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2022-23 AFC WILD CARD GAME Cleveland Browns (4-3) vs Miami Dolphins (5-2)


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            1970-1985-browns.gif.577bb95ac72760addcb768aa914995fa.gifCLEVELAND BROWNS (4-3) VS   1c8cbaf3c93acd5009c237d9615fda3c.gif.987b143a0cb36c589b79fdb1f617c6a0.gif MIAMI DOLPHINS (5-2)

2117720158_longislandelectricfootballleague2020logo.jpg.0f6818a4d7f06a2139a907dc92f16f7f.jpgLIEFL AFC WILD CARD GAME JANUARY 5, 2023 6PM

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The AFC WILD CARD GAME and first playoff game of the Long Island Electric Football League's 2022-23 Super Bowl XVII Tournament between Miami and Cleveland was a tremendous battle in the trenches with great matchups, coaching,  and a strategic balanced running attack by both teams.

abhell.jpg.3cc52d038b0a887b848ffdad04574bdb.jpgWritten By Kevin Mac with Billy O'C 

Long Island, NY January 5, 2023. Happy New Year to those new to reading about our league, and for those electric football enthusiasts who appreciate the hobby like us. The LIEFL saw a truly exciting year in 2022 and we hope that your leagues around the world had a great season as well! This is our second year presenting league coverage on this forum, but back in 2020 we used the Tudor Games Forum as a way to show the love for the hobby by writing an article for 114 games plus playoff and Super Bowl articles. We posted records on our league page back from the 1970's which you may find interesting.

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In addition to Tudor Games keeping this hobby alive, the hobby is being preserved also. People like Chris LeMay, Curator of the National Electric Football Game, took the initiative to take the game to a different level by having it respected world wide through the museum.

The National ELECTRIC FOOBALL Game Museum is the home of the world’s first museum that is entirely devoted to preserving the history of the game and hobby of electric football through its vast collection of electric football game sets, game boards, teams, figures, and media library of printed and digital materials related to the game.

This website is the internet home of the museum and is being provided to showcase and feature the collections, exhibits and displays of the museum as well as those of other members of the ELECTRIC FOOTBALL Community who also share in this love and passion for the game.https://nefgm.org/

This season we simplified and just wrote a weekly summary of our league's regular season games.

When it comes to big games, LIEFL Coach Billy O'C (14-14) is no rookie. He had a great start with O'C's back-to-back LIEFL AFC Champion Miami Dolphins until Week#6 when O'C's team got a reality check against Coach Kevin Mac's Tennessee Titans (5-2), who Miami lost to 13-10 in overtime. Then the following week another blow was delivered when the Dolphins and Coach Billy O'C were outdone by second year LIEFL Coach Levi Vick, losing to division rival the surging, hard hitting, revived New England Patriots, who not only took the division title away from Miami, but they landed the second seed spot in the LIEFL Super Bowl XVII tournament. O'C said, "This league is not all about one person. Vick is a great coach. He plans and he's a very fast thinker on his feet and he proved that when he beat me to the punch with his tough Patriots. Any guy brought into the league by Coach Joey Pizz is okay with me, I trust his instinct."

SHORT BACKSTORY: On paper the Dolphins are themselves a revived team after being the crem dela crem of the league for so many years as the winningest team in our league at 156-39, but it was Coach Billy O'C's ultimate sacrifice that made this league what it is today. Coach O'C's  Dolphins played against countless opponents. They were a super fast team and almost every one of the player bases was tailored to sprint 100-yards so he decided to dismantle the team and use the best runners, for a greater purpose. O'C handed his stars out to warranting opponents in order to make the league more competitive, but in the process he turned his team upside down and he had to start all over and start from scratch. Those player bases became runners for other teams as a new foundation for the Long Island Electric Football League reinvented itself, with a little help from it's friend. Many lineman who were better at running than blocking from other teams around the league were also moved around to other teams. And boy, did the magic come together in 2008!  Meanwhile in a three year span while rebuilding, O'C's Dolphins fell apart sinking to the bottom of the barrel in the league, losing 18 games in three seasons. It was payback for other coaches as Miami took a whipping, but they survived.

As for the league, the coaches felt that a running game for each team was the key essential to success, and they were impressed by the transformation of 32 NFL teams. Joey Pizz said, "We grew up in a neighborhood that had close relationships. That closeness as kids was because of O'C. He kept everyone together and we all grew to respect each other. All we did all day as kids was play sports. But he rebuilt those Dolphins almost as good if not better than they were with new TTC player bases and amazing receivers from the Draft like Mark Duper and Mark Clayton."

