The 2002 NFL season was one of my favorite seasons ever. It was the first year the league went to 32 teams, and it was the last time the Raiders made it to the Super Bowl. They did lose, but it was against the Bucs and their old coach, now current coach, Jon Gruden. The Bucs had one of the best defenses ever, with Simeon Rice, Warren Sapp, Derrick Brooks, and Ronde Barber. Rich Gannon had the best season of his career, and the Raiders also had Jerry Rice and Rod Woodson. In their first year in the league, Houston Texans QB David Carr got sacked an NFL record 72 times on the way to a 4-12 season. That is reflected in the rom with the worst OL in the game. They did manage to beat the Cowboys in their first game, who finished with a 5-11 record.The Jets had a magical year, led by Chad Pennington (playing with a 25ps/81pc QB is so much fun), Curtis Martin, and Laveranues Coles. They beat the Pats and Packers in weeks 16 and 17 to clinch the division, and knocked the Pats out of the playoffs. It was the only year in his entire career as a starter that Tom Brady missed the playoffs, and the Pats had won the Super Bowl the year before in Brady's first year. The Jets went on to crush Peyton Manning and the Colts in the playoffs 41-0! They lost their next playoff game to the Raiders 30-10. That entire division was good, as the Jets, Pats, and Dolphins all finished 9-7, while the Bills ended 8-8. The Giants also made the playoffs as a 10-6 wildcard behind Tiki Barber and a sick defense led by Michael Strahan. There was serious talk in NY about the possibility of a Jets-Giants Super Bowl. This might have been the closest we've come to that. The Giants lost their first playoff game to the 49ers, who would then lose to the Bucs.
Something else happened in 2002 that had a big impact on everyone reading this. Matt Knobbe created the Tecmo Repository.
About the rom: I call this an old school rom, because it is cxrom's original 32-team rom with no graphics or playbook changes. Cxrom put in the ability to change plays in the middle of a game, and an options menu that lets you change the time. The weather option is a placeholder and non-functional. It was implemented in later roms, but I didn't particularly want it. The NFC West bug fixes are in, the TE sim fix is in, the player 2 condition fix is in, and that's about it. It's Tecmo, just 32 teams. Player attributes are largely based on the original, except FBs and returners in a RB slot have 44rs and 50hp. The only FBs with more than 50hp had a significant amount of rushing yards. Returners in a WR slot with 13hp have 50rs. I did the sim ratings on a painstaking team by team, player by player basis. Team and individual stats should usually end up pretty close to how they actually were at the end of the season. The only thing is Marvin Harrison and Randy Moss typically end up with over 2000 receiving yards, and receiver yards are a little higher than reality in general. QB Rating and Passing TDs are also a little high, but RB yards are pretty spot on. The Saints seem to go deep in the playoffs a lot, probably benefiting from the 3-WR set. Oh, and that AFC East is always up for grabs. You try making 1 of 3 9-7 teams always make the playoffs while the other 2 don't. That's just not happening.
I'm going to have a lot of fun playing this, and I hope you do, too.