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FAQ Part 3/3 by leifpowers

Version: 6.2 | Updated: 12/16/16

A Tecmo Super Bowl For NES FAQ
Part 3 of 3: Personnel and Team-Specific Strategy
Version 6.2
20 November 2016

Most of this by: Leif Powers
Stock e-mail address: LEPmf@yahoo.com
Superstructure, team player ratings, and original schedule written by:
Paul Schulzetenberg a.k.a. Mosi Tatupu (edgarffvi@yahoo.com)

This document is in the public domain (or CC0 if your country
does not allow). I encourage the community to update it as 
necessary instead of waiting 13 years. ^_^


I.   Introduction and Credits
II.  Team Rankings
     A.  Overall Team Rankings
     B.  Offensive Team Rankings
     C.  Passing Offense Rankings
     D.  Running Offense Rankings
     E.  Defensive Team Rankings
     F.  Pass Defense Rankings
     G.  Run Defense Rankings
     H.  Special Teams Honorable Mention
III. Schedule
     A.  Week-by-week Schedule
     B.  Explanation
     C.  Teams That Don't Play Each Other
IV. Team Scouting Reports, Player Ratings, Schedules, Commentary
     A.  Buffalo Bills
     B.  Indianapolis Colts
     C.  Miami Dolphins
     D.  New England Patriots
     E.  New York Jets
     F.  Cincinnati Bengals
     G.  Cleveland Browns
     H.  Houston Oilers
     I.  Pittsburgh Steelers
     J.  Denver Broncos
     K.  Kansas City Chiefs
     L.  Los Angeles Raiders
     M.  San Diego Chargers
     N.  Seattle Seahawks
     O.  Washington Redskins
     P.  New York Giants
     Q.  Philadelphia Eagles
     R.  Phoenix Cardinals
     S.  Dallas Cowboys
     T.  Chicago Bears
     U.  Detroit Lions
     V.  Green Bay Packers
     W.  Minnesota Vikings
     X.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers
     Y.  San Francisco 49ers
     Z.  Los Angeles Raiders
     AA.  New Orleans Saints
     AB.  Atlanta Falcons
     AC.  AFC Pro Bowl Team
     AD.  NFC Pro Bowl Team
V.  Drafting
     A. Theory
     B. Draft Tier Criteria (Sample)
     C. My Personal Team Needs
VI. Tecmo Passing Study
VII.Miscellaneous Extended Discussions
     A. Best Player In The Game
     B. Best Team In The Game
     C. Worst Team In The Game

                     Introduction and Credits

A ton of this part of the guide is the product of hard work by Paul, who
really just busted his butt on most of the drudgery. He (thankfully)
allowed me to take his schedule, player data, and the general structure
of his FAQ and use it here, as long as there wasn't any confusion between
his stuff and mine.
For myself, I want to extend my playing strategy into its application into
players and teams and systems. I also want to give the help I can on drafting
in an online league context. I also placed some templates on selecting 
matchups for tournaments, but as you will see, you should study and make
up your own personal lists based on your own skill. 
Ask me to hook you up with an online league, ROMs, or anything else Tecmo
related other than info NOT covered in this FAQ, and suffer the eternal
pain of Scott Zolak backing up Scott Mitchell, your franchise QB.
If you want to yell at me if I screwed up in here, or you have suggestions,
that's OK too.

Comparison between this part of the FAQ and Paul's Version 2:

Paul's: Colossal rankings on overall team strength, very good ratings
of players in the game by relevant categories (MS, etc.), some history
tidbits here and there, his opinions on teams and team strengths and
players, and the (erroneous in some parts) schedule.

Leif's: Corrected schedule, list of teams that don't play each other,
borrowed rosters from Paul's (with a few corrections), Leif's team
rankings, Leif's team and player opinions, and draft theory.

                         Team Rankings

Leif's Overall-Subjective (based mostly on season MAN vs. MAN matchups;
note that this is not an exact science - it depends on your style and
ability as well, not to mention whether or not you can play WR at RB -
this is what I have found to be most accurate for no-holds-barred, Season
mode play)

Dominating Teams:

1.   New York Giants (got impact players everywhere but the defensive line)
2.   San Francisco 49ers (no fearsome running game, but great quality team)
3.   Houston Oilers (star-oriented defense, special teams)
4.   Los Angeles Raiders (great everywhere but QB, LB, K, P, and a DB or two)

Teams That Can Be Dominating:

5.   Kansas City Chiefs (offensive speed and depth/returner problems)
6.   Buffalo Bills (too average on D, and awful offensive depth/returners)
7.   Philadelphia Eagles (horrid secondary, QB Eagles = 80% of the offense)
8.   Cincinnati Bengals (lacking 8 guys on D and good receivers)
9.   Detroit Lions (defense needs help and QB position is inconsistent)

Teams With Strength:

10.  San Diego Chargers (need more juice to go to the next level)
11.  Washington Redskins (Rypien and Humphries, good but CB-driven D)
12.  Minnesota Vikings (QB position lacking, everything else good or great)
13.  Miami Dolphins (running game comes from receiver corps)
14.  Dallas Cowboys (passing game is not up to snuff, just solid otherwise)
15.  Denver Broncos (Elway isn't very good, depth, the D can't intercept)

Teams That Totally Rely On Stars And Star Units:

16.  Atlanta Falcons (defense needs much help, offense has bad depth)
17.  Chicago Bears (no passing game whatsoever)
18.  Pittsburgh Steelers (painful-to-watch offense)
19.  Phoenix Cardinals (no punch in the offense, safety-driven defense)
20.  New York Jets (only a few stars to carry this team, weak offense)
21.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (offense has 2-3 good players, defense has Haddix)

Teams That Just Can't Cut It Against Superior Teams:

22.  Los Angeles Rams (horrible defense, help on special teams wanted)
23.  Cleveland Browns (QB Browns + W. Slaughter + 2-3 OK defenders = the team)
24.  New Orleans Saints (hot-and-cold offense, defense lacking punishers)
25.  Green Bay Packers (day-to-day offense, pitiful D)
26.  New England Patriots (little offense, but some defensive stars)
27.  Seattle Seahawks (offense has no speed anywhere, terrible defense)
28.  Indianapolis Colts (no defense, worst pair of QBs in the game)

(Leif: I thought the Falcons were very difficult to place, as it requires
one to decide whether having one dominant unit was better than having
some power on both sides of the ball. I managed to get a lot out of these
guys in one MAN season, so I placed them where I thought they could play
at, rather than what someone who never made any roster moves would put
them as.)

