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The Tecmo Super Bowl (02/01/08) --
There are so many different components to the Super Bowl these days, that it makes a garbage can filled with Erector Sets look easy to sort it out. Will passing be key to the Patriots winning? Who will make the best commercial? What kind of dip should I bring to the Super Bowl party? Should I finish this bottle of Old Harper even though I have to work tomorrow? It takes an 80-hour pregame show just to get down to the bottom of whether or not Bill Cowher and Shannon Sharpe actually like each other and whether or not CBS can find a way to squeeze a full football team onto its studio broadcasting team.

None of this analysis even scratches halftime, which has become a huge event unto itself, and contrary to revisionist history, this happened long before Justin Timberlake violated Janet Jackson. Some washed- up musician is brought out onto a stage to lip synch his/her greatest hits while thousands of monetarily-compensated “fans” mosh and sway in front of the stage as if this was truly one of the great moments in their lives. The halftime ballyhoo isn’t just limited to the events at the stadium. For years, the nation has been just as enthralled with parallel football contests involving females in their undergarments and bottles of beer wearing helmets.

Ignoring all of the postgame bluster – which is no small feat – that’s still a full plate of Super Bowl coverage, much more than I can handle, and much more than anyone should handle. Besides, there isn’t any angle on this game that hasn’t been covered, is there? With ESPN broadcasting from Tom Coughlin’s bedroom, it would seem impossible.

The Bud Bowl. It's not so much that the bottles of beer had commentators and a compelling a football game to play. It's not even so much that they wore football helmets. Hell, it's not even that they have neck rolls. Longneck rolls, as they were. No, it's that people actually had an interest in the outcome of an advertisement football game played by bottles of beer.

I was pretty young at the time, but I remember this being a pretty big deal. While at first it might have been simply just a chuckle, I can remember at least a person or two wondering who would win the Bud Bowl, as the commercials kept streaming down throughout the game. Frankly, I can remember being one of those people, even if I was eight.

Joe Camel got lynched because he looked too much like something that kids would gravitate to. At least some high school kids can smoke Joe. You have to be more than half way through college before you can crack open the Bud Dry middle linebacker. Granted, the Bud Bowl was killed around the time Joe Camel was, but if the two storied squads of lager and watered-down lager trotted back onto the field this year, I highly doubt anyone would ask us to think of the children. Nope, I'm pretty sure all we'd talk about is what the spread is in the 21st century Bud Bowl. And for the record, the Beechwood Aging puts Bud heavy over the top. Budweiser by 5.
Alas, there is one storyline to this game that I have yet to see covered anywhere and it has held my interest in the Super Bowl for the second straight year. That’s really impressive, because before the Bears made the big game last year, I hadn’t cared about a Super Bowl since Bud Dry got hosed in the ’92 Bud Bowl. That reason, of course, is that this is the Tecmo Super Bowl.

That’s right, the 2008 Super Bowl features two men from Tecmo. That is pretty unreal for a game featuring rosters promoting the upcoming 1991 season. My friends and I were simultaneously watching the NFC playoffs and playing Tecmo a couple weeks ago, when Jeff Feagles was on both screens at once. While picking up stray pieces of cerebellum from having our minds blown from such an occurrence, it was assumed that this could never happen again. But if a Chargers/Eagles Tecmo contests were to be fired up next to the Super Bowl broadcast this weekend, the chances of a repeat would be pretty strong.

The important question: Who to pull for? While both Junior Seau and Feagles are members of Team Tecmo and are deserving of digital hugs for this reason, it is this type of quasi-homosexual thinking that led to the Bud Bowl getting replaced by underwear football. There must be a winner and a loser.

The gut reflex for many is to pick Seau because he’s got the disposition of a Care Bear. However, I’d like to leave off-the-field attributes out of this. We all know that Tecmo football men have no feelings or personality, much like real-life punters. In this regard, the playing field gets leveled for Feagles. Seau now is no different than Tommy Kane, but he is different than Big Daddy Kane, whose musical stylings continue to rock the hizzouse here in 1994.

Based Tecmo talent, the initial edge would have to go to Junior Seau. He’s a more-than-effective linebacker for the Chargers and practically anyone who has picked up the confusingly over-buttoned NES controller has chosen Seau. Conversely, how could you even tell if Feagles has talent? I don’t pretend to know a lot about Tecmo; I KNOW a lot about Tecmo. Even with more than a decade-and-a-half of Nintendo scholarship, I still can’t tell the difference between punters.


Actual talent and perception of talent are two different things, though. Sure, Junior Seau might have more athletic talent than Jeff Feagles. Vasco de Gama probably did, too. But like in Hollywood and report cards, perception is all that matters. The fact is that Junior Seau is vastly overrated, even on his own defense. Leslie O’Neal is far and away the better linebacker, Gil Byrd does a much better job at ball-hawking, and Burt Grossman destroys Seau because, come on, his name is “Burt.”

Meanwhile, perception of Feagles’ talent turns wildly the other way. While Jeff Feagles might have been a punt-kicking nobody back in 1991, anybody who fires up the game these days is obviously pleasantly surprised to see such a familiar friend. Feagles of the Eagles may not have been the best punter on the game, but everyone thinks he is because he’s still booting in the 2008 Super Bowl, for Nelson’s sake. That’s gotta count for more than something.


I said I wouldn’t include the off-the-field exploits of the various players, but I didn’t say anything about their real-life playing careers. Junior Seau is a hall-of-fame linebacker who carried San Diego football for more than a dozen years, save for the few seasons when Marshall Faulk was toting the ball for the Aztecs. At the same time, Feagles was a journeyman who bounced from team to team seemingly endlessly. Does this mean that his services weren’t important enough to lock up for the long haul? Or does it mean that everybody and their dog wanted a piece of the Feagles hysteria? Tough call, but I’ll give the edge to Seau here.


Junior Seau probably holds a whole bunch of San Diego Chargers records, including sacks, games played, and longest streak of Most Improved Samoan awards. Jeff Feagles doesn’t have a lot of records…except for a little called "Most Consecutive NFL Games Played." Cal Ripken, you’ve been rendered irrelevant. Take your seat between the League of Nations and Dan Rather and shut up.


Now with withered polio leg!
It’s 2-2 at this point. Obviously the tie needs to be broken because this is football, not the Major League (Baseball) All-Star Game or the Major League (Soccer) All-Star Game, so we need a victor. Seau’s wild card claim to fame is that I owned his Kenner Starting Lineup figurine. Unfortunately, his leg was deformed and he kept falling on his face like Maggie Simpson any time I tried to display him alongside Freeman McNeil. Feagles, on the other hand, has an ace in the hole that only surfaced recently. Not fifteen seconds after Lawrence Tynes hit the NFC Championship-winning field goal, this text message arrived on my phone from my friend, Barry:

“Feagles for president…

What a fucking hold!!!”

No contest.

ADVANTAGE: Feagles of the Eagles

Feagles is the real winner, but we’re all winners in the sense that we get to cheer on these 8-bit behemoths in Sunday’s game. Super Bowl XXLII? We know its real name. Go Feagles.

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