What is the Music City Miracle?

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The Music City Miracle was a Hail Mary play during a wildcard playoff game between the Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans. The game was played at the Adelphia Coliseum (now LP field) in Nashville, Tennessee on January 8, 2000. The game itself resulted in the firing of Bills special teams coach Bruce Dehaven after 13 seasons.

Buffalo Bills and Tennessee Titans

Tennessee Titans Playoffs

The Bills had led 16-15 until the final moments of the game, despite the Bills having started Rob Johnson over Doug Flutie who had started the majority of the season. Lorenzo Neal handed the ball off to tight end Frank Wycheck who threw the ball to Kevin Dyson. The ball was run into the end zone for a 71 yard touchdown.

This was highly controversial because of the uncertainty of whether or not the pass had been a forward lateral. When Wade Phillips was hired as the Dallas Cowboys head coach, he still insisted that it was a forward lateral and referred to the play as “The Music City Mistake”.

Music city miracle diagram – image by thelegendaryplay.com

However, game official Phil Luckitt felt otherwise. The review was a very long one but the ruling on the field stood because he felt that there was not conclusive evidence of a forward pass. Without conclusive evidence, an official cannot overturn the initial ruling. The Titans kicked off to the Bills after the touchdown was confirmed, but there was not nearly enough time left to mount a comeback.

2000 Buffalo Bills

This was the Bills last playoff appearance and started a drought that would last a decade. Wade Phillips was fired the following season because, while he made the playoffs several times during his tenure, he never won a playoff game.

Wade Phillips – image by sportdwf.com

The fired Bruce Dehaven was rehired by Bills Coach Chan Gaily in 2010. The Music City Miracle has been ranked alongside Scott Norwood’s missed field goal in Super Bowl XXV as one of the biggest heartbreaks in Buffalo Bills history.

The Tennessee Titans advanced to the Super Bowl that year but lost to the St. Louis Rams. In this Super Bowl, the Titans came very close to repeating a miracle (of the more traditional variety) but were stopped one yard short of the goal line on what would have otherwise been a game-winning touchdown drive.

Music City Miracle is one of the biggest heartbreaks in Buffalo Bills history – image by tennessean.com

History of the Buffalo Bills

The moment itself has resonated ever since the game. For example, it is used as part of the NFL Network’s commercial for NFL Films, which is promoted as capturing the essence of pro football’s most critical moments. Perhaps appropriately, Scott Norwood’s missed field goal is also part of that commercial.

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