Eight plays that shaped COFL history
Here are eight huge plays that helped shape COFL history, in no particular order.
The Buzzer Beater
The perfect opportunity presented itself to Coach Nate in Season IV, as he was able to get the extremely talented Patriots in the draft. He would dominate both the Broncos and the first seed Jags in the playoffs to set up a huge game against Coach Fiddy and the Houston Texans.
New England had all the tools to give a team like Houston fits, and at times they did. The Pats held a 14-10 lead going into the final quarter. The Texans would cut the deficit to one, but the Patriots went right back to work, getting into Houston territory. The Texans D eventually held, but the Pats got a field goal out of it to force the Texans to go for a touchdown on their final drive.
The Texans would put together a good drive, but after moving into the red zone with no timeouts remaining, they completed a short pass to the tight end and failed to get out of bounds. They hurried to the line and were able to get the snap off with six seconds, throwing a quick slant into a tight window at the goal line. The pass fell incomplete but two seconds remained.
On the final play of the game, needing a touchdown, Osweiler fired a quick out to slot receiver DeAndre Hopkins who had to reach back to catch it at the four yard line, well within the grasp of Pats defender Logan Ryan. Ryan latched on to Hopkins, but Hopkins fought his way across the goal line with Ryan on his back to win in one of the most amazing finishes in COFL History.
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Wrong Button Bengals
The storyline of the AFC going into the Season 1 Playoffs was the emergence of Jake "The Snake" Ayler, a replacement coach who turned heads by beating KingKonz and the Cowboys in the regular season. He would make his way into the AFC title game against seasoned vet Coach Fiddy and his hometown Bengals.
Both teams would trade blows throughout, although the Bengals always seemed in control. Late in the fourth, Cincinnati held a 13-10 lead (the Chiefs had yet to lead), and Alex Smith led a classic dink and dunk drive to put Kansas City in field goal range. They tied the game with 53 seconds left.
The Bengals came out firing in five-wide, determined to finish the game in regulation. Two consecutive incompletions put them in 3rd and 10, and suddenly the Chiefs were thinking about forcing a punt and having a chance of their own. They wouldn't need that though, as Andy Dalton fired a pass across the middle right to linebacker Derrick Johnson. The Chiefs hit a field goal several plays later to win the game. They would go on to win the first ever COFL Bowl.
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No, Brock! NO!
What some have called the Game of the Century took place in the AFC Championship Game in Season 3 between rivals Clemson2311 and J-Train. Clemson's Houston Texans led JT's Kansas City Chiefs and forced a punt late in the third quarter. The Texans took over at their own two yard line and began what would be a season-defining drive, although not in the way it initially looked.
Houston frustrated the Chiefs' defense, using clock and converting multiple third downs. on their way into KC territory. The Chiefs used their second timeout after Lamar Miller fought his way to the Chiefs' 35 as the clock ticked down to 2:16. The Texans' path seemed clear: At worst, pick up a handful of yards and force the Chiefs to use their final timeout, then kick the field goal with under two minutes to go to take an insurmountable 10-point lead.
The Houston OC apparently was not ready to take this route to victory. He wanted to for the throat, and on 2nd and 8, he ran a play-action pass. Osweiler rolled to his right, broke a tackle and then heaved the ball into double coverage along the sideline, where Justin Houston picked it off and returned it just shy of midfield.
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The Chiefs would then manage to tie the game with three seconds left in regulation, sending the game to overtime where they would eventually finish the unlikely comeback victory.
"Look at the big man rumble!"
Coach Hersh had a plan to shock the world and win COFL Bowl IV as a rookie coach of the Tampa Bay Bucs. He would smother all-world back Lamar Miller, use lots of clock on offense, avoid turnovers and win a low-scoring defensive battle against the battle-tested Coach Fiddy and his Texans.
Not a single person thought he could pull it off going into the big game. With under two minutes remaining in the first half, though, spectators were beginning to wonder. Miller had been a non-factor. The Bucs' D held stout in the red zone. The Bucs were inside the Texans' 20 with a chance to tie or take the lead.
That's when Jameis Winston got indecisive, failing to get rid of the ball on a 2nd down pass play. Brian Cushing shed his block off the right edge and leveled Winston, jarring the ball loose. JJ Watt quickly scooped it and rumbled 65 yards for a backbreaking touchdown that forced Tampa Bay out of their game plan and completely changed the game. The Texans would win 19-7.
