Back with NFL Thursday today to look at the Dallas Cowboys and their second-consecutive Super Bowl victory over the Buffalo Bills—the first time we had a successive rematch in the NFL title game since 1967. This one was much closer than Super Bowl XXVII, although the end result was the same: heartbreak for Buffalo. But enough blather … on with the show!

(For this specific article, check out our first NFL miniseries entry on this season for context.)

Super Bowl XXVIII MVP: Emmitt Smith, RB, Dallas (original); James Washington, S, Dallas (revised)

The Bills led the Cowboys, 13-6, at halftime, and it looked like Buffalo actually have had a shot at breaking its Super Bowl losing streak (having lost three in a row to this point). But alas, it was not to be. Dallas safety James Washington, who had a heck of game (see below), returned a fumble for a touchdown early in the third quarter, and it was all Cowboys running Emmitt Smith after that.

Smith won the MVP vote, as he piled up 158 scrimmage yards and 2 TDs, both after Washington’s game-changing fumble return. Dallas won the game, 30-13. As for Washington himself? Eleven tackles, an INT, a forced fumble, one pass defensed, and the fumble return for the big TD that put the Cowboys back in the driver’s seat. The only thing he didn’t do was register a sack, really.

So, who was more responsible for and valuable in this victory? We’re going with Washington here, as the Bills just deflated psychologically after his TD. Where was Smith in the first half, for example? With Dallas quarterback Troy Aikman having a mediocre day (only 207 yards, no TDs, 1 INT), Smith certainly wasn’t visible in the first half. The credit for turning this game the Cowboys’ way goes to Washington.

1993 NFL ROTY: Jerome Bettis, RB, Los Angeles & Dana Stubblefield, DT, San Francisco (original); Stubblefield (revised)

While the NFC East was winning a fourth-straight Super Bowl, two players from the NFC West won ROTY votes: Los Angeles Rams Jerome Bettis (1,673 scrimmage yards and 7 TDs) and San Francisco 49ers defensive tackle Dana Stubblefield (10.5 sacks, 1 FF). The Rams won just 5 games, while the 49ers went 10-6 to win the division. That gives Stubblefield the lead, as we look over other potential candidates.

And there really is no one else, so this award will go to Stubblefield in a down year for rookies, overall. There were some solid performances from first-year players, but like Bettis, they played for really bad teams and had little value there—or else they just didn’t pile up enough statistics to register high on the value scale. Either way, we have our singular winner.