If you've ever looked through the Tecmo Super Bowl instruction manual, you will quickly find that the best part of that magic little book is the team capsule section at the back. In here we find that a comically inept intern in the Osaka division of Tecmo has picked up a Street & Smith's guide and basically regurgitated everything that is said in there while describing the teams. For example, here is the capsule for the Colts:
The Colts are using the two-back set more often to better utilize the running and receiving skills of Albert Bentley. Wide receiver Clarence Verdin is a dangerous kick returner. Jeff George has proven to be worth the major trade the team made in order to draft him. Linebackers Jeff Herrod, Duane Bickett, and Chip Banks are the nucleus of an up-and-coming defensive unit that loves to blitz the quarterback. Punter Rohn Stark is one of the best in the league.
Now, allow me to sift through that dry interpretation of the team and show you what it is that the capsule meant to say. I think you might be pleasantly surprised.
The Colts are using the two-back set more often because Eric Dickerson couldn't be included in the game and Albert Bentley will probably die if forced to carry the ball more than ten times per game. Wide receiver Clarence Verdin is one of the slowest kick returners of the modern era. Jeff George has proven to be worth the major trade the team made in order to draft him as his sideline arguments are the only thing worth the price of admission. Linebackers Jeff Herrod, Duane Bickett, and Chip Banks are the no-names at the nucleus of a crappy defensive unit that ambiguously mills around the field until the other team scores. Punter Rohn Stark is one of the best in the league since he gets to practice fifteen times per game.
With the truth finally laid out there, let me pose one question in regards to the original capsule: What team doesn't "love to blitz the quarterback?" No, no, rather than getting career-building sacks and the chance to tear off a flimsy pretty boy's head, I'd rather just fall back in cover three and maybe bat down a pass or play some coverage on the tight end. Because we all know that covering Cap Boso is where the money's at, baby.
Before we get deep into this section, you need to realize a few things about America at this time. Michael Jordan was still known as a guy who couldn't win the big game, Vanilla Ice was in the midst of his first run as being "cool", and Jeff George was being looked upon as some miracle weaver as he had landed in Indianapolis. Analysts all over were predicting with certainty that George would lead the Colts out of their perennial habitat (also known as the AFC East cellar.) Of course, analysts also predicted that that the civilized world would collapse, people would begin feasting on each other's unprotected limbs, and planes would would be landing on unfortunate Asian children all because someone typed in "00" instead of "1900." But like in 1998 when there was no way to predict that Y2K hooplah would have as much muscle as the Indianapolis offensive line*, in 1991 there was no way to predict that Jeff George would be a total bust.
That is, unless you played Tecmo Super Bowl.
Now, there is some argument over this with ardent supporters on both sides. One side says that George truly does suck like in real life. The other side says that George is merely mediocre and may even be good on a decent team, but everyone around him sucks so bad that it makes him look bad. In either scenario, George is still accurately represented as a bust. It may also be important to note that the two sides listed above consist solely of voices inside my head, which in addition to debating the shortcomings of video game Indianapolis, also have told me that my destiny is to become the first supermodel on Mars when we colonize the planet.
Of course, we would be leaving out Jack Trudeau if we moved on, so its important to say that he is the backup. He's slightly worse than Jeff George, but those of you who are old school Tecmo Bowl players might insert him in the starting spot because he was the starter on that game. However, if your motivation for switching quarterbacks is a hardline stance on an 80's football game, then you have bigger problems than I do.
* If you couldn't read at a first grade level
Quick, what do Bobby Hebert and Eric Dickerson have in common? Besides both being incoherent Monday Night Football analysts (wait, that was just one of them), they both were in the midst of holdouts and left out of this legendary game. The result is that the Colts are missing their starting running back and instead drag Albert Bentley out of the original game and smack him back into the starting spot. Never fear, Colts fans, because Bentley is actually bumped up to a decent skill level and performs amazingly well. The downside for Albie is that if his toe gets stepped on or gets sneezed on, Bentley will be hurt and out for three weeks.
The man who compliments him is also the man with what might be the most memorable name in the game. You've heard of Bazooka Joe and Broadway Joe, but now I present to you, Ivy Joe. Ivy Joe Hunter, that is. I looked up Ivy Joe's stats and he had about as many carries in the NFL as I did, so he clearly was not around for very long. But I also noticed that he never fumbled in his career so if he fumbles for you during a Tecmo game, you are well within your rights to call the programmers a bunch of lying cheaters and wish for an inferno to engulf their houses.
On the bench, Anthony Johnson is a very capable backup for Bentley when he gets sidelined with his latest hangnail. How the Colts can legitimately claim they have a good third running back is beyond me, but it's one of those Tecmo quirks we've all come to love.
Of course, you also have Ken Clark, who is the typical fourth running back, which means that he made his way into the game by either A) Knowing one of the programmers B) Winning a raffle or C) Bribery.
So where does that leave us with the backups? Clarence Verdin is the kick and punt returner, and you'll quickly notice that he has the speed of Secretariat..........in 2004. I pray I never have to put him in on regular offense, considering he already is a major handicap with his five yard returns.
I don't know anything about Stanley Morgan, but I'll connect the dots: 1) Plays for the Colts 2) Doesn't start for the Colts 3) Sits behind other bad players 4) This player blows. Perfect.
I once knew a man who referred to the Jeff George to Pat Beach hookup as "The unstoppable combination." It may surprise the audience that he is not yet in a mental institution, but is sufficiently shunned at all important family gatherings because of this atrocity.
