The Koopa Troopas came into Week 7 at 2-4, looking at three really tough-looking games: vs. the Fortress, vs. Desert Land, and vs. Giant Land. After the three-game stretch, they now find themselves tied for first place in the Mario Division with a 5-4 record, looking back at the last three games as the ones that may have defined their season. They upset the Fortress with strong defense and a surprise running game. That running game dominated Desert Land in the second half the following week. Against Giant Land, however, their running game was shut down, and their defense was not playing to the best of their ability, as they found themselves down 17-0 at the half. In the second half, however, Lakitu turned things around by rejuvenating the passing attack, and their defense stepped it up. Result: a 24-17 win that dropped the Titanic Giants into a tie for first place in the Nintendo Division, while they rose into a three-way tie for first in the Mario Division.
The Yoshi Yo-yos have the most appropriate name in the Nintendo Football League. Yo-yos may go down, but they come back up again, and that's what this team has done for the second time in three seasons. In both 2002 and 2004, the Yo-yos started out 0-4. In 2002, they won four in a row, then made the playoffs at 7-5. Here in 2004, they have won five straight games after an 0-4 start, with a 37-34 win over the Football Fortress being the most recent victory for their team. This time, it was Rachelle scoring 3 TD's on 18 receptions. The Yo-yos got up by ten, allowed a TD and an onside kick recovery, then held their breaths as King Boo tossed up a Hail Mary pass to the end zone as time expired. However, Rachelle intercepted her third pass of the game, and the Yo-yos won yet again. The Fortress, meanwhile, dropped their third out of four games, and missed an opportunity to take a two-game lead on the Frozen Flurries, which would have given them a chance to clinch the Foes Division title before going to Ice Land for their regular-season finale. Now that final game looks like it will decide the Foes Division title.
Throughout the entire six-year history of the Nintendo Football League, we've had two constants: the Dark Land Lava not making the playoffs, and the Pikachut Thunder making the playoffs. The Thunder clinched their sixth playoff spot in a row, beating the hapless Water Land Sharks 84-0, behind Meowth's seven first-half TD passes (he was benched at the two-minute warning of the first half out of mercy by Giovanni). Charizard caught 4 TD passes, helping the Thunder win easily. The Thunder can clinch their conference's regular-season title, a #1 seed, and a first-round bye with merely a win, or Masters and Apes losses. The Water Land Sharks have not scored since Week 3, failing to score a point in any non-division game this season.
After a 4-0 start, there was talk yet again of the Sky Land Bombers being one of the best teams in this league. Sky Land has put that talk to rest with their fifth consecutive loss, losing 25-23 to the Pokemon Trainers at Indigo Stadium on a last-second 44-yard field goal by Sabrina. Sky Land trailed 16-0 and 22-3 before mounting a comeback, actually taking a 23-22 lead before Katrina led her squad on the last-second drive for the game-winning field goal. The Baddies Division is so bad, however, that Sky Land can clinch their division title with a win at home vs. the Thwomp Traps next week. The Trainers will not make the playoffs as a 5-7 team for the second straight year, as the Falcons' and Superstars' wins ensured that the Trainers would not be able to sneak into the playoffs with a poor record again. As for the Bombers? Winning their division title with a 5-7 record is still possible.
Whitney was on the hot seat as the starting quarterback after a 0-2 start. Coach Jasmine stuck with her as the starting QB instead of taking back her old job, and the Masters have gone 6-1 since. This 40-0 win over the Thwomp Traps was no big surprise, but it clinched a non-losing season for a team that looked like it had no way of avoiding a losing season back in September.
Kirby and King Dedede will both miss the remainder of the 2004 Nintendo Football League season, both for different reasons. Kirby was run over on an interception return for a touchdown by Blackie, while Dedede was given a suspension for the rest of the regular season and potential playoffs for his actions concerning taking revenge for Kirby's injury. He tried to give a late hit to Bombette, though tripped over a bench on the Bob-omb Blasters' sideline while trying to do so. After leading his team to a comeback from down 14-0 to win 17-14 over the Blasters, he charged into the Blasters' locker room, getting into a fight with Blackie. Blackie's teammates got quickly involved in the fight, and Kirby Stadium security got control of the furious Dedede. Kirby's injury and Dedede's suspension will most likely overshadow an amazing season for the Kirby Superstars, who at 5-4, have three more wins than they had in their first three seasons combined, as well as still being in the playoff hunt right now.
