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Tecmo Bowl vs. Madden ’11 (Week 12 Game Review)
Posted By ChiefsWarpath.com On November 30, 2010 @ 11:52 am In Commentary | Comments Disabled
When it comes to video games, I’m a little behind the curve. Up until last week, the only football game I owned was the original 1989 Tecmo Bowl for 8-bit Nintendo. This never bothered me because (1) I’m not particularly prone to spending inordinate amounts of time on video games, and (2) for a Bernie Kosar vehicle, it holds up phenomenally well. Elements of it have appeared in actual real life football as recently as 2007, when Mike Solari mimicked the game’s signature four-play playbook.
I am now the proud possessor of Madden ’11 for iPhone. Honestly, had it been at its normal price the day I stumbled across it, I wouldn’t have purchased it. It was, however, on sale for 99 cents, and at that price I wouldn’t have minded all that much if it had been terrible. It’s not. The controls are simple and the playbook is expansive. Don’t worry though. I promise not to turn into that guy who yells at coaches through his television instructing them to run the sweet blitz, nor will I turn into that guy who consistently refers to the draft ahead by one year and can’t understand why anyone would think that the 2013 draft wouldn’t take place in 2012.
Aside from the obvious, the notable difference I see between Tecmo Bowl and Madden ’11 for iPhone is in the progression of difficulty from week to week. Tecmo followed the classic video game model, wherein each level is progressively harder than the one before. Thus, if the program orders the games in a certain way, Dave Krieg and Steve Largent can be an exponentially tougher tandem than Joe Montana and Jerry Rice. Madden, on the other hand, gains its structure from logic-based computer models that project a player’s performance based mostly on how well he played in years prior. Consequently, it’s just as easy to tank a game in week one as it is in week 17.
As with many things in life, the reality lies somewhere in the middle. Very few teams play their best football in the first few weeks of the season. Thus, the Tecmo model has some merit. Regardless of how late in the year the contest is scheduled, however, no team will ever fear Jon Kitna and Roy Williams the way they fear Peyton Manning and Reggie Wayne. Thus, the Madden model has merit as well. Call the Seattle Seahawks the great equalizer, because between these two models, they’re dead center. They played better football on Sunday than they did in September, but even at their tightest, they’re still mighty average. Sans Mike Holmgren, they’re the ultimate perennial 8 and 8.
Not too long ago, the Seahawks and Chiefs were bitter division rivals. Sorta. The original AFL Western Division was comprised of the Dallas Texans, Los Angeles Chargers, Oakland Raiders, and Denver Broncos. Three of the four changed cities at least once. In the interim, three other teams joined and later left the division: the Cincinnati Bengals, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and the Seattle Seahawks. Cincinnati and Tampa had a combined three years, whereas Seattle had 26. Theoretically, as a Chiefs fan, I should care more about the Seahawks than I do the Bengals. Well – I don’t. I watched my team lose Mike Maslowski and a bid at a perfect season to Cincinnati in 2003. Meanwhile, Seattle laid the wood to the St. Louis Rams 12 times in the last decade. I can appreciate that. Besides, the Chiefs lead the lifetime series against the Seahawks 32-18. Therefore – Broncos? Hate ‘em. Raiders? Hated all of ‘em except Bo Jackson. Chargers? Don’t hate ‘em quite as much as the Broncos or Raiders, but I’m not a big fan. Seahawks? Sorry man, I got other shit to do.
Sunday’s game encapsulated why I feel this way. 170 receiving yards for Dwayne Bowe. 173 rushing yards for Jamaal Charles. Derrick Johnson in the backfield. Shaun Smith in the backfield. Shaun Smith in the endzone. Matt Cassel completing passes to seven Chiefs. Matt Hasselbeck completing passes to two Chiefs. Shaun Smith in the endzone. I mention that one twice because, in the words of John Madden, “I love to see a fat guy score, because first you get a fat guy spike, then you get a fat guy dance.” In truth, Smith didn’t do much of a dance, and he kept the ball instead of spiking it (as would any player that probably will never see the endzone again), but he was the first player since Refrigerator Perry to score a touchdown and register a sack in the same game.
Dwayne Bowe, meanwhile, apparently is no longer satisfied with seeing the endzone twice a week as has been his custom of late. Now he needs three. I’m fine with that. At his present pace, he stands to threaten some very important records set by guys with names like Moss, Rice, Clayton, and Sharpe. For a guy that seemed perfectly content at seven scores two seasons ago and only moderately disappointed in four last year, I’d call that progress. This is the guy Herm Edwards thought he was drafting. It’s nice to finally meet him.
The flip side, however, is that Kansas City once again lent credence to the career of a scrub. In the tradition of Jerome Harrison and Miles Austin before him, fifth year player Ben Obomanu secured 26% of his career yardage in a rather pedestrian five catches on Sunday. Thanks to a solid performance by his offensive line, Hasselbeck had plenty of time to throw, but don’t blame the pass rush. There wasn’t enough by any means, but the Chiefs’ production at cornerback was dismal. Without Brandon Flowers, the unit simply looks lost. I understand being burned for 51 yards by an experienced vet like Brandon Stokley, but even reserve defensive backs need to be able to dispense with scrubs.
Reserve players also need to know how to play special teams. That, sadly, appears to be a failing proposition for this squad. After the San Diego game, I was under the impression that the return and coverage units were going to be two of this team’s strengths. They aren’t. They’re not Mike Priefer bad, but they’re not where they need to be. Also suffering: a Branden Albert-less offensive line. For as sound of a performance as he’s turned in at right tackle thus far this season, Barry Richardson was outright abused at left tackle. Regrettably, Richardson being abused at left tackle meant Ryan O’Callaghan at right tackle. There’s a reason that guy could never beat out Nick Kaczur. Herb Taylor, where art thou?
Still, as with last week, I’m not going to spend my time bitching about a decisive victory. I’m going to revel in the undoing of a team I’m supposed to hate, but for whom I just can’t muster anything stronger than apathy. After all, how hard is it to hate a team that allows you a 170 yard rusher and a 170 yard receiver on the same day? It’s not easy. In fact, it’s just about as hard as it is to hate a team that lets your Hall of Fame linebacker get to their quarterback (the aforementioned Krieg) seven times over three hours on a national holiday. Had they not eventually won the latter contest, I might not care about them at all.
Fire – nobody. When the offense posts more than 40 and the defense gives up less than 20, the chopping block gets put away.
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