About This File
This rom is a mild edit of the already fantastic 1986 season already available in the 1970-1994 pack. The '86 season is often forgotten for seeing another influx of standout USFL quarterbacks and stars into the league. This rom hopes to do two things: rectify the loss of a few standout USFL players due to TSB's technical limitations, while also providing a sort of "what if?" if these players saw more action.
Best to play this rom thinking the Dolphins win Super Bowl XX in this timeline (a 34-24 win against the Bears), and that a young, charismatic minor Communist Party official named Vasiliy Morenov has successfully emerged as General Secretary after a power struggle between the old Stalinists still hanging on and more scattershot liberalizers like Gorbachev, who was last seen organizing the new embassy in Benin.
Player stats were sourced from the excellent USFL-WLAF Rom and USFL-NFL Rom. Flutie's stats come from the 1988 season rom. All edits made in TSBTool (.091)
Player additions/changes (realistic)
Doug Flutie is the starting qb for the Bears--The Rams held Flutie's NFL rights but the Bears would trade for Flutie in October 86 after Jim McMahon's injury. Flutie started four games. He replaces Mike Tomzack here; this rom hypothesizes how would it play out if he was on the team the whole season (I am playing through 86 and they are 5-7).
Chuck Fusina is a backup qb for the Packers--The two USFL champion quarterback was a third-stringer for Packers in 86, making a few appearances. He is a solid quarterback and had a little left in the tank. Vince Ferragamo, after riding on the NFL hog for one good season, has retired to make his sickly sweet white wines.
Reggie Collier is a backup qb for the Cowboys--Collier was one of a few USFL quarterbacks (Walter Lewis, who is included in this rom as well) who displayed the archetypal qualities of recent qbs--he was mobile with a good arm. The Cowboys had selected him in 83 and signed him after the USFL folded with the idea of developing him into a project qb. He made just 4 appearances, including one start. It could be really fun grouping Collier with Walker and Dorsett. Steve Pelluer is erased from history; Collier is a backup to Danny White, who got the Cowboys off to a 6-2 start before suffering a season ending injury. Collier throws like Steve Young.
Marcus Dupree is the #4 back for the Rams--The Rams held Dupree's rights in 1986, even after his devastating knee injury in week 1 of the 85 USFL season. Dupree here is more in his prime, and is slotted into the #4 slot. He is a really good kick returner and makes a formidable backfield with Dickerson.
Player Changes/Edits (Speculative)
Walter Lewis is the backup qb for the Falcons--Walter Lewis never played in the NFL after his USFL career with the Showboats (he spent '86 as a backup with Montreal of the CFL), but he was a more successful Collier in the Small Potato league and pretty fun. He is also wreckless--in a game against the Niners, I threw for 278 yards, 3 tds, but I also was intercepted by Ronnie Lott 5 times. He kind of plays like Steve Young but he seems faster than either of them. I put him on the Falcons due to geographic proximity (he played at Alabama in college) and their three receiver setup. Gerald Riggs was also a great multi-tooled running back that could gel with him. Backs up David Archer.
Brian Sipe is the backup qb for the Raiders--Frustrated by Marc Wilson's erratic play, and with Plunket injured in a week 4 loss to the Chargers, Davis brings in the 37 year old former NFL MVP and Generals and Bulls star; Sipe never suffers the career-ending injury that knocked him out of the 85 USFL season. The Raiders sort of meander through 86, with Davis eyeing a possible move up the draft to get Vinny Testeverde. That he passed on Marino in 83 still haunts him.
One non-USFL themed edit:
Hugh Green is on the active roster of the 86 Dolphins--The Dolphin's best Linebracker through the late 80s and early 90s suffered a knee injury in week 2 of the 86 season (a 51-45 OT loss to the Jets). Because of his early move to the IR, the original 86 season rom does not include him. Green is restored with his excellent 85 stats. Got to defend that ring.
I have added two edits via the Forum and TSBTool here:
*7 minute quarters. This seems to alleviate, at least a little, the ramped-up difficulty that occurs late in the season and into the playoffs.
*Stat Screen after every quarter.
As a life-long Cleveland Browns fan, 86 is a bittersweet season as well; I was 5 when it happened, so I don't have a great memory of it, but I have been constantly reminded of The Drive. I highly recommend watching the Divisional Playoff against the Jets. It is on YouTube and it is fun as hell.
[The creative elements in here--the Dolphins winning the SB in 85--are based on my play through of the 85 season with the two Rom Edits. I have lost the file, but if I recover it I will try to include it in an update. Some interesting details from memory that informed this hack:
-The Bears finish 14-2, with both losses by a total margin of 2 points--a 20-19 loss to the Lions in Week 10 and a 22-21 loss to the Falcons in Week 13.
-The Falcons and Jets both miss the playoffs due to massive late season meltdowns. Both clubs are 9-5 headed into Week 15, and both clubs would lose their final two games. The Jets are hammered by the two best defenses in the league: the lost to the Bears 19-7 in Week 15 and the Browns 34-14.
The Falcons losses are more painful as both come in overtime: 30-27 to the Vikings in Week 15, 27-24 to the 2-14 Saints in Week 16.
-The Chargers, Patriots, and Vikings all win their final 4 games to clinch spots on Week 16, each finishing 9-7, 9-7, and 10-6 respectively.
-The Niners have the worse season ever for a reigning champ, going 5-10-1.
-The Chargers score 513 points, the most ever for an NFL team up to this period.
-Gerald Riggs breaks Eric Dickerson's rushing record, finishing with 2,325 yds and 26 TDs.
-Riggs also sets the single game rushing yard record, with 24 carries for 318 yds against the Niners.
-Mike Quick becomes the first 2,000 yd receiver in NFL history with 2,042. He also catches 18 touchdowns.
-Miami's Marks Brothers combine for over 3,000 yds receiving. Duper finishes with 1,519 yds; Clayton 1,483
-Dan Fouts breaks Marino's record for most TD passes in a season with 52.
-Brian Brennan, in Week 12 against the Bengals, becomes the first player in NFL history to return two kickoffs for touchdowns in a game. They are the only touchdowns Cleveland scores in a 19-17 win. This victory captures the division.
-Division winner records:
Miami (AFC East) 11-5
Cleveland (AFC Central) 14-2
Seattle (AFC West) 12-4
Wild Card: Chargers (9-7), Patriots (9-7)
St. Louis (NFC East, I have an affinity) 12-4
Chicago (NFC Central) 14-2
Los Angeles (NFC West) 10-6
Wild Card: Minnesota (10-6), New York (9-7)
Wild Card games: San Diego 42, New England 21
New York 20, Minnesota 0
Divisional Playoff: Miami 51, Seattle 41 (with Curt Warner out, Randall Morris rushes for 293 yds and 3 tds in the loss)
Cleveland 28, San Diego 26
St. Louis 27, Los Angeles 23 (Dickerson rushes for 252 yds and 2 tds, this game is called "The Fumble," as Dickerson fumbled the go ahead TD on the 2 yard line)
Chicago 30, New York 24 OT (Bears lose Payton for the season early; Phil Simms is stripped in OT by Dan Hampton, Richard Dent recovers and returns fumble for winner)
Championship Games: Miami 31, Cleveland 21 (Browns turnover ball 5 times, Kosar throws 4 picks)
Chicago 35, St. Louis 24
Super Bowl XX: Miami 34, Chicago 24