The 15 Most Unfair and Terrifying Video Game Athletes to Play Against
You are not allowed to be Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl. Not even if there's a fire.
Why? Because he's infallible—like Mark Ruffalo or the Pope. He can do no wrong, and playing against him in that 8-bit classic isn't fair or fun.
Jackson isn't the only juggernaut of sports video games. Anyone who has spent any time screaming at digital athletes knows there are certain players (or creatures) in certain games that don't seem to operate by the rules.
The following are those video game athletes—the ones who are above the game, cutting through it like a carefully crafted cheat code. These are the most terrifying video game athletes, and a NATO treaty should be agreed upon to prevent their use and proliferation.
Ronaldinho in FIFA 07
Of the many sins I've committed in this life, the one that keeps me up most nights was my shameless and galling overuse of Ronaldinho and Barcelona in FIFA 07.
Ball control was tighter across the board in 07, but even on the most difficult setting, the ball was practically soldered to Ronaldinho's boot. He could outsprint most defenses at will and bend in finesse shots from 10 yards outside the box. It was wrong and inhumane.
Consistently using him and Barcelona's stacked squad every game for months on end was degrading not only to myself, but to the entire process, and I apologize to anyone I hurt with my actions.
Peep the Stats: 91 overall, 97 dribbling, 97 ball control, 93 sprint speed, 93 long shots.
Randy Moss in Madden '09
If Randy Moss couldn't catch it, it didn't deserve to be caught.
As true as this might've been in reality, it was physical law in Madden. Scoring with Moss was as easy as choosing a "fly" play and sending him to the pylon. You pressed the "Randy Moss button" and he scored, essentially. It was a curly hair short of automatic.
The height of Moss' virtual power came after his record-breaking '07-'08 season with the Patriots. Moss hauled down 23 touchdowns and subsequently earned his highest overall Madden rating of 98.
Peep The Stats: 98 Overall, 99 Speed, 100 Jump, 97 Catch, 95 Route Running and 100 Special.
Stretch in NBA Street
"Who is this old man and how is he making me regret my birth??"
The taller, Afro-ier version of Earl Manigeault, Stretch was a 48-year-old school teacher who could somehow embarrass you in ways that would force you go home and apologize to your parents.
Stretch was one of the deadliest dunkers you could be in NBA Street, and everyone wanted to play as this cool, Dalai Lama of the street court. If memory serves me correctly, however, you had to earn that privilege by working your way up the street ball ladder and taking him down at the Rucker.
Peep the Stats: Much like Prince and Theodore Roosevelt, Stretch's two-point, three-point and dunk bars were nearly maxed out.
Scottie Pippen in NBA Jam
NBA Jam couldn't get licensing permission to use Michael Jordan, so they gave Scottie Pippen his powers and called it a day.
With a halfway competent player at the helm, Pippen and his teammate (the smart ones picked Horace Grant) were near impossible to beat. The only downside was the sandbagging Pistons fans who designed the game. They wrote a special code that made it nearly impossible for the Bulls to beat Detroit on a last second shot.
Peep the Stats: Filled to the brim, unlike un-lockable character Sal Divita.
Shannon Sharpe in NFL Blitz
NFL Blitz was an endlessly entertaining monstrosity, so it was only fitting that Shannon Sharpe was arguably the most untouchable of the game's boxy man-cubes.
Playing against the Denver Broncos in the early NFL Blitz was not a fun proposition, but someone always picked them because of the indefensible Elway-to-Sharpe connection.
The only way to disrupt this delivery system and keep Sharpe out of the end zone was to spear him in the neck before he could get to the ball. Otherwise, you were out of luck.
Peep the Stats: 100 Overall, Greased Phoenix Speed, Blake Griffin Hang Time
Boo in Mario Tennis
If you ever played Mario Tennis against Boo, you've felt the unique sensation of hating a cluster of graphics that lives inside a box.
