Twenty years later, Don Beebe and Leon Lett remain friends past the famous highlight.
You probably remember the sequence: On Jan. 31, 1993, Buffalo Bills wide receiver Don Beebe ran down Dallas Cowboys defensive tackle Leon Lett and stripped him of the ball before Lett was able to score off a fumble recovery. Beebe was on the side that was losing by five touchdowns — the Cowboys would end up winning 52-17 — but he didn't quit on the play. The Bills recovered the ball, the Cowboys would not score again and the two players would be forever linked in one highlight that showed one player hustling while the other hot-dogged.
Beebe and Lett got together to talk about the play – the first time on camera they have done so, according to CBS – before this year's Super Bowl. And Beebe gave Lett a lot of credit, although praising Lett isn't something that most people associate with that play.
(AP)Beebe appreciated that Lett has used that play to teach others a life lesson, and that he was willing to come on the "Phil Simms' All-Iron Team" show as part of CBS' pregame coverage to relive it yet again.
"It takes a certain amount of humility from a person to say the things he has said and use this play to impact people," Beebe said on the show. "He could have just said, 'I don't want to talk about it.' But that just tells you the character of this guy and that's why we've become friends through this whole ordeal. Here we are 20 years later and we're still talking about this crazy thing."
It is pretty amazing the play has endured so long considering it didn't make any difference in the outcome. A lot of that has to do with the bigger picture of Beebe continuing to battle even though his team was going to lose (and that Lett provided easy fodder for critics of the modern athlete, however unfair that may be).
"I mean, Don was down 52-17," Lett said on CBS. "It was a blowout. And for all intents and purposes most people would shut it down. But he didn't. He kept fighting. He finished the play and it was a big play. As he knocked the ball out, I'm like, 'What just happened?'
"For me, it's been a life lesson. Even though you see the goal line, don't dance until you get across it."
Beebe has empathy for Lett, who hasn't been remembered in history as one of the best players on the dominant 1990s Cowboys teams, but for his moment of embarrassment. Lett's play was named the No. 1 Super Bowl blunder of all time on Simms' show.
"So many times I've been asked about this play, I try to put myself in his position," Beebe said. "If you're a D-lineman and you're about to score (your first touchdown) in the Super Bowl ... I'm not sure what would have done."
Both men are more than a decade removed from their NFL playing days. Beebe eventually founded the "House of Speed" training facilities and is the head football coach at Aurora Christian High School in Illinois. He links to a video of "The Play" with Lett on the homepage of his website.
The first thing that stands out about Lett, meanwhile, is how different he looks. Lett appears to have dropped maybe 100 pounds since his playing days. He has also been successful off the field. In May of 2009 he graduated from UNLV with a degree in university studies. He is an assistant defensive line coach for the Cowboys. Lett mentions Beebe on the homepage of his website too, touting the two as a motivational speaking team.
For a play that didn't change who won Super Bowl XXVII, the play has certainly had a huge impact on the lives of the two men involved
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