This article is part of our Madden Recap series.
After months of competition, the Madden Championship Series has finally concluded, and Sunday's action in Burbank, California couldn't have been a better way to cap off the competitive year. In what amounted to a dream finals matchup, the No. 1 ranked player Michael "Skimbo" Skimbo defeated the legend of competitive Madden, Eric "Problem" Wright, 24-20 in the finals to earn $150,000.
Suspense in the semis
Skimbo's finals run began Sunday against Taylor "SpotMePlzzz" Robertson, a former Madden Classic champion in his own right. The action was certainly hot and heavy in the first half, as both competitors traded touchdowns early, eventually ending the first half tied 14-14.
Skimbo would take control in the second half, however, connecting with his favorite target all tournament, Randy Moss, on a deep pass to set up a touchdown. SpotMePlzzz would respond with a productive drive that would get near the goal line, but a bad read on fourth down meant he wouldn't come away with any points. That missed opportunity just about spelled the end for SpotMePlzzz, as Skimbo would drive down for a second consecutive touchdown drive, officially pushing the game out of reach.
The action was even more heated in the second semifinal of the evening. Problem would find himself trailing 10-3 to start the second half in his semifinal match against Raidel "Noble Joke" Brito, something he's been unaccustomed to seeing during this weekend's competition.
Problem would then get a field goal in his first drive of the second half to bring the score closer at 10-6, but another touchdown drive by Joke at the end of the third quarter would put the deficit at 17-6. With his back against the wall, Problem would get a big break, returning the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. But the back-and-forth action would continue, as Joke would whittle down the clock while still managing to score a touchdown, moving the lead to 24-14 with just over three minutes remaining. Answering back, Problem would score another touchdown after a nifty spin move, but the game appeared to be over following another Joke field goal. There's a reason Problem is often considered the greatest of all time, as he would return a second kickoff for a touchdown to take the lead, one he would never relinquish.
Skimbo finally wins a championship
Following a frenetic finish to his semifinal match, Problem would once again trail in the second half of the finals, allowing Skimbo to jump out to a 10-0 lead before tacking on two field goals of his own to finish down just 10-6.
Much like he has done all tournament, Problem would respond in the second half, taking his first drive of the second half in for a touchdown with ease. It looked as if Skimbo's struggles in Madden finals were coming alive, as the Oklahoma native would throw a bad interception on his next drive to give the ball right back to Problem.
Relying on solid user defense of his own, Skimbo would eventually get the ball back after forcing a three-and-out. In what would be a foreshadowing of things to come, Skimbo would then connect with Demaryius Thomas on a beautiful deep pass for a touchdown on the very next play to take the lead 17-13. It looked as if Skimbo would have the lead entering the fourth quarter, but Problem would have none of it, returning yet another kickoff for a touchdown, his third in two games, to take a 20-17 lead heading into the final quarter.
Skimbo would get a bit of luck of his own on the ensuing drive, throwing an ill-advised deep pass that appeared to be picked off by Deion Sanders, only to be ripped away by Randy Moss, setting up Skimbo in the red zone. It was all for naught though, as a terrible read at the 17 yard line set up Problem for a massive interception.
Displaying an otherworldly type of resilience, Skimbo would clutch up on defense, forcing Problem to punt the ball back with just a minute and 24 seconds remaining. Relying exclusively on an aerial attack, Skimbo would connect on a rainbow of a throw to Demaryius Thomas once more, scoring what would end up being the game-winning 61-yard touchdown.