For Bills fans, the wait is finally over. After decades of heartbreak including a brutal stretch of four straight Super Bowl losses in the 1990s, the Lombardi Trophy is, at long last, coming to Buffalo. It took a computer simulation and a stacked roster of all-time greats to pull it off, but for a legion of tortured Bills fans, the day of redemption has finally arrived.
Last week’s Madden 20 sim was a doozy with Philadelphia shocking Dallas on a last-second field goal from Jake Elliott. But this week, RADIO.COM dreamed even bigger, pitting the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions—two fan-bases that have never experienced the sweet taste of Super Bowl victory—against each other in a championship bout for the ages.
And if that wasn’t enough to satisfy the masses, we added an extra wrinkle—the two rosters were comprised entirely of former (and a few current) franchise icons with Matthew Stafford, Calvin Johnson, Barry Sanders, Jim Kelly, O.J. Simpson, Thurman Thomas and Andre Reed among those represented. Our most ambitious sim yet didn’t disappoint, producing a combined 77 points, surpassing Philadelphia’s triumph over New England in 2018 as the highest-scoring Super Bowl of all-time. It also had an ending for the ages.
It was all Bills in the first half with Buffalo jumping out to an early 16-2 advantage. Andre Reed starred with a pair of first-half end-zone visits, both courtesy of Bills legend Jim Kelly. The Hall-of-Fame QB was money all game, compiling 415 yards—the third-most in Super Bowl history—on stellar 38-of-50 passing. Detroit closed the gap to seven before halftime with Barry Sanders (who was inexplicably limited to a single carry) and Kenny Golladay both plunging in for six.
Played in front of a capacity crowd at Miami’s Hard Rock Stadium, Matthew Stafford battled the turnover bug all day. The Lions lifer put four interceptions on his Super Bowl ledger, none costlier than his misfire on fourth-and-goal from the Bills’ three-yard line with 14:17 to go in the fourth quarter. That play was preceded by a third-down incompletion to former Heisman winner Billy Sims, who reeled in a sideline bullet from Stafford but couldn’t keep his feet inbounds. Stafford was also victimized for a pick-six, one of two defensive touchdowns (that number stretches to three if you include a blocked extra-point that Benny Blades gathered and ran back for a Lions two-point conversion) submitted in Saturday’s affair.
Despite his mistake-laden performance, Stafford nonetheless threw for 366 yards, an output he accomplished on respectable 31-of-44 passing (70.5 completion percentage). The former No. 1 pick also slung a trio of touchdown passes in the losing effort. Golden Tate accounted for two of those including a 70-yard jailbreak that gave Detroit its first lead with 6:25 remaining.
The Bills answered in emphatic fashion, stealing the lead back for good on a 50-yard touchdown strike to Eric Moulds with 1:02 left in regulation. Moulds’ do-or-die conversion on fourth-and-ten will go down as one of the great grabs in championship history, joining Julian Edelman, David Tyree, Santonio Holmes and Plaxico Burress in the pantheon of memorable Super Bowl catches. Stafford had a chance to be the hero, but his rebuttal fell flat as the Lions, despite having two timeouts to work with, could not get into field-goal range. Tate’s team-high 121 receiving yards for Detroit proved not enough as the Bills held on to win a 40-37 nail-biter.
Tony Greene was chosen as the game’s MVP on the strength of his first-half pick-six, becoming just the 10th defensive player and first since Denver’s Von Miller in 2016 to earn the honor. This was Buffalo’s first title in five championship tries while the Lions took an L in their Super Bowl debut. Hopefully you tuned into our 1 PM ET livestream, but if not, you can watch the full sim here.