One whole NFTGL season, 1 weekend?? Yeah, we can do this. And we did. And at the end of a weekend which saw playoff shame for the first time ever, two new players added to the league, and a brand new iron man style format, Jordan and his Panthers found themselves without a loss, facing Bordier and the Saints in the cap to the weekend. Lets rewind a bit here. For those that have forgotten, Jordan entered the weekend with the #9 power ranking. Yep, #9. “Barry Foster…….did we skip anything?” Certainly, we all know Jordan was a great coach, and this was a jab at his team. So what does Jordan do to respond to this insult? He just goes undefeated, and was a Randy Fucking Baldwin fumble away from a perfect season. This was all done without knowing of the great prize, the mighty Belt that would await the winner. This was done for pride after that insult. Standing in Jordans way…….the team that gave him his sole blemish, that tie. Coach Bordier had been highly instrumental in reforming the league. And he is solely responsible for bringing the ultimate prize into the folds of the league. After this amazing weekend, a weekend that laid the foundation for many great weekends to come, Coach Bordier longed to be the first coach to hold that ultimate prize he had brought to the league. The rest of the league just hoped the game would not be a let down. The game did not disappoint. After Bordier came out swinging and jumping out to a 7-0 lead, Jordan responds with a drive that included a clutch downfield completion on 4th and 1 deep in his own territory. It only lead to a field goal, and Bordier countered with another TD drive. Down 14-3, at halftime without his best defensive player, Jordan mounted what is still the biggest comeback in Man Bowl history. What began with a kickoff return TD, followed by a blocked punt and then a monster 3rd and 1 sack leading to a turnover on downs all lead to 21 unanswered points and an amazing second half finish to the first Man Bowl in the belt era. While the score may reflect a 2 score game, it really was a much closer game. It was an amazing finish to an amazing weekend. It was the game of a lifetime for an almost perfect weekend for a legendary coach, who has not been insulted like that since. This is quite simply the weekend we try and replicate every 6 months.
5. Man Bowl XV—The Rookie vs. Perfection
Everyone loves to root for the underdog. In Man Bowl XV, we were given the chance to witness history, however for history to be made, the heel would need to beat one of the bigger underdog stories in league history. Since the belt era began, no team had gone undefeated and untied and captured the Man Bowl. And no team had that opportunity until this Man Bowl. Standing between Bordier and history was a familiar team, the Panthers, but a rookie coach, Eric Johnson. Coach Johnson was new to this league, but not new to Tecmo. Having been a longtime fan of the game, and this league, Coach Johnson had reached out to Bordier to inquire about the league when news of an opening came out. And it was Coach Bordier who facilitated the smooth transition that brought Coach Jonson into this league. Its almost fitting that their first ever league match would be the biggest game, with so much at stake. Eric had already dispatched the defending champ, and before that beaten the Man Bowl XIII winner. Coach Bordier was riding the high of an undefeated season that nearly came crashing down in a 6-0 nail biting win over the Dallas Cowboys. Yes, you read that right. The computer was legitimately close to playing for the belt. The game opens with a defensive battle which included a turnover on downs to end a good drive by Bordier. After forcing another punt, Bordier then drives the field and takes the 7-0 lead into halftime. Bordier gets the ball in the second half and Eric uses a monstrous defensive series to force a punt, which is returned deep into Bears territory. Eric ties the game, and then Bordier embarks on an 80 yard drive to retake the lead, 14-7. Eric gets the ball back and marches to the Bears 14 yard line. Then, with the game hanging in the balance, Bordier does what he had managed to do all season. Bordier comes up with the plays when it mattered the most, securing the game, and his first ever Belt outside of New Orleans. Final score, 18-0 Bordier 14, Eric 7…History 1.
6. Man Bowl IX---The strip sack heard 'round the world……...
The early seasons of the reformed league saw a trend which had the defending champ returning to the man bowl, and this season was no different. Bordier dispatched the Bears for an easy return to the Man Bowl while Pine essentially had a bye. After dominating his division for a third straight season, Pine finally scored points in the playoffs and secured a win to make his first appearance in the man bowl since the league reformed. And this game was no disappointment. Pine uses his new found stud, Rodney Hampto, as a KR and immediately houses the opening kick to jump out to the early lead. And Bordier promptly responds with a drive to tie the game. And then Pine responds with a touchdown drive to take the lead. And then Bordier responds with a drive to the TB 1 yard line. One play……..one play can alter the course of a game. Any time, any quarter, any drive, that one play can come and just take the game from you. Unfortunately for Bordier, this play came for him. It came on the very next play, in the form of a strip sack. Pine recovers and runs out the half. Bordier would then take the opening kick of the second half and drive deep into TB territory. But he would ultimately come up short on a 4th down play. Had the game been tied, Bordier kicks the field goal. But its not tied. Pine then goes down, kicks a field goal on a long Pine-like drive. Bordier responds with a TD drive, but fails to recover the onside kick and runs out of time. One play…….when he least expected it.
7. Man Bowl XI-----Smoke and Mirrors…...that broke the league……
What was a rematch of Ray Bowl from Man Bowl IX, was also the final Man Bowl of the first generation in the belt era. Pine scored a victory over Lou, in what was one of the better playoff games of all time, to advance to the Man Bowl as the 1 seed. Meanwhile, Bordier took the long road and knocked off the defending champ, and then the #2 seed, twice, in what has forever become “The Glitch.” And while this game didn’t live up to its predecessor, it still was a competitive game that ultimately came down to a one score game. The first half featured multiple turnovers on downs and terrible offensive gameplay on both sides. After a monstrous opening return, Bordier jumps up 7-0, while Pine didn’t get on the board with a FG until just before halftime. After the half, this game became the type of game these two are to be expected to play. Bordier would push the lead back to 7, and Pine would tie it in the 4th. Unfortunately for Pine, this was followed by another monster return and then a quick TD from Bordier. Pine takes over and after a big completion to Harper sets up a 1st and 10 inside the redzone. Yet despite what is arguably the weakest defense to ever win the Man Bowl, he turns the ball over on downs again while for reasons we will never know, he failed to target Alvin Harper even once inside the red zone. The game was ultimately a 1 score game, but Bordier was in control of this from start to finish. Final score Bordier 17 Pine 10. Bordier wins back the belt, and the league, though they didn’t know it at the time, wins a renewed league, that would somehow make this even better.