The Flying Falcons headed to Wario Stadium with hopes of getting back to a winning record for the first time since Week 3. Mario's Mushrooms squad hoped to stop a franchise-record six-game losing streak. Captain Falcon's team was passing the ball like crazy on the defensively-weak Mushrooms. In the third quarter, an Antonio Guster 86-yard TD reception made the score 35-30. However, Mario struck back on the next play from scrimmage with a 93-yard TD pass to Waluigi. A Captain Falcon Jr. rushing TD gave the Falcons back the lead, but Daisy returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. Later in the game, a Daisy TD gave the Mushrooms a 53-51 lead, but the ensuing extra point was blocked and returned for two points by Zoda. Captain Falcon then drove the Falcons downfield, completing a TD to Samurai Goroh for a 60-53 lead. Goroh later intercepted a Mario pass to seal the win for the Falcons, who improved to 5-4, while the Mario Mushrooms are ensured of their first-ever losing season and second straight non-playoffs season after a seventh straight loss.
17 was the magic number for the Dark Land Lava vs. the Super Smashers. Roy Koopa's 17-yard TD reception with 17 seconds to go in the 4th quarter gave the Dark Land Lava a 17-13 win over the Super Smashers. Dark Land struggled to stop Samus, who scored 2 receiving TD's in her first game back from an injury suffered back in Week 4. Bowser showed great poise on the last-second drive, however, leading the Lava downfield for the game-winning score, not bothering to settle for the game-tying field goal. "We wanted it all, and we got it," Bowser said. "Now we want a playoff spot... that will much harder to get."
A bad habit for the Apes this season has been inconsistency. Yet again, the Apes' second half was a near-opposite of the first-half. Back in Week 5, the Apes blew a 28-10 lead to the Johto Masters and lost 29-28. Then, in Week 6, Donkey Kong's team, with him on the bench with a leg injury, battled back from down 25 points to pull within a missed 2-point conversion of tying the game. This time, the Apes got off to a 21-3 lead in the first half, looking like they would roll to an easy victory. However, not far from another touchdown that would have put the Goombas away, DK fumbled, and the Goombas recovered. The Goombas scored a TD on that possession. Later, a Chunky Kong fumble was recovered by Gary Goomba in the end zone, as Chunky was just about to score. The Goombas then scored another TD, pulling within 5 points. That was as close as the Goombas would get, however, as the Apes kicked a field goal and intercepted a pass after a missed field goal, holding off the Goombas to win 24-16. This means that the Apes are now tied for first place with the Titanic Giants in the Nintendo Division, while the Goombas are tied for first place with both the Dark Land Lava and the Koopa Troopas in the Mario Division.
The Sonic Speeders were, believe it or not, once 2-0 this season, considered a playoff contender. Now, at 3-6 and with the playoffs a distant pipe dream, it seems like it was all a joke the whole time. Against the Piranha Eaters, a team they figured they would beat before the season began, they failed to even score a point. Now granted, Ptooie has transformed the Piranha Eaters from a doormat to a playoff contender at 7-2, but you would expect better from the Sonic Speeders, to not just get bowled over 21-0. "It's been difficult," said Sonic. "We may start experimenting in the final three games of the regular season." Does that mean re-benching Shadow and replacing Shadow with Sonic? "Anything's possible at this point," Sonic replied. Meanwhile, the Eaters clinched their first-ever winning season in their second season of existence as a Nintendo Football League team.
The Oakland Athletics used Snifit's 2 TD's to help them win their fifth straight game, with a final score of 33-0. With only more win, the Oakland A's will make the playoffs for the third straight season, all three that they have been in existence. Their opponent was the pathetic Fighting Fire, playing without their starting quarterback, Fiery Flamer Sr. This win was no problem for the A's.
The Desert Land Destroyers had lost two games in a row coming into their Friday night game at Ice Land. They were in desperation, having once been considered the favorite for the Mario Conference championship, and now starting to see their playoff chances slip away. A loss would have potentially pushed them to a position in which they could have possibly been on the outside looking in. However, the Destroyers took it to the very physical Frozen Flurries at Ice Land, in the cold but not icy, snowy, or windy conditions. 3 first-half field goals gave Desert Land a 9-0 lead, before Fiery caught a 15-yard TD to put them up 15-0. A two-point conversion made the score 17-0. Right before the half, Flurrier Jr. decided to try a 55-yard field goal, which came up miserably short: Fiery caught it at his own 13-yard line! Fiery then returned it all the way for a TD of his own, making the score 24-0 as the players went into their locker rooms. Although Ice Land closed within 24-11 in the third quarter, Fiery caught a 32-year TD and ran it in for two points to make it a 32-11 Desert Land lead. The Destroyers ran away with this game, 46-18. Flurrier Jr., who had rushed for a NFL-record 404 yards and 11 TD's on 20 carries versus Water Land last week, managed only 83 yards on 21 carries, though his 2 TD's weren't too bad. A game like this makes you wonder if Ice Land is for real this year, or if Desert Land just turned it on at the right time.