Justin and Janet may have the most famous Super Bowl wardrobe malfunction but Thurman Thomas and the Buffalo Bills are a close second.
Every Bills fan, and most NFL fans have heard a version of what happened at the start of Super Bowl XXVI in Minneapolis. After Washington opened up the game with a three and out that season's NFL MVP, Thurman Thomas, was preparing to get on the field with the rest of the Bills offense. The only problem was Thomas’ helmet was not where he had left it prior to the coin toss.
As people scrambled on the sideline Marv Levy leaned into his equipment manager. "Coach turns around and screams my name, ‘Hojo, where the #$%@ is Thurman’s helmet?!". (Levy would apologize after the game for his tone and language)
Before every game Bills equipment manager Dave Hojnowski expected the helmet to be where it always was. It was always on the table where the team kept the drinks. It was right to the left of that behind the bench for the offense.
|1991 Thurman Thomas||Touches||Yards||TDs||Yds/Touch|
|Thomas avg. Season and Playoffs||24||132||1||5.56|
|Thomas Super Bowl XXVI||14||40||1||2.86|
While Levy was yelling at Hojnowski Thurman was franticly running around looking for his helmet. He enlisted up to a half dozen people in the hunt for Thurman's hat but the defense held Washington to a three and out so backup Kenny Davis starts on offense and gets a yard on first down on a run to the left. A Jim Kelly scramble on 2nd-and-9 netted four yards.
Then the helmet was found at the other end of the bench, the defensive end of the bench.
So Thurman took the field for the 3rd-and-5, but Kelly is sacked and the Bills go three-and-out as well.
So how did the helmet end up lost?
"I firmly believe that one of his teammates picked up Thurman’s helmet thinking it was theirs and walked to the other end of the bench and realized it wasn’t his helmet, put it down and then went to find his own," said Hojnowski.
Buffalo's second consecutive Super Bowl should have given the Bills the confidence of having been there before, like we saw out of the 2014 San Antonio Spurs. Instead the team was too loose which led to missing helmets and sloppy play. It was embarrassing, but was it worse than the Flutie Fumble?