If you are between the ages of 25 and 45, chances are the first football video game you played was Nintendo’s Tecmo Bowl. It was Madden before Madden, a chance to play as your favorite team and players. Everyone I have told about this week’s episode of NFL Films Presents says two things: “Man, I loved that game” and “I was awesome at Tecmo Bowl”. When you watch this show, you’ll certainly recall your love for the game (you may even venture into your parents’ attic to see if the game is still there), but you’ll realize maybe you’re not as good as you thought you were. We followed four of the country’s top Tecmo Bowl players (yes, people are still playing it, 1991 style), leading up to and through the Madison (WI) Tecmo Tournament, the largest Tecmo Tournament today.
We also caught up with NFL players who grew up on Tecmo Bowl. Like most of us did, Tony Gonzalez talks about how he used to take the kickoff backwards to the one-yard line, so he could take the next play 99 yards and boost his rushing stats. You’ll also see Christian Okoye – one of the greats in Tecmo – play the game for the first time ever. We approached him about playing the game for the show, and he said he had never played it, but was interested in trying. After a quick five-minute tutorial – which is all you need for Tecmo – he was going crazy trying to stop the video game version of himself. When our shoot was over, he asked if he could play more. So I sat down and obliged him with a butt-whooping. I have to wonder if the college version of me would believe that I would one day play Tecmo Bowl against the real-life Christian Okoye.
Below is some bonus footage of Okoye watching the famous youtube clip where “he” runs out the entire quarter on one play, breaking roughly 86 tackles along the way.
Discussion point: Who were the top 5 Tecmo Super Bowl players on each side of the ball? Here’s my list:
TOP 5 OFFENSIVE PLAYERS
1. Bo Jackson – easy call
2. QB Eagles (Randall Cunningham) – ultimate weapon
3. Christian Okoye – still looks like he could run guys over
4. Jerry Rice – the 49ers are so good, they are rarely used in today’s tournaments
5. Barry Sanders – gets the nod over Thurman Thomas
TOP 5 DEFENSIVE PLAYERS
1. Lawrence Taylor – the Bo Jackson equivalent on D
2. Derrick Thomas – still lives on for Tecmo fans
3. David Fulcher – he was good in real life, game makes him great
4. Leslie O.Neal (sic) – not as highly touted as others, but I always liked using him
5. Wayne Haddix – like Packers NT Bob Nelson, one of the games great mistakes
To check out the feature, tune into NFL Films Presents, airing this week at the following times (all times Eastern):
10/22 at 12:30am — ESPN2
10/24 at 2:30 pm — ESPN2
10/26 at 4:30 pm — NFL Network
10/27 at 1:30pm — NFL Network