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Just three seasons after replacing legendary coach Tom Landry with Jimmy Johnson, then going 1-15 in Johnson's first season, the Dallas Cowboys won their third Super Bowl title, trouncing the Buffalo Bills 52-17 in Super Bowl XXVII at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena.
For Dallas, it was the franchise's first Super Bowl victory in 15 years; for Buffalo, it was a third straight Super Bowl loss. The Bills would go on to lose a fourth straight Super Bowl, also to the Cowboys, the following season.
Dallas easily covered the Super Bowl XXVII spread as 7-point favorites, and the game played OVER its total of 45.
Buffalo actually opened the scoring, taking advantage of a blocked punt that set up a short field goal, leading to a Thurman Thomas touchdown run and a 7-0 lead. But the wheels began to come off shortly afterward, as a pair of Bills turnovers allowed Dallas to score two touchdowns in a 15-second span.
Buffalo had a chance to tie the game with a first-and-goal situation from the Cowboys' four-yard line, but the Dallas defense stiffened, and Jim Kelly's pass on fourth down was intercepted in the end zone.
On the Bills' next drive Kelly re-injured his knee and was replaced by comeback specialist Frank Reich, who drove Buffalo to a field goal, cutting the deficit to 14-10. But the Cowboys scored again on a Troy Aikman-to-Michael Irvin touchdown connection, then recovered a Thomas fumble and scored on another Aikman-to-Irvin hook-up, sending Dallas into halftime with a 28-10 lead.
The Cowboys added a field goal in the third quarter to lead 31-10, before Reich hit Don Beebe from 40 yards out on the last play of the third quarter to bring the Bills to within 31-17.
But in the fourth quarter Aikman tossed a 45-yard scoring pass to Alvin Harper, running back Emmitt Smith ran in from 10 yards out and linebacker Ken Norton, Jr. returned a fumble for a score to provide the final tally.
The most memorable play of the game occurred late, when Dallas defensive end Leon Lett recovered another Buffalo fumble and appeared headed for another Cowboys touchdown. But Lett hot-dogged in the last 10 yards and got caught by Beebe, who knocked the ball out of his hands and through the end zone for a touch-back.
Buffalo set a new record for Super Bowl generosity by turning the ball over nine times.
Aikman was named the game's MVP, the 15th time through the first 27 Super Bowls a quarterback won the award.
The Cowboys victory gave the NFC nine straight Super Bowl titles; that streak would eventually reach 13. Also, Johnson became the first head coach to win both a Super Bowl and a college national championship.