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Super Bowl XLIII: Tecmo Super Bowl Edition


Today you will read about the Game of the Century.

Many of you may remember the classic Nintendo football game, Tecmo Super Bowl. I happen to be a fanatic about the game and play it regularly to this day, so I decided to play as the underdog Cardinals against the Steeler hate machine in anticipation of Super Bowl XLIII.

You must remember that this game has the teams and rosters from the 1991 NFL season, so it’s not particularly accurate. If you want accuracy, go play Madden. The real point of this exercise is to show the futility of the Cardinals franchise and demonstrate how they are (were?) deservedly considered the worst franchise in the NFL for the last 60 years.

For anyone who has played Tecmo Super Bowl, you know the Phoenix Cardinals of Arizona are one of the five worst teams in the game.  No defense, no quarterback, no receivers. The only thing half-decent about them is their running back, Johnny Johnson–don’t think about using Vai Sikahema.

The 1991 Steelers were Chuck Noll’s last team and while not as impressive as the 2008 team, are surprisingly effective. They routinely contend for a wild card berth and under the right circumstances are legitimate Super Bowl contenders. They easily have the best overall defense in the game, are impossible to run on, and can intercept passes left and right when forcing the pass. Their offense will never fumble the ball.

So I began the game a bit unsure of whether I could pull off such an upset, perhaps as unlikely then as it is now. I won the opening coin toss and decided to test out the Cardinal running game. Much to my dismay, the first play from scrimmage in my version of Super Bowl XLIII resulted in a fumble and Steelers’ posession on the Cardinals’ 30.

Not good.

Pittsburgh converts 7 and I begin to question why I am subjecting myself to such torture much earlier than this Sunday.

I quickly become frustrated and abandon the running game, much like how the Steelers will likely win the real contest. NFL-nobody Timm Rosenbach, however, begins slinging the ball around the field like he’s the second coming of Otto Graham.

My favorite target is tight end Roy Green over the middle because Pittsburgh is guarding against the big play. My ability to generate numerous yards after catch, like the real Cardinals, leaves them scrambling for answers. Rosenbach to Green for 6 to end the quarter 7-7.

The Steelers return fire by pounding the ball with NFL Matchup host and fast North-South runner Merill Hoge. They again drive to the Phoenix 30, but three sacks in a row results in a 4th and 30 at the Steeler 47. Naturally, I assume they will punt kick the ball, right?


Hall-of-Fame-worthy kicker Gary Anderson trots onto the field and blasts a 62 yard field goal and I am loathe to think how the game will fare from here.

I manage a short drive punt kick the ball deep, pinning the Steelers on their own 1. This causes quarterback Bubby Brister to screw up like Ben Roethlisberger in Super Bowl XL by throwing a pick six in his own end zone–with three open receivers down field. Oh, Bubby.

I am thankful to end the half up 14-10.

Of course, one good flub deserves another, and I time the second half kickoff poorly and execute an impromptu onside attempt. Who am I, Bill Cowher? The Steelers recover and again convert 7 off my mistake. 17-14 Pittsburgh.

Managing to keep a cool head, I begin to dink and dunk down the field on my next possession and score after converting multiple 3rd and longs to go up 21-17. My defense forces a 3 and out and I take the ball again in the 3rd quarter, this time throwing a 60 yard strike to Ricky Proehl to the delight of slot receiver fans everywhere.  Timm Rosenbach has me up 11 to start the 4th!

Like most Cardinal momentum swings, this one doesn’t last. The Steelers pass the ball effectively and end up at the Phoenix 30, but I force a field goal attempt. My boy, Carlos Dansby, excuse me, Ken Harvey, busts through the line and blocks Gary Anderson’s kick. In a classic Leon Lett moment, I try to pick up the ball, but it bounces into Anderson’s golden hands and he blazes past my defenders to the end zone.

You have GOT to be joking, Tecmo Super Bowl.  Harvey redeems himself by hilariously blocking the extra point. 28-23. Eat it, Gary Anderson.

Things do not look bright as I am forced to punt the ball with 3 minutes to go. I moan how the Steelers are going to have a game winning drive at my expense.

But NO. On the first play of the drive, inside line backer Chike Okeafor, I mean, Garth Jax, pressures Bubby Brister into throwing his second interception.

I take over in Pittsburgh territory and convert 7 with a minute to go.

Final: Cardinals 35, Steelers 23.

So what have we learned? Basically, on Sunday the Cardinals cannot turn the ball over at all. In the AFC Championship game the Ravens proved that by keeping the game close the Steelers can be beaten, but they turned the ball over and Pittsburgh made them pay. The Colts actually defeated the Steelers in Pittsburgh using this strategy earlier this year. In the game above, we see how my mistakes were the only reason Pittsburgh stayed in the game.

That said, I still have the Steelers in a blow out win. Steelers, 35-23.

Cardinals vs. Steelers, Tecmo Super Bowl

Cardinals vs. Steelers, Tecmo Super Bowl

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