Boo's "Tricky" style was just code for cheating spin shots that go against nature. This ghost could slice a ball around a 90 degree turn, and many a N64 remote controls met an untimely demise as a result.
Peep the Stats: None available, because this cackling poltergeist is a cheating cheater who should feel bad.
Roy Jones Jr. in Fight Night 2004
Roy Jones Jr.'s face was on the front of Fight Night 2004 for a reason—he destroyed people.
No one was excited to play against Muhammad Ali or the other legends, but Jones Jr. was the current fighter no one wanted to tussle with. He was too fast and had the cockiest dodges in the world, which just made you angrier.
Peep the Stats: 93 overall.
Calvin Johnson in Madden 25
He is a robot. He is not real.
The only thing worse than playing against Calvin Johnson in Madden 25 has to be playing him in real life. Unlike real life, however, Madden gives Megatron the ability to embarrass you thoroughly 10 to 20 times a game.
Peep the Stats: 99 Overall, 99 Route Running, 99 Jumping, 97 Catching, 91 Spectacular Catch. Yes, he is a huge problem to deal with.
Pablo Sanchez in Backyard Baseball
Having to play against Pablo Sanchez in Backyard Baseball meant one thing—you didn't get to pick first.
Peep the Stats: Four baseballs on everything except pitching. In other words, he was a sandlot demigod.
Marshall Faulk in Madden 2003
Marshall Faulk and that nose strip. They still haunt me.
Bringing Marshall Faulk down for a loss wasn't allowed in Madden 2003. He was big enough to break tackles and his ridiculous acceleration allowed him to outrun everyone on halfback tosses.
Peep the Stats: 99 overall, 93 speed, 99 acceleration, 99 agility, 97 elusiveness, 90 catch.
Yao Ming in NBA 2K
Defensive rebound, baby hook and swish.
You could do this pattern for days on end with Yao Ming in NBA 2K games from the mid 2000s. Then you go sit in the corner, drink a ginger ale and think about why this isn't fun or an accomplishment.
Peep the Stats: 96 overall in NBA 2K8.
Detroit Red Wings in NHL 96
Sergei Federov and the Detroit Red Wings were the Monstars of NHL 96 for Sega Genesis, and people who used them were out to ruin friendships.
Peep the Stats: No. 2 in even-strength, No. 3 in power plays, No. 1 in penalty killing and No. 2 in goaltending.
Also, Federov was the only player in the game with a 99 overall rating (Wayne Gretzky, that slacker, was rated 92).
Mike Tyson in Mike Tyson's Punch Out!!
There has never been a time when Mike Tyson wasn't terrifying, and he's at his worst as the final opponent in Punch Out!!
For the first 90 seconds of your showdown with Iron Mike, every single one of his punches can automatically knock you down. Indeed, this is Tyson's game and he'll destroy the self esteem of children everywhere if he wants to.
Peep the Stats: No, peep this video where Tyson destroys the player in 26 seconds.
Michael Jordan in NBA 2K11
Michael Jordan made his NBA 2K debut in 2011, and the results were tears and scorched earth for those who played against him.
Everything Jordan shot went in, no matter how contested. You could build a screened porch around the net and guard it with attack ostriches, but somehow the ball would still find its way through the ring.
If you aren't terrified of playing against Michael Jordan—even in virtual hoops—you aren't very bright.
Peep the Stats: 99 overall, 99 dunk, 99 layup.
Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl
Look at this video. I said look at it. It should disgust you.
This is a 90-second run by Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl. He runs the length of the field three times as the Patriots defense chases him like drunk Cub Scouts trying to hug a rescue dog.
Tecmo Bowl wasn't a game when you had to play against Bo Jackson. It was an 8-bit war crime.
Unsurprisingly, Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson has been called the "greatest athlete in the history of gaming," and playing against him was unfair, uncool and probably against health codes.
Peep the Stats: 1,000,000 Overall, Meth Cheetah Speed, Abrams Tank Break Tackle.
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