Not a month goes by in my life where I don’t get the itch to fire up the ol’ Tecmo Super Bowl cartridge on my amazingly still functional NES. (Get that Red Rings of Death garbage outta heah!) It sparked many a fight in my household between my brother and I, and nearly ruined many a friendship over the years.
What is Tecmo Super Bowl you ask?
A better question to ask yourself right now might be: Why am I not a man?
Fear not my puberty-challenged friends — playing this game for any length of time (especially against human players) would certainly dictate that you are in fact, a man – or at the very least, Jamie Lee Curtis.
I’ll start off by saying there’s no chance in hell you’ll win if you play against anyone who is well-versed in Tecmo. If they can rattle off the entirety of each team’s Tecmo Roster from 1991, (including the fill-in names for guys such as QB Bills) you better hope they have some debilitating carpal tunnel stuff going on. (Jim Kelly, by the way.)
You should however, experience this game as it’s truly a gem of generations past and to this day still has a strong following — including community-run website TecmoBowl.org, which is dedicated to updating the rosters, stats, and teams to current NFL seasons.
Make the following list scripture before you play any games.
Tecmo Super Bowl’s Top 5 Defensive Players
5. Bruce Smith
The best Defensive End in the game — you can easily get 10-15 sacks a game with Bruce Almighty. He truly was the Alpha to Kelly/Reed’s Omega on a really well balanced Bills team.
I mean… going to the Superbowl four years in a row has to count for something right? So what if they were all losses?
Whacky Bruce here would be #2 on the list if it were entitled, “Top 5 Defensive Players that Inflict the Most Pain and Causes Injuries”.
4. Derrick Thomas
Congrats on the Chiefs being 9-0 this season (as of this writing) and congrats on having two members of your 1991 team make the cut. [Editor’s Note: The Chiefs are now 9-1 after losing to the Broncos on November 17th. Way to jinx them.]
DT was scary as hell in TSB. Like stupid scary. One of the only offensive players able to shrug him off like a fly happened to be playing on the same team! Real life Dave Krieg has it lucky — he only has nightmares about November 12, 1990 — his pixelated copy has to relive it indefinitely.
3. Rod Woodson
The cornerstone of the second best defense in the game. Rod here was not only your best defensive player — but your best offensive weapon. His countless interceptions gave Bubby and Crew more opportunities to score than Roethlisberger at a frat party; and that’s only if he was in poor or average condition.
If Rod was in great or excellent condition you could count on those picks coming back for 6 everytime.
2. The Entire Chicago Bears Defense
This is an obvious Homer pick for me. I was going to just put Samurai Mike up here but it’s really hard to single out any one person from one of the greatest defenses that’s ever played the game. So I’ll just list TSB‘s Roster. Go ahead and soak in the awesomeness for a few: Richard Dent, William Perry, Trace Armstrong, Jim Morrissey, Dan Hampton, Mike Singletary, Ron Rivera, Lemuel Stinson, Donnell Woolford, Mark Carrier and Shaun Gayle. Don’t hate.
1. Lawrence Taylor
What can I say about LT that hasn’t already been said about the others? If you consider all these other defensive players monsters — he’s essentially Cthulhu.
Come playoff time in Tecmo there are only 2 certainties. The Giants and thus… pixelated death. You better pray to whatever God you believe in because LT’s saddled up on his pale horse (affectionately called Simms) and will make everyone pay. Sadly, you won’t hear the screams of your offensive line when LT rolls through because the only sounds coming from your TV will be that of sweet, sweet, blood-ery popcorn being made. The last thing seen before the fade to black isn’t your life flashing before your very eyes — it’s this. Don’t believe me? Ask Joe Theismann.
Honorable Mentions – Ronnie Lott and Dennis Byrd
Tecmo Super Bowl’s Top 5 Offensive Players
5. Jerry Rice
The man needs no introduction. He’s not even arguably the best receiver of all time — he is without a doubt the G.O.A.T.
There is absolutely no stopping him. Double — hell, even triple coverage won’t keep Rice from making catches. He could literally catch a cold in the desert.
The icing on the cake? He’s got Joe Cool throwing him the ball with John Taylor as the other receiving option.
4. QB Eagles
His earthly name is Randall Cunningham but he will forever be immortalized in Tecmo Super Bowl as the double threat: QB Eagles.
You could light up defenses by throwing to any nameless receiver (I still love you Fred Barnett) that was open on the play or just simply take off running because you could. QB Eagles makes 2006 Michael Vick look like Pee-wee football stuff.
3. Barry Sanders
The shining beacon of hope for the Detroit Lions for… pretty much his entire career. If it weren’t for the Pistons and Redwings, Detroit would have imploded a lot quicker. The only reason I ever took a break from stuffing my fat mouth full of turkey on Thanksgiving was to watch this man give my beloved defense a good thrashing. If Tecmo was released in 1998 there’s a good chance the Geneva Conventions would have amended a new protocol disallowing anyone to play as the Lions against human opponents. Ever.
2. Christian Okoye
When your nickname is the Nigerian Nightmare, you earn a well-deserved #2 on my list. A nightmare he was, if he happened to be in Excellent condition — you could witness what a human pinball would truly look like in all its 8-bit glory. There was no way of stopping him short of smashing the power button. I think if there was ever a chance that LT was in excellent condition during the same game and they both collided you’d probably look like those Nazis that opened the Ark of the Covenant.
1. Bo Jackson
Yup, this is pretty much a given if you ask anyone who:
1. Is a man, like me
and 2. Has ever played Tecmo Super Bowl.
Bo’s other-worldly athletic prowess shouldn’t even try to be contained on such a small cartridge; alas… Tecmo did what they could. Bo was an amazing dual-sport athlete; and through that double-dipping splendor Bo brought himself into football — and then ironically took himself out of it. He was so damn strong that he managed to dislocate his own hip through sheer running power. How do you top that manliness? By immediately relocating your hip back into it’s socket.. yourself.
Honorable Mentions – Joe Montana and Dan Marino
So there you have it, the greatest players to grace the Tecmo classic. Agree/disagree? Sound off in the comments.