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Athletes Who Were Better in Video Games Than Real Life

Zack PumerantzAnalyst IIIDecember 31, 2016

Athletes Who Were Better in Video Games Than Real Life

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    Video games have offered sports fans the chance to live vicariously through their favorite athletes for years, some of whom were or remain potent threats on the field. However, this virtual reality is far from realistic.

    Thanks to game developers' drive to create flashier games, certain abilities are highlighted in these games; god-like abilities that can't be contained. For example, remember when sweet-shooting Michael Redd drained 24 three-pointers against the New York Knicks in NBA Live 2005? Of course not, it wasn't real and would never happen.

    Here we'll look at athletes who were far better in video games than they were in real life.

    Donatello couldn't have sculpted such chiseled perfection.

20. Craig "Ironhead" Heyward

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    Game: Tecmo Super Bowl

    Real-life Reputation: Punishing runner who compiled 4,301 yards and 30 touchdowns rushing in 11 potent seasons.

    In-game Ability: A sure touchdown on every return, a Mack truck and a thorough clock-killing legend.

19. Scottie Pippen

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    Game: NBA Jam

    Real-life Reputation: Robin to Jordan's Batman, seven-time All-Star, six-time champion and one heck of a player.

    In-game Ability: Without Jordan in 1993 (he was off swinging a baseball bat), Pippen was a sweet shooter, ruiner of rims, swatter of shots and annihilated the Jam hardwood.

18. Didier Drogba

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    Game: 2010 FIFA World Cup South Africa

    Real-life Reputation: All-time top scorer of the Cote d'Ivoire national football team, fourth-highest goal scorer in Chelsea history.

    In-game Ability: Accurate sniper from 70 feet out, the fastest man ever to inhabit the Earth.

17. Dell Curry

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    Game: NBA Jam

    Real-life Reputation: 16 seasons, 11.7 points per game, .402 percent from three-point stripe, sweetest stroke around.

    In-game Ability: While most players had to be on fire to drain threes consistently, Dell Curry hit them with ease and would drain half-court shots when surrounded by flames (literally).

16. QB Eagles

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    Game: Tecmo Bowl

    Real-life Reputation: Better known as Randall Cunningham, QB Eagles was a pioneer in the introduction of the scrambling quarterback. Four Pro Bowls, 207 touchdowns, a permanent place in Philadelphia lore.

    In-game Ability: Literally immortal.

15. Sammy Sosa

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    Game: Triple Play 2000

    Real-life Reputation: Battled Mark McGwire in "'98 for Roger Maris" home run record, slugged 609 of them in his career, once-beloved slugger with a colorful personality.

    In-game Ability: 962-foot homers, measuring 500 feet on the regular.

14. Ricky Williams

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    Game: ESPN NFL Football NFL 2K4

    Real-life Reputation: Hard-nosed, bruising tailback with a world of talent. Put up 1,853 yards and 16 touchdowns in '02 with the Dolphins, both career highs.

    In-game Ability: The second coming of Earl Campbell, able to truck defenders every single time or simply outrun them to the sidelines with ease. Pure, unfiltered talent.

13. Jeremy Roenick

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    Game: NHLPA 93, NHL 94

    Real-life Reputation: Nine-time All-Star, 513 goals, hard-hitting center with a golden wrist.

    In-game Ability: Could steal the puck, slam an opponent, score a goal, clean the ice and wash uniforms in one move. Wayne Gretzky who?

12. Ben Coates

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    Game: All-Pro Football 2K8, Madden series

    Real-life Reputation: Solid tight end with 5,555 career receiving yards in 10 seasons, Big Ben made five Pro Bowl appearances.

    In-game Ability: 90 percent of the time, Coates on-a-slant-pattern-for-a-touchdown worked every time. In reality, almost all virtual tight ends are overly dominant. When in doubt, that hot-route out pattern always led to a monstrous gain or more.

11. Pavel Bure

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    Game: NHL 95

    Real-life Reputation: Six-time All-Star, scored five goals in one game against Finland at the 1998 Winter Olympics, retired with a 0.623 goals-per-game average.

    In-game Ability: Dick Butkus combined with Michael Jordan, on ice.

10. Randy Moss

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    Game: NFL 2K series

    Real-life Reputation: A home run-hitting hands man with 967 receptions, 15,093 receiving yards, 155 touchdowns and the potential to break one deep.

    In-game Ability: A certain touchdown every time, Moss made the prevent defense even more useless than it is in real life.

9. Latrell Sprewell

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    Game: NBA Live 95 and 96

    Real-life Reputation: Four-time All-Star, 18.3 points per game, choked former coach P.J. Carlesimo during a practice in 1997.

    In-game Ability: In both years, Sprewell was a high-flying, tireless workhorse who drained 95 percent of his three-pointers (once scored 168 points in one game).

8. Bob Nelson

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    Game: Tecmo Super Bowl

    Real-life Reputation: Defensive tackle, four seasons, three sacks, no starts.

    In-game Ability: Nose-tackle dive play assured a sack nearly every snap, Olympic speed. 200-sack seasons were expected.

7. T.J. Houshmandzadeh

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    Game: Madden NFL 2010

    Real-life Reputation: Solid receiver with one Pro Bowl appearance who boycotted Madden 10 because he believed his 91 rating was severely underwhelming. Tacked on 7,237 yards in 11 seasons.

    In-game Ability: Sixth-best receiver in the NFC, 91 rating, unrealistically studly.

6. Tom Chambers

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    Game: Lakers vs. Celtics and the NBA Playoffs

    Real-life Reputation: Four-time All-Star who scored 18.1 points per game during his popular career.

    In-game Ability: The most dominant player on the court.

5. Michael Vick

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    Game: Madden 2004 (and every other one)

    Real-life Reputation: Almost 11 seasons, 20,077 yards passing, 5,526 yards rushing, 80.7 rating, 86 fumbles (31 last three seasons).

    Any Madden: The greatest football player of all time.

4. Tommy Armour III

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    Game: PGA Tour Golf II

    Real-life Reputation: Seven professional wins, grandson of three-time major champion Tommy Armour.

    In-game Ability: The love child of Jack Nicklaus and God. On a bad day.

3. Reggie Bush

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    Game: Madden NFL 2007

    Real-life Reputation: Former Heisman Trophy winner, 4.33 40-yard dash, destroyed by cornerback Sheldon Brown.

    In-game Ability: Upper-80s rating as a rookie (barely scrapes 80 now), immortal in rushing attack mode, a stiff-arm machine.

2. Wayne Haddix

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    Game: Tecmo Super Bowl

    Real-life Reputation: Made one Pro Bowl in four seasons, picking off seven passes that year (the only interceptions of his career).

    In-game Ability: One-year wonder becomes a legend. Rather, a ball-hawking machine who absorbed any pigskin within a field-wide radius. A black hole of terror.

1. Bo Jackson

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    Game: Tecmo Super Bowl

    Real-life Reputation: An athletic pioneer, the Achilles of two-sport athletes. In reality, 38 games, 2,782 yards rushing, 16 touchdowns, career-long of 92 yards

    In-game Ability: Untouchable, literally.

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