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January 30, 1994: Buffalo Bills play in fourth straight Super Bowl

The Buffalo Bills appeared in their fourth straight Super Bowl on this date 20 years ago.

Doug Pensinger
Matt Warren is Associate Director of NFL coverage for SB Nation and previously covered the Bills for Buffalo Rumblings for more than a decade.

The Buffalo Bills of the 1990s will always be thought of as losers on the grandest stage by national fans and commentators - a punchline to a joke never told. In Buffalo, those teams achieved a great accomplishment playing in four straight Super Bowls, a run that ended on this date 20 years ago, when the Bills lost to the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl XXVIII.

Things began ominously for Bills fans as Dallas returned the opening kickoff 50 yards, but Buffalo's last-ranked defense held. After trading field goals, the Bills were down 6-3 at the end of the first quarter before a second quarter Thurman Thomas touchdown run gave Buffalo their first Super Bowl lead since the fourth quarter of Super Bowl XXV. Steve Christie added a field goal, and the Bills led 13-6 at halftime.

After the half, Buffalo's offense was out of sync and didn't score again the rest of the way. (Buffalo News scribe Mark Guaghan wrote at the time that first down production cost the team in the half.) The Cowboys rallied with 24 points in the second half to win easily, 30-13.

Questions surrounded the Buffalo defense heading into the game after surrendering the most yards in the league during the regular season. Troy Aikman had only 207 yards passing and an interception, however, while Michael Irvin was held in check to the tune of five catches for 66 yards. Emmitt Smith had a nice day on the ground, rumbling for 132 yards and two touchdowns to be named the game's MVP.

As was the case in previous Super Bowls, turnovers were an Achilles heel for the Bills. A Thomas fumble in the first quarter led directly to the Cowboys' second field goal, and his second fumble of the game was returned 46 yards for a touchdown to open the second half. Buffalo never shook that off. On the ensuing possession, they went three-and-out after a sack and didn't get the ball past the Dallas 46-yard line until the final two minutes with the game well out of hand.

Despite losing all four, most of the Bills have publicly said they wouldn't trade the run of four Super Bowls for one win.