By Justin LaDuca
1999, was a great year. It was the last year of a great decade. A decade in which sports fans witnessed greatness. From Michael Jordan winning six NBA Championships, to Ken Griffey Junior slugging home runs for the Seattle Mariners, there was plenty of excitement in 90s’ sports. 1999 was also the last season that the Buffalo Bills made it to the NFL Playoffs.
I was a four year old toddler that barely had the attention span to sit through a professional football game and watch it on television. Back then, the Bills played on Empire Sports Network, a local sports station that broadcasted games in the WNY market. Now, just because I wasn’t the die hard fan at age four that I am now at age twenty, I still knew who the Bills were. I always wore my youth sized, #7 Doug Flutie jersey and remember my brother and I eating his signature cereal, Flutie Flakes, every morning. This was the year the Bills had the NFL’s top rated defense, a decent coach in Wade Philips and an offense centered around star-studded wide receivers, Eric Moulds and Andre Reed…not to mention, an older Thurman Thomas at running back. The Bills soared to an 11-5 record, second place in the AFC East, behind the Division Champion, Indianapolis Colts, who finished 13-3
Doug Flutie was the man under center for all except one game during the ’99 season. That year Flutie passed for 3,171 yards, with 19 touchdowns and 16 interceptions. However, in the final week of the season, he was benched in favor of backup, Rob Johnson, who guided the Bills to a 31-6 beat-down over the Colts. Coach Wade Phillips decided to stick with Johnson as the starter for the team’s 2000 Wild Card playoff game. Now, we all know what happened in this game. The Bills had the game wrapped up, leading 16-15 with 16 seconds left in the fourth quarter, after a Steve Chrisite field goal. The rest is known infamously in Buffalo as the “Music City Forward Pass.” During the closing kickoff return, Titans player, Frank Whycheck, threw a “lateral pass” across the field to wide receiver, Kevin Dyson, who ran all the way into the endzone, thus leading the Titans to a 22-16 victory over the Bills.
Had Flutie played in this game who knows what would have happened. In my opinion, Buffalo would have won and would have been given a spark from Flutie, after a mediocre game from Rob Johnson who was 10 for 22 with 131 yards and no touchdowns or interceptions. So yeah…it kind’ve stings that the last playoff game your team went to ended with an illegal play. Not to mention, the game was fifteen years ago and the last season they clinched it was sixteen years ago.
With that being said, quite a lot has happened since the Buffalo Bills last made the playoffs. Here’s a list of a few things that have happened and gone on since the 1999-2000 NFL Season.
-The United States of America has had three Presidents. (Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama.)
-The Bills have had 13 starting quarterbacks. (Flutie, Johnson, Van Pelt, Bledsoe, Losman, Holcomb, Edwards, Fitzpatrick, Brohm, Manuel, Lewis, Tuel, Orton.)
-The Bills have had three different uniform designs. (early 90s-2001, 2002-2010, 2011-present.)
-I graduated Pre-K, attended grades K-12 and graduated high school in 2013, then attended two years of college. (Currently in my third year).
-We’ve gone through one decade. (2000-2010).
-Cell phones have dramatically changed from what they were once like in the year 1999
-Apple introduced the iPod, iPhone and iPad
-Sony introduced the Play Station 2, Playstation 3 and Playstation 4.
-All 8 Harry Potter movies were released.
…so although us Bills’ fans have been deprived of the NFL postseason for quite some time, I will now take us back to 1999 to see what was happening back when our team was actually good.
-The Buffalo Sabres made it to the Stanley Cup Finals…NO GOAL.
-The song All-Star by Smash Mouth was released and made it to No. 17 on the Billboard Charts.
-Star Wars: Episode I-The Phantom Menace was the number one movie at the box office.
-The video game Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater was released on Nintendo 64 and Playstation.
-Finally, Y 2K. This was that big scare in which everyone thought that once the year 2000 came along, the computers were all going to shut down and lead to the end of the world. You may have noticed, it didn’t happen.
Hopefully Bills’ fans, this year will be the year that the our team snaps it’s long overdue playoff drought. If so, we’ll be partying like it’s 1999.