In Tecmo Super Bowl, there are two teams that the programmers apparently had bizarre fantasies about: The Buffalo Bills and the San Francisco 49ers. If it is possible for a set of ones and zeroes to love something, then the game most certainly loves these two teams. So with that, here’s one of the most important sentences you need to learn if you are going to play Tecmo Super Bowl.
The game loves the Bills.
If you ever lose to the Bills, whether they are human or computer controlled, it nearly always comes back to this one true phrase. Trust me on this one as any true Tecmo’er is well aware of this fact. If you are playing a human-controlled Buffalo or a late-season computer-controlled Buffalo, they get all the breaks. Your team will invariably fumble at least three times a game. Andre Reed will catch passes with four guys covering him and four hanging on his back. And Rick Tuten will score a touchdown one out of four games you play.
Who’s Rick Tuten, you ask? He’s a punter. That’s right, a freakin' punter.
All of this contributes to Buffalo being my arch nemesis. I have never seen more promising games or seasons get derailed because the game has an inexplicable fondness for the Bills. With that in mind, let us delve into this group that the game has anointed as the chosen sons of video game football.
At quarterback, we have two guys who could start for a lot of teams on this game. QB Bills (If the game doesn’t call him Jim Kelly, then I don’t either) is a proficient passer who becomes even more proficient as the season moves along. Frank Reich, is a guy who like in real life, can step in and not miss a beat once QB Bills goes down.
These two men will single-handedly sabotage any chances at victory you may have in an important game against Buffalo. You will learn to despise these men.
They key to the backfield clearly is Thurman Thomas. Thurman is certainly one of the best backs on the game and will have no qualms about putting up 250 yards on any defense you may be using, even if you are the punishing Chicago defense. After this, it becomes a veritable comedy of bad football however.
First of all, who the hell is Jamie Mueller? This is the stiff they have at fullback and he honestly is not good for anything. That is, of course, until the game decides it is time to go off and be its usual bastard self and let the Bills run the score up on you. Then Mueller will punch in a few TD’s.
Kenneth Davis? He saw the field back in the day, but is worthless in this game. Don Smith? Who is that? Since when are the programmers allowed to put themselves in the game and pose as NFL players?
Andre Reed and James Lofton are the two starting wideouts and clearly the pride of this corps. Apparently they were born in the Elmer’s factory because anything that goes their way gets hauled in. It gets downright ridiculous what they will catch at times. While not to the extent of Jerry Rice in San Francisco, these two will have you wondering how many cases of Pabst they are offering to your secondary to let them catch footballs in a gaggle of defenders.
On the bench, we have the legendary Don Beebe. At first glance you’d be very excited to have Don Beebe, BUT…….Leon Lett is absent from the game. This reduces Beebe’s stock to that of….
Al Edwards. He is the other Wide Receiver on the bench. He returns punts for the Bills but gets hurt fairly soon considering the other teams are forced to punt ten times a game.
This is a fun group of ball players, but mainly because Pete Metzelaars is a part of it. Neither of them are worth anything, but I recommend putting Metzelaars in the starting spot instead of Keith McKeller, simply because his name is so much fun to say.
The Buffalo line back at this time was pretty good. The reason I know this is because I actually recognize a couple of these names. Kent Hull, the center, and Jim Ritcher, the left guard, are two names that ring a bell. We have two forgettable guys at the tackle spots, Will Wolford (Left) and Howard Ballard (Right). And finally, we have Korn front man, John Davis, protecting QB Bills at right guard. Now, I knew he had some serious vocal abilities and also an uncanny talent for playing the bagpipes, but even I was unaware that he was an offensive lineman for one of the most famous big-game chokers in history. I guess he’s lost some weight and the "h" in his name since then.
Jeff Wright (NT) and Leon Seals (LE) are adequate players. I would gladly insert them onto pretty much any other team on Tecmo. But obviously the crown jewel of this squad is Bruce Smith, the starting right end. We’re not talking about the aging ball of Play Doh currently waddling around in Washington, we are talking about the Pro Bowler in his prime. It usually sucks to have to choose an end as your defensive player when playing Tecmo, but if you don’t pick Smith when you are the Bills, then you need to hop on the clue bus as soon as you can. He gets through the line like the present day Bruce Smith gets through a Big Mac.
