06:03 AM - February 3, 2012 by Steve_OS
Just when you thought the late fourth quarter dramatics had ended, a virtual version of Tebow Time crashed the EA SPORTS Madden Bowl XVIII party held at the Bud Light Hotel Thursday in Indianapolis.
Playing in front of a capacity crowd filled with NFL stars, college All-Americans, and the local Indianapolis faithful, the Madden “Clutch Team” featuring Drew Brees (quarterback, New Orleans Saints), Jimmy Graham (tight end, New Orleans Saints), and Tim Tebow (quarterback, Denver Broncos), rallied late to knock off the 2012 NFL Draft eligible “Rookie Team” of Justin Blackmon (wide receiver, Oklahoma State University), Robert Griffin III (quarterback, Baylor University), and LaMichael James (running back, University of Oregon), 16-13, capturing the Madden Bowl XVIII championship.
The classic ending mirrored that of Tebow’s best come-from-behind-moments from the 2011 NFL regular season – with one exception: Tebow took the field as a wide receiver, while Brees was under center during the game’s final drive.
Playing Madden NFL 12 in teams of three, Brees connected with Tebow on a short touchdown pass with 0:10 remaining, spoiling what would have been a game-winning fumble return for a touchdown by The Rookie Team just a few plays prior.
“There’s just something about having him on your team,” said Brees of Tebow. “He’s just brings the magic. There’s no other way to explain it.”
As for the fumble that nearly cost his team the game, Brees admitted that he simply ‘pushed the wrong button at the wrong time.’
“I thought I called a run play, but it turned out to be a play action pass,” said Brees, whose team lost in the Madden Bowl XVII championship game one season ago in Dallas. “Luckily there was still enough time on the clock for us to drive down the field after they scored. Wow. What a fun and crazy game.”
Although the last-second heroics ignited the crowd, the party in Indy was just getting started.
Legendary hip-hop group The Roots took the stage at the conclusion of the tournament, followed by a headline performance by Grammy-nominated hip-hop superstar Nas.
A big surprise came later in the evening when Snoop Dogg busted out with a 45-minute set of his biggest hits, including “What’s My Name?” and “The Next Episode”.
On-hand to walk down the Madden Bowl XVIII Blue Carpet were Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald, Pro Football Hall of Famer Michael Irvin, and Heisman Trophy winners Mark Ingram and Eddie George, among many others.
Pro Football Hall of Famers Barry Sanders and Deion Sanders, along with Super Bowl champion Warren Sapp also took part in the Madden Bowl tournament, along with running backs Arian Foster (Houston Texans) and Maurice Jones-Drew (Jacksonville Jaguars), and linebacker Patrick Willis (San Francisco 49ers). All were among the two teams that failed to reach the championship game.
During the ESPN3 broadcast, early details emerged regarding the Madden NFL 13 Cover Vote campaign on ESPN’s “SportsNation”, which will kick off on March 7 with a two-week “play-in” round that will pit two teammates, from each NFL team, against each other to determine the 32 player bracket. For more details visit http://www.espn.com/maddenvote. Players for the “play-in” round will be revealed via the EA SPORTS Madden NFL Facebook page throughout the month of February.
Watch a replay of all the Madden Bowl XVIII action on ESPN3 online at WatchESPN.com, on smartphones and tablets via the WatchESPN app and through ESPN on Xbox LIVE to over 71 million households nationwide through an affiliated provider.