COFL Bowl: The Championship Game

COFL Bowl I-V History, click here.

COFL Bowl VI-X History, click here.

The COFL Bowl is the championship game between the AFC Champion and the NFC Champion and the final game in the COFL Playoffs (which consists of 8-12 teams). The winner receives the COFL Madden Championship Trophy. The game is played at a neutral site. Below is a brief recap documenting the history of the game.

COFL Bowl V: Broncos vs. Giants

Host: MetLife Stadium (New York Giants)

Teams/Coaches: Broncos (J-Train) vs. Giants (AK)

Date: 7/29/17

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%.

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COFL Bowl IV: Texans vs. Buccaneers 

Host: Georgia Dome in Atlanta

Teams/Coaches: Texans (DatDudeFiddy) vs. Buccaneers (HershNasty)

Date: 6/17/17

Score: Texans 19, Bucs 7

MVP: Brian Cushing

The disparity between conferences had never been greater than in Season 4, with the AFC sending six legitimate powerhouses to the playoffs while the the NFC was filled with misfits and outcasts. The juxtaposition of the two conference champion coaches was stark, with grizzled vet Coach Fiddy and his Texans taking on rookie bad boy Hersh and his Bucs.

Houston had a brutally tough road to the big game, winning battles with defending champ JT (Chiefs), Jake The Snake with his dangerous Bills squad, and Nate's Patriots on the final play in the most exciting game of the playoffs.

Coach Hersh had the same general plan as everyone that plays the Texans: Slow down Lamar Miller. As the game progressed, it was clear that he may actually be up to the task, unlike most of the coaches that had tried before.

The first quarter was a defensive slug-fest that saw as many punts as many COFL games, but the stalemate was broken when the Texans pass rush forced Winston to make an errant throw over the middle sailed directly into the lap of Andre Hal, setting up a Texans field goal.

The Houston defensive front would continue to give the Bucs fits for the entire game. The biggest play of the game came late in the first half. Tampa Bay had finally found their footing and gotten into a rhythm, putting together a nice drive and getting into field goal range to tie or take the lead. Then a blitzing Brian Cushing came free on the right side and leveled an unsuspecting Jameis Winston, knocking the ball free. JJ Watt quickly scooped it up an rumbled 67 yards for a touchdown to put the Texans up 10-0.

Down two scores, Coach Hersh abandoned Doug "Dougernaut" Martin, who experts figured would play a large role in the Bucs' game plan. Martin had just two rushes in the second half, and finished the game with eight carries for 22 yards.

The Watt-Cushing combo would strike again with the Bucs at midfield and down 13-0 early in the fourth. Watt came screaming off the right edge and forced a rushed pass, which Winston delivered right to the lurking Cushing who returned it for a backbreaking touchdown.

The Bucs would finally put points on the board late in the fourth with a deep ball to Mike Evans, but it was too little too late as the Texans comfortably won 19-7 to deliver Coach Fiddy his first COFL Madden Championship Trophy.

COFL Bowl III: Chiefs vs. Panthers

Host: Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum

Teams/Coaches: Chiefs (JTrain) vs. Panthers (KingKonz)

Date: 5/18/2017

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.

COFL Bowl II: Texans vs. Panthers

Host: Hard Rock Stadium in Miami Gardens (Dolphins)

Teams/Coaches: Texans (DRob83) vs. Panthers (KingKonz)

Date: 4/12/2017

Score: Texans 21, Panthers 10

MVP: Lamar Miller

After a disappointing finish in last year's playoffs, Coach DRob surprised a lot of people by using a top ten draft pick on the Houston Texans. However, it wasn't more than three games into the season that it became clear his new team would be a force to be reckoned with, combining a powerful rushing attack with a deep threat wide receiver and dominating front four on defense. The season reached an impressive climax with a 38-3 victory over the defending champion Chiefs.

Houston finished the regular season with a 14-2 record, which was only topped by the 15-1 Carolina Panthers. Coach KingKonz was impressive in hiding any of the team's weaknesses and dominating the field, entering the playoffs as the odds-on favorite to take home the trophy.

Houston set the tone on the first play as JJ Watt spun off a double team to sack Cam Newton. The Panthers fought back, though, and moved into field goal range before the Texan's relentless pressure struck again, and Newton was hit while throwing, causing a pop-up interception. Miller and company capitalized with an impressive touchdown drive to go up 7-0.

From there, the defenses traded blows, with Carolina eventually getting on the board with a field goal. The next major play came when the Panthers' edge rush got to a scrambling Osweiler, he coughed it up, and big Mario Addison scooped and scored, giving Carolina a 10-7 lead.

Only a few plays later, with just under a minute remaining the half, MVP Lamar Miller lost the ball, and Carolina pounced on it. It looked like things might be falling apart for the Texans, but just as Cam Newton jogged onto the field to try to stretch the lead to two scores, a booth review came in, and the fumble was overturned. Rather than timidly run out the clock and head to the locker rooms, Houston responded aggressively, and quickly put together a second impressive drive which ended in another Lamar Miller touchdown.

It would take only one more Houston scoring drive in the second half to allow the dominating Houston defense to make the Panthers one dimensional and keep them out of the end zone for the rest of the game. Cam Newton finished just 10 of 20 passing for 150 yards and 4 interceptions (35.4 QB Rating).

COFL Bowl I: Chiefs vs. Seahawks

Host: US Bank Stadium in Minneapolis (Vikings)

Teams/Coaches: Chiefs (Jake Ayler) vs. Seahawks (JTrain)

Date: 3/9/2017

Score: Chiefs 20, Seahawks 14

MVP: Alex Smith

After a mediocre start to the season, the Chiefs' coach went missing and Coach Ayler was called in as a replacement. No one realized the splash he would make, starting off with a bang by beating the Cowboys in OT. He advanced to the AFC title game fairly easily, then took out Coach Fiddy and the Bengals on the road in one of the most exciting games of the season.

After going three and out on the opening drive, the Chiefs punted to the Seahawks who then got a nice drive going to midfield. But on 3rd and 4, Ayler sent pressure and Eric Berry picked off a slant route over the middle. The Seahawks would drop an INT attempt several plays later, and the Chiefs were able to go in for a TD to go up 7-0. The Hawks then mostly abandoned their strength in the running game, and the Chiefs responded by frequently dropping 8-9 into coverage and feasting on Seattle's impatience and desperation.

Seattle managed a drive late in the 4th quarter to cut the lead to six, but failed to recover an onside kick.

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