They're Miller to your Budweiser. They're Craig Kilborn to your Conan O'Brien. And more accurately, they're Ken O.Brien to your Phil Simms.
Yes, friends, we're talking about the neglected step-children of New York football, the Jets. No hoopla, no fanfare, not even a "J-E-T-S, JETS! JETS! JETS!"
Nope, they're just the Jets.
The stadium that they play in is called "Giants Stadium" when the NFC team plays. But when the Jets play? They have to settle for "The Meadowlands." Apparently "Jets Stadium" was a source of greater civic embarassment than the uber tacky magic Mets top hat and was therefore rejected as a stadium name. To further illustrate the under-appreciated squalor that the Tecmo Jets exist in, I have created these comparative slides of the Jets and their in-house partners, the Giants.
If you have decided to control the Jets for a game, or perhaps even more shockingly, for an entire season, you already know that you are saddled with one of the most overlooked and little-understood teams on the game. To help get you started on your quest for information that may end with you learning the name of a receiver other than Al Toon by the end of the season, I'm going to give you some good quarterback advice.
When the programmers created the game, who do you think they made better? The guy who once started the Super Bowl or the guy whose name is incorrectly punctuated?
If you guessed the incorrectly punctuated gunslinger, go give yourself a swirlie. (I'll wait for you)
Alright, now that you are back, it's obvious that Ken O'Brien sucks. When you view the player data, you'll notice that Mr. O'Brien has become Mr. "O.Brien." It's as if he is now legendary PAT shanker Doug Brien's brother. What does the "O," presumably his new middle name, stand for? Some have theorized that it may be "Oreo" while other scholars have long speculated that it must stand for "Oh I'd rather gouge my eyes out than play a full game with him." Sadly, both groups have it wrong. It actually stands for "out," which is what Ken should be when you start the game. While Tony Eason is not the league's best quarterback and is in all likelihood missing a "t" from his last name, he is still a far better option under center than O.Brien.
You can always tell an experienced Tecmo'er when he immediately yanks O.Brien at the beginning of the game. It's a universal rule for anyone hoping to complete more than zero passes in a contest.
Without a doubt, this is by far the best unit on the team and perhaps one of the deepest at this position on the game. While every team it seems like has a good back or two, backed up by a couple of cadavers, the Jets do not have that problem. The fact of the matter is that Freeman McNeil and Blair Thomas, the starters, can flat out play. But if you run into a situation where one of them gets hurt or is in bad condition, you can't go wrong with Johnny Hector and Brad Baxter on the bench. Thrills with the Jets are few and far between and other than benching Ken O. and making really tasteless jokes about Dennis Byrd, getting to use their backfield is about the only one you'll have. Use them with pride and if Tony Eason happens to get hurt, make sure they carry the ball on every play so Ken O. doesn't get a chance to hurl a few balls into Ronnie Lippett's hands.
Straight up, it's all about Toon. Everyone knows him. Everyone loves him. Everyone knows why.
His name is "Al Toon."
While Toon is an above-average receiver, if his name were "Tim Smith" or "Wendell Davis" would we all love him as much? Of course not.
Real-life Toon had his career cut short because of concussions not long after Tecmo's release (hence the nickname "Looney Toon,") but the nurses keep waving Tecmo Toon back onto the field much to the delight of gamers everywhere. It almost makes it worth throwing a pass with Ken O. just to see Al get a chance at glory.
Rob Moore is also a quality wide receiver, but last name doesn't start with "T" and end with "oon" so he is easily forgotten. Terance Mathis is a few years before his prime on Tecmo, but he still makes for a decent backup and a pretty good kick returner.
Then there's JoJo Townsell. There's only room at each position for one person to have the name of a circus performer and Al Toon already beat you to it. No matter what happens, you're staying on the bench, poser.
In 1995 the New York Jets drafted tight end Kyle Brady at #9. They picked him ahead of Warren Sapp to the obvious displeasure of the jeering Jets fans in attendance. While this may not seem relevant to 1991 Tecmo Super Bowl, it just gives you an idea of the pristine legacy of ineptitude the Jets have at this position.
