TAMPA, JAN. 28 -- Buffalo fans gave the Bills a heroes' welcome today and saved the biggest cheers for the man who failed to win the Super Bowl, kicker Scott Norwood.

"We love Scott! We love Scott!" shouted a crowd estimated at 25,000.

Scott Norwood, who missed a last-second field goal that would have won the game, had tears in his eyes when he got to the podium.

"I've got to tell you that we're struggling with this right now," he said, his voice breaking. "I know I've never felt more loved than this right now.

"We all realize the sun's going to come up tomorrow, and we're going to start preparing this football team. I'm dedicating next season to the fans of Buffalo."

"I'm very down, but I feel good about it too," said John Mye, a warehouse worker from Cheektowaga, N.Y. "It was one of those that could have gone either way. They're still the best." . . .

In New Jersey, about 500 fans donned Giants earmuffs, sunglasses and jackets as they honked horns and waved American flags to welcome home the Super Bowl champions. They chanted "We're number one!" and "U.S.A.!" as team buses inched through the jumping fans eagerly trying to glimpse the players outside Giants Stadium in East Rutherford.

Inside, Gov. Jim Florio invited the team to the statehouse so he could thank the "New Jersey Giants" on behalf of fans in the state. Owner Wellington Mara did not accept or refuse, saying the team wanted to rest before deciding how best to celebrate the victory.

In New York, Mayor David Dinkins is to issue a proclamation Wednesday honoring the Giants. He will present keys to the city to Coach Bill Parcells and owners Wellington and Tim Mara. Dinkins said last week he considers the Giants a regional team. Hostetler vs. Simms

Jeff Hostetler not only led the Giants to a Super Bowl victory while subbing for injured Phil Simms, he showed he can do some things Simms can't. He's a better scrambler and is outstanding at play-action passes.

But if the Giants are headed for a training camp quarterback controversy next summer, Coach Bill Parcells tried to delay it at least until the victory has been digested.

"No, there's no controversy," he said. "I've got two pretty good quarterbacks. I always say I'll go by what I see in camp. We'll figure out how to start camp somewhere down the road. Jeff has earned a tremendous amount of consideration. But we were 10-0 with Phil Simms, and he's one of my guys. I don't have a crystal ball." . . .

The NFL fined Bills Coach Marv Levy $5,000 for missing a mandatory Super Bowl interview last Tuesday. He failed to show up for the first interview session of the week, claiming he had too much work to do on the game plan. . . .

The Giants entered with four basic defensive schemes. The one they didn't use was their basic 3-4 in case the Bills dropped the no-huddle offense. But against the no-huddle, the Giants used three other combinations.

There was Big Nickel and Little Nickel. The latter had five defensive backs, and in Big Nickel, Pepper Johnson lined up as a down lineman. In Little Nickel, he dropped into coverage. There was also a six-defensive back Dime coverage in which the Giants opened and stayed with much of the first half.

"You're giving up something in run defense," Parcells said, "and when Thurman Thomas started hurting us we went to the nickel in the second half. We took a lot of things away. {Jim} Kelly had to hold the ball a lot because things were covered. If we'd done a better job tackling Thomas {135 yards rushing and 55 receiving} we'd have controlled the game defensively."