Leif's Offense-Subjective (using WRs at RB, etc. - note that not all the
good WRs can be good RBs - Al Toon for instance, he is too slow for such;
A "RB" is a person with at least 50 MS, a WR is a guy with at least 38 MS
and 63 REC - at least that's what I think I usually put down...)

Unstoppable Offenses:

1.   Houston Oilers (speed, speed, speed, and a great triggerman)
2.   San Francisco 49ers (lethal passing, not so great running)
3.   New York Giants (fast and solid, depth is an small issue)
4.   Los Angeles Raiders (if they had a QB, they would be invincible)
5.   Buffalo Bills (depth at RB needs major work here, the WRs aren't so fast)
6.   Philadelphia Eagles (QB Eagles is pretty good, TE Jackson isn't bad either)

Offenses With Potent Attacks:

7.   Detroit Lions (inconsistent QB play and power run, but pretty good speed)
8.   Miami Dolphins (1 great QB, 1 RB, 2 WR/RB type of offense...maybe...)
9.   Los Angeles Rams (0-1-2 QB, 1 RB, 2 great WR/RB offense)

Offenses With Star Elements:

10.  Cincinnati Bengals (no good WRs)
11.  San Diego Chargers (1 pretty good RB and so-so everywhere else)
12.  Kansas City Chiefs (1 QB, 1 RB, 1 WR/RB offense)
13.  Washington Redskins (no good triggerman, but great versatility)
14.  Denver Broncos (no real QB, 1 pretty good RB, 2 WR/RB offense)
15.  Atlanta Falcons (very volatile offense, but they have some juice)
16.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Testaverde is actually decent, 1 RB, 1 WR)
17.  Dallas Cowboys (good running but not so good passing)
18.  Minnesota Vikings (no good triggerman, only one true burner)

One-Dimensional Offenses:

19.  Cleveland Browns (QB Browns, Slaughter, and Mike Pagel, no one else here)
20.  Green Bay Packers (1 QB, 1 WR/RB, a RB sometimes)
21.  New York Jets (1-2 QBs, 1 WR, and some miscellaneous solid people)
22.  Phoenix Cardinals (solid but not good enough to make you fear them)
23.  Chicago Bears (no passing game whatsoever, but very good runners)
24.  New Orleans Saints (1 RB, 1 WR/RB, no QB)
25.  Indianapolis Colts (no QB, but 2 WRs and a so-so running game)

Painful Offenses:

26.  New England Patriots (at least they have Marv Cook...)
27.  Seattle Seahawks (if you are lucky, Krieg will come through)
28.  Pittsburgh Steelers (this is just hideous, no speed or talent)

(note: I have not put in rushing or passing offense rankings, because the
priorities people would place on different positions, and the allowable
substitutions for each person's preferences would be too much to process

Leif's Defense - Subjective (based on MAN play - note how much I am prioritizing
the DBs in the rankings)

Dominating Defenses:

1.   Pittsburgh Steelers (turnover machine, Rod Woodson, etc.)
2.   New York Giants (never underestimate their LBs, especially Reasons)
3.   San Francisco 49ers (great safeties, a powerhouse D except at CB)
4.   Chicago Bears (if they had a better SS and LBs, this would be evil)
5.   Kansas City Chiefs (Derrick Thomas + good supporting cast = ugly games)

Defenses With Superstar Elements:

6.   Los Angeles Raiders (weak LBs, but pretty decent elsewhere)
7.   Minnesota Vikings (solid all-around defense, but some weaknesses)
T-8  Houston Oilers (Richard Johnson and Childress, some others)
T-8  Cincinnati Bengals (Francis, Bussey, and the incredible DAVID FULCHER)
10.  San Diego Chargers (decent but not great, few superstars)
11.  Dallas Cowboys (good DBs, decent interior LBs, but conditions important)
12.  Washington Redskins (CB-driven defense)
13.  Miami Dolphins (DB-reliant D, + Offerdahl)

Defenses With Unshieldable Weaknesses:

14.  Phoenix Cardinals (some bona fide stars, decent secondary)
15.  New York Jets (strong ILBs and FS, the rest fade quickly)
16.  Buffalo Bills (Smith is a beast, so is Bennett, the rest are not great)
17.  Detroit Lions (downgraded PHX secondary, more decent front seven players)
18.  Philadelphia Eagles (strong front eight, then terrible back 3)

Defenses With Little Turnover Ability:

19.  Atlanta Falcons (Deion is the only consistent impact player on this team)
20.  Denver Broncos (strong against the run, but can't catch much)
21.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Crack Haddix is 12 men)
22.  New England Patriots (at least they can get INTs...)
23.  New Orleans Saints (not enough impact players to get it done)

Prayer Processions:

24.  Cleveland Browns (Mike Johnson, Frank Minnifeld, Tony Blaylock)
25.  Los Angeles Rams (Greene and 2 OK DBs...)
26.  Green Bay Packers (Bob Nelson can get INTs...seriously...)
27.  Seattle Seahawks (Jacob Green, and maybe another guy - horrid)
28.  Indianapolis Colts (I shouldn't have to explain this...)

Leif's Pass Defense - Subjective (based on team pass rush, team intercepting
ability, and team speed in coverage)

Surface-To-Air Missile Sites:

1.   Chicago Bears (ridiculous Interception ratings, 2nd best line, etc.)
2.   Pittsburgh Steelers (Mr. Woodson, and the rest are good enough)
T-3. San Francisco 49ers (Lott and Waymer are too sick and the line is too good)
T-3. New York Giants (fierce outside pass rush and Reasons + secondary is good)

Air Patrollers:

5.   Houston Oilers (good enough pass rush, RJ, rest are decent DBs)
6.   Kansas City Chiefs (pretty good pass rush and DT + Percy + corners)
7.   Minnesota Vikings (pass rush, Merriweather, and Browner are good)
8.   Los Angeles Raiders (best line + decent secondary + Eddie Anderson)
9.   Miami Dolphins (a little pass rush, and then the rest can shut you down)
10.  Washington Redskins (two extremely good corners and solid elsewhere)
11.  Cincinnati Bengals (3 darn good guys clean up a lot of messes)
12.  San Diego Chargers (decent pass rush and safeties, very good corners)

Small Buckets:

13.  Phoenix Cardinals (all the elements, just not strong enough)
14.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Haddix is great and the secondary is decent)
15.  Dallas Cowboys (all-around solid, but not dominating in any way)
16.  New York Jets (Clifton and McMillan are very versatile)

