The AFC heat had 22 head coaches enlist with hopes of reaching the Super Bowl. There were only a few highlights from the first round games as most were decisive victories, but an interesting aspect is the majority of team’s with multiple entries saw only one advance to the second round with only Baltimore and New England being the exceptions. A few examples are Sean M. led the Broncos to a convincing win, 34-13, over the Steelers coached by Steve V. Meanwhile the other Broncos team coached by Patrick G. lost out to the Patriots coached by Derek L., 20-30. David W. led his Steelers to a 23-10 over the Texans coached by Doug P. The closest first round game was the narrow victory by Joe Y., coaching the Titans, over the Bengals coached by Jeff F., 24-20.
Round 2 featured some classic matchups: Pittsburgh, with David W. an upstart contender, vs Baltimore coached by Harry F., a perennial event champion. As well as New England, coached by the GM, Ron P., vs Kansas City lead by Greg C. who stated KC’s performance belongs in the hall of shame. Despite the classic matchups it was another round of convincing victories.
Highlights from the third round include an early exit by Harry after losing to Sean’s Broncos, if Harry is going to repeat it would have to be with an NFC team. Dan O. needed the +10.5 point spread to defeat the Patriots of Derek L., 34-38 and the GM’s Patriots dominated the Jaguars coached by Paul G., 30-13 which was barely enough to cover the +16.5 point spread. A narrow victory by the Raiders, led by Dan O., 20-16, setup the AFC Championship between the Raiders, Dan O. and the Patriots -7.5, Ron P.
The Patriots were down by 6.5 entering the fourth quarter and all the momentum shifted to Oakland. After the Patriots took the lead midway in the fourth, the Raiders reclaimed the lead with a late FG, leaving the Patriots with only 2 minutes remaining, no timeouts and the ball deep in their own territory. In classic fashion Brady led the Patriots down the field conserving the clock by using sideline passes and winning the game with a field goal as time expired, 24-16. Will Atlanta win the NFC and replicate the actual Super Bowl matchup?
The NFC heat drew 25 players and did not disappoint as there were many exciting finishes. The first round saw three of the four NFC East teams, Washington, Dallas and the Giants, advance to the second round with both entrants. Ron P., Washington, had an easy win over the 49ers, led by John S. Doug P., Washington, beat division rival Philadelphia 24-21. Barry S., Giants defeated Carolina, led by Greg C. 20-3. Paul O., Giants, upset Bill O’s Seattle, 16-10 while Bruce R., Dallas, beat the Vikings of Patrick G., 36-16, and Josh G., Dallas squeaked by Arizona’s contingent lead by Brock H., 20-15. Other first round highlights included a 1 point win by former champion Jacob H., Tampa Bay, over Devin G.’s Saints, 28-31, but he needed the +4 point spread.
The NFC East success continued into the second round as Ron P., Washington, won in one of the most memorable and exciting games over Bruno P.’s Packers, 24-22. Josh G., Dallas, crushed John C.’s Rams, 41-14. Paul O., Giants, defeated Lorson’s Bears, 24-6. Doug P., Redskins, upset Dan O.’s Falcons 37-35. The only NFC East loss was Bruce R. to John W.’ Packers, 25-14. By the end of the 2nd round we also learned that our event would not replicate the actual Super Bowl as both Falcons entries, led by Josh C. and Dan O., were eliminated.
In the third round former champions Harry, with the Seahawks, and Jacob, with the Buccaneers, had easy wins setting up a NFC semifinal between them. Meanwhile Barry S, Giants, and Ron P., Redskins, advanced.
Harry kept his title defense alive with a dominant second half win over Jacob, 36-17, while Barry S.’s Giants defeated Ron P.’s Redskins. In the NFC Championship, Barry S.’ Giants pulled out the upset over Harry’s Seahawks ending his title defense, 23-19.
The Super Bowl matchup was set between Ron Pisarz with the (New England Patriots and Barry Shoults with the New York Giants and +3.5 points. Both were first time event finalists. An uneventful first half dominated by defense resulting in a 10-3 Patriot halftime lead. The second half saw more scoring with the Giants taking a 21-20 lead with 2 minutes remaining in the game and the Patriots with no timeouts. Needing a touchdown due to the +3.5 spread, the Patriots started the drive on their own 25 after the touchback. Brady throwing under the coverage completed five straight passes all short sideline and miraculously all out of bounds taking the ball down to the Giants 21 with 10 seconds remaining. The potent NE offense could reach the end zone multiple ways and the drive thus far had the Giants on their heels. Barry shifted the Giant defense out of Prevent into Standard and Brady took advantage going for a deep throw in the end zone, Touchdown! Pisarz guided the Patriots to the championship with his second game-winning, epic drive of 75+ yards without timeouts. It seems a key to winning this event is being the GM!