cowboys would need a second-half rally to regain the lead after a sluggish first half, the defense clamping down on the Bills and holding them scoreless the remainder of the game. The Cowboys did so by forcing two turnovers the second half, one immediately turned into a touchdown by safety James Washington to jumpstart the third quarter.
The Cowboys also were backed by a dominant rushing effort from NFL rushing champ Emmitt Smith, who earned Most Valuable Player honors by carrying the ball 30 times for 132 yards and two touchdowns. And it was Smith who broke Buffalo's back during a third-quarter drive with a seven-carry, 61-yard effort, all capped by an inspiring 15-yard run to thrust the Cowboys into the lead for good.
The Cowboys' second-half performance barely resembled their stagnant selves of the first half. They began struggling from the opening possession, turning Kevin Williams' game-opening 50-yard kick-off return into only a 41-yard Eddie Murray field goal.
The two teams alternated field goals their next possessions, with Bills kicker Steve Christie nailing a Super Bowl record 54-yarder and Murray then connecting on a 24-yarder for a 6-3 Dallas lead.
Buffalo scored the game's first touchdown in the second quarter on a four-yard run from running back Thurman Thomas, giving the Bills a 10-6 lead that later ballooned to 13-6 before halftime on a 28-yard field goal from Christie.
But that deficit quickly evaporated in the second half, the Cowboys scoring 24 unanswered points while shutting out the Bills the remainder of the game.
Washington, who also sparked the Cowboys in Super Bowl XXVII with an interception that led to the team's first score, returned a fumble 46 yards for a touchdown, tying the game at 13-13. A good argument could have been made for Washington winning the game's MVP award.
Defensive tackle Leon Lett had stripped Thomas of the ball on the play, resulting in Thomas' second fumble of the game. Plagued by turnovers, Thomas seemed unable to escape the funk he was in all afternoon.
Emmitt Smith then went to work after that, scoring the Cowboys' next two touchdowns en route to clinching MVP honors for himself.
Smith's 15-yard touchdown run on a drive in which he carried the ball every play but one broke Buffalo's morale. The Bills could not stop Smith regardless of how many players they put in the box to contain him, and he seemed to part the entire Buffalo defense on his legendary touchdown run.
While that touchdown had secured the Cowboys only a seven-point lead, it became clear Buffalo was losing more than just the game. Their confidence shattered, the Bills seemed destined for defeat, just as they suffered in the past three Super Bowls.
On the first play of the fourth quarter, Washington struck again by intercepting Kelly to ignite yet another Cowboys scoring drive. Smith finished things off with his second touchdown of the game.
Murray converted a late field goal to give the Cowboys a 30-13 lead, but their fourth Super Bowl win in franchise history had already been locked up. Only the Pittsburgh Steelers and San Francisco 49ers had won as many Super Bowls at the time, each having notched four.
For Buffalo, the defeat marked its fourth consecutive Super Bowl loss, a dubious feat no other team in league history has suffered.
|LOCATION:||Georgia Dome - Atlanta, GA|
|DATE:||January 30, 1994|
|MVP:||Emmitt Smith, RB, Dallas|
|Dallas - FG Murray 41 (2:19)
Buffalo - FG Christie 54 (4:41)
Dallas - FG Murray 24 (11:05)
Buffalo - Thomas 4 run (Christie kick) (2:34)
Buffalo - FG Christie 28 (15:00)
Dallas - Washington 46 fumble return (Murray kick) (0:55)
Dallas - E. Smith 15 run (Murray kick) (6:18)
Dallas - E. Smith 1 run (Murray kick) (5:10)
Dallas - FG Murray 20 (12:10)