30 NFL legends who were awesome in Tecmo Super Bowl

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It's the 30th anniversary of the NES classic, so let's celebrate!

Few video games have had the longevity of 1991’s Tecmo Super Bowl.

The sequel to the equally popular “Tecmo Bowl,” it was one of the first video games to feature every NFL team (there were 30 at the time), real players and the ability to both keep stats and play an entire season complete with playoffs.

Three decades later, Tecmo Super Bowl maintains its popularity with tournaments played both online and in real life.

The players who starred in their 8-bit glory are also still fresh in our minds. In honor of the game’s 30th anniversary, here are 30 players we loved to control.

1. Lawrence Taylor — New York Giants

(Tony Tomsic-USA TODAY NETWORK)

The highest-rated player in the game according to TecmoGeek, LT was an unstoppable force for anyone picking the Giants.

2. Bo Jackson — Los Angeles Raiders

(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

“Tecmo Bo” is arguably the greatest video game of all-time. Just bring him up to any man that’s in his late 30s or early 40s, and notice the gleam in his eye.

3. Jerry Rice — San Francisco 49ers

(Peter Brouillet-USA TODAY Sports)

God bless Nintendo for giving us the opportunity to experience what it was like to catch passes as the greatest receiver of all time.

4. QB Eagles — Philadelphia Eagles

(Getty Images)

A handful of quarterbacks didn’t grant licenses to use their name. But the stand-in for Randall Cunningham ranks as the best QB in the game because of his great ability to run. (His speed was 3-4x better than most quarterbacks in the game.)

5. Derrick Thomas — Kansas City Chiefs

(RVR Photos-USA TODAY Sports)

The late Chiefs legend was the LT of the Plains. An absolute nightmare to stop.

6. Mike Singletary — Chicago Bears

(Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports)

Picking the Bears meant going with Mike Tomczak as your quarterback, but getting to send Singletary up the middle on every play made up for it.

7. Howie Long — Los Angeles Raiders

(USA TODAY Sports)

Before Long was anchoring the Fox studio show, he was anchoring the digital Raiders defense on Tecmo Super Bowl.

8. Chris Doleman — Minnesota Vikings

(USA TODAY Sports)

The future Hall of Famer was a one-man wrecking crew for the Vikings defense. Alongside Jerry Ball and Joey Browner, Doleman helped lead one of the most underrated defenses in this game.

9. Warren Moon — Houston Oilers

(USA TODAY Sports)

Moon never won a Super Bowl, but his legacy got its just due as a leader of one of the best offenses in this game.

10. Joe Montana — San Francisco 49ers

(USA TODAY Sports)

Montana to Jerry Rice and John Taylor, all day.

11. Andre Rison — Atlanta Falcons

(Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports)

A young Deion Sanders was in this game, but it was Rison who was the true star of the Tecmo Bowl Falcons.

12. Wayne Haddix — Tampa Bay Buccaneers

(USA TODAY)

You might not remember Haddix’s name, but Tecmo Super Bowl players sure do. The Buccaneers cornerback had a career year with seven interceptions in 1990, sending his Tecmo rating through the roof. Haddix never had an interception after that season, though.

13. Bob Nelson – Green Bay Packers

(Getty Images)

The real-life Nelson had three sacks in three years as the Packers’ nose tackle. The video game Nelson was an inexplainable, unstoppable force whose use is often legislated out of play because of the unfairness of it all.

14. Reggie White — Philadelphia Eagles

(Manny Rubio-USA TODAY Sports)

Few people could stop Reggie in real life, and even fewer could stop him on Tecmo.

15. Jerry Ball — Minnesota Vikings

(Brian Bahr /Allsport)

You haven’t lived until you’ve seen Jerry Ball run down Jerry Rice from 30 yards out.

16. Christian Okoye — Kansas City Chiefs

(USA TODAY Sports)

The Nigerian Nightmare gained another level of fame with his prowess in Tecmo Super Bowl.

17. Pepper Johnson — New York Giants

(USA TODAY Sports)

Not that you’d ever THINK of playing a snap as anyone other than LT, but Pepper Johnson was a great option, too.

18. Ronnie Lott — San Francisco 49ers

(Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)

He was no Wayne Haddix, but still pretty good.

19. Drew Hill — Houston Oilers

(Peter Brouillet-USA TODAY NETWORK)

The Oilers had a great quartet of receivers for Warren Moon, including Ernest Givens, Haywood Jeffires and Curtis Duncan. But Hill was the best of the bunch.

20. Henry Ellard — Los Angeles Rams

(Getty Images)

Ellard was an underrated receiver of his generation, but everyone knows he’s a go-to guy in Tecmo Super Bowl.

21. Barry Sanders — Detroit Lions

(USA TODAY Network)

Playing as Sanders in Tecmo Super Bowl was just as fun as playing with Bo.

22. Bruce Smith — Buffalo Bills

(Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports)

Smith was one of the core elite defensive players on the game, though we also liked to line up with Cornelius Bennett from time to time.

23. Darrell Green – Washington

(USA Today Sports)

The future Hall of Famer was the best reason to tab Washington.

24. Dan Marino — Miami Dolphins

(Rick Stewart /Allsport)

Marino won plenty of Tecmo Super Bowls in our day.

25. Marion Butts — San Diego Chargers

(Long Photography-USA TODAY NETWORK)

The most underrated running back in the game, Butts was a workhorse for anyone choosing to rough it with the Chargers.

26. Richard Dent — Chicago Bears

(USA TODAY Sports)

The Sack Man was always coming when you played with the Chicago Bears.

27. Jim Kelly — Buffalo Bills

(USA TODAY Sports)

Jim Kelly, Andre Reed and Thurman Thomas made for the most versatile offense in the game.

28. Sterling Sharpe — Green Bay Packers

(USA TODAY Sports)

Imagine how good he would’ve been in this game if it came out during the Brett Favre era instead of the Don Majkowski one.

29. Thurman Thomas — Buffalo Bills

(Getty Images)

If you’re playing against someone who insists you can’t play with Bo or Barry, Thurman is the way to go.

30. Anthony Carter — Minnesota Vikings

(Photo by George Rose/Getty Images)

Before there was Cris, there was Anthony.

More NFL fun:

Ranking all 32 NFL helmets from worst to first

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