The 1990 NFL season saw some of the more modernized helmet (and entire uniform) designs throughout the NFL. What I mainly mean is that darker colors (namely the color black), which became more apparent throughout the latter half of the decade and into the 2000s.
We’re no longer seeing the bright colors that teams identified with once upon a time once the turn of the century commenced, so the 1990s became the last hurrah for many teams, which continues to this day, two decades into the 2000s.
The 1990s started it all, and for this reason, I decided to cover the 1990, 1995, 1998, and not listed on my original article but something I decided to insert, 1999, when the NFL sported an odd number of teams for the first time since 1966.
Not only did 1990 become significant in the uniform sector, but it also held one of the most exciting finishes to the season in NFL history.
New facemasks for the Jets in an otherwise unchanged division.
New logo design for the Chargers, now featuring a white lightning bolt with a yellow outline and blue facemasks.
Kansas City Chiefs: 11-5
The St. Louis Cardinals bolted for Phoenix, Arizona to become the Phoenix Cardinals in 1988. No major helmet changes occurred.
New facemasks for the Vikings, which are now purple.
New, black helmet shells for the Falcons.
Los Angeles Raiders: 3
Buffalo Bills: 51
No, that’s not a typo, it’s one of the largest blowouts in AFC Championship history.
1990 kicked off four straight seasons that saw the Buffalo Bills play in four straight Super Bowls, with many to this day considering the Bills team of the early-1990s a dynasty, despite the results of each of the four Super Bowls.
On the other hand, the Raiders looked to return to their first Super Bowl since 1983, falling drastically short of the result. It would be the last AFC Championship Game for the Raiders until 2000.
New York Giants: 15
San Francisco 49ers: 13
Looking to play in their third straight Super Bowl, the favored 49ers fell short of the
New York Giants, who last won a Super Bowl Championship in 1986, their first as a franchise, also defeating the 49ers in that season as well.
This set up a Super Bowl showdown in both eastern divisions and markets in the State of New York, with the Giants taking on the Bills in Super Bowl XXV.
Super Bowl XXV
Buffalo Bills: 19
New York Giants: 20
The Buffalo Bills took a 12-10 lead at halftime, looking to win their first Super Bowl but fell 17-12 at the end of the third quarter. Early in the fourth, the BIlls retook the lead on a touchdown from running back Thurman Thomas, but midway through the Giants struck back, leading 20-19.
This allowed the Bills to drive down the field for one last shot to take the lead. Kicker Scott Norwood took the field with eight seconds to go as the Bills chose to kick a field goal rather than try another play to move closer within Norwood’s range, said to be capped at 47 yards, the length of the kick itself.
Also, the playing surface was grass, and it was noted Norwood missed four of five field goal attempts from 40+ yards on a grass surface. While the kick was long enough, it sailed wide right by about a foot, allowing the Giants to take possession and run out the clock, ending the Bills’ Super Bowl hopes.