Billy O'C said, "The league started with the Dolphins playing against my mother. She is a legend in our town and when she died, she left hundreds of trophies she earned from every sport she played from volleyball, to softball, basketball soccer, and even bowling. She was an amazing international athlete in the 1950's. One time we went to Madison Square Garden, through my mom, we got to meet the Coach for the Cuban Women's Volleyball team, it was amazing and memorable. While I cannot recall every detail about our playing electric football together, what I clearly remember was her love for sports and knowledge of the inner workings of what it takes to be an athlete. She was the person who helped instruct me to understand the game. Then we became involved in organized sports at the age of eight.  She knew how to set up plays, she played with the bases until she too found the right fit for every Dolphins player. From that point on I was living a childhood fantasy bringing these players we watched on Sunday's come to life because they had the uniform colors and they matched the legends. It was exciting. She was exciting! We came from a tin can with broken down player bases to finding the best guys to play at that time. My mother coming from Cuba in 1959, didn't give living with little too much thought. She just knew that when she heard the sound of that metal board buzzing, she knew that I went into my own world and was hooked. It kept the entire neighborhood out of trouble and the game took parents by surprise."  

Coach Johnny Freeport-Chucker said, "In junior high I had issues with the family because I was always in trouble, constantly fighting with people. So I moved from Freeport Long Island which is a really tough town, to Bay Shore to live with my mother's sister. Billy O'C and the boys embraced me through sports with the neighborhood kids in 1977, and we've been friends ever since. Before meeting these guys, I never heard of this game. I was a basketball and football player. O'C made up the name "Chucker" because he ribbed me on the way I shoot a basketball so he called me "Chucker" because I had an off shot. That is when I discovered electric football and I was hooked the first time we played. We have a playoff ritual. Maybe we are superstitious, but we follow the ritual. That's where we are at today, building a dynasty professional league. We don't care who likes us, we like us, and what we are about as leaders. Playing for money is incredible because we have money. Our wives love that we are having a great time too!"

Coach Paddy Brannigan said, "When Norm Sas invented this game in 1947, he must have had people like us in mind. He had the same instinct to do what we are doing and his compelling approach to the game he invented. I am sure his invention took him beyond the riches and rewards, he believed in what he was doing, and what he accomplished, so we feel we have to keep the hobby alive by creating Electric Football Tradition here in the Long Island Electric Football League. We respect him and this game and we won't let him down!"


187577437_waterdip2.thumb.jpg.08301588bdffad5ea1a21af8f47c282e.jpgFor big games like this in our league we go through an important process when it comes to player base bottoms. We don't allow alterations to any of our players or added weight. Coach Billy O'C said, "Each player is inspected to ensure the rules are followed accordingly, like a weigh-in before a wrestling match. Then the next process is, before each playoff game all 22 players have only the bottom of their bases, dipped in water and placed on a paper towel as their player bases dry. This process after cleaning the field with hot water with a paper towel, takes as many particles off the playing surface as we can. We then blow the field off to be sure there are no hidden fibers camouflaged. During live game time, this effort allows players to move swiftly without any interruption from any type of particles that may be left on the game board or underneath the player base ensuring the ultimate performance in the game." 507733435_waterdip1.thumb.jpg.710b8842a46a8be89b9f8c947cb62a09.jpgCoach Matt Zoo-York said, "We are very particular and superstitious about the game board itself. Everyone washes their hands before we play so the uniforms stay in pristine condition.

As for the game, you'd be surprised what slows these players up during the course of a game only to find out it's a tiny piece of microfiber or hair particle or dust particle which can have a significant impact on a player's overall performance. That impact can change the game. A player may be at the two yard line with the game on the line and he may run out of bounds because there's a hair or a particle stuck underneath the player base. So in this league we do the best we can to ensure that it's done properly so that our players perform at a maximum level." We go through great lengths to make the league an operating entity just like the Pro's do, or the closest thing to being professional. Coach Johnny Freeport-Chucker said, "While I may be the renegade of the league, every coach in the league takes this ritual seriously, or we'd have no league. Picking talented coaches is not the hard part when it comes to electric football, the hard part is finding like-minded coaches who put the league first. Again, this league takes a vintage approach to who we are as a league and how important tradition is to us."
 

