T.O.'s heroics not enough as Knights shockingly miss FCF playoffs


Terrell Owens, at 48-years-old, made a diving catch in the end zone with seconds remaining to seemingly send his team to the playoffs.

Instead, it ended up being his final catch of the season in Fan Controlled Football.

Owens and the Knights of Degen lost in stunning fashion, falling 36-30 to 8oki and losing the ensuing "Man Up Showdown" tiebreaker that determined the final playoff spot.

In a finish that was reminiscent of the epic matchup last January in the NFL playoffs between the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills, the game featured three lead-changing touchdowns over the final 26 seconds.

T.O. and the Knights entered the game needing a victory to clinch a playoff spot, and they built a 22-12 advantage with 5:32 remaining.

8oki quarterback Mitch Kidd later connected with Patrick Smith for a 13-yard touchdown and found Malik Elion for the two-point conversion to cut the deficit to 22-20 with 1:47 to go.

Using the "Comeback Rule," FCF's version of the onside kick that gives trailing teams the opportunity to convert a fourth-and-10 from their own 10 to retain possession, Kidd hit Joseph Boykin for a 12-yard gain to keep the drive and 8oki's season alive. Malcolm Ballard then put 8oki on top with a two-yard touchdown run with 26 seconds remaining, and Kidd found Smith for the two-point conversion to push the lead to 28-22.

The Knights responded by using their power play, which forces the opposing team to remove one player from the field for a series. Quarterback Ed Crouch took advantage on the first play of the drive, finding a hole and taking it 40 yards for the touchdown to tie the score at 28-28 with 17 seconds left.

T.O., looking to make a return to the NFL, then made what was perhaps his top play of the season. Owens, on the ensuing two-point conversion attempt, which feature a wide receiver in a one-on-one formation against a defensive back, laid out to make a diving catch and give the Knights a 30-28 lead with 17 seconds left.

Owens celebrated by shouting at former NFL wide receiver Antonio Brown, who was one of many All-Pro players in attendance. The celebration didn't last long.

Smith made a 35-yard leaping catch from Kidd on the first play of the next drive, putting 8oki on the five-yard line with 10 seconds left.

Ballard then rushed in for the go-ahead touchdown with three seconds remaining, and Boykin followed with a catch on the two-pointer for a 36-30 lead.

The Knights had one final chance to win the game, but Crouch's downfield pass was tipped away, giving 8oki the comeback win. That meant the Knights and 8oki each finished the season with a 4-3 record, setting up FCF's first "Man Up Showdown" to determine which of the two teams would claim the second and final playoff spot in the Ballerz Division. 

The scoring format was similar to that of a soccer shootout, but with a quarterback and skill player lining up in one-on-one situations against a defensive back looking to make a catch in the end zone. Each team took a turn for three rounds, using a different skill player for each, with the top fan from each team based on season-long Fan IQ scoring tracked through the FCF app on the field to pick each the skill player used and the route they'd run.

Kidd found Smith wide open on the Beasts first attempt, while Crouch's toss to Jordan Williams was overthrown. In the second round, Boykin also broke free and caught a wide-open pass from Kidd, forcing a must-convert situation for the Knights. But Yedidiah Louis was unable to make the grab for the Knights, ending their season before it could get to the third round where a Hall of Fame wide receiver was awaiting his chance. 

Owens was involved in the FCF's first trade earlier in the season, sending him from the 0-4 Zappers to a 3-1 Knights team that seemed destined for the playoffs. But they went just 1-2 after acquiring Owens, ending the season earlier than expected for the league's biggest star.

Fan Controlled Football Wide Receiver Terrell Owens talks about how he is still an NFL talent.

Owens' final game of the season was his most impactful. In addition to converting a pair of two-point conversions, he caught his third touchdown of the season earlier in the game, making a leaping grab on a fade pass.

Owens finished the season with three touchdowns in eight games.   

As for T.O.'s former team? They're playoff bound. The Zappers pulled off a miracle 42-38 win over the Beasts, taking the lead with four seconds remaining after a fumble was returned for a touchdown and the replay review was controversially upheld by the fans.

It was the Zappers' third straight win after an 0-4 start as they finished with a 3-4 record to force a tiebreaker with the Glacier Boyz. That sent the two teams to a "Man Up Showdown," which the Zappers won 2-1 to capture the final playoff spot.

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