Counting down the weekdays to Super Bowl LI on Feb. 5 in Houston, we look back at the 50 greatest Super Bowl competitors from the ASN family of schools as calculated one year ago. Today: 29.
The Buffalo Bills’ unwelcome legacy — four consecutive Super Bowl appearances without a victory in the 1990s — is slowly yielding to a more appreciative view as individual players from the era continue to make their way into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in Canton, Ohio.
Steve Christie, the Bills’ kicker in two of their four Super Bowls, isn’t likely heading there, although one of his cleats has already arrived.
Christie was a member of the 1992 Bills’ team that staged the greatest comeback in NFL history. Buffalo rallied from a 35-3 deficit in an AFC Wild Card game to beat the Houston Oilers, 41-38, on Jan. 3, 1993.
Christie recovered an onsides kick in the third quarter and his 32-yarder in overtime sent the Bills into the next round of the playoffs and his shoe to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. He said that field goal stands out the most in his career. "It was only 32 yards," he said, "but in the ebb and flow of that game, was unparalleled."
Also unparalleled is Christie’s 54-yarder against the Dallas Cowboys in the first quarter of Super Bowl XXVIII, the longest field goal in Super Bowl history.
In his two Super Bowls, both losses to the Cowboys, Christie was flawless, going 3-for-3 on field-goal attempts and 3-for-3 on PATs.
Christie attended William & Mary, where he departed as the school’s all-time leading scorer. A first-team All-American in 1989, Christie was also a three-time first-team All-ECAC placekicker and punter.
William & Mary head coach Jimmye Laycock recruited the elite soccer prospect from Hamilton, Ontario, because he saw great potential in Christie as an “American” footballer, according to Tribe sports historian Pete Kalison.
After his career with the Tribe, Christie signed as a free agent with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 1990. He played two seasons for the Bucs before joining the Bills.
“Here’s an opportunity to go from a team that in many ways felt like a semi-pro situation to a team that’s on top,” said Christie in a BuffaloBills.com interview of moving from the last-place Bucs (3-13 in 1991) to the two-time defending AFC champs.
His career spanned four teams (Bucs, Bills, San Diego Chargers, New York Giants) and he amassed 1,476 regular-season career points. Christie added another 97 postseason points and holds the Bills’ single season (140 in 1998) and career (1,011) points records.
Christie was selected one of Kalison's 11 greatest players in William & Mary history and one of the 50 greatest players in Bills history.
Tom Flynn is a freelance writer based in Baltimore. Follow him on Twitter at @tomflynn51.