What a virtuoso week it was for Buffalo Bills running back Thurman Thomas, pro football's MVC—most valuable crybaby. Thomas's seventh day in Minneapolis ended with him sitting in front of his locker at the Metrodome after haying one of the worst games of his life, but he didn't appear upset. He was singing a happy song to himself and reading the comic that came with the bubble gum he'd just unwrapped. The comic also had a fortune written across the bottom.
"You know what your fortune is?" fullback Carwell Gardner said, looking on.
"Huh?" Thomas said.
"You're going to lose the Super Bowl today!" Gardner said.
They both yukked it up over that one. It was almost as funny as what Thomas had said three days earlier during an interview session at Buffalo's hotel—that he was unloved, un-respected and also the " Michael Jordan of the Bills." On Sunday, Thomas looked more like the Greg Kite of the Bills. He lost his helmet—lost his helmet in the Super Bowl!—as the game began and bad to miss the Bills' first two offensive plays. He wound up with 10 rushes for 13 yards and four receptions for 27 yards. Then he complained about how little e bad been used in the game. Then he complained about how little he had been used in last year's Super Bowl.
Here's a perfect illustration of his play on Sunday. Trailing 24-3 in the third quarter, Buffalo was rallying and had first-and-goal at the Washington one—time for Thomas to dive over the pile and into the end zone. But when he took the handoff from quarterback Jim Kelly, instead of leaping Jordanesquely for the sure touchdown, Thomas leaned into the pile and gained nothing. That was hardly the right way to impress a nation you're hoping will respect you in the morning.
"I wasn't getting the ball enough," he said after the game.
"I work my butt off all week in practice, and then the game comes and I don't touch the ball. The coaches know they have to get the ball to me if we're going to win the game."
Then he made his complaint retroactive by 52 weeks, saying, "I don't feel I got the ball enough last year, either." He touched it 20 times and gained 190 yards in Buffalo's 20-19 Super Bowl XXV loss to the New York Giants.
Thomas was snubbed to some extent on Sunday, but the Bills had fallen behind 17-0 midway through the second quarter, and they called 25 straight pass plays soon thereafter in an attempt to get back into the game. Of course, he would have gotten one or two more carries had he not lost his helmet. "I couldn't find it," he said. "Somebody moved it."