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Tecmo Bowl team rankings

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After being involved in countless 2-player games against 3 buddies, here's where I feel the teams stack up.


1.  New York Giants.  Other teams have more star players.  Other teams have a better playbook.  Other teams don't have LT and the best punter in the game.  Giants really aren't the "best" team, but they are the hardest to beat.  That's why they get the top spot.  They put you in a game long grind trying to drive the field repeatedly.  Eventually Joe Morris does some damage on the ground, the offense starts hitting that Bavaro out route when the opponent has to start calling run, and the Giants pull out the victory.


2.  San Francisco 49ers.  The 49ers offense requires a lot of precision in some tight spots, but at other times you can really stress your opponent's defense with their firepower.  SF has a wrecking ball with Ronnie Lott that's pretty hard to run on.  Especially when he's controlled by the CPU.  They give the Giants all they want in the H2H battles.  San Fran ultimately get's the 2nd spot because NY can consistently squash the life out of the remaining teams...more so than San Fran.       


3.  Chicago Bears. Chicago has the "most talented team" in the game.  Elite RB, an elite defender at every level of the defense, best kick returner, and one of the best kickers.  A star player can be found everywhere.  Passing playbook is a bit too conservative, especially with McMahon's noodle arm, but they can move the ball against anyone.  The Giants and 49ers have some slight advantages over Chicago when the big 3 match-up in those classic "rock, paper, scissors" games.  Interestingly enough, Chicago can dominate the rest of the teams more convincingly than NY/SF.  Overall these are the 3 "super power" teams, and a clear cut above the rest.


  • Next up is the 2nd tier squads.  Honestly there's not a huge separation between the Super Powers, and the next 3-4 teams.  However the next group has many, many incremental disadvantages working against them when they face the top 3.  It's pretty rare that the top 3 lose to these teams, but it's always a possibility.  


4.  Indianapolis Colts.  If You're saying huh? to this ranking, here's 2 things you probably don't know.  Eric Dickerson is a top shelf back, and despite Trudeau's lollipop passes, they have WR routes that feature great spacing.  The best spacing of any playbook!  To pull that off though, you need to be able to sit in the pocket for a few seconds, guide the opponent's defender away from your primary target, then check down to Bill Brooks standing out in the flat.  I've played at minimum 50 games in my day with the Colts.  It's  not an offense you master overnight, but with time it becomes an offense that steadily eats up 5-7 yards a play!  They control the clock, run a lot of snaps, and keep the opposition stuck on defense.  For emphasis, I want to remind you again, that if you are an inexperienced player, you will probably struggle with the Colts offense...especially against an actual good player.


Indy has the 2nd best punter in the game, so they can play the field position game about as well as the Giants.  Their offense when ran well is basically the same as playing against Chicago.  Not a lot on defense, but Duane Bickett is the 2nd best bottom outside LB....behind LT.  Bickett is pretty good vs the run, and a primary guy used to shut down the passing attack of teams like Seattle, Denver, Minnesota, and Dallas.   


5.  Cleveland Browns.  The Browns have been trending down, and may eventually even lose this spot.  About 5 years ago they used to be a lock in the 4th spot.  However, Kevin Mack's lack of speed really hurts them.  When you take on the Super Powers, we've found you NEED an elite RB.  Dickerson is the far better option.  The good news for the Browns is that there really isn't a fail safe way to slow down their passing attack, unless you pick the right play.  That in itself makes their passing attack formidable.  However, against most teams, Mack just isn't able to make enough game breaking runs.  As a result, you can keep picking pass plays until you land a few sacks on Bernie and stall the drive.  Cleveland has a really good punter though, and kick return man Gerald McNeil is always a threat.  Notice a theme here about special teams?    


Defensively, Cleveland is a nightmare to face.  Both DB's have good speed. and they can run a lot of things at you.  Especially bunk bed defense which can neutralize any ground game.  Bunk Bed: Use either Dixon or Minnefield, and choose the run play to the opposite half of the field.  Nullifies both run plays.  Other teams don't have 2 really good DB's, so this ploy isn't as effective for them.  The saving grace for Cleveland is that they match-up very well against the teams that are ranked below them.  Oddly enough they are a VERY difficult match-up for Indy, but as mentioned above, Indy is better suited to face the Super Powers with.  Indy has trouble with the Brown's passing attack, and Mack can get his yards against their mediocre defense.  Cleveland is a slight favorite when paired H2H vs Indy.


6.  Denver Broncos.  Denver has a lot of good things going for them, and could eventually overtake the 5th spot.  Elway has a strong arm, I like their passing playbook, and Dorsett is just good enough to punish most any defense.  Denver run into some issues with weak special teams.  Bad punter puts them in a bind from the field position standpoint.  Giants punter for example has a 21 yard distance advantage over them.  That's a game long disparity.  Defensively, Denver has Rulon Jones, who plays the vital top DE position.  Mecklenberg at top outside LB is used a lot in our schemes to completely shut down the run vs teams such as CHI, SEA, CLE, IND, and MIA.  Very useful guy when we employ the LB run defensive calls, as he's got great speed to patrol the field against the pass.  Historically, Denver has given the super powers a slew of tough battles, and is basically a toss up at minimum against everyone else.  That's a good resume to have.    

