After San Diego’s Rodney Harrison came down on the knee of projected starting quarterback Trent Green in a 1999 preseason game, the Rams were installed at 300-1 odds to win Super Bowl XXXIV.
Kurt Warner ended up making a lot of coin for those who took up that bet. But what would have been the chances of Warner leading St. Louis to the NFL’s first 19-0 campaign?
That would had been beyond Leicester City odds.
But the Greatest Show on Turf ran roughshod through the NFL and gave opponents its own Y2K crisis, as in how to possibly beat this team. In this sim at least, no one had the answer.
- There would be no Music City Miracle in the 1999 postseason. The Buffalo Bills earned the AFC’s top seed with a 12-4 record while the Tennessee Titans missed the playoffs at 9-7.
- The Rams had little margin for error in securing the NFC’s top seed, as the Dallas Cowboys (8-8 in real life) somehow compiled a 15-1 record themselves.
- The Rams completed the seventh undefeated regular season in sim history, only one the previous six (’67 Raiders) went on to win the Super Bowl.
- Green Bay Packers coach Ray Rhodes received a pink slip hours after the completion of his team’s 6-10 campaign.
The AFC Playoffs became an upside down affair. In the wild card round the Jacksonville Jaguars won in New England while the Broncos won at Kansas City behind four Olandis Gary touchdowns. The following week Jacksonville won in Baltimore while the Broncos did the same in Buffalo.
Chalk mostly prevailed in the NFC. The Central Division champion Buccaneers and Carolina Panthers both took care of business in the Wild Card round, with the Buccaneers making QB Kerry Collins look silly in the process of a 23-0 shutout. The Panthers season would end with a 29-17 loss in St. Louis while the Buccaneers nipped the Cowboys 10-9 in Dallas.
For the second time in three years, the number five and six seeds met for the AFC Championship in Jacksonville, who also hosted the actual 1999 AFC title game. For the second time in three weeks Olandis Gary took center stage, the fill-in for the injured Terrell Davis rushed for 164 yards and three scores in a wild 40-34 overtime victory to send Denver to their third Super Bowl in four years.
In the NFC title game, there would be no Bert Emanuel moment. The Rams dominated the Buccaneers from beginning to end in a 33-3 rout to send the Rams to their eighth Super Bowl, and first in 20 years.
Super Bowl XXXIV would not come down to one yard either. The Rams stifled the Denver running game and held a 9-0 lead after three quarters then pulled away for a 26-3 win, ending the Oakland Raiders 32-year reign as the lone undefeated Super Bowl champion. With its fifth title, the Rams join the Minnesota Vikings as having the most Super Bowl wins and become the seventh of 34 actual Super Bowl champs to replicate their championship in the sim.
And Kurt Warner had defeated the odds of going from a camp arm and Hy-Vee stocker to the architect of 19-0. Yes, you can defy the odds.