While every NFL game is unpredictable, some can be more so than others.
Either through an unexpected game result or a play that we have never seen before.
While these games are great entertainment, they can cause a real upset in the world of NFL betting. One of those historical games is what has been dubbed the Music City Miracle.
This game took place on January 8th, 2000, during a Wild Card playoff game of the NFL 1999-2000 playoffs. The match was between the Tennessee Titans and the Buffalo Bills and took place in the Adelphia Coliseum in Nashville, Tennessee.
The outcome of this game was affected before the game even began. The Buffalo Bills coach Wade Phillips started quarterback Rob Johnson rather than Doug Flutie, who had led the Bills into the playoffs after starting 15 games.
This was shocking news to pretty much everyone, especially the players who had built up a relationship with Flutie. On statistical websites, this decision was said to be the worst coaching decision in NFL history.
While the game is mainly remembered for the ending, the game itself was a tight competition. There were no scores in the first quarter, and by the end of the first half, the score was 12-0, with the Bills losing.
Near the end of the second half, the Bills were in the lead with 13-12.
In the last 6 minutes of the game, the scores were closely rising, with the Bills scoring a field goal giving them a 16-15 lead. This goal was by the Bills kicker Steve Christie, and it seemed as if the Bills had won the game.
The iconic play happened in the final 16 seconds of the game. It was called the ‘Home Run Throwback’ and was developed by the special team’s coordinator Alan Lowry.
Initially, Kevin Dyson was put in as a trailer for Isaac Byrd. Dyson was one of the team’s wide receivers; he wasn’t well acquainted with the special team as he rarely practiced with them.
This meant that head coach Jeff Fisher had to pull Dyson aside before the play to explain to him what was going to happen. Despite the crash course, Dyson performed his role perfectly.
On the final kick-off return, the Titan’s tight end Frank Wycheck threw the ball across the field to Dyson. Dyson then ran 75 yards into the end zone to score the winning touchdown. The final score was 22-16, with victory going to the Tennessee Titans.
While the play may have seemed meticulously planned, Dyson wasn’t ‘supposed’ to run to the end zone. His instructions were to get the ball and go out of bounds so that the Titans could kick a winning field goal.
However, Dyson saw that he only had Christie and Donovan Greer in his path to a touchdown. So he decided to keep running and let the Titan’s blockers take them down.
While it was an exciting event to watch, the replay officials wanted to review the play to see if Wycheck’s throw was legal or not. Fans were on the edge of their seats to hear if the score would stand. In the end, referee Phil Luckett deemed the throw legal.
While Titans fans were happy with this outcome, Luckett had a controversial history. In the 1998 NFL season, Luckett had 2 other highly disputed calls. The first was between the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Detroit Lions; the second was during a match between the Seattle Seahawks and the New York Jets.
While the initial footage of the throw was deemed inconclusive to overturn the referee ruling because players were blocking the shot, NFL Films hired a computer analyst to watch the footage and give a conclusive answer.
After further review, the computer analyst determined that Luckett made the right call. They were able to prove that the throw from Wycheck was indeed a lateral pass and didn’t travel forward.
In 2021, the Titans attempted to do this exact same play against the Bills again. Only this time, it was ruled illegal.
Many Buffalo Bills fans consider this to be their greatest loss, despite their defeat in the previous 4 Super Bowls.
The Music City Miracle really shows how a game’s outcome can completely change with only a few seconds left on the clock.
The lesson learned from this game should be to never let your guard down and never stop trying.
Featured Image: Music City Miracles