Large Buckets:

17.  Atlanta Falcons (Deion and the secondary barely get it done)
18.  Buffalo Bills (front seven is wonderful, but DBs are iffy)
19.  New England Patriots (Hurst and Lippett, and some front seven guys)
20.  Detroit Lions (better pass rush than N.E., but worse secondary)
21.  Philadelphia Eagles (great pass rush, but _only_ Allen behind it)
22.  Cleveland Browns (Minnifeld and Blaylock can only cover part of the field)

Air Traffic Controllers:

23.  Denver Broncos (Smith can't double up every receiver)
24.  New Orleans Saints (Massey is not good enough to shield Cook, etc.)
25.  Los Angeles Rams (porous defense from Greene, Humphery, and Newsome)
26.  Seattle Seahawks (OK secondary + Jacob Green, but no real pass defenders)
27.  Green Bay Packers (Nelson anchors the pass-tippers)
28.  Indianapolis Colts (seriously...the retractable roof catches more balls...)

Leif's Run Defense - Subjective (based on line's ability to hold off the OL,
the quality of the LBs and DBs, and positioning is key here)

Brick Walls:

1.   Pittsburgh Steelers (Woodson is great, everyone else is very good)
2.   New York Giants (insane LBs and good DBs)
3.   San Francisco 49ers (good line, good LBs, sick safeties)
4.   Kansas City Chiefs (hella front seven, good enough corners)
5.   Los Angeles Raiders (great line and good DBs, but only one LB)
6.   Chicago Bears (no superstar run-stopping DB like Eddie Anderson)

3.7 Yards Per Teams:

7.   Minnesota Vikings (good enough at all three levels)
8.   Cincinnati Bengals (Francis, Bussey, and DAVID FULCHER can stop almost
9.   Denver Broncos (weak line, but lots of stars)
10.  San Diego Chargers (less stars than DEN but more front seven power)
11.  Dallas Cowboys (line could be better, but LBs and DBs get it done)
12.  Houston Oilers (one true star per each level, only _great_ with an A
13.  Phoenix Cardinals (Nunn, Harvey, and the safeties can just barely shut 'em
14.  Miami Dolphins (not a wonderful line, but Offerdahl and the DBs make it
15.  Detroit Lions (hot-and-cold line, two decent LBs and safeties each isn't

Thin Teams:

16.  Philadelphia Eagles (pretty good front seven, but Allen is exposed)
17.  Buffalo Bills (great front seven, good luck with Odomes' HP)

Riot Shields:

18.  Washington Redskins (Mann is good, two great corners, nothing else strong)
19.  Atlanta Falcons (if you have the A button, Deion and Gann can get it done)
20.  New York Jets (only 3 stars on this team to clean up the mess)
21.  Tampa Bay Buccaneers (Haddix and Hamilton can get some things done)

Teams Along For The Rush:

22.  New Orleans Saints (good line and a couple decent LBs, but only an LCB???)
23.  New England Patriots (downgraded N.O. up front, better in back)
24.  Cleveland Browns (MJ, Blaylock, and Minnifeld are barely passable)
25.  Green Bay Packers (Nelson and Harris can be attacked effectively)

Red Seas:

26.  Los Angeles Rams (Kevin Greene is in a terrible spot, no one else
27.  Seattle Seahawks (Jacob Green is in a bad spot and no one else is
28.  Indianapolis Colts (uhhh...Duane Bickett...uhhh...Mike Prior?)

Leif's Special Teams Honorable Mention - To make this list you need
to have more than one formidable part of your special teams, whether
it is kick coverage or punt blocking. Punters don't count because
even a horrid punter is still beastly in this game.

1. Pittsburgh Steelers: Fearsome kick and punt return teams, with
   Dwight Stone, Tim Worley, and a host of thousands. Punt
   coverage is outstanding and kick coverage is great. Greg Lloyd
   can easily block kicks and Gary Anderson is a very good kicker.
   This unit is what gets the Steelers to the playoffs. Plus
   great Ball Control to avoid fumbles for touchdowns.
2. New York Giants: Great kick and punt coverage units, and pretty
   decent return games as well, with Ottis Anderson (88 HP),
   they can take it 105 yards for the big score if everything clicks.
   Sean Landeta can do 80+ yards on you, so don't play for field
   position against these guys, that's a battle you will lose.
   LT will ensure you get a few XPs and a ton of FGs blocked.
3. New Orleans Saints: Ironhead Heyward's massive hitting power
   will clear out weak teams' coverage, and Morten Andersen's leg is 
   sure. Pat Swilling can have a say about which kickers can put it
   through the uprights as well.
4. San Francisco 49ers: Romo is no slouch at penetrating the FG
   protection, and when John Taylor gets a punt, he can take it
   all the way. Pretty decent kick and punt coverage as well.
5. Kansas City Chiefs: Nick Lowery can kick the ball from 70 yards
   out, and Derrick Thomas can block you in 1 second.
6. Cincinnati Bengals: Thanks to Fulcher, Ickey Woods may be the best 
   punt returner in the game, and James Francis knows how to block 
   the kick.

Special Teams Almosts:

   Los Angeles Raiders: These guys have return men coming out
   of their ears...Bo Jackson can make some big-time plays on
   punt coverage.
   Chicago Bears: Johnny Bailey never made any coverage unit happy,
   and Mike Singletary can actually rush the kicker on FG attempts.
   Minnesota Vikings: Merriweather is pretty good at rushing the
   kicker and Leo Lewis can do some damage on punt returns.
   Miami Dolphins: Pete Stoyanovich is a pretty good kicker and
   Troy Stratford is a pretty good returner. 


Note that for each game, while the order of the games is rearranged,
the order of the teams is not, so that ATL will always be the right-side
team in a Season MAN vs. MAN game, and BUF will always be the left-side

<Paul's commentary>
Simply, this is where the schedule for all 17 weeks is listed.  If you
are looking for team-by-team schedules, they are in the scouting 
reports section.

