Tecmo Super Bowl.
While today’s gamers worry about the stats on their Dez Bryant CAPs, or their custom tri-core PowerPC processor Xbox 360 that runs at 3.2GHz, we old fogies had it a bit different.
We had to worry about stopping Bo Jackson with the Colts defense, or holding the Joe Montana to Jerry Rice connection from single-handedly making us cry like little babies, all the while doing it with 8-bit graphics.
Ah, those were the days.
To honor the halfway point of the NFL season, I put a list together of the 32 greatest players in the Tecmo Super Bowl.
You may disagree with my list, you may disagree with my observations, but you can’t disagree that Tecmo Super Bowl is the greatest football game of all-time.
Nelson makes this list not for his stats, but for his legend.
He was the only player (not Bo, not LT) to have a house rule imposed upon him making him off limits to player control. I personally wracked up 20 sacks per game with him on multiple occasions.
He is the devil incarnate. His legend lives on to this day. Fear the lurch, fear Bob Nelson.
Equivalent Today - Albert Haynesworth if he were a God.
To be honest, Gil can be substituted with any teammate to return kicks with the same results (sadists should insert Craig Heyward for maximum fun). But like Bob Nelson, it's his legend that earns him a spot on this list.
He’s not a bad running back either, especially when he hits EXCELLENT. I’ve lost count of the number of TD’s he scored against me.
Equivalent Today - Devin Hester.
Neon Deion is the only way to fly the Falcons D in TSB. He is quick enough to cover anyone, and unlike real life Deion, Tecmo Deion could actually lay the leather.
Equivalent Today - Derelle Revis.
This is the poor man’s QB Eagles.
Possibly the most under-rated QB in the game, Testaverde was a good enough passer to pick apart your defense, and if the play broke down, he had enough wheels to grab the first.
It’s a sad day in TSB when you give up 250 yards in the air and 80 on the ground to Vinny. Expect many sad days when you play the Bucs.
Equivalent Today - The Wildcat.
Hands down the best TE in the game.
If you use the Patriots, expect him to be your go-to guy the entire season. Even Steve Grogan knows to toss his moonballs to Cook as passing option one, two, and three.
That is, when Marc Wilson is nice enough to let Grogan off the bench.
Equivalent Today - Randy Moss and Wes Welker’s love child.
Frickin’ Phil Simms.
He has the reins to the best team in the game. If you don’t have the Giants on MAN control, expect to watch him in the rear view mirror as the Giants destroy you come playoff time.
Equivalent Today - Ben Roethlisberger.
Thurman can catch. Thurman can run. Thurman would be higher on the list, but if you have the bills on MAN, Thurman will spend half the season injured.
Equivalent Today - Brian Westbrook.
I see that a lot when I play against the Bills. The anchor of the Bills defense is the best DE in the game. He also has the benefit of being impossible to injure, and therefore substituted for Gary Baldinger.
Equivalent Today - Jared Allen.
Oh Bernie! Bernie, Bernie, Bernie. Thanks to your 75 pass control, it's weekends at your place all season long.
Equivalent Today - Chad Pennington after going to Dr. Bob’s Quickstitch and having a Cyberware arm installed.
Alas, the real life Dennis Byrd was taken from us too early in his NFL career, but we can carry on his legacy with 70 sack seasons. 60 of which come from playing the Colts and Patriots twice a year. Yeah, seriously, in 1990, that was a good thing.
Equivalent Today - A white and green freight train whose whistle toots: "J-E-T-S, Jets, Jets, Jets" when it crosses roads.
The man once had his finger amputated so as not to miss playing time. Even Japanese video game programmers, whose knowledge of football consisted of Sportscenter highlights and NFL almanacs, know how badass that makes him.
Ronnie got the TSB love, and receivers get the pain.
Today’s Equivalent - Ronnie Lott. I mean really, the dude had his finger cut off so he wouldn’t miss a couple of games...
The Giants have a devastating two-fisted running attack.
While not quite as fast as Dave Meggett, He more than makes up for it with Jiffy-Pop making ability. As if the Giants need anymore help in Tecmo Super Bowl.
Today’s Equivalent - Earth, Wind, and Fire. Or one of them, anyway.
The most underrated player in TSB. If he played on a relevant team (Stay classy San Diego), with a relevant quarterback he may have gotten a little more love.
Today’s Equivalent - Adrian Peterson, except Adrian is not underrated and plays on a relevant team. Stay Classy San Diego.
The steely-eyed monster of the midway could probably suit up and play for the 49ers even today. In TSB he gets the luxury of being the best player on a defense so good you almost forget how crappy the programmers made Jim Harbaugh, (almost).
Today’s Equivalent - Mike Singletary, if he found Randy Couture’s fountain of youth, absorbed Patrick Willis, KO’d Takeo Spikes, and changed the Defense to a 4-3.
The more-talented less-talkative Sharpe brother.
Injuries cut short a Hall of Fame career. The real Sterling was one of only seven receivers to ever win the “Receiver Triple Crown”. 8-bit Sterling is just as good.
Now if only 8-bit Majkowski had the mullet.
Today’s Equivalent - Steve Smith. Quiet, efficient, and deadly.
Forget the Mannings. The Browner’s are the first NFL family, and Joey is Michael. I guess that makes Ross-Janet, Keith-Tito, and Jimmy-Jermaine.
I’m getting off base. Just know that Joey is the best player on the Vikings defense that will give any other defense a run for its TSB money.
Today’s Equivalent - Nnamdi Asomugha on an NFL team and not that JV roster he plays with now.
If ever a player immortalized in pixel form picked a season to have his best, than Wayne Haddix is that player.
His real life 1990 season was superb. TSB picked up on that fact by making him absolutely insane. A one-hit wonder who gained video game immortality thanks to some programmers in Japan, I hope Wayne sends them X-Mas gifts every year.