The Tecmo starter is Mark Boyer, who for all intents and purposes, has never had a meaningful play for anybody in the world in the thirteen years this game has been around. While guys like Frank Stams and Jim Wilks sneak in once every couple of years to decide a game, never once has anybody ever said, "You know man, without Mark Boyer, I'm telling you, I would have been screwed in that game. Mark Boyer saved the damn season." Instead, Boyer just serves as one more reason not throw the ball with Mr. O.Brien.
Linemen time! You love 'em, I love 'em, they still are completely irrelevant to all of us.
Left Tackle: Jim Sweeney
Left Guard: Mike Haight
Center: Dave Cadigan
Right Guard: Jeff Criswell
Right Tackle: Brett Miller
This unit personifies the Jets perfectly. No standout names, no names that are easy to make fun of. They are just there because the Jets need five guys on the line, kind of like the Jets are there because the NFL needs five teams in the AFC East. All they do is exist and when push comes to shove, I guess there are worse existences than that.
At least they don't play for the Colts.
This group of guys is the front line of what is a pretty good Tecmo defense. Jeff Lageman is the right end and he's not too shabby. I certainly would never recommend picking him, but he's not going to lose a game for you and in a division that includes the Bills, you need all the guys like that that you can get.
Scott Mersereau is the nose tackle and when he's not paralyzing teammates, he's sacking the quarterback. Lurching is definitely in play with Scott, so use him to your advantage when necessary.
Ron Stallworth is as plain Jane as his name would indicate and with the other big names on the Jets defense, you'd have to be demented or very, very drunk to choose Ron as your defender.
Normally I highlight the stars of the corps first, but in this case, we're saving the best for last. Joe Mott and Joe Kelly are the outside linebackers and they are comparable to a couple of traffic pylons, except with worse pass rushing skills.
No, friends, the heart and soul of the defense lies with Lazarus himself, Dennis Byrd. Even before his "I can walk, I can't walk, I can walk again" saga gripped the nation, savvy Tecmophiles the world over were already discovering that Dennis was one tough motherfucker. I mean sure, the comeback from life-altering paralysis helped to solidify his toughness, but the fact that he could chase down QB Eagles in the pocket and record sacks was enough to convince me that he was Samson without the follicle and female problems.
Plainly put, if you are the Jets and you don't pick Byrd on defense, you are a damned idiot.
Having to describe the Jets secondary after waxing poetic about Dennis Byrd is like having to write a dissertation on Easy Mac after eating a steak. Erik McMillan is very good, James Hasty is decent, and Tony Stargell and Brian Washington pretty much suck, but really I just don't have the passion to write about them. If you want to learn more, play a game with the Jets and watch them, but again, if you pick anyone other than Byrd, you need to turn in your copy of Tecmo and find an NES Playaction Football cartridge as soon as possible.
Pat Leahy. He's a kicker. Pretty good, no complaints. I'm still on my Dennis Byrd hangover. Rock on, Pat.
If I couldn't find anything to write about concerning the placekicker, do you honestly think I have anything relevant to say about Jeff Prokop?
This is a solid playbook no matter how you slice it. They have FB Offtackle L (Upper middle left) and PWR Fake Z Post (Lower middle left) the best run/PA pass combo on the game. The other running plays are very solid as well, with T Fake Sweep R (Upper Left) being very hard for the computer to defend and Pitch L Open (Upper Middle Right) being very hard for humans to defend.
The passing plays are all usable with Eason in, but if O.Brien is under center, you could just as well all run to the sideline or have everyone play duck-duck-goose on the line of scrimmage because it's not going to make a damn bit of difference.
The Jets are the second most blase team on the game. It's incredibly hard to get excited about them, but the more you look into it, the better they seem as an option. Eason is an acceptable quarterback, their running game is awesome, you get to throw passes to a guy named "Al Toon" for God's sake, and on defense, Dennis Byrd is an ADD-ravaged hitman on speed.
So in conclusion, they still really, really blow compared to the Giants.