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AFC WILD CARD GAME: There were some amazing runs in the game, but this 100-yard touchdown run by LIEFL All-Pro Jim Brown stole the cake as he whizzed past Miami Dolphins defenders with fierce velocity in a highly energetic performance by both teams! 
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Two great coaches face each other in this matchup. Cleveland Browns (4-3) Coach Matt Zoo-York (16-12) is the Number #2 Ranked coach this season playing against Billy O'C's (14-14) Miami Dolphins (5-2).  There is nothing like the excitement and intensity of an opening kickoff for a playoff game! The Dolphins have won 27 playoff games and six Super Bowls in this league. Dolphins star Mark Duper hasn't played up to his rookie levels since the LIEFL Draft in 2019. Duper Ranked #25th in kick return this season in the LIEFL and #12th in the AFC with 14 touches for 736 yards with two 100-yard returns for touchdowns. , but he poured it on in the last game against New England and he showed up today contributing 244 yards to Miami's offense. Cleveland's star All-Pro Jim Brown Ranked #17th in the LIEFL in all-purpose yards, tore up the AFC in all-purpose yards with 24 touches for 1116 yards with five touchdowns, four of them 100-yard returns!
 
On the opening kick off Duper exploded for a 41-yard kick return before he was hit head on by LIEFL ALL-Pro Clay Matthews Sr., who put Miami on notice that these are not the same Browns who the Buffalo Bills embarrassed in their playoff romp over the Browns 42-14 in the AFC Divisional Championship Game in 2017. These Cleveland Browns came to play, but Miami rose to the occasion, it's the playoffs and anyone's game! 
 
Miami was pushed back 15 yards by the Cleveland defense led by defensive end LIEFL All-Pro's Kam Wimbley and Clay Matthews Sr., who forced Miami to kick a 44-yard field goal giving the Dolphins the lead, 3-0! 
 
aaaa43art.thumb.jpg.91ecbf3abacc8e5d15ec05266ab37539.jpgOn the Browns first possession Cleveland's star LIEFL All-Pro Jim Brown ran back a 40-yard kick return with speed and power until he was mat by Miami defensive end and All-Pro Jason Taylor, who had four tackles in the game. The Browns frontline dominated Jason Taylor in the first set of downs, but the Dolphins and coach Billy O'C made immediate adjustments but it didn't stop the Browns. Cleveland running back Mike Pruitt has been steady and reliable the entire year, as he followed the blocking of the Browns middle man in the trenches, Simon Fraser. Fraser opened a beautiful hole around Miami lineman Bob Kuechenberg for a huge 16-yard first down by Mike Pruitt. One play later Pruitt busted free 44 yards into the end zone with a seeping hole on the left side of Miami's front line, 7-3 Cleveland takes the lead with two-minutes left in the first quarter action.
 
 
In the opening of the second quarter, it was Mark Duper who returned the ball back to the same place he did on the opening kickoff for Miami,  at the 41 yard line. The Dolphins offensive line led by LIEFL All-Pro Larry Little took charge opening holes for Dolphins running back Mercury Morris of 3 yards, 16, 15, and then Morris ran in a 25-yard touchdown to put the Dolphins ahead 10-7, with 11:45 left to go in a half.
 
On the Browns kick return, Jimmy Brown took an explosive kick return back 100-yards into the Dolphins endzone to put the battling Browns up 14-10! Wow! Jim Brown's electrifying run is  just what the Cleveland needed! What a game with 10:35 left to go in a half!
 
On Miami's next possession they calmed down and their offensive line dug in. The Dolphins started playing like AFC champions returning to the Big show driving the ball 59 yards downfield with the Miami front three in the trenches opening huge hole for Mercury Morris with runs of 24, 27, and finally another touchdown from Mercury Morris on a 7-yard run putting the Dolphins up 17-14 with 307 left to go in a half! The fireworks are building! 
 
Dolphins defensive end Jason Taylor made a great tackle on Jim Brown stopping him for at the 41-yard line on the kick return, and after a three yard run by Mike Pruitt, with time running out the Browns tied the game 17-17 with an amazing 65 yard field goal as the first half came to a close with two evenly matched teams.
 
The second half opened with Jim Brown running the ball back 58-yards on the kick return. The Dolphins defense came up big again on the first two plays for the Browns stopping them at the line of scrimmage and pushing them back 5 yards to the 47-yard line of Miami. On 3rd down coach Maloney decided to go up in the air to Kellen Winslow Jr., which turned into a 42-yard connection and first down for the Browns, bringing the Browns to the 5 yard line of the Dolphins with 9:39 left to go in the third quarter! That setup from Winslow was enough to put Mike Pruitt into the end zone for his second time in the game from 5 yards away giving the Browns a 24-17 lead, with 8:10 remaining in the third quarter! Wow again!
 
ac22art.thumb.jpg.ffa2f273f96e4628c1d438573bf3a397.jpgThe excitement and anxiety kept building. These two teams laid it all on the line with ferocity! Miami came fighting back with a Mark Duper 54-yard kick return, his fourth kick return of the game. But it was the Dolphin front line of Larry Little, Jason Taylor, and Bob Kuechenberg who battled in the trenches. One play after Duper's return, Mercury Morris did a gorgeous end around sweep 43 yards around the right side of the Browns defense, then he cut back into the center of the field scoring his third touchdown of the game to tie the game at 24-24, with 3:21 left to go in the third quarter! What a game and what a matchup! As the the third quarter came to a close Miami's defense stopped Browns running back Mike Pruitt on his first two runs with the score remaining tied 24-24, going into the 4th quarter.
 
