Milano Seamen Upset Parma Panthers in Dominant Fashion

Super Bowl XXXVIII: Italian Football League Championship is the biggest surprise of the season

TThe Parma Panthers had won the last four Italian Super Bowls and dominated the 2014 regular season. Heavy favorite was a well-used term in the weeks leading up to this game. But the Milano Seamen and their Head Coach Paul Mutti did an incredible job of scouting and executing their game plan perfectly to annihilate Parma 33-3 in Ferrara, Italy on Sunday.

This was the fourth appearance in the championship game for the Seamen and their first win. From the very start, quarterback Jonathan Dally had time to throw and make decisions thanks to an offensive line that allowed no sacks. Dally began picking apart the Panther defense early on. Running back Matt Binda, game MVP, seemed unstoppable, finding holes in the Parma line and using his quick feet to evade the linebackers.

The game opened tentatively, but Dally soon found his rhythm. On the second drive of the game, he scampered for 30 yards. Then Matt Binda finished off the drive scoring on a 15 yard run. The Panthers could not respond and the Seamen, late in the first quarter mounted another drive. This time Dally finds key receiver Santagostino down to the five yard line. Again Matt Binda pounded the ball into the end zone, making the score 14-0 for Milan with almost no time left in the first.

Seamen

Early in the second, Parma began to find their game and quarterback Tommaso Monardi started hitting his receivers. On a five minute, 70 yard drive, the Panthers took the ball down deep into Milan territory, but had to settle for a field goal as the Seamen’s defense stiffened in the red zone. The score was 14-3 Milano halfway through the second quarter.

On the ensuing drive the Seamen got stopped deep in their own territory, but instead of punting they opt to go for it on a fourth and 29, with Dally carrying the ball. They finish the drive with a Dally touchdown with nine seconds on the clock in the first half leaving the score 21-3 in favor of Milano.

In the third, the Parma offense was stymied time and again as Milano’s 4-3 defense had constant pressure on Monardi, forcing him to throw off his back foot many times. A turnover gave the ball back to Milan midway through the third as Silvestri recovered a Panther fumble. The Seamen showed no mercy marching the ball down into the Panther red zone again, and Binda proved again why he was named MVP, taking the ball in for his third touchdown of the night making the score Milan 27, Parma 3.

In the fourth, the Panthers were forced to resort to their passing game and paid the price as Monardi was intercepted and the Seamen drove the ball again. Raphael caught a touchdown pass from Dally extending Milan’s insurmountable lead to 33-3 after missing the PAT. Now however, with 6 1/2 minutes left, the referees, strangely decided to make themselves known. On a great touchdown catch by Milan’s tight end, the referees disallowed the TD as the player dived into the end zone. They called him for unsportsmanlike conduct moving the ball out to the 20. Then six more consecutive penalties were called on the Seamen taking the ball out of field goal range.  and almost back to midfield.

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The only advantage both teams gained was time ticking off the clock. Parma was saved from further embarassment and Milano’s defense rested in case they were needed. They weren’t needed too much. Final score Milano 33 Parma 3.

With this, Milano gained a measure of revenge after last year’s 51-28 loss to the Panthers in the championship final. The last team to win this game in Italy was the Bolzano Giants in 2009.

Italian SUPER BOWL HIGHLIGHTS:

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Roger Kelly
Roger Kelly is an editor and a writer for AFI. A former PR Director the B.C. Lions of the Canadian Football League for 7 years, he now lives in Sweden writing about and scouting American Football throughout the world.
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