The games in each week will not necessarily follow this order.  The
game rearranges the schedule each week when that week arrives.  The
rearranging seems to follow no discernible order.  These games are
listed in the default order, which is in order by the first team.
</Paul's commentary>

Week 1
Buf. vs. Mia.  |  Cle. vs. Dal.  |  Sea. vs. N.O.  |  Phi. vs. G.B.
Ind. vs. N.E.  |  Hou. vs. Rai.  |  Was. vs. Det.  |  Chi. vs. Min.
Jets vs. T.B.  |  Pit. vs. S.D.  |  Gia. vs. S.F.  |  Phx. vs. Rams
Cin. vs. Den.  |  K.C. vs. Atl.  |

Week 2
Buf. vs. Pit.  |  Cin. vs. Hou.  |  Was. vs. Dal.  |  Chi. vs. T.B.
Ind. vs. Mia.  |  Den. vs. Rai.  |  Gia. vs. Rams  |  Det. vs. G.B.
N.E. vs. Cle.  |  K.C. vs. N.O.  |  Phi. vs. Phx.  |  Min. vs. Atl.
Jets vs. Sea.  |  S.D. vs. S.F.  |

Week 3
Buf. vs. Jets  |  Cin. vs. Cle.  |  Was. vs. Phx.  |  G.B. vs. T.B.
Ind. vs. Rai.  |  Hou. vs. K.C.  |  Gia. vs. Chi.  |  Min. vs. S.F.
N.E. vs. Pit.  |  Den. vs. Sea.  |  Phi. vs. Dal.  |  Rams vs. N.O.
Mia. vs. Det.  |  S.D. vs. Atl.  |

Week 4
Buf. vs. T.B.  |  Jets vs. Chi.  |  Den. vs. S.D.  |  Min. vs. N.O.
Ind. vs. Det.  |  Cin. vs. Was.  |  K.C. vs. Sea.  |  Rai. vs. Atl.
Mia. vs. G.B.  |  Cle. vs. Gia.  |  Phx. vs. Dal.  |  S.F. vs. Rams
N.E. vs. Hou.  |  Pit. vs. Phi.  |

Week 5
Buf. vs. Chi.  |  Den. vs. Min.  |  Gia. vs. Dal.  |      BYES
Ind. vs. Sea.  |  K.C. vs. S.D.  |  Det. vs. T.B.  |Cin., Cle., Pit.,
Mia. vs. Jets  |  Rai. vs. S.F.  |  G.B. vs. Rams  |Hou.
N.E. vs. Phx.  |  Was. vs. Phi.  |  N.O. vs. Atl.  |

Week 6
Buf. vs. K.C.  |  Cin. vs. Sea.  |  Gia. vs. Phx.  |      BYES
Ind. vs. Pit.  |  Hou. vs. Den.  |  Phi. vs. T.B.  |S.F., Rams, N.O.
Mia. vs. N.E.  |  Rai. vs. S.D.  |  Dal. vs. G.B.  |Atl.
Jets vs. Cle.  |  Was. vs. Chi.  |  Det. vs. Min.  |

Week 7
Buf. vs. Ind.  |  Cle. vs. Was.  |  Phi. vs. N.O.  |      BYES
Mia. vs. K.C.  |  Pit. vs. Gia.  |  Phx. vs. Min.  |N.E., Den., Chi.,
Jets vs. Hou.  |  Rai. vs. Sea.  |  S.F. vs. Atl.  |T.B., Det., G.B.
Cin. vs. Dal.  |  S.D. vs. Rams  |

Week 8
Buf. vs. Cin.  |  Cle. vs. S.D.  |  Phx. vs. Atl.  |      BYES
Ind. vs. Jets  |  Pit. vs. Sea.  |  Chi. vs. G.B.  |Was., Gia., Phi.,
Mia. vs. Hou.  |  Den. vs. K.C.  |  Det. vs. S.F.  |Dal.
N.E. vs. Min.  |  Rai. vs. Rams  |  T.B. vs. N.O.  |

Week 9
N.E. vs. Den.  |  S.D. vs. Sea.  |  Dal. vs. Det.  |      BYES
Cin. vs. Hou.  |  Was. vs. Gia.  |  Chi. vs. N.O.  |Buf., Ind., Mia., 
Cle. vs. Pit.  |  Phi. vs. S.F.  |  G.B. vs. T.B.  |Jets
K.C. vs. Rai.  |  Phx. vs. Min.  |  Rams vs. Atl.  |

Week 10
Buf. vs. N.E.  |  Hou. vs. Was.  |  Chi. vs. Det.  |      BYES
Ind. vs. Mia.  |  Pit. vs. Den.  |  Min. vs. T.B.  |K.C., Rai., S.D.,
Jets vs. G.B.  |  Gia. vs. Phi.  |  S.F. vs. Atl.  |Sea.
Cin. vs. Cle.  |  Phx. vs. Dal.  |  Rams vs. N.O.  |

Week 11
Buf. vs. G.B.  |  Cle. vs. Phi.  |  S.D. vs. Sea.  |  Chi. vs. Min.
Ind. vs. Jets  |  Hou. vs. Dal.  |  Was. vs. Atl.  |  Det. vs. T.B.
Mia. vs. N.E.  |  Den. vs. Rai.  |  Gia. vs. Phx.  |  S.F. vs. N.O.
Cin. vs. Pit.  |  K.C. vs. Rams  |

Week 12
Buf. vs. Mia.  |  Cle. vs. Hou.  |  S.D. vs. N.O.  |  Det. vs. Rams
Ind. vs. Chi.  |  Pit. vs. Was.  |  Gia. vs. Dal.  |  G.B. vs. Min.
N.E. vs. Jets  |  Den. vs. K.C.  |  Phx. vs. S.F.  |  T.B. vs. Atl.
Cin. vs. Phi.  |  Rai. vs. Sea.  |

Week 13
Buf. vs. N.E.  |  Cin. vs. Rai.  |  Was. vs. Dal.  |  Det. vs. Min.
Ind. vs. G.B.  |  Cle. vs. K.C.  |  Gia. vs. T.B.  |  S.F. vs. Rams
Mia. vs. Chi.  |  Hou. vs. Pit.  |  Phi. vs. Phx.  |  N.O. vs. Atl.
Jets vs. S.D.  |  Den. vs. Sea.  |

Week 14
Buf. vs. Jets  |  Cin. vs. Gia.  |  Rai. vs. S.D.  |  S.F. vs. N.O.
Ind. vs. Cle.  |  Pit. vs. Dal.  |  Was. vs. Rams  |      BYES
Mia. vs. T.B.  |  Hou. vs. Phi.  |  Chi. vs. Det.  |Min., Phx.
N.E. vs. Den.  |  K.C. vs. Sea.  |  G.B. vs. Atl.  |

Week 15
Buf. vs. Rai.  |  Cle. vs. Den.  |  Was. vs. Phx.  |  Chi. vs. G.B.
Ind. vs. N.E.  |  Hou. vs. Pit.  |  Gia. vs. Phi.  |  Min. vs. T.B.
Mia. vs. Cin.  |  K.C. vs. S.D.  |  Dal. vs. N.O.  |  Rams vs. Atl.
Jets vs. Det.  |  Sea. vs. S.F.  |

