NFL kickers must have short memories. But for Scott Norwood, no one will let him forget about the most-famous missed kick in Super Bowl history.
You know the details by now: Norwood missed a 47-yard field goal in the final seconds of Super Bowl XXV that handed a 20-19 victory to the New York Giants and prevented the Buffalo Bills from winning a long-awaited title in January of 1991.
It was a devastating moment for Norwood and the Bills, who were at the beginning of four straight Super Bowl losses. Norwood’s boot – which sailed two feet wide to the right – was as close as they came to the ultimate victory.
Not long after the disheartening defeat to end the prior season, Norwood and his teammates returned to Buffalo, where a throng of 30,000 fans met the team along the way to City Hall.
Norwood cried, but the good people of Buffalo had his back.
“You start hearing this chant: ‘Scotty, Scotty, Scotty.’ Holy cow, you think maybe they’re going to quit, but they won’t,” former Bills special teams coach Bruce DeHaven told The Buffalo News last year.
“Then someone pushed (Norwood) up there. It was right at the start, the first thing. It was an incredible experience. Nobody could ever understand … unless you’ve lived here.”
Norwood welled up with emotion and told the crowd, “I know I’ve never felt more loved than this right now. I am going to dedicate the next season to all of you.”
Unfortunately, that was the last time most people heard of Norwood. He played one more season in Buffalo, where his confidence obviously was affected by his goat status in the big game. The former Pro Bowl kicker made just 18-of-29 kicks during the 1991 campaign and never played in the NFL again.
Since then, Norwood has become infamous.
The 1994 comedy “Ace Ventura” featured a tortured character named Ray Finkle – inspired by Norwood – whose obsession centered around a fictional missed kick in which holder Dan Marino didn’t spin the laces out for a Super Bowl kick.
Laces out, Dan … and Frank.
“Was it the perfect hold? No, it wasn’t because the laces weren’t in the perfect spot,” Norwood’s holder, Bills backup QB Frank Reich, told The Buffalo News.
Whether that truly affected Norwood’s kick still is up for debate, but it’s clear that the fallout from the miss will be fodder forever. The 1998 movie “Buffalo ’66″ centered its plot around a man intending to murder the Bills’ kicker years later as revenge for a losing a bet on the Super Bowl.
And each time a kicker hooks one left or pushes one right in a big spot – like the missed 32-yarder by the Baltimore Ravens’ Billy Cundiff in last month’s AFC Championship Game – the memory of Norwood always is rekindled.
That’s no thanks to Norwood, who routinely denies interview requests from media members who want to recant his story during the NFL playoffs every year. He did not respond a request Lost Lettermen made to the Bills, either. His phone number is unlisted and his former employer did not know of his whereabouts.
But we do know that Norwood is living in Aldie, VA. He grew up in Alexandria, VA, and went to nearby James Madison. The Wellsville Daily reported that Norwood has been a financial planner, insurance salesman and real estate agent since his retirement. He worked at RE/MAX but no longer does.
No matter where he’s employed, Norwood always will be that guy who missed the field goal in the Super Bowl – a moniker he embraces but from which he doesn’t shy away.
“It’s inevitable to think about it, especially at certain times of the year, like during the playoffs when it’s more prevalent in the media,” Norwood told the Wellsville Daily. “I certainly don’t dwell on it. I’ve moved on and have it in its proper place and perspective.”
Even if everyone else hasn’t.