Bills of 20 years ago turned out to be winners

BILL LANKHOF, QMI Agency

, Last Updated: 7:20 PM ET

Ben Roethlisberger and the Steelers should’ve known there was no way they could mount a comeback Sunday.

This year marks the 20th anniversary of one of the greatest aborted comebacks in NFL history. Today, Scott Norwood is 50 years old, dabbles as a high school coach and occasionally shows up to sign autographs. But in 1991, the Buffalo Bills kicker watched a swirling wind push his field goal wide right, allowing the Giants to escape with a 20-19 Super Bowl win.

That kind of karma is hard to overcome. Buffalo would go on to lose three more Super Bowls. But Roethlisberger’s Steelers can take heart: The Bills have shown that today’s losers can become tomorrow’s winners. While “Wide Right” still haunts fans, many of those Bills have gone on to succesful, happy post-football endeavours.

Thurman Thomas went into business developing young athletes in Buffalo.

Steve Tasker is a commentator with CBS and Jim Ritcher became a pilot for American Airlines.

Frank Reich is the Colts’ quarterback coach and hasn’t done badly with some guy named Manning.

Bruce Smith owns a real estate company and works with Operation Smile which helps children with cleft palates and facial deformities. Don Beebe coaches varsity football at Aurora Christian School in Illinois and operates Beebe’s House of Speed, training high performance athletes.

Losers all on Super Sundays, but winners in life. “In the end,” former Bills GM Bill Polian said recently, “it’s about what you become. As time goes by, I think people ... recognize that.”

Of course, for the Steelers today that probably is a comfort colder than Ted Bundy’s heart.


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