“I never thought a machine could cheat.....until I played the bills. It's the most frustrating thing besides lurching or playing Barry when you're the Redskins. It's like this: you know when you're watching your favorite team on TV and they're losing and it's almost the end of the game and you keep thinking to yourself, 'all they need to do here is get a safety, run back the kick, recover the onside, and throw a hail Mary with :04 seconds left'.....you know what I'm talking about??? Well if your favorite team was the Bills and you were watching a tecmo game, dreams would become a reality my friend. The 1-2-3 combination of QB Bills, Thomas, and Reed makes for a good number of "Incredible Jumping Cinema Catches." Being the Bills in Tecmo is like being the lucky red ball in croquet - unstoppable!!"
The best linebackers on this team are obviously the most famous ones. Darryl Talley was a well-known loudmouth at this point in time, but he always overshadowed by his teammate, the unknown “C.” Bennett. While Darryl and C. are the best linebackers on this team, inexplicably THEY are overshadowed when the computer takes control of the Bills.
Ray Bentley and Shane Conlan, very poor men’s versions of Zach Thomas, seem to get all the glory when playing computer Buffalo. I’m not sure if there is some sort of subliminal white supremacy going on here with programmer Don Smith, but in any case, these guys are animals. Of course when you take control of Buffalo, they drift back into their cocoons as the role-players they really are.
The corners and safeties are divided into two guys who are really good and two guys who leave something to be desired. The good corner in this case is Nate Odomes, who usually seems to be in the right place at the right time. The corner to pick on, if that’s really a factor in Tecmo, is Kirby Jackson who is on the left side of the defense. At the safety spot, the guy to go after is Leonard Smith, who is pretty much worthless. Mark Kelso, on the other hand, will eat you up. I don’t really recall Kelso from his playing days, but he has intercepted an errant Jim Harbaugh pass more times than I would like to remember.
But they all are eighty times better than they should be because….
The game loves the Bills.
Our hero, Scott Norwood. Everyone giggles the first time they see him kick on Tecmo (Common response: Holy shit, it’s Norwood! I can’t believe it’s Norwood!) because everyone knows about his legendary shank in the Super Bowl. And of course whenever he misses a field goal, it’s “Ohhhhh! Scotty’s up to his old tricks!” However, Norwood has morphed into something else for those of us who have played way too much Tecmo.
Scott Norwood is the fastest player on the game.
“WHAT!?” Seriously, this is true. In the event that Norwood misses a field goal in another way (when it gets blocked) and he picks it up, it’s lights out, baby. When Scotty picks up the blocked kick his speed is a modern marvel that would make Maurice Green blush. I can only estimate Norwood’s speed by comparing him to Beebe chasing down Leon Lett to strip the ball. Now take that blistering pace and multiply it by the speed at which Chevy Chase's talk show disappeared, and you’ll see why Norwood picking up the kick is like a penalty shot: The most exciting play in Tecmo.
Rick Tuten. I hate Rick Tuten. I don’t know the man, have no idea what he looks like, but I definitely wish nothing but ill will upon King Tute. Typical scenario: I, playing Buffalo, have the Bills on the ropes. I’m up by a touchdown and have forced the Bills to punt sometime in the second half. As the ball gets to my returner, he is driven into the earth’s mantle by eight members of the Bills coverage team. Rick Tuten then takes it upon himself to pick up the ball and high-step it into the end zone.
There is nothing more demoralizing than seeing Rick Tuten spike the football.
Did I mention that I hate this guy?
The Bills play book is downright stellar as well. All four running plays are very solid plays, even given the fact that they decide to throw a bone to Jamie Mueller and let him carry the ball. (Upper right corner, Pro T Dive)
Pro T Dive and T Fake Sweep R (Upper Left Corner) however, are very lurchable plays (Lurch: The instant nose tackle dive upon snap of the football). A good nose tackle will blow these plays up every time. When playing the computer, however, T Fake Sweep R becomes mysteriously unstoppable. Why is that?
The game loves the Bills.
The passing plays are great. The pass play second from the left on the bottom (PWR Fake Z Post) is the best play-action pass on the game. Pro T Screen L (Bottom Left Corner) is the only lurchable pass play, but QB Bills' speed makes this tough to do.
“The game’s incessant adoration of Buffalo is downright intolerable. Even being able to make fun of Norwood the whole game does little to relieve any of the bitter feelings. Add in Rick Fucking Tuten and you have a team that I absolutely can’t stand.
Die Buffalo. My only consolation is that the game makes you wear pink.”