Three weeks of intense Madden NFL 17 action culminated on Sunday with four of the best competitors in the world squaring off for $100,000. Michael “Skimbo” Skimbo, Raidel “Noble Joke” Brito, Taylor “Spotmeplzzz” Robertson, and Eric “Problem” Wright all entered Sunday a little nervous, but hiding it well in three great games that culminated in the crowning of the Madden NFL 17 champion!
Michael “Skimbo” Skimbo vs. Taylor “Spotmeplzzz” Robertson
In the first semifinal, we saw the #1 seed for the year, Skimbo, defeat Spotmeplzzz behind his vaunted Gun Bunch Wk passing attack. Spotmeplzzz was known as a passer during his 2017 Madden Classic championship run, but carried a 50/50 run-pass split for much of the event. This tactic to throw off his opponents didn’t fool Skimbo, as he forced a couple huge stops in the second half with his Dollar 3-2-6 defense, moving into the finals and guaranteeing himself at least $70,000.
Raidel “Noble Joke” Brito vs. Eric “Problem” Wright
In the second matchup of Sunday's semifinals, Noble Joke carried a 10-point lead late into the 4th quarter against Problem. However, Problem and his best player, Deion Sanders, stood tall, as Problem would return not one, but two kick returns in a row for touchdowns and a 1-point lead with only one minute to go. If you know Problem, you know the rest of the story, as his vaunted defensive pressure and elite secondary adjustments got him a game-sealing pass deflection to move him into Sunday's final matchup, live on the NFL Network.
Michael “Skimbo” Skimbo vs. Eric “Problem” Wright
This game was a wild one between two of the best competitors in the world. Strangely enough, neither had a 2017 Madden Championship Series title belt entering play today. In the days and weeks leading up to this matchup, Skimbo had mentioned that Problem simply “could not beat him.” Problem took some offense to this statement, calling out Skimbo in his post-game interview after his win against Noble Joke. Something would have to give on Sunday night.
Skimbo opened the scoring with a toss call on the goal line to Ricky Williams. This lead held throughout the first quarter, and ultimately Problem turned the ball over on downs. Back to Skimbo. Skimbo attempted to target Randy Moss three straight times in the redzone, but to no avail, settling for a field goal by Stephen Gostkowski and a 10–0 lead. Before half, however, Problem struck with a field goal to make it a one-score game.
In the third quarter, after exchanging a couple of scores, Skimbo made it a 17–13 game. Problem once again rose to the occasion with Deion Sanders returning his THIRD kick return of the day for a TD and a 20–17 lead. Skimbo then drove down the field and into Problem's red zone for a chance to take the lead. An unfortunate bump of Randy Moss into one of his teammates disrupted Skimbo's read, and the ball came out late and into the waiting arms of Problem and his linebacker Mychal Kendricks. After running the ball in an attempt to milk the clock, Skimbo's defense would prove very stingy, forcing a punt.
On the biggest drive of the year for Skimbo, Demaryius Thomas (who dropped a wide-open TD earlier in the game on one of Skimbo's drives) burned Eric Reid for a touchdown and a 24-20 lead with just 51 seconds remaining in the game. Problem, needing a touchdown for the win, hit CJ Procise across midfield with only 19 seconds remaining. Those nineteen seconds would be longest of the year. Problem hit Julio Jones twice to get to the 21-yard line with 6 seconds left. With one play call available for the money, Problem rested his tournament fate on #88, Randy Moss. Unfortunately, Skimbo had three players in the area of the throw, and it fell to the turf for an incomplete pass. Skimbo had finally completed his mission. Final score: 24-20.
Congratulations to Michael Skimbo, your Madden NFL 17 Champion. We can’t wait for next year!