Cleveland called pass but Miami's defense came alive and they stopped the Browns on 3rd down with Cleveland exactly where they need to be for a field goal forcing fourth down, because the LIEFL rule states,  no team shall attempt to kick a field goal from more than 65 yards away. We set that mark because the Longest NFL field goal was 65 yards as we mentioned in one of our earlier articles. The Browns missed the field goal attempt turned the ball back over to a hungry Miami offense at the Cleveland 35-yard line, which was the turning point of the game with perhaps Coach Zoo-York's biggest mistake of the game because the Browns failed to execute. That inability to execute for the Browns is a something they have to learn from if they want to win playoff games in this league.
 
When Miami got the ball back Browns tackle Jerry Sherk stopped Mercury Morris on his first run for a three yard loss, but on second down Morris gained that yardage back plus another six to bring the Dolphins to the 30-yard line of Cleveland. On 3rd down Billy O'C fired a rocket to  a wide open Mark Duper for the score, making it Dolphins 31 Browns 24, with 9:34 remaining in the game!
 
Jim Brown's sixth return of the game was 39 yd. The Browns with 3 minutes left to go in the game and the Browns went all the way downfield to the dolphin 42 where Mike Pruitt broke free on the left hand side of the field for a 42-yard touchdown run his third of the game to tie the score 3131 at the 3-minute Mark
 
abbbb22art.thumb.jpg.b4ed6bf8144611af45e80d4c311b58e9.jpgThis game is going to turn into a heartbreaker for somebody as Cleveland calls a timeout with 2:24 remaining in the game and the Dolphins will start at their own 35 to try to win this AFC Wild Card Game. One thing's for sure, this rebuilt Browns team has made a clear statement that they will be part of the postseason, and boy, Mike Pruitt really has played tremendous along with this Cleveland Brown teammates. 
After that Browns time out, Mercury Morris blasted through the right corner of the line 51-yards behind the blocking of Zack Thomas and tackle Manny Fernandez for a Miami touchdown with 1:48 left in the game with the Dolphins in the lead 38-31!
 
With time running out and no timeouts left Cleveland had only one choice and that was to pass the football so they after a Jim Brown 51 yard kick return, Zoo-York connected with Brown for a 21-yard reception for a first down, but it wasn't enough to score a touchdown with just seconds left on the clock, the Cleveland Browns (4-4), kicked a field goal in defeat, losing to the Miami Dolphins (6-2) in the AFC Wild Card Game 38-34!
 
Cleveland played enormous! As a team the Browns had 19 touches for 559 total yards with four touchdowns in damage, but it was Miami who limited them in the second half.
 
Running back Mike Pruitt finished the game with 10 rushes for 125 yards with three touchdown runs of 44, 5, and 42 yards against an elite team. Jim Brown had a super game with 8 touches for 394 yards, including his electrifying 100-yard kick return for a touchdown. The Browns are on coaches radar throughout the league, and they are maybe one or two players short of being a Super Bowl team! Coach Matt Zoo-York will go on the hunt in the LIEFL February Draft to get this team to the next level again.
 
Miami's Mercury Morris finished the day with 16 rushes for 264 yards against one of the best defenses in the league. Morris also had four touchdowns of 24, 7, 43 and 51 yards in the game. Miami heads to Los Angeles for the AFC Divisional Championship Game to battle with the Chargers in a rematch of their 2020 of their AFC Championship Game, which Miami won 32-27!  Miami was impressive. They had 22 touches for 508 yards in a game with five touchdowns. Coach Billy O'C said, "To me it isn't about the money. When you play in this league, reality is, to win we have to beat Coach Viggs, so it's best to plan for his Chargers the way I did last time. Imagine, Viggs has all four of his teams in the playoffs and all of them are great teams. We have to focus, take away opportunities from his running back LaDainian Tomlinson, and we cannot afford to make any mistakes against this coach because he will make you pay dearly." 
 
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