Week 16
Buf. vs. Ind.  |  Cle. vs. Hou.  |  Sea. vs. Atl.  |  Chi. vs. T.B.
Mia. vs. S.D.  |  Den. vs. Phx.  |  Was. vs. Gia.  |  Det. vs. G.B.
N.E. vs. Jets  |  K.C. vs. S.F.  |  Phi. vs. Dal.  |  Min. vs. Rams
Cin. vs. Pit.  |  Rai. vs. N.O.  |

Week 17
Buf. vs. Det.  |  Cle. vs. Pit.  |  Sea. vs. Rams  |  Dal. vs. Atl.
Ind. vs. T.B.  |  Hou. vs. Gia.  |  Was. vs. Phi.  |  Chi. vs. S.F.
Mia. vs. Jets  |  Den. vs. S.D.  |  Phx. vs. N.O.  |  Min. vs. G.B.
N.E. vs. Cin.  |  K.C. vs. Rai.  |

<Paul's commentary>
Extremely long, boring, and confusing explanation ahead!  If you are
bored easily or care nothing about why some schedules are designed the
way they are, skip to the next section and save yourself a few minutes.

There are a few oddities which exist in the schedule because of the
divisions.  Since four divisions have five teams and the two other
divisions have only four teams, the schedule can get very convoluted.

First of all, every team plays every other team in its division twice.
Every team has a sixteen game schedule with one bye week in the middle
of the season.  Every team plays games against four teams in a single
division from the other conference.  If the other division has five
teams, the team plays the four teams that have the regular schedule
(see below).

Most of the teams in the divisions with five teams have the basic
schedule.  The exceptions are New England, Denver, Phoenix, and
Minnesota.  The basic teams (I'll call them Type I teams) play every
team in their division twice, which accounts for eight games.  They
also play two teams from each other division in their conference, which
accounts for four more games.  The last four games are played against
four teams in a single division from the other conference.

The teams in the divisions with four teams (Type II teams) have six
divisional games and three games against the other two divisions in
their conference.  They also play four teams against four teams in a
single division in the other conference.

The odd teams out, the Type III teams, play the other four teams in
their respective divisions twice.  In addition, they play the other
Type III team in their confence twice.  They play the remaining two
Type III teams once each.  The last four games are played against the
division in their conference with only four teams.
</Paul's commentary>

Here is the lists of teams that do not play each other.
Of course, if you want two teams that play each other, choose ones
that aren't on this list. :) Remember that division opponents play
each other twice.

AFC East

Buf. : NFC East - NFC West - Cle. - Hou. - Den. - S.D. - Sea. - Min.
Ind. : NFC East - NFC West - Cin. - Hou. - Den. - K.C. - S.D. - Min.
Mia. : NFC East - NFC West - Cle. - Pit. - Den. - Rai. - Sea. - Min.
N.E. : NFC West - (AFC West NOT Den.) - (NFC East NOT Phx.) -
       (NFC Central NOT Min.)
Jets : NFC East - NFC West - Cin. - Pit. - Den. - K.C. - Rai. - Min.

AFC Central

Cin. : NFC Central - NFC West - Ind. - Jets - K.C. - S.D. - Phx.
Cle. : NFC Central - NFC West - Buf. - Mia. - Rai. - Sea. - Phx.
Hou. : NFC Central - NFC West - Buf. - Ind. - S.D. - Sea. - Phx.
Pit. : NFC Central - NFC West - Mia. - Jets - K.C. - Rai. - Phx.

AFC West

Den. : NFC West - (AFC East NOT N.E.) - (NFC East NOT Phx.) -
       (NFC Central NOT Min.)
K.C. : NFC East - NFC Central - Ind. - N.E. - Jets - Cin. - Pit.
Rai. : NFC East - NFC Central - Mia. - N.E. - Jets - Cle. - Pit.
S.D. : NFC East - NFC Central - Buf. - Ind. - N.E. - Cin. - Hou.
Sea. : NFC East - NFC Central - Buf. - Mia. - N.E. - Hou. - Cle.

NFC East

Was. : AFC East - AFC West - G.B. - Min. - T.B. - S.F. - N.O.
Gia. : AFC East - AFC West - Det. - G.B. - Min. - N.O. - Atl.
Phi. : AFC East - AFC West - Chi. - Det. - Min. - Rams - Atl.
Phx. : AFC Central - (AFC East NOT N.E.) (AFC West NOT Den.) -
       (NFC Central NOT Min.)
Dal. : AFC East - AFC West - Chi. - Min. - T.B. - N.O. - Atl.

NFC Central

Chi. : AFC Central - AFC West - N.E. - Phi. - Phx. - Dal. - Rams - Atl.
Det. : AFC Central - AFC West - N.E. - Gia. - Phx. - Dal. - N.O. - Atl.
G.B. : AFC Central - AFC West - N.E. - Was. - Gia. - Phx. - S.F. - N.O.
Min. : AFC Central - (AFC East NOT N.E.) (AFC West NOT Den.) -
       (NFC East NOT Phx.)
T.B. : AFC Central - AFC West - N.E. - Was. - Dal. - Phx. - S.F. - Rams

NFC West

S.F. : AFC East - AFC Central - Den. - Was. - Dal. - G.B. - T.B.
Rams : AFC East - AFC Central - Den. - Phi. - Dal. - Chi. - T.B.
N.O. : AFC East - AFC Central - Den. - Was. - Gia. - Det. - G.B.
Atl. : AFC East - AFC Central - Den. - Gia. - Phi. - Chi. - Det.

                            Scouting Reports

One place you can get the player ratings in a spreadsheet form is:

There may still be some scattered errors in the player data, caveat
emptor (Of course you aren't buying this...caveat legatio???).

Also note that I have put down notes as to how strong I think a team's
running game is. Since I focus on the run, I don't have a lot of
respect for teams with 50 MS or below backs. Consequently you will find
me rating such teams as average. Some people think a 50 MS back can
be pretty effective (but Mr. Woodson and I know otherwise). In
addition, I have also put blocker type players at TE. If you feature
the TE more in the passing offense, then you can often switch around
WR #2 or RB #2 with the TE. I almost never throw to him in my
offense, so he is used for blocking first.

