It’s been 25 years since “Madden NFL” debuted on PC. Since then, some of the greatest players in football history have made virtual plays to the delight of gamers everywhere. “Madden NFL 25″ will compile football legends along with today’s NFL stars. “Madden” may be a prominent arcade fixture, but it’s not the only gridiron game to hit consoles. Long-time gamers will remember “Tecmo bowl,” the 8-bit NES game that featured four plays and two teams. Fans of football probably preferred NFL Blitz, the fast-paced, anything-goes Nintendo 64 game. “Madden NFL” success eventually led to an EA college football spin-off, “NCAA Football.”
Each of these games featured dominant players, but who was the best? Could Bo Jackson’s “Tecmo Bowl” speed outperform John Elway’s “NFL Blitz” arm? We spotlight the best video game football players of all time.
Bo Jackson — Tecmo Bowl
Some would say football is a simple game, but “Tecmo Bowl” stripped it down to the bare essentials. Each of the eight teams in the NES release had four plays, and for anyone playing with the Los Angeles Raiders, only one play mattered. That’s because the Raiders had the fastest player in the game, two-sport star Bo Jackson. Simply put: If you had Jackson, you were going to win. Need proof? Check out Bo making the Tecmo Patriots look silly. “Tecmo Bowl” can’t compete with modern football games, but we’re guessing 8-bit Bo Jackson could.
Michael Vick — Madden 2004
Dual-threat quarterbacks are the hot trend in the NFL, but a powerful thrower with running back speed blazed the trail nearly ten years ago. Michael Vick was recently named quarterback of the Madden 25 “All-25″ team. Vick graced the Madden cover in 2004 at the height of his video game dominance. In a “Madden 25″ preview, EA creative director Mike Young said that 2004 Vick “basically broke the game.” Developers slowed the former Falcons quarterback down in later editions, but 2004 Vick will forever live in video-game lore.
Tim Tebow — NCAA Football 09
At this point, it’s hard to imagine Tim Tebow on any “best-of” lists, but remember that this “quarterback” won the Heisman at Florida. Tebow threw an astoundating 29 touchdowns in 2007 and ran for 22 more. That success earned Tebow a spot on the cover of “NCAA Football 09,” where he continued to dominate defenses. Much like Vick, Tebow’s dual-threat ability was a nightmare for virtual defenses. By now, many gamers were hooked up through their wireless internet providers and taking their football gaming experiences to new heights.
John Elway — NFL Blitz
Fresh off their 1998 Super Bowl win, John Elway’s Broncos had the highest rating in the original NFL Blitz. It’s no surprise, then, that Elway can sling it around the small “Blitz” field. Gamers could usually count on Elway completing Da Bomb, a classic “Blitz” play, when they needed a touchdown. “NFL Blitz” Elway is probably the best video game pocket passer to grace our screens.
About the author: David Bledsoe is an engineer during the day and a gamer by night. He enjoys writing about digital technology and entertainment news.