As a writer for Music City Miracles since February, it’s been my duty to bring the best coverage of your Tennessee Titans that I possibly can. It’s been a great ride so far, and I look forward to seeing what happens during the regular season.
So, in an effort to get to know the MCM crowd a little better, let’s discuss something that’s a little outside the box: What do you consider the best football video game of all time?
Two of my longtime loves have been football and video games, so with football video games, I get the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, Electronic Arts has a monopoly on NFL video games, so no one else gets to make licensed games these days, and that’s a shame.
In terms of classic football video games, there’s the obvious ones; Tecmo Super Bowl, NCAA Football 14, ESPN NFL 2K5, and Madden NFL 2004. A game I grew up with was NFL Street on the Gamecube. The game has no clock and the first team to 36 points wins, which is genius design. This allows for high scoring, arcade-style affairs.
But a series that means the most to me is the NFL Blitz series, specifically NFL Blitz 2000.
My Twitter handle @Brickwallblitz was named after the NFL Blitz series, and how could it not be? The NFL Blitz series has long been identified as taking the best aspects of the NFL while stripping away much of its fundamentals for pure 10-minute, arcade style football.
I actually never grew up playing the NFL Blitz games as a kid, instead playing them during my high school years in the early 2010s’. Not only were the games insanely addicting, but they were also hilarious. There’s no penalties, so defenders can commit pass interference, commit outrageously violent tackles, and even deliver late hits without being punished. It’s something that would never be tolerated in real life (rightfully so), which makes it all the more hilarious in a video game series that kicks realism to the curb.
I currently own the Nintendo 64 version of NFL Blitz 2000, which I’ve made sure to play religiously. It takes the original NFL Blitz concept and not only doubles the speed, but also adds a four player mode to the mix. The increase in speed gave a little realism to the game, as you had to make quicker decisions to avoid pressure while watching the routes develop.
Remember in NBA Jam where you could catch on fire after hitting a certain amount of consecutive shots? That’s in here too, where you complete a certain amount of passes to one player or get two sacks in a row. It allows your defense and offense to run right by everyone with unlimited turbo, and it’s an absolute blast when you do get it.
Of course, NFL Blitz 2000 was released in 1999, the year the Titans made the Super Bowl. In this game, the Titans have good rushing and special teams, but an average offensive line and defense and below average passing. Instead, the big four passing teams in this game are the Vikings, Broncos, 49ers and Jets (I swear). The 1998 Jets were one of the NFL’s best teams making it as far as the AFC Championship Game with head coach Bill Parcells and veteran journeyman Vinny Testaverde.
The game is extremely fast and extremely fun, but I’ve found the game is actually rigged to favor opponents losing by multiple scores, cranking up the fumbles, pressure, interceptions, and incomplete passes on defenses while decreasing the rest for their offense. I’ve found ways around this a few times, but it keeps the games closer and allows for a more adrenaline pumping experience.
As aforementioned, there’s a four-player mode, but my friends and I have found that the two-player mode works best, especially with the game’s Tournament Mode. Our games get so intense that some of us are known to rage quit the middle of them (not that I would ever do that.....ahem). The computer A.I. tends to be a little frustrating because they always pass the ball right as they touch the line of scrimmage, making them challenging to face even on the game’s easy mode.
Several unique features to the game include making quick audibles at the line of scrimmage, flipping the playbook so you get mirrored versions of each play, and a play editor that allows you to create any play you want. As for the built in plays, I recommend stuff like “Da Bomb” (The ultimate deep ball play) and the versatile “QB Post”; These are my favorite plays to use.
All in all, NFL Blitz 2000 is my favorite football video game of all time. It takes the best aspects of the NFL and maximizes them to outrageous absurdity, The game’s arcade style gameplay, crisp controls, intense matchups, and hilarious audio still hold up extremely well, and it also runs at a fast, smooth framerate.
More importantly, NFL Blitz 2000 is a game that brings my friends and I together. No matter how furious I, I mean we get over multiplayer matchups, we always look forward to playing it whenever I have people over. It’s special to me for that reason, as well as being special to me for being insanely addicting.
The game was also made available for the PS1 and Dreamcast, so you can find it on those consoles as well. Regardless of where you find it, I highly recommend playing NFL Blitz 2000, because it’s a football gaming classic.
With that said, what’s your favorite football game of all time? List your favorite in the comment section below.