COFL Bowl V: Broncos vs. Giants
Host: MetLife Stadium (New York Giants)
Teams/Coaches: Broncos (J-Train) vs. Giants (AK)
Score: Broncos 16, Giants 13
MVP: Paxton Lynch
Season V saw two Cinderellas take the number one seeds, with ZZ's 14-2 Panthers and Keller's 13-3 Ravens riding dream seasons into the playoffs. However, neither was expected to make it far into the postseason as neither coach had ever won a playoff game. They met expectations, each losing by double digits in their opening game.
The undisputed favorite going into the season was DRob's Falcons. The pairing of arguably the league's best coach with arguably the most talented team seemed a match made in heaven. But despite having a good record and the two seed in the NFC, they did not have the dominant regular season that was expected of them.
The other two major players in the NFC were the turnaround Tampa Bay Bucs led by Coach Ayler, and the red hot New York Giants led by sophomore Coach AK. The Bucs had a brutal start, but still managed to sneak into the playoffs. The Giants had discovered the power of Orleans
"Dark Knight" Darkwa later in the season and he halfback stretched his way to the Offensive MVP award with over 1800 yards rushing. The Giants also boasted the Defensive MVP Landon Collins, with perhaps the most impressive stat line in COFL Madden history (75 tackles, 17 interceptions). Coach AK was strongly feeling the momentum, and he made a Namath-esque guarantee that his team would take the COFL Championship.
The Giants took on Atlanta in the second round, and that's when AK really started turning heads, handling the Falcons 21-6. Suddenly, he was considered the real deal, and not just some rambling maniac in a fur coat. He had the COFL's full attention.
In the NFC title game, he would meet up with the seasoned vet and former champ Coach Ayler. Ayler had a brilliant gameplan: control the clock, smother Darkwa with the front seven and keep the safeties back to prevent the deep ball. This led to the Bucs having a 7-0 lead and the ball in field goal range early in the fourth quarter. However, on 3rd and less than a yard, the Bucs made a play-call that would dominate the sports talk shows for weeks to come. Some have called it "the dumbest play call in playoff history". The Bucs called a quick slants pass play, and Jameis Winston fired directly into traffic, leading to a pick that would change the game.
The Giants would tie the game, and then force a punt to get the ball back with just over a minute left. That's when Manning hit Sterling Shepard on a busted coverage for a 71-yard touchdown that sent MetLife stadium into a frenzy, and sent the Giants to COFL Bowl V.
On the AFC side, the biggest game was perhaps the divisional round match-up between the Broncos and defending champion Texans. In both of the previous playoff meetings between these two coaches (JT and Fiddy) the winner went on to win the COFL Bowl. This game was a classic battle. Tied at 21 midway through the fourth quarter, Paxton Lynch had another one of his clutch drives, leading Denver into field goal range for the go-ahead score. With one timeout, Houston was not able to get into field goal range in time to go for the tie.
In the AFC Championship Game, the Broncos would take on the Titans in a rivalry game between JT and Coach Clemson aka "The Shooter". Unfortunately for the Titans, The Shooter shot himself in the foot, throwing an interception from his own six yard line with under 30 seconds to play in the first half (which led to a Denver field goal and 10-3 Bronco lead at the half). This gap led the Titans to feel a touchdown was their only option, and they failed to score throughout the second half, including four tries from the Denver four yard line.
In what many called the greatest COFL Bowl to date, the Denver Broncos took on the New York Giants in an absolute classic on the Giants' own field at MetLife Stadium.
The Giants dominating defensive line made their mark early, as Olivier Vernon swam past the left tackle, getting to Paxton Lynch just before he could deliver the ball to a wide open Emmanuel Sanders. The ball popped loose and was scooped up by Jason Pierre Paul for a touchdown.
Denver stayed calm, delivering a solid drive for a field goal, but Manning and Co. would answer with a field goal of their own. That's when Denver's OC anticipated another zero blitz from the high risk Giants' D, and this time, Lynch was able to barely get the ball released, hitting Demaryius Thomas for 67-yard TD to tie the game.
The third quarter saw a stalemate as neither team put points on the board, but the Giants did have a promising drive going to the fourth. However, on the opening play of the final period of regulation, a user controlled Shaq Barrett didn't bite on the underneath route, instead chasing TE Jerell Adams downfield. Eli went for Adams, but couldn't get it over Barrett, who set up the Broncos for a possible go-ahead drive of their own.
Paxton Lynch completed some key passes down the field, but missed an open streak route to Sanders that would have likely given Denver the touchdown lead. Just a few plays later, he had the same route open again and this time delivered a strike, only to see Sanders fail to hold on at the 10 yard line.
The Broncos were not able to punch it in after that, and settled for a nerve-racking field goal attempt for Brandon McManus, which he hit perfectly to take the lead,13-10.
Despite only having one remaining timeout, Manning led an impressive two minute drive, dinking and dunking down the field to set up an iced 45-yard field goal, which Robbie Gould knocked through to send the game to overtime.
The Giants won the toss and elected to receive. Super Bowl Eli was summoned, and led an impressive drive, calmly converting two crucial third downs. On first down from the Broncos 21, a play-action pass allowed Adams come wide open on a post into the end zone, but none other than Von Miller shed his block and blindsided Manning as he went to throw, jarring the ball harmlessly to the ground, incomplete.
Two plays later, a perhaps slightly shaken Manning tried to force a ball on a quick slant to Will Tye, but Shaq Barrett sat patiently as the ball sailed directly to him, and he took off the the other direction, his eyes wide and trying to channel Usain Bolt and end the game with a pick six. But Shane Vereen saved the Giants, catching Barrett at midfield.
Lynch would deliver a strike inside the 35, but they weren't comfortable trying the FG from there, with nerves going haywire and a moderate wind in their face. On third down, the Giants brought the zero blitz once again, and Paxton Lynch calmly delivered the throw of the game, sailing the ball over the Giants lurking safety and directly over the shoulder of Thomas, who caught the ball inside the 10 and tight-roped out of bounds at the four.
The Giants immediately lined up for a field goal, and McManus hit it perfectly to finish an incredible game.
It was the most watched game in COFL history, shattering the previous record by over 60%.