I have also added some common offensive sets for each team. Note that
I consider WRs at RB to be legal, FBs at WR, etc. and I prioritize
Hitting Power at the WR # 2 position. I have also added some notes
for people who don't care for WR at RB. However I have made a lot
of notes about TEs at RB, hopefully the guys you play with aren't that
stiff that they won't allow a pure blocker in the backfield.
When I created the sets, I list the players not by their nominal
position or their offensive position but by what they are intended
to act as in that spot, for example a FB at WR may be intended to
be more of a TE.

                              Buffalo Bills

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall    6
      Offense    5
      Defense   16
      Pass D    18
      Rush D    17

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
QB Bills [Jim Kelly]   0  QB  25 69 13 13 56 81 81 81
Frank Reich           11  QB  25 69 13 13 31 44 25 50
Thurman Thomas        34  RB  38 69 63 25 75 50
Jamie Mueller         41  RB  44 69 25 88 50 25
Kenneth Davis         23  RB  38 69 25 19 50 25
Don Smith             30  RB  38 69 25 19 50 25
James Lofton          80  WR  25 69 38 13 50 56
Andre Reed            83  WR  25 69 56 13 56 69
Don Beebe             82  WR  25 69 44 13 50 44
Al Edwards            85  WR  25 69 19 13 50 44
Keith McKeller        84  TE  25 69 38 50 50 50
Pete Metzelaars       88  TE  25 69 19 50 50 31
Kent Hull             67   C  25 69 38 69
Jim Ritcher           51   G  25 69 44 50
John Davis            65   G  25 69 25 63
Will Wolford          69   T  25 69 25 50
Howard Ballard        75   T  25 69 19 63
Scott Norwood         11   K  56 81 81 31 44 44
Rick Tuten            10   P  25 56 44 31 19 63
Bruce Smith           78  DE  44 56 69 75 25 81
Jeff Wright           91  NT  25 31 31 50 19 19
Leon Seals            96  DE  25 31 38 44 31 50
Darryl Talley         56  LB  31 44 50 38 44 63
Ray Bentley           50  LB  25 31 38 38 31 56
Shane Conlan          58  LB  31 44 50 56 19 69
C.[Cornelius]Bennett  97  LB  38 50 63 63 19 69
Nate Odomes           37  CB  38 44 56 38 38 56
Kirby Jackson         47  CB  25 31 44 38 50 50
Mark Kelso            38  FS  31 38 50 38 44 44
Leonard Smith         46  SS  31 38 50 44 44 50

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Mia.   7. Ind.  13. N.E.
 2. Pit.   8. Cin.  14. Jets
 3. Jets   9. BYE   15. Rai.
 4. T.B.  10. N.E.  16. Ind.
 5. Chi.  11. G.B.  17. Det.
 6. K.C.  12. Mia.

Bills' Speed Set
QB QB Bills
Featured Back Thurman Thomas
2nd Back Don Beebe
Go-To WR Andre Reed
2nd Option James Lofton
TE Keith McKeller

Bills' Power Set
QB QB Bills
RB Thurman Thomas
FB Jamie Mueller
WR Andre Reed
TE Keith McKeller
TE Pete Metzelaars

The Bills, as in real life, is a team that has a lot of talent but
just isn't good enough to break through and make it all the way to
the Big Dance and win the championship of the world. Their main
problems are icky player location on defense and a major depth
problem on offense.

The Bills' passing game is pretty good. They have some speed in
WR Andre Reed, and QB Bills is more than happy to let it fly into
double coverage. Don Beebe can help you stretch the field if Reed
is injured, or, if James Lofton and Keith McKeller, two other viable
receiving targets, are in BAD. This team has a decent and deep group
when it comes to making you pay in the air. McKeller in particular can
get it done if he has a LB covering him, he can beat that coverage
in key situations.  Backup QB Frank Reich is not good at all for
this offense though, so don't get too cute with QB Bills. RB Thurman
Thomas is a good pass-catcher, but limit his catches to no more than
5 per game.

However, the Buffalo running game is not so well set. While
Thurman Thomas is quite a player, Mueller has no speed and
the rest of the RB group is a bunch of schmucks. Some say that
Kenneth Davis was shafted but that's a story for another time.
In order to maintain the threat of the running game you need to
keep Thurman healthy and use Don Beebe to spell him late in the
game when you have the clear lead, because if Thomas goes down you
are in deep. Even Beebe in EXCELLENT is no more than a good back,
and if you take away Andre Reed you are going to kill your speed
game deep. If you don't allow WR at RB you are up a total creek
if Thomas gets hurt.
Thomas should NEVER get more than 20 touches unless you are in a
must-win situation. You would really like to give him more like
9-13 touches on the ball, but sometimes you just have to roll
up your sleeves and push it when you need to get the bye. If you
have problems with 15 per, try using a two-back system with Beebe
and put Mueller and reserve TE Pete Metzalaars in addition to
the ever-present McKeller on the field, to get more power blocking
to establish the threat of the big play from Beebe. That way you
can go 25 carries and not kill Thurman. Mueller in particular you
should try and focus on the defense's weakest player, because he can
throw them for loops; you should be aware, however, that even though
Mueller isn't going to have a ton of drops due to QB Bills throwing
him passes, he has no speed and little hands, so if you play in a
dump offense, don't make life hard for yourself by using Mueller
where Beebe or McKeller should go.

The special teams of Buffalo is not really anything special. You
should take chances with your offense instead of trying to rely
on Norwood to kick it through. One mistake you cannot afford to make
is to use either Thomas or Reed at any returner. Unless you have
absolutely no other player in AVERAGE or better, these should never
see any action at returner, because the cost to the team of their
injury is just too high. Using Don Smith and Kenneth Davis at the
returner slots is usually your best idea. Don "Black and Blue" Smith
may go down 3 times a year, but at least Thurman will be upright.

