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This Day in Buffalo Sports History: Pennant-clinching party

     November 20, 1988 -- If you are going to win a championship, you might as well do it in dramatic fashion.

     The Bills certainly followed those instructions when they wrapped up the AFC East title in almost record time. They beat the New York Jets, 9-6, for their first division crown since 1980.

     It wasn't a day for scoring, due to rain. Pat Leahy kicked a field goal for the Jets in the second quarter, Scott Norwood answered with two field goals, and Leahy then tied the score at 6-6.

     Leahy had a chance to win the game with a 40-yard field goal with 19 seconds left in regulation time. But Fred Smerlas broke through and blocked the kick to send the game into overtime.

      Norwood kicked one through from 30 yards out in OT, and the Bills were division champs with an 11-1 record. And the fans stormed the field in celebration. Part of a goal post was passed up to Bills owner Ralph Wilson in his box.

--- Budd Bailey

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