Chapter 5, Page 183

Earnest Byner Dives Plunging for points: Earnest Byner dives for the first Super Bowl XXVI touchdown after pulling in a pass from Mark Rypien.
(Joel Richardson/The Washington Post)
Bills running back Thurman Thomas, who missed the first play of the game after losing his helmet, was held to a gain of just 13 yards in 10 carries.

That Super Bowl proved what a lot of people already knew: Gibbs would be remembered as one of the great coaches in history and the only one to win Super Bowls with three different starting quarterbacks. "I've never felt more humble in my life," Gibbs said. "The Good Lord has blessed me to have this owner and to be around these players."

At the end of the game, as Cooke was being escorted into the winning locker room, he turned to Casserly and said, "I can't believe we won." Years later Casserly would remark, "It was the only time I ever heard him say something like that."

Casserly himself had good cause to celebrate. He had stepped into the large chair vacated by Beathard and not only had survived but thrived. The NFL offers a limited form of free agency called Plan B in which every team allows a few players to test the open market. Casserly was brilliant in Plan B, managing to keep the players he wanted and to sift through the lists of overpaid fading stars and young unproved stars to find all sorts of gems. Beathard had put together the nucleus of the 1991 championship team, but Casserly used Plan B to acquire four defensive starters, including both starting safeties, Brad Edwards and Danny Copeland. He also got pass-rushing specialist Jumpy Geathers in Plan B.

Page 183 | Next Page: 184

Other Pages in Chapter 5:
172, 173, 174, 175, 176, 177, 178, 179, 180, 181, 182, 183, 184, 185, 186, 187, 188, 189, 190, 191, 192, 193, 194, 195, 196, 197, 198, 199, 200, 201, 202, 203, 204, 205

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Names, Numbers
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