Edited by Tecmo-Mad-Brad

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Finishing out what we consider the last of the 2nd tier here.


7.  Seattle Seahawks.  The Seahawks are a fairly well rounded team in most areas, that unfortunately doesn't have many standout players.  Steve Largent is their fastest offensive player, but he can be schemed around by defenses.  Curt Warner is serviceable, and Dave Krieg has a decent arm.  The playbook is decent, but they need Warner to have success on the ground to open up the passing game.  Much like Denver they have poor special teams in the punting and kicking department.  That field position deficit is always looming.  Where Seattle has an edge against most teams is at the Middle Linebacker position.  Fredd Young is an absolute elite defender, and Bosworth is decent.   Not much else to use though.  Young is in my opinion the most efficient defender on the game.  Not hard to get maximum impact from him against most any offense.  Seattle can hang with the rest of the middle tier squads pretty well, but they are more likely successful from the Player 1 side.    


  • Rounding out the rankings are the 3rd tier teams.  These teams can certainly give Tier 2 a solid game most every time out, but find themselves at long odds when facing the Super Powers.  On a few very rare occasions,  Tier 3 has taken down a Super Power. 


8.  Miami Dolphins.  Many years ago the Fins used to be quite a powerful squad.  Eventually we locked into a solid approach to slowing down Marino.  These days, Marino faces defenses that sit on the shotgun/Pass 3 call most all game.  Marino has some small windows to throw into with Pass 1 and Pass 2.  It creates a situation where you have to be razor sharp with your decisions or else you can throw a lot of INTs.  Further compounding things is the fast middle defenders that really make things hard for Miami.  Singletary, Mecklenberg, Young, and Michael Carter(SF) are the biggest hurdles that Miami has to overcome.  Miami has a great punter to help with field position.  However the defense leaves a lot to be desired. It's just an uphill battle most all game for Miami.  A saving grace for Miami comes from teams that don't have a good Top D-end, or middle defender.  Indy, Dallas, and LA fit this mold.  Surprisingly so, New York's bookend combo of Lawrence Taylor and Carl Banks can have some issues if Miami keeps finding themselves in the right call.  LT and Banks have speed, but they can't outrun Marino's passes all the way across the field.  With that said, if it's a full 80+ yards to go, chances are likely Miami's luck runs out vs NY.   


9.  Dallas Cowboys.  Dallas doesn't have any defense to work with.  What Dallas is able to do is run a pretty decent offense.  The trick is to run a solid mix of shotgun and Herschel Walker run plays.  When your calls are working, they can move the ball quite well.  When it's not they are toast.  Dallas' shotgun play has good routes and separation, but its a play you really have to master.  When it's open, you need to get 1st down yardage with it every time.  Defenses are always trying to key on that and take it away.  


10.  Los Angeles Raiders.  A programmers error in the blocking scheme leaves Bo Jackson susceptible to really struggling if you know the right defender to be.  The Top Outside Linebacker is a guy that can wreak havoc vs LA.  Especially Carl Banks and Wilbur Marshall.  No top WR in LA's formation leaves the TOLB unblocked on Bo's Run 1.  Bo can still get decent yardage, especially with a juke and run for 4-6 yards, but the consistent 12, 15, and 20 yard runs are a thing of the past.  The defense can sit on pass calls, and then sneak in a few run calls to really bring the hammer down.  It took me a good 12-15 games to really master the "LA defense" but now I feel very confident that I can always beat them.  LA isn't strong on special teams, and outside of Howie Long, their defense is trash.  Long is also the bottom DE, so he's in a bad spot to get exploited by the quick passes to the top WR.  To offset some things, you have to abandon being Howie at times, and then you're susceptible to getting the ball run down your throat with a slow defender.  Occasionally though, LA can get into a good groove with playcalls on offense, and put up a good fight.  Problem being they have to drive that whole field these days.  Its an uphill battle for them, even on the good days.                            

Edited by Tecmo-Mad-Brad

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The last 2 teams are really hard to peg in order as they have some distinct similarities.


11.  Washington Redskins.  The WR run play sinks their offense.  It's virtually worthless, and opponents can really sit on pass calls all game.  Washington does have one of the best defenses on the game, so they can hang with literally any offense.  Both D-ends are solid, and Wilbur Marshall at Top Outside Linebacker is an elite player at his position.  Moving the ball is a major problem for them.  Doesn't help that Timmy Smith is slow, and his lone run play goes to the bottom, so he can't neutralize all the really good Top D-ends, and Top D-backs out there.  Skins have a really good punter, so the defense has plenty of room to work with most every time they take the field.


12.  Minnesota Vikings.  Minnesota actually one-ups Washington in 1 way.  Darren Nelson's run goes to the top so it does neutralize those aforementioned Top D-ends and D-backs.  However the opponent can really sit on the pass plays and shut them down.  Minnesota has an elite D-end and D-back with Chris Doleman and Joey Browner.  While not as diverse as Washington's defense, they can do some serious stuff...for lack of a better term.  Minnesota falls short in the punting game, so field position is an issue for them.   It's really splitting hairs here to rank them this way, and quite honestly they could certainly be flipped around based on opponent.  Regardless that WR run play is Kryptonite for both of them.              

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