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Together Again
Austin Murphy
May 17, 1993
When Don Beebe first met Leon Lett, the result was the most memorable moment of Super Bowl XXVII; three months later they meet anew—with mixed emotions
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May 17, 1993

Together Again

When Don Beebe first met Leon Lett, the result was the most memorable moment of Super Bowl XXVII; three months later they meet anew—with mixed emotions

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Having finished their reunion brunch, Beebe and Lett head over to the Beebe residence. Neither man has yet sat down to watch a tape of the Super Bowl, now three months in the past. Beebe, in fact, hasn't watched any of the Bills' three Super Bowl defeats.

Lett is in no hurry to watch himself on TV. Having settled comfortably into Beebe's sofa, he immerses himself in The Price Is Right. "That ol' Bob Barker is still looking pretty good," he says.

To ease the impending sting of the videotape for Lett, they agree not to immediately fast-forward to his fumble. They will first review Lett's Super Bowl highlights...and one minor low. On his first play of the game, Lett draws a 15-yard penalty for roughing Kelly. Beebe insists on reviewing the infraction in slow motion. "I just brushed him," grouses Lett.

"Oh, you could have held up," says Beebe, laughing.

"I know. But, see, I was anxious to hit somebody."

Lett pops up again on Buffalo's next possession. Cowboy defensive end Charles Haley nails Kelly at the Buffalo one, the ball spurts out of Kelly's hands, bounces off Lett's helmet and into the arms of defensive tackle Jimmie Jones, who scores a touchdown. Later, in the second quarter, when Lett forces running back Thurman Thomas to fumble, Jones recovers. Reviewing the play in slow motion, Lett can't hide the resentment in his voice: "I've got my hand on the ball—watch how Jimmie steals it from me."

Midway through the fourth quarter, with the Cowboys leading 52-17, Bill wide receiver Steve Tasker catches a pass from Kelly's backup, Reich. Lett chases the play 20 yards downfield and clubs the ball out of Tasker's arms. "Whoa," says Beebe, "that's a great play."

"Thanks," Lett says. "It was strange out there. Sometimes you go for weeks without seeing the ball up close. Against you guys it was right there, all night."

An understatement, to be sure. Lett's momentous fourth-quarter folly was made possible by Buffalo's ninth turnover—a Super Bowl record. The tape is winding down now toward the last five minutes of the game. On fourth-and-six from the Buffalo 31-yard line, Dallas defensive end Jim Jeffcoat bears down on Reich and strips him of the ball, which lands, literally, at Lett's feet.

Time to pick the scab. "If it's a close game, I'd just fall on it," says Lett. "But it's late in the game, we're blowing them out, so I decided, Why not? All I saw were offensive linemen, and I knew none of those guys was going to catch me." His cockiness would appear to have been well-founded: Lett's best 40 time is 4.7, extraordinarily fast for a down lineman.

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