COFL Bowl III: Chiefs vs. Panthers
Host: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum
Teams/Coaches: Chiefs (JTrain) vs. Panthers (KingKonz)
Score: Chiefs 7, Panthers 3
MVP: Eric Berry
Unfinished Business was the motto for the Carolina Panthers in Season 3, after an incredible Season 2 campaign (17-2 including playoffs) fell short in COFL Bowl II. The Panthers somehow fell to Coach Konz in the draft and he got the second chance he wanted with Cam and Co.
Carolina finished 14-2 in the regular season, losing only to Green Bay and Kansas City on their way to again securing the #1 seed in the NFC. They made short work of their NFC playoff competition, easily handling the Packers in a highly anticipated rivalry game and then dominating the Vikings and Season 2 COFL champion coach D-Rob.
On the AFC side of things, a mess of teams came to the playoff table feeling they had a chance to make it through to the title game, with perhaps only the Texans having any noticeable edge, although Houston coach Clemson2311 didn't have a great playoff reputation. The Texans beat the Patriots to advance to the AFC Championship Game.
The Kansas City Chiefs were up and down during the season but looked like a top three team at times, and they were able to make it from the Wild Card round to the AFC championship by beating Pittsburgh and struggling Cincinnati. However, they ran into a sharp Texans team, who was able to hold the lead against KC most of the game. Houston looked poised to seal it late, but an interception gave the Chiefs the window of opportunity they needed to force overtime and eventually steal the win in what is being called The Game of the Century.
The COFL Bowl was a classic in its own right, as the Chiefs and Panthers fought a defensive battle that saw the only touchdown set up from an Eric Berry interception in the first half. Perhaps the biggest play of the game came in the red zone late as Carolina went for it on 4th and 2 instead of kicking a field goal to potentially make it a one-point game. The Panthers went to Mike Tolbert up the middle, and initially it looked like he had the room he needed, but Dontari Poe was able to hold his ground in the middle, forcing the play slightly right where Eric Berry was able to stand Tolbert up just inches shy of the first down marker.
The Panthers would get one more chance.
Cam Newton took over at his own 27 with just under a minute remaining and no timeouts. A few plays into the drive, Devin Funchess caught a wide open pass on the sideline, and with one man to beat, tried to cut up field for the touchdown. But Eric Berry wrapped him up in bounds and they were forced to spike the ball with just 15 seconds at the Chiefs' 39.
The next play, Newton launched it up for Kelvin Benjamin and he went up the jump ball versus Terrance Mitchell inside the 5 yard line. In one of the most suspenseful moments in COFL history, both players fell to the Coliseum grass at the goal line, and Benjamin came up with the football for an apparent touchdown. The refs showed some confusion for a moment, until the Field Judge ran in to mark the ball no more than three inches from the goal line.
Newton tried to hurry his team to the line for one more snap, but time ran out before they could get set and Chiefs players spilled onto the field in celebration.