2014 Chicago Men’s CHAMPIONSHIP (Aug. 18)

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Updated: August 25, 2014

Not 1.  Not 2… But 3.. THREE OVERTIMES were needed to decide the Chicago Men’s Championship on Monday Night in what proved to be the most intense Championship Game we’ve ever had in All Sports Series.  Before we break down the Game below, here’s a Link to the Championship Video Highlights.  Also, a quick reminder that in addition to a tremendous amount of pride and Champ shirts, these Teams were playing for their choice in two amazing prizes: a Trolley from Chicago Trolley & Double Decker Co. or Tix to Wrigley View Rooftop!  OK Let’s get to the action!

Championship Flag Football

4. Team Zimmerman (Duke Cannon Supply Co.) v. 10. Team Watts (West Coast Shaving) – 10. Team Watts wins 12-6 in 3OT

Both Teams were competing in their first Championship Game and you could tell that nerves were certainly a factor early in the Game.  Both squads had been so sharp in their Playoff runs and the Offenses in this one just could not get going early.. We actually went into the Half knotted up at 0.  Back and forth they went, getting big defensive stop after another.. Finally, with just 9 minutes to go Jon Nickow hurled one into the endzone that went through the hands of a couple people and was snatched by Esto Vega right before the ball hit the blades of grass.. TOUCHDOWN TEAM ZIMMERMAN!   They would not score on the PAT and would sit with 6-0 lead.  Team Zimmerman forced another turnover on downs by Team Watts and with just about 3 minutes to go in this one Team Zimmerman had the ball and were just a few first downs away from the Crown..

Team Watts would use their timeouts intelligently during this drive and would eventually force Team Zimmerman to punt the ball back to them with a little under 2 minutes to go. Team Watts had little rhythm offensively all night and it seemed as if they’d need an absolute miracle to get in and tie it up (or potentially take the lead)..  It was the first time all night that they seemed to stop thinking and just play.. They knew all they had time for was to get everyone back to the line of scrimmage and just go.. Well the schoolyard stuff worked!  In just a few short plays they moved the ball to within striking distance of the goal-line.. Then with just 30 seconds left Eric Izzo hit Charlmers Oscar near the sideline and a couple of moves later, Charlmers and Team Watts were celebrating a tie game with 3o seconds left!  The PAT would likely decide the Championship here.. Team Zimmerman held the line and did not allow Team Watts to take the lead..  Team Zimmerman would get the ball but with little time left they couldn’t muster a true drive and we were heading to OVERTIME!

OVERTIME 1

Overtime works similarly to College Football.  Both Teams get a chance to start with the Ball at the 10-yard line and would have 4 chances to punch the ball in.  If you score, you can go for 1, 2 or 3.  Like an inning in baseball, both Teams get a chance with the ball.  As the Higher Seed Team Zimmerman got to elect if they wanted to start on offense or defense..  They chose to take the ball.   Team Watts would hold on D on a crucial 4th down and earned the right to have the ball from the 10.. 4 plays to win a Championship..  Team Zimmerman would not allow that to happen however and after OT 1 we were still tied at 6!

OVERTIME 2

In 2OT Team Watts was allowed to choose Offense/Defense and they wanted to defend..  On 2nd Down Team Watts picked the ball off and were again faced with the opportunity to score from the 10 and win it all!  Team Zimmerman had fought so hard all season.. They knew how hard it was to get to this point and how few and far between these Championship opportunities are..  That intensity and passion comes from the top down.. Captain Jack Zimmerman wants a Crown as bad as anyone in the All Sports Series universe..  He took matters into his own hands on the 2nd Team Watts possession and answered with an interception of his own!  We were going to head to our 3rd OT still tied at 6!

OVERTIME 3

Team Zimmerman got the choice and changed things up this time by electing to keep Team Watts out there on Offense.. Both Teams just looked exhausted heading into this 3OT.. They had basically played a game and a half at this point, with each play holding the weight of the world..  Finally, Team Watts was able to break through when Eric Izzo hit Chad Murphy in the endzone! They would lead 12-6 after Team Zimmerman prevented them from getting the PAT.  This was it. 4 Plays from the 10 for Team Zimmerman.. A Defensive stop meant Team Watts would wear the Crown in 2014..  As you’d expect at this point, we got to final 4th down.. Last Play.. QB Jon Nickow threw a beauty to the sideline but the pass was well-covered.. Team Zimmerman’s Kyle Nelson was able to haul it in but could not stay in bounds and that was it! Team Watts has finally done it!

Team Zimmerman fought has valiantly as they possibly could for 90 minutes.  This will go down as the most epic Championship Game in Chicago Men’s League history and it’s a shame someone had to come out on the losing end.  There’s no way to really spin this into a positive.. This one will sting for quite some time.  These guys were as close as you can be from being the Champs.  30 seconds away. It’s heartbreaking.   This much I do know.. Captain Jack is already making calls for 2015.  This is not a joke.. The off-season started last night and the Runners-Up were the first Team working to add talent.  This will not be the last we see of Team Zimmerman in Championship Games.. In 2015, no one will be hungrier for a Crown than them.. To the rest of the League, beware..

As for the Champs..  Team Watts has been playing in All Sports Series since 2011.  They made the Final4 in their first year and hadn’t been able to make a significant Playoff run since.. As a group, they’ve endured some of the more heartbreaking Playoff Losses over the past few years, and you couldn’t help but wonder if they were being set-up for one more on Monday Night.. Earlier this Summer it seemed as if the Roster shake-up that Captain Jake Watts had maneuvered may have backfired.. They got off to a slower start than normal as the new pieces were still trying to learn their place within the Team, which translated into the #10 Seed.. However, they hit their stride in mid-July and were humming coming into the Playoffs.. Their confidence really grew with each and every Playoff W as they faced a true gauntlet just to get into the Championship Game on Monday.  They had to knock-off Team Wilneff, won of the best College/Prep crews we’ve ever had.. Then in the Elite8 they sent home 2013 Champs – Team Maione, in their best sport of Hoops.. In the Final4 they came back from 5 runs down to defeat who many felt were the favorites – Team Hadelman.. Finally, they refused to lose on Monday Night in a triple overtime marathon with an unbelievable Team Zimmerman crew.. “The greatest accomplishment is not in never falling, but in rising again after you fall” – Vince Lombardi.. Captain Watts and Co. have had their falls over the past few years, but they surely rose again on Monday Night.  Simply put – they deserve this.  Congrats and hats off to you guys.

 

All Sports Series has been going for 5 years now and this Chicago Men’s League has clearly been the deepest, most talented pool of Players we’ve seen yet.. Only one Team was able to leave the Summer as Champions, but thanks to everyone, as it has been a pleasure to watch amazing competition all Summer.   Hopefully see you again this time next year!

– Holden