The defense of Buffalo is not a top unit. Their problem is that they
have some great players, but they are not in their secondary. RCB Nate
Odomes and his friends can't catch and that means the other team is
going to let it fly on a regular basis. Furthermore your run-stopping
personnel are all going to come from the front seven as much as
possible, and that opens up the possibility of getting caught up in
a big play. Odomes is a passable run-stopping RCB at least.
Your best bet when going on defense is to first figure out how you will
stop the run in that particular game, and go a few plays to see if your
guys can stop it the way you thought you could, making adjustments as
needed. The Bills' Interceptions ROLB Darryl Talley, LILB Shane Conlan,
LOLB Cornelius Bennett, and all-time great RE Bruce Smith are certainly
capable, but you have to know how to use them best. Once you have
gotten into the flow of the game, then start to poke back away at their
passing game and shut them down. Never forget that your LBs are one
of the top well-rounded corps in the game, and if you are worried about
a particular play you have the guys to stop it up front. Just because
Talley and Conlan aren't Pro Bowlers doesn't mean you should use
Bennett even when the play is going against Bennett. In particular,
Talley is as good as your DBs when it comes to getting picks so don't
be stubborn about Bennett when you know that the threat of the passing
game is there - this team needs every warm body with soft hands it can
get out in coverage.
On passing downs go to Talley and let Bruce collapse the pocket.
Do keep an eye on the backfield on 3rd down so you know when the QB is
going to try and run from Smith's pressure. Smith can beat 80% of the
LGs in the game on any given Sunday so don't succumb to the temptation
of using Bruce to cover unless Bruce's matchup is really bad. Using
Bennett is also a good idea in short coverage situations where you want
to be able to make the play on both the scrambling QB and the short
receiver. Also, you want to keep an eye on conditions, as the Talley +
DBs cover set has a lot of similar ratings, so if one guy gets it up for
a given game, you can definitely get the payoff by going to him.

Defensively, you have a lot of weapons going against you. As
Paul said, "this offense is a chameleon." You can be beat with the running
game, you can be beat with the deep pass, you can be beat with the short
pass, and you can be beat with the QB running for key first downs. One
thing to be very aware of in Season mode is that RB Thurman Thomas is the
one thing that holds this multi-threat offense together. Make sure, then,
to tackle him so that he can be injured in a game. If the Bills try to
move all their offense through him, their best player, you can thus
punish them. Likewise for QB Bills and WR Reed, if you can hurt any one of
those three stars this team really suffers.
However, you can't rely on any player getting hurt, so the key thing
is to always be aware that you can be beat both by the run and the
pass on any given down, and you must react properly to the play that
is being called. You can't play the odds like you can with a team like
the Browns that has basically no running offense. If you get tossed or
pursued by the opposing blockers against Thurman, you can give up a TD,
and if Andre Reed comes wide open, you'd better not fool around too long
short, because he can make some big plays even if you are sitting on him.
Against the Bills you need to contain first and then try to cinch in on
them. Baiting QB Bills to throw short, while not very effective against
this team, is one of the tactics you have to use in order to get some
stops. Trying to get inside your opponent's head is the most crucial
defensive responsibility you have, because the Bills can march if you
just give them certain plays, because they don't drop and they don't fumble
often. Focus on not giving up first downs without a couple of snaps
each, so that you have more time to pick your opponent's play and get them
backed way up, where you can ease up off Thomas or stop the run on 3rd
down with good anticipation of the opponent's drive tactics.
Another thing to be very aware of is the personnel matchups. If they go
into some of their power sets, you need to try and get your pass defender
matched up against Mueller or Metzelaars to go for the INT. If they try
and go with a speed look with 3 WRs, then you need to take your run
defender and smash through them to eliminate opposing blockers on your
way to Thomas. The two constants, though, are Thurman, and WR Andre
Reed, so don't lose sight of them on any given play because 70% or more
of the snaps in this offense involve those two guys.

Offensively, you have to start by testing the corners and never letting
the defense establish a rhythm as to what you want to do to them. You
want as much as possible to avoid running on multiple downs in a series,
because if you start running a lot, the Bills can begin to lock down
against you and find out which personnel they can get away with using
to drop into coverage on running downs. The strength of the Bills is in
their power and versatility in their front seven personnel, so use plays
that attack different defenders, especially ROLB Talley: he is a very
versatile defender against both the short pass to the backs and the
sweep down low, so you must neutralize him and get your opponent going
to Conlan or Odomes, which will definitely help open up your passing
game by taking away INT hazards and traps. Whether you are fine with
Bennett being able to drop or blitz, it doesn't really matter since a
lot of the strong runs go down against him anyhow.
One thing you must _absolutely_ do is to roll away from Bruce's side.
Bruce will overpower your line unless you have a great LG, so don't
expect that you can just sit back there in the pocket and play ball,
keep moving around in order to elude Bruce's pressure. If you stay
stationary you'd better get rid of the ball quickly.

                          Indianapolis Colts

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall   28
      Offense   25
      Defense   28
      Pass D    28
      Rush D    28

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Jeff George           11  QB  25 69  6 13 50 31 38 25
Jack Trudeau          10  QB  25 69 13 13 31 38 31 50
Ivy Joe Hunter        45  RB  38 69 31 50 50 25
Albert Bentley        20  RB  38 69 44 31 50 63
Anthony Johnson       23  RB  38 69 31 25 50 25
Ken Clark             32  RB  38 69 38 25 50 25
Bill Brooks           80  WR  38 69 38 13 50 69
Jessie Hester         84  WR  44 69 38 13 50 63
Clarence Verdin       83  WR  38 69 38 13 50 44
Stanley Morgan        88  WR  25 69 25 13 50 44
Pat Beach             81  TE  25 69 25 50 50 38
Orson Mobley          89  TE  25 69 19 50 50 31
Ray Donaldson         53   C  25 69 25 50
Randy Dixon           69   G  25 69 25 50
Brian Baldinger       62   G  25 69 38 38
Zefross Moss          73   T  25 69 19 63
Kevin Call            71   T  25 69 19 56
Dean Biasucci          4   K  56 81 81 31 38 38
Rohn Stark             3   P  25 56 44 31 75 56
Jon Hand              78  DE  25 31 31 56 19 25
Harvey Armstrong      79  NT  25 31 25 50 19 19
Sam Clancy            76  DE  25 31 38 50 19 64
Duane Bickett         50  LB  25 31 38 50 25 38
Fredd Young           56  LB  25 31 31 31 25 31
Jeff Herrod           54  LB  25 31 31 44 25 50
Chip Banks            51  LB  25 31 31 44 25 38
Eugene Daniel         38  CB  25 31 38 38 31 31
Chris Goode           37  CB  25 31 38 38 31 31
Mike Prior            39  FS  25 31 38 44 44 44
Keith Taylor          27  SS  25 31 44 38 38 44

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. N.E.   7. Buf.  13. G.B.
 2. Mia.   8. Jets  14. Cle.
 3. Rai.   9. BYE   15. N.E.
 4. Det.  10. Mia.  16. Buf.
 5. Sea.  11. Jets  17. T.B.
 6. Pit.  12. Chi.

