The Holy Grail for all football video games, Tecmo Super Bowl forever changed the way the sport is played on sticks. Its predecessor, Tecmo Bowl was almost there – it laid the groundwork for a lot of the playcalling functionality and the NFL licensing, but TSB took everything to a different level. The Super version had something for everyone – from the stat geeks who wanted to master every nuance of each team’s offense, to button-mashing little brothers who just wanted to air it out with Warren Moon every play. Whether you were looking to commit to an entire 16 game season, or just trying to pummel your best friend in an exhibition game, the first major decision of any player was what team would best display your offensive and defensive prowess. Here is our dedication to the top 10 teams of Tecmo Super Bowl:
10. Kansas City Chiefs
Kind of a surprise pick for the ten spot. Despite a mediocre pass attack, Kansas City has one of the best RB’s in the game with The Nigerian Nightmare, Christian Okoye, and one of the best RB tandems with his compliment, Barry Word. Okoye was known for his ability to “make popcorn” – if you’ve played the game you know what I’m talking about. Not to mention Derrick Thomas on defense is one of the best linebackers in the game. All in all, KC is quite underrated!
9. Detroit Lions
Two words: Barry. Sanders. It didn’t matter that they had Rodney Peete as their starting quarterback; with four offensive plays to Mr. Sanders, the Lions were always a contender. Also: their default run-and-gun playbook is what I personally consider the best in the game, and I usually tailor the playbook of whatever team I am using to mimic Detroit’s.
8. Pittsburgh Steelers
Led behind the best overall defense in the game, the Pittsburgh Steelers are one of the two solid teams out of the now-defunct AFC Central. With star power in Greg Lloyd at the LB position, the Pittsburgh pass rush is top-notch. The offense is stacked with possesion players (high ball control stats) so as long as you can keep moving the chains with the Black and Gold, you know the defense will have your back. As a Browns fan, the #8 admission hurts a little.
7. Dallas Cowboys
The Cowboys are packed with star power that really came into its own after TSB. The budding Troy Aikman, Emmitt Smith, Michael Irvin triumpherant were still a force to be reckoned with in ’91, but if this game came out a couple years later I’d have the Cowboys in a league of their own. My favorite play for Dallas is the delayed draw up the middle to Emmitt and letting the Cowboys dominant offensive line plow the way to six.
6. L.A. Raiders
Any team with the 1-2 punch of Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen better make the top-10. Howie Long’s a beast on run defense so the only gripe of this team is the secondary. As long as you keep picking pass plays on defense and cover the run with Howie the secondary should be okay. Geting Bo when he’s in ‘Excellent’ condition makes the Raiders pretty much unstoppable. My Raider gameplan consists of handing the ball to Bo and/or throwing the ball to Bo. Also worth noting: this team looks straightup bad ass, and to a 10-year-old this is really the only team quality of importance.
5. Chicago Bears
Along with Pittsburgh, Da Bears boast one of the best defenses in the game. Anchored by Mike Singletary, Chicago’s run stopping ability is unparalleled. With a good running game and a decent signal caller in Jim Harbaugh, Chicago is easily the best team in the NFC Central and earns a spot in the middle of my Top 10. They were never a personal favorite of mine, but anyone who appreciates good ol’ fashioned football can go far into the TSB Playoffs with the Bears.
4. Houston Oilers
Before you start complaining about the Oilers being this high on the list, let me say one thing: they have three recievers in the statistical top eight. Three! And they have a future hall-of-famer Warren Moon throwing to them. If you know anything about TSB, you know that on any given pass play someone is usually open, you just have to find them and hope they catch it. With the Oilers even your third receiver is better than most team’s receiving options. If you’re good at passing in TSB, the Oilers are impossible to stop.
3. San Francisco 49ers
There was a point in my childhood Tecmo career where my friends and I outlawed the 49ers because they were just too good. The Montana/Rice combo defined an era of NFL play, and TSB fell right at the end of their domination. The only reason San Fran doesn’t get either of the top two spots is that their defense lacked a true preeminate force. Ken Norton and Ronnie Lott were close to this, but they don’t compare to the next team’s top defenders.
2. Buffalo Bills
The most balanced team in the game, the Bills had a top-five offense and defense. With an offensive triumvirate of their own (QB Bills – Jim Kelly, Thurman Thomas, Andre Reed) Buffalo packs quite a scoring punch. The speed and strength of Bruce Smith on defense sets them apart from the 49ers. It could be argued that the Bills are the best team, but too bad their kicker is named Scott Norwood. Laces out!
1. New York Giants
The ultimate in Tecmo teams. They are the complete package: top tier quarterback, decent running back, solid receivers, Pro Bowl caliber tight end, and the single most dominating player in the game: Lawrence Taylor. LT is so amazingly good in this game, I once recorded over 100 sacks in a season with him. The Giants won the Super Bowl in the 1990 season, so it should be of no surprise that they’re the best team.
“Remember kids, don’t do crack” – Lawrence Taylor
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