Troy Aikman stood behind center Mark Stepnoski and looked across the line of scrimmage at the Washington Redskins' defense.
One play to win the Super League Super Bowl.
One yard to the end zone.
One second remaining in the game.
The 1992 Dallas Cowboys trailed the '91 Redskins 23-17. What do you call?
Aikman had just thrown an incomplete pass intended for Michael Irvin, as cornerback Darrell Green had batted down the throw. With the season on the line, the Cowboys decided to run their bread-and-butter play: Emmitt Smith behind left tackle Mark Tuinei and left guard Nate Newton -- two-fifths of one of the greatest offensive lines in NFL history.
Smith took the handoff from Aikman and rammed into the huge backside of Newton. There was no opening. The play was stuffed by defensive tackles Tim Johnson and Eric Williams and linebackers Matt Millen and Andre Collins. The 1991 Washington Redskins were Super League champions.
One of the most underrated teams in NFL history had finally earned a little respect. The '91 Redskins were a dominant team. Coached by Joe Gibbs, they led the NFL in scoring and allowed the second-fewest points. They led the NFL in rushing attempts and yards per passing attempt, as Mark Rypien had a terrific season with 28 TD passes and only 11 interceptions. Green and Charles Mann led the defense. The team lost only twice -- 24-21 to Dallas and 24-22 to Philadelphia in the season finale when the Eagles rallied against Redskins reserves. It crushed Buffalo 37-24 in the Super Bowl. (Two late Buffalo scores made the game appear closer than it actually was.)
Dallas scored first in the Super League championship, marching 80 yards behind Smith, who raced in from 7 yards out. The Redskins took a 10-7 lead in the second quarter on a Chip Lohmiller field goal and Rypien TD strike to Ricky Sanders. However, a Rypien interception just before halftime set up a Cowboys field goal to make it 10-10 at intermission.
Washington took the opening kickoff of the second half and drove 68 yards for a touchdown, with Earnest Byner plunging in from 2 yards out. But Lohmiller missed the extra point. The Cowboys took a 17-16 lead on Aikman's 10-yard TD pass to Jay Novacek.
The winning drive came midway through the fourth quarter, with Rypien connecting with Gary Clark for a 34-yard score. Clark beat rookie corner Kevin Smith down the sideline. Clark was named the game's MVP with six catches for 114 yards. Smith had 136 yards rushing for Dallas.