Some historical dates will live forever in the hearts of those who lived through them.
December 7, 1941.
November 22, 1963.
September 11, 2001.
For Houston Oilers fans, one other date will be forever etched into their souls, as well:
January 3, 1993.
1992’s Oilers played a 10-6 regular season, only one game behind their long-time AFC Central rivals, the Pittsburgh Steelers; Houston’s original NFL franchise completed their regular season at home with a 27-3 win over the Buffalo Bills, which earned them a Wild Card playoff berth.
The Oilers would go on to face those same Bills the following week in the first round of the AFC playoffs.
However, they would be far from the climate-controlled comfort of the Astrodome, forced to face the elements in snowy, frigid Orchard Park, New York.
Houston started off the scoring with a three-yard touchdown pass from quarterback Warren Moon to wide receiver Haywood Jeffries. The extra point from kicker Al Del Greco put the Oilers up 7-0.
A field goal from Bills kicker Steve Christie closed the gap to 7-3 at the end of the first quarter.
The second quarter saw the Oilers score three unanswered touchdowns.
Moon threw a seven-yard pass to Webster Slaughter, a 26-yard pass to Curtis Duncan, and a 27-yard pass to Jeffries to put Houston up 28-3 at halftime.
Scoring continued early in the third quarter, as safety Bubba McDowell returned a Frank Reich interception 58 yards for a touchdown, extending the Oilers’ lead to 35-3.
Houston began its celebrating, anticipating the next round of the playoffs, where they would face the hated Steelers.
Of course, as so many Houstonians may remember, Bills career backup quarterback Frank Reich magically turned into Joe Montana:
After a one-yard run from running back Kenneth Davis closed the gap to 35-10, Reich led the Bills to four straight touchdown drives, including three consecutive touchdown passes to wide receiver Andre Reed.
The Oilers’ lead evaporated, and the Bills led 38-35 with 3:08 to go in the game.
An Al Del Greco field goal tied the game at 38-38 with less than a minute left to send the game into overtime.
The Oilers won the toss and took the ball on their own 20 yard line, but a Warren Moon interception and a Jeffries face mask penalty put the Bills in easy field goal range.
A 32-yard field goal from Christie gave the Bills a 41-38 victory and Oilers fans years of misery that would last until the team moved to Tennessee in 1996.
Bills fans called that game “The Comeback.”
Oilers fans will remember it as the game which will live in infamy, temporarily crowning and forever casting Houston into the role of “Choke City.”
Guess you can’t win ’em all.