This Day in Failure, January 31
2000: Alaska Air Flight 261—en route from Puerto Vallarta, Mexico to San Francisco—crashes off the coast of California, killing all 88 people on board. The pilots report a problem with a jammed stabilizer before attempting to land in Los Angeles.
1993: The Dallas Cowboys defeat the Buffalo Bills 52-17 in Super Bowl XXVII. The Bills commit a record nine turnovers en route to the team’s third consecutive Super Bowl defeat. The most memorable play occurs in the fourth quarter when Dallas defensive tackle Leon Lett picks up a Frank Reich fumble at the Dallas 35-yard line and begins rumbling toward the Buffalo end zone, poised to score his first touchdown “since [he] was 10 years old playing pee-wee football.” But Lett is unable to resist the temptation to showboat, and as he approaches the goal line he slows a bit while holding the football out to one side. This allows Bills wide receiver Don Beebe to catch up and swat the ball out of his hand at the 1-yard line. The ball rolls through the end zone for a touchback, spoiling Lett’s chance at Super Bowl glory.
1987: Can’t fall asleep? Consider watching The Cure For Insomnia, which is first played in its entirety beginning on this day. The 87-hour long movie features artist L.D. Groban reading his (then) 4,000-plus page poem “A Cure For Insomnia.”
1968: Vietnamese Communists launch the Tet offensive, a series of heavy attacks on military and civilian targets throughout South Vietnam. Although S. Vietnamese and U.S. troops are able to absorb the attacks, the battles are an indicator that the Vietnam War is far from being over. Today, historians consider the Tet offensive the turning point in the war.