Wide Right (Buffalo Bills)

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Wide Right
Tampa Stadium, the site of Super Bowl XXV.
1234 Total
BUF 3907 19
NYG 3773 20
DateJanuary 27, 1991 (1991-01-27)
StadiumTampa Stadium, Tampa, Florida
FavoriteBills by 7
RefereeJerry Seeman
Hall of Famers
TV in the United States
AnnouncersAl Michaels, Frank Gifford and Dan Dierdorf

Wide Right, a.k.a. 47 Wide Right, was Scott Norwood's missed 47-yard field goal attempt for the Buffalo Bills at the end of Super Bowl XXV on January 27, 1991, as described by sportscaster Al Michaels. The missed field goal resulted in the game being won by the New York Giants. The phrase "wide right" has since become synonymous with the game itself, and has since been used in other sports. This game is also called The Miss by some Bills fans.

The field goal attempt[edit]

Following an 11-yard run for a first down by Thurman Thomas, Jim Kelly spiked the ball for an incompletion to stop the clock (since the Bills had already exhausted their time outs).[1][2] With eight seconds left in the game, Norwood's Buffalo Bills trailed the New York Giants by a single point. They chose to try a 47-yard field goal, which would win the game and the championship for the Bills. However, 47 yards was considered near the limit of Norwood's kicking range, particularly on a grass field, according to comments during the original game broadcast.[3] Bills head coach Marv Levy also noted that fewer than 50% of such attempts succeeded.[4] In fact, during his career, Norwood was 1 of 5 for field goal attempts of more than 40 yards on grass, and with his longest field goal being 48 yards in that season.

Norwood lined up for the 47-yard game-winning field goal attempt from the right hash of the 37-yard line, with Frank Reich the holder and Adam Lingner the long snapper. The kick, although it had sufficient distance, passed about a foot to the right of the righthand goalpost and the field goal attempt failed. Television sportscaster Al Michaels, calling the game for ABC, announced the occurrence to a stunned television audience: "No good...wide right." Later video analysis revealed Frank Reich mistakenly aligned the laces to the right, thereby positioning the kicked ball to fade right once in the air.[citation needed]

The Giants took possession with four seconds left and ran out the clock for a 20–19 victory, making this Super Bowl the closest ever. Had Norwood successfully scored it would have likely given the Bills a 22–20 victory, and it would also have been the first Super Bowl to be decided by a game-ending field goal since Jim O'Brien's 32-yard kick which gave the Baltimore Colts a 16–13 victory against the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl V.


In losing the game, the Bills lost their first of four consecutive Super Bowls, and this loss was the closest the team got to victory, as the following three Super Bowls ended with the Bills losing by considerable margins (13 points to the Washington Redskins in Super Bowl XXVI, 35 points to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XXVII, and 17 points to the Cowboys in Super Bowl XXVIII, respectively).[5] The city of Buffalo had not won a Big 4 sports championship since 1965 (which became the longest such streak of futility for any city that has at least two major sports franchises once San Diego, whose last title came in 1963, lost one of its two teams in 2017), so Norwood's unsuccessful attempt had an even greater significance.[4]

The Bills immediately began searching for a replacement for Norwood after the missed kick. Former Giants kicker Björn Nittmo was brought into the 1991 training camp but failed to impress, which kept Norwood on the roster for the 1991 season. Finally, in 1992, the Bills signed Steve Christie, who served as the Bills' kicker for the next nine seasons, ending Norwood's career.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Super Bowl XXV - New York Giants vs. Buffalo Bills - January 27th, 1991". Sports Reference LLC. Retrieved April 14, 2022.
  2. ^ "Pro Football:01/11/2002 - Updated 07:23 PM ET:Super Bowl XXV play-by-play". USA Today. January 11, 2002. Retrieved April 14, 2022.
  3. ^ ABC Sports commentary of Super Bowl XXV
  4. ^ a b Karl Taro Greenfeld (July 12, 2004). "A Life After Wide Right Thirteen years after missing a Super Bowl-winning field goal, the ex-Bill views his worst moment as a step in the right direction". Sports Illustrated. Retrieved December 11, 2015.
  5. ^ Mosse, David (February 28, 2007). "What if Scott Norwood's kick had split the uprights?". ESPN. Retrieved December 11, 2015.

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