Yes, Pat Beach. This guy is so far beyond awful, that I would rather try and carry the amount of food that Aretha Franklin eats in one sitting on my back than have a game rest in the handless-stumps of Pat Beach. This guy drops more passes than should be legally allowed, moves with the swiftness of the three-toed sloth when he does make a catch, and is the dumbest of the Tecmo drones.
It was during a heated Tecmo game that he missed three blocks in a row on passes to Jessie Hester. The last of which caused Hester to be tackled at the five, costing me the game, and eliciting the now world-famous, standing-up-and-pointing-at-the-television rant of "SON OF A BITCH BEACH!" Ah, memories.
Orson Mobley is the backup, supposedly, but is there really a man in the world of African descent named "Orson." Honestly? Anybody? I smell an alias.
This is everyone's favorite part of the team profile, the linemen. Here is the roll call:
Left Tackle: Ray Donaldson
Left Guard: Randy Dixon
Center: Brian Baldinger
Right Guard: Zefross Moss
Right Tackle: Kevin Call
Wow, last time we had Harry Galbreath sporting the cool name at right guard and now ZEFROSS MOSS. That's an unbelievably fantabular moniker. It makes "The Leonardite" seem pretty weak. But the fact that he wore lipstick in his bio picture kind of worries me a little bit.
I guess I don't know a whole lot about the Tecmo Colts, but I do know the game is always decided by a Mr. Pat Beach. This tight end will either chip away at you with his little 15-20 yard catches all game or he will fumble on the 2 yard line just short of completing an 89 yard touchdown pass. I once heard a user yell in disgust, "SON OF A BITCH, BEACH!!!" after such a tragedy. Jeff George is dese, he gets the jorb (sic) done anyway. Bentley is a force to be reckoned with. They have a pretty good secondary with Young and Taylor. They'll get ya 6 or 7 picks in a season. They're not the team your going wet yourself over by selecting them randomly, but at least you didn't get the Chargers!!!!!
The defensive line for the Colts is pretty terrible, but I will soldier on and describe them to you.
When I first saw the list of names, I immediately thought that left end Jon Hand was the star of this unit. But then I realized I only thought that because he's the one who gets the giant "2" over his head when you play the computer, so his name is just really familiar. I also think he is present on Tecmo Bowl, but I may be mistaken, which would be a first for me.
Now it's on to those world famous whipper-snappers who are central to that crazy group of Indianapolis cannibals who love to feast on the quarterback.
For any of us who have actually played this game, unlike the representative from Tecmo who wrote the team capsule, we know that the Colts linebackers are slow, can't catch, and don't tackle well. But other than that, they are bad football players. Duane Bickett is the ROLB and he must've done something for me along the line (maybe a blocked kick) because for some reason I have a soft spot in my heart for him. The other outside linebacker, Chip Banks, has the name of a golfer. He is serviceable, I suppose, but he'd be better off carrying clubs for Seve Ballesteros.
In the middle, Jeff Herrod is a poor excuse for a linebacker, even a COLTS linebacker (now that's saying something.) Fredd Young, on the other hand, is inexplicably decent in the attribute category, but in practice is about as effective as setting up a cardboard cutout and hoping that the running back trips over it.
I don't have any particular fondness for the safeties, Mike Prior and Keith Taylor. They aren't world beaters, but they usually keep their game-blowing to a minimum and that is definitely worthy of mention when you are talking about the Colts.
Dean Biasucci is a fun kicker because whenever he misses a kick for you, you can quickly let out some sort of "geez, Bia-SUCKY strikes again." Mature it is not, but compared to the usual foul language and kindergarten taunts that accompany a man vs. man Tecmo game, this one sounds like it came from a Rhodes Scholar. Use it with pride, professor.
For the third straight profile, the punter gets some serious publicity. In my personal experiences with the Colts, Rohn Stark's ability to propel the ball downfield with his foot has been no different than anyone else's on the game. It certainly hasn't been worthy of its own sentence in the team paragraph.
I think maybe the writer was baffled by the, dare I say, misplaced "h" in Rohn's name. In any case, since he is one of the best in the league, let us all raise our glasses and salute him by saying that the Colts still suck and that he is still just a punter.
The Colts playbook is an exercise in frustration, because it is very good. However, the players that run the plays are not, so plays that are normally brilliantly called are routinely blown by the moronic Colts offense. My favorite running play, Toss Sweep R (Upper Left), works well when Bentley is healthy, but otherwise can be frustrating to run when he's in bad condition. The dive to Hunter works in short yardage, and the other two plays are good for anybody, unless of course Bentley is in bad condition. It should be noted, too, that Shotgun C Draw (Upper Right) will work only once against a human, if that, and if they fall for it twice in one game, international law requires that the offender have his underwear pulled over his head.
The passing plays are also pretty good, unlike the men who run them. Either of the shotgun passes are nothing short of spectacular, assuming Brooks and Hester haul it in or Beach traps it between his clubs. The under-center passes are also very good, especially Offset Flare E (Bottom, second from left) which is in the same formation as Toss Sweep R and can make for an interesting chess match with other players.
In the insanely detailed Tecmo FAQ by Paul Schultzenberg, the Colts are rated as the statistically worst team on Tecmo. I'm really not too surprised by that. Being the Colts has its rewards, though, in that against another human a loss is expected but a win is the thing that boasts are made of.
And plus, who can argue with getting to play New England two times a season? Not me, brother, not me.