Despite a rough Season V, the Bucs managed to get into the playoffs, where Coach Ayler started to a look like a real threat to win it all. He would advance to the NFC title game against blazing hot AK and the New York Football Giants. Ayler had played a brilliant defensive game in the first three quarters and found himself up 7-0 with the ball in Giants' territory as the clock ticked under five minutes in the fourth quarter.
On third and one from the NY 38, everyone watching expected a Dougernaut run, and the Bucs broke the huddle into an I formation. But to everyone's surprise, Winston dropped back to throw, and inexplicably fired the ball into double coverage for an interception. The momentum had completely changed, and the Giants rode it to two consecutive fourth quarter scores, as Buc fans were left in absolute shock from a crushing 14-7 loss.
The Most Watched Pick in COFL History
COFL Bowl V was not only the best COFL Bowl to date, but one of the best COFL games, period. Coach JT and Coach AK battled all game long, exchanging big plays and near misses. The Giants (AK) found themselves down 13-10 to the Broncos with just over two minutes in the fourth quarter. Eli Manning was calm under pressure, leading a clutch drive to tie the game and send it to the first ever overtime in COFL Bowl history.
The Giants then won the toss and Big Game Eli picked up right where he left off, completing two huge third down passes to keep the drive alive. But the third time was no charm, as Manning would drop back on 3rd and 7 from the Broncos' 18 yard line, and try to hit Will Tye on a slant to the sidelines. Denver LB Shaq Barrett was right there waiting, and he picked it off and ran it back just across midfield. Paxton Lynch would connect with two big passes on the following drive to put the Broncos inside the five to set up the title-winning field goal.
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The Shoestring Tackle
For 50+ seasons of the COFL, spanning over a decade, Prez reveled in mediocrity, happy to sneak into the playoffs every now and then for what was often a first-round exit. Season 2 of the Madden Era, however, felt a bit different. You could sense that something special was brewing in Green Bay, and that perhaps this wouldn't just be more of the same from Prez as he took his Packers into the playoffs.
After slipping by the Cowboys in the first round, the Pack dominated the two seed Cardinals 28-7 in the most surprising Presidents Cup to date. Despite the incredible momentum, you were unlikely to find any COFL fans who felt he stood a chance in the next game, though. He would take on the COFL juggernaut KingKonz and the top-seeded Carolina Panthers.
Prez was unfazed at his status as significant underdog, and took a kickoff return back for a touchdown early in the second quarter to take a 7-3 lead in the pouring rain. He would then hold the Panthers to a three-and-out, and get the ball back at his own six.
On the first play of the drive, Rodgers stood in the pistol at his own one, and handed the ball to Ty Montgomery, who managed to break two quick tackled before breaking into the clear for what looked like a 94-yard touchdown. However, he made one too many swerve moves trying to avoid the defense and safety Kurt Coleman was somehow able to trip him up from behind with a diving one-handed swipe at the five yard line.
Two plays later, Rodgers threw an interception. The air was let out of the Packer's balloon and they eventually went into halftime behind. They lost the game 17-13 and the Panthers went on to lose in the COFL Bowl. The Packers were stuck with many sleepless nights of regret.
Inches From Glory
COFL Bowl III was a defensive battle for the ages. The Chiefs had a 7-3 lead late in the first half with a chance to go up 10-3 on a 42-yard field goal attempt. But the kick sailed inches right, keeping the Panthers within 4 points going into the half.
The second half saw big stop after big stop, including a Panthers FB dive stuffed short on 4th and 2 from the Chiefs' three yard line early in the fourth quarter. The Panthers would desperately need a stop of their own a few minutes later, and they were able to come up with it, using all three timeouts but forcing a Chiefs' punt from their own 21 with just under a minute remaining.
With Carolina in need of a touchdown, the Chiefs played a conservative defense, and the Panthers were able to get inside the KC 40 without much trouble, but the clock had drained to 15 seconds. Newton dropped back and decided to take a shot to Kelvin Benjamin flying down the right sideline against the Terrance Mitchell, the weakness of the Chiefs' secondary. He let it rip, and things seemed to move in slow motion as the ball came down inside the five yard line, with Benjamin and Mitchell both leaping for it.
At first, it appeared that Benjamin caught the ball and fell into the end zone for a championship-winning touchdown, but suddenly the ball was marked just inches from the goal line, as Newton and company scurried to the line in an attempt to get one more play off. There was too much space to cover in the eight seconds that remained, though, and the clock hit zeros as Chiefs players and coaches spilled onto the field in shocked celebration.