Vinny Testaverde: From Tecmo Bowl to XBox 360

Johnny BallgameCorrespondent IJune 18, 2008

Fantasy football first became relative during the mid-1980s. It then blew up in the late 1990s in the era of the Internet. When I first began playing there was no Internet, which forced me as league commissioner to physically mail out the standings and pickups for each week along with waiting until Monday morning for the newspaper so I could add up the scores—tough times.


No question, fantasy football is a much different and better game now than during its formative years. However, one constant has remained—whether owners like it or not, this “constant” just won’t go away.


Ladies and gentlemen, Vinny Testaverde.


In 2007, I saw a 43-year-old Testaverde get signed by Carolina on a Wednesday and digest an NFL playbook in three days. He won that week versus Arizona.


When Testaverde first appeared in the NFL, Arizona didn’t have a team and was still playing in St. Louis.


What Testaverde did against the Cardinals is truly one of the greatest football accomplishments I’ve seen in my life, which has been dedicated to football. Getting signed at mid-week and starting a game is impressive. Vinny excelled and made himself the oldest quarterback to win a game in NFL history.


Talk about a pro! He’s four years older than his offensive coordinator in Carolina.

After entering the NFL in 1987 coming off a Heisman trophy season at Miami, Testaverde was the first overall draft pick by Tampa Bay.


His first six seasons were a nightmare. He was labeled the "biggest bust in NFL history." Julius Caesar said the famous Latin phrase, "Veni, vidi, vici," which translates into “I came, I saw, I conquered.” That phrase can be applied to the early career of Vinny, only spelled and translated slightly different.


I once heard Chris Berman say, “Vinny, vidi, vici—he came, he saw, he got intercepted.” His 35 interceptions in 1988 forced the Tampa Bay coaching staff to have a doctor examine his eyesight to make sure he wasn’t color-blind.


Vinny’s career didn’t take off until a young head coach named Bill Belichick signed him to backup Bernie Kosar in Cleveland. In 1993, Testaverde finally began to succeed, and he was a starting quarterback in the NFL for the next nine seasons, going to the Pro Bowl twice.


Since 2002 Testaverde has been a backup that always seems to find the field. At 43, coaches say he still has a “live arm” and bench presses over 400 lbs.


Statistically speaking, Testaverde should one day be enshrined into the Pro Football Hall of Fame. We all know that will never happen, but his numbers speak for themselves. I bet you didn’t know that Testaverde has more career TD passes than Joe Montana.


Testaverde is in the top 10 in every major passing statistic with the likes of Favre, Marino, Elway, Moon, and Tarkenton.


Seeing Testaverde play takes me back to the era of Tecmo Bowl, the classic NFL video game on the original Nintendo. Doing research, the only players (other than kickers and punters) that are still playing in the NFL that were on Tecmo Super Bowl are Vinny Testaverde and Junior Seau.


That's a career right there.