Equivalent Today - Champ Bailey.
Barry Sanders is hampered by 8-bit technology, otherwise he may well have eclipsed Bo as the premier player in TSB.
Being that as it may, even without juke-button ability, Barry is a TSB stud. I sometimes shudder to think how good the Tecmo gods would have made Barry if he was coming off his 1997 season and not his 1990 one.
Equivalent Today - Barry Sanders in 1997, if he was chosen in place of Steve Austin to be the Six-Million-Dollar Man.
Pass, pass, pass.
Pass, pass, run and pass, pass, pass, pass.
Have you got anything without a pass in it?
Well there’s Lorenzo White, he doesn’t have much pass in him.
Pass, pass, pass.
Equivalent Today - Peyton Manning and his infinite supply of talented wide-outs.
The SNES version had RB Bills instead of Thurman Thomas.
Imagine QB Bills handing off to RB Bills, and throwing to WR Bills. The thought makes my head spin. Kind of like the numbers on the scoreboard when playing against the Jim Kelly to Andre Reed connection.
Equivalent Today - Drew Brees after receiving his 2006 shoulder surgery, using 2,206 doctors and technology.
Quick trivia question: Who was the other WR to be named 1st Team All-NFL in 1990?
If you use the Falcons, you already know the answer. He makes Chris Miller happy to wake up on Tecmo Sundays.
Equivalent Today - Larry Fitzgerald with a lot less tact.
While technically one tick less than QB Bills in Avoid Pass Block, Montana has Jerry Rice to throw to, so he is higher on the list.
It feels odd when the best QB of all time is only the third best QB in TSB. Those wacky Japanese programmers were something else weren't they?
Equivalent Today - Tom Brady of course. Who else would it be? Peyton Manning?
Dan throws the prettiest ball in the game. He has solid receiving corps, and his line is arguably the best in the game. If you are playing against Miami, pick Pass every time, and just hope to minimize the damage he does.
Equivalent Today - Dan Marino of 1984, playing with today’s baby the quarterback, and don't rough up the receiver rules.
Jerry Rice is a man among boys in TSB. Double covered, triple covered, it does not matter. Montana will get him the ball, and Jerry will catch it.
As fun as it is to control the tandem, very little is as frustrating as watching Jerry catch pass, after pass, after pass.
Equivalent Today - The greatest WR of all time—i.e. Jerry Rice.
The captain of the best defense in the game.
Rod’s interceptions and safeties will also account for 90 percent of your offense, as scoring with Bubby and the boys is about as effective as skydiving without a parachute.
The programmers originally had him as a return man as well, but then realized that mere mortals were not deserving of that much awesomeness.
Equivalent Today - I can choose anyone I want, and I choose...Rod Woodson. That boy's one mean mother effer.
Damn you David Fulcher. A safety the size of a linebacker is not supposed to have sprinter’s speed, nor receiver hands.
Damn you Bengals who play my Steelers twice a year and have a legitimate offense.
Equivalent Today - Ed Reed after eating a Castle Crasher's Sandwich.
Walter Payton retired, but those crazy Tecmo programmers must not have cared, because they gave Neal Anderson Sweetness’s attributes.
Neal was a good back, but invoked the spirit of Chicago’s finest son in TSB.
Bears fans’ just close your eyes and pretend its 1985 all over again every time you beat your opponent with a great defense and a one-dimensional offensive attack.
Equivalent Today - Walter Payton possessing Matt Forte, leading the bears to a Super Bowl, and scoring a god-forsaken touchdown this time.
Popcorn: The TSB term for a player bouncing off a ballcarrier if said players’ hitting power is higher than the defender.
Okoye makes popcorn, lots and lots of popcorn. He’s also very fast. The real Okoye was a beast. TSB Okoye is a titan.
Equivalent Today - Earl Campbell in his prime playing against a Pop Warner Team.
LT-Light, DT is almost as good as the Giants All-World wrecking machine.
Between him and number 5 on this list, the chiefs got a lot of TSB love. Then again, coming off a season where you had 20 sacks (including seven in one game), is enough for any player to get the TSB Wayne Haddix treatment.
Of course, DT was Hall of Fame good, not “I was a one-year wonder and other fascinating tales from the barbecue” good, but I digress. Pick Derrick Thomas if you like devastating OLBs, but have cyanophobia.
Equivalent Today - Mama Boucher on steroids tackling daddy 16 games a year.
The one man show.
The year TSB came out, he had perhaps the greatest season for a QB ever, and it shows. For all the hype the NFL gave Michael Vick, he couldn’t hold Randall’s jock. QB Eagles may not have a name, but plenty of four letter words are uttered when you play against him.
Equivalent Today - Randall Cunningham in 1991.
Tecmo LT makes pit stops at Tony Montana’s house before every game, after which, he Theismann’s your QB, decapitates your RB, and devours a litter of puppies.
He is fast, strong, and scary. Even punters are not safe from the wrath of LT. If the COM has him come playoff time, he becomes Darth Vader, Hannibal Lector, and The Robot Devil all wrapped in a little blue package.
Forget BJ Blaskowicz, LT is Death Incarnate.
Equivalent Today - Bobby Boucher on Steroids.
Tecmo Super Bowl Bo Jackson may be the greatest player in a video game ever.
The YouTube video of Bo running all over the field for an entire quarter is standard fare. Bo was a solid back in real life, but in the game, no single player scared you more to play against. He was going to lead the league in Rushing, he was going to score, and there was little you could do to stop him.
Bo knows Tecmo Super Bowl. He has his own bust in the pantheon of greatness, in between Zeus and the guy that invented the hot pocket.
Equivalent Today - Superman trading his red and blue tights for Raider silver and black.