Colts' Passing Set
QB Jack Trudeau
RB Albert Bentley
WR Clarence Verdin
WR Bill Brooks
WR Jessie Hester
TE Pat Beach

Colts' Power Set
QB Jack Trudeau
Featured Back Albert Bentley
FB Ivy Joe Hunter
WR Bill Brooks
TE Pat Beach
TE Orson Mobley

The Colts are a team you beat on newcomers to the game with. That's all
they are good for. With absolutely no defense and a smoke-and-mirrors
offensive attack, you are almost guaranteed a loss when you use these
guys against any real team.

Jeff George, on many given Sundays, is the worst QB in the league. Slow
but with enough Pass Speed to have his inaccurate throws end up hitting
the defender in the numbers before his receiver can make a try at the
reception, George is a QB that can only be used with the greatest of
skill and patience. Bench him for Jack Trudeau who at least can throw
a few jump balls to decent WRs Bill Brooks and Jessie Hester. Backup
Clarence Verdin is a decent returner and he can also do decently at the
receiver spot so don't forget about him. If Albert Bentley goes into
BAD condition, split him out at WR and let it fly deep to him, because
this guy can really haul it in.

The running game is what suffocates this offense. Bentley has some
talent but a lot of that is just our perception, because compared to
the other backs on this team, 44 MS seems like 100 MPH. Ivy Joe is a
better TE than a RB. You do have a deep bench though, with Anthony
Johnson and Ken Clark, who are both hard runners who won't give up
on a play. If one of those guys or even Ivy Joe gets the hot hand,
don't be afraid to let them carry. Try to hold back from killing
Bentley, but if you need him then let him pound it out, because you
need every win you can get in the 16 games to make it to the playoffs,
let alone to win the Super Bowl. This team at least has 3 power blockers
in Ivy Joe, Pat Beach and Orson Mobley, so if you can get some headway
by clogging up the defense's lanes, you've got some tools to make it

Special teams...Verdin should return and be replaced by one of your
backup RBs or Stanley Morgan if he goes down. You don't have anything
else but a punter, so...punt??? :)

I would strongly recommend lobotomy if you believe that you can
play defense with this club. However you can sort of play around and
try to do something. ROLB Duane Bickett and LE Sam Clancy along with
SS Keith Taylor in the secondary are your best bets, but you should
closely monitor the conditions of your defenders because every bit of MS
counts. Your strategy here is not to get sucked in by big plays so
don't go penetrate deep in there when your guys aren't anywhere close.
If you can at least make it 7-12 plays now you have a chance for a
fumble. Go double or nothing with your playcalling because that is
how you will stop the pass. Let them run and extend the drive to give
you more chances to make big plays. If they go past 50% runs though,
smack them back into passing.

Defensively, you want to try and work your pass rush against this club.
With a receiver-driven offense where they can get the jump ball, you
want to try and gamble against them if you have the DBs and the right
coverage against their players. Their running game won't get much so
try and focus on stopping their jump ball with LB blitzes and freeing
up your boys (RG) in the pass rush, then dropping short. If they really
start to try and run, let them get into a pattern, then call their play
and force them to pass on 3rd down. One pattern that you can see
sometimes with this club is a tendency to call pass, then run the ball
or dump it to Bentley and let him go. If you have good downfield
coverage then force them into throwing the bomb downfield and pressure
Trudeau into the bad throw. Make sure to be aggressive and call some
of their plays to give them less chances for big plays.

Offensively, you can do pretty much anything you want against this team.
ABSOLUTELY FOCUS on not being predictable; that's the _only_ way this
team can beat you, is by calling your plays. Play to your team's
strengths as much as possible and throw it up if the coverage happens
to be good, but also remember that you can run your QB and you'll be
about as fast as ROLB Bickett or LE Clancy so you don't really have
anything to worry about there. Just don't do really stupid things and
you will be fine. Try to emphasize your power game because these guys
have no Hitting Power whatsoever.

                            Miami Dolphins

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall   13
      Offense    8
      Defense   13
      Pass D     9
      Rush D    14

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Dan Marino            13  QB  25 69  6 13 81 69 63 69
Scott Mitchell        19  QB  25 69 13 13 44 44 25 50
Sammie Smith          33  RB  44 69 38 63 50 25
Tony Paige            49  RB  44 69 31 88 50 44
Marc Logan            20  RB  44 69 38 44 50 25
Troy Stradford        23  RB  38 69 38 25 50 38
Mark Clayton          83  WR  31 69 44 13 50 69
Mark Duper            85  WR  38 69 50 13 50 63
Fred Banks            86  WR  25 69 19 13 50 44
Tony Martin           89  WR  25 69 25 13 50 50
Ferrell Edmunds       80  TE  25 69 38 56 50 50
Jim Jensen            11  TE  25 69 31 44 50 69
Jeff Uhlenhake        63   C  25 69 31 69
Keith Sims            69   G  25 69 25 69
Harry Galbreath       62   G  25 69 38 63
Richmond Webb         78   T  25 69 38 75
Mark Dennis           74   T  25 69 25 56
Pete Stoyanovich      10   K  56 81 81 31 69 75
Reggie Roby            4   P  25 56 44 31 19 63
Jeff Cross            91  DE  38 50 56 50 19 69
Shawn Lee             98  NT  25 31 31 56 19 19
Karl Wilson           77  DE  25 31 38 50 19 50
Hugh Green            55  LB  25 31 38 44 25 50
Cliff Odom            93  LB  25 31 38 44 25 44
John Offerdahl        56  LB  38 50 56 44 31 50
David Griggs          92  LB  25 38 44 44 25 50
J.B.Brown             37  CB  25 31 44 50 44 50
Tim McKyer            22  CB  31 38 50 44 50 50
Louis Oliver          25  FS  38 44 56 56 56 56
Jarvis Williams       26  SS  38 44 56 56 56 56

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Buf.   7. K.C.  13. Chi.
 2. Ind.   8. Hou.  14. T.B.
 3. Det.   9. BYE   15. Cin.
 4. G.B.  10. Ind.  16. S.D.
 5. Jets  11. N.E.  17. Jets
 6. N.E.  12. Buf.

Miami's Base Offense
QB Dan Marino
RB Mark Duper
FB Tony Paige
WR Mark Clayton
TE Jim Jensen
TE Ferrell Edmunds

Miami is a team, that, depending on the day, can totally destroy you
or melt down by the end of the first quarter. Their offense and their
defense are streaky and rely on their star players to have good days
in order to succeed.

QB Dan Marino is not like most other Tecmo QBs, and he's not in the
situation most other Tecmo QBs are. He's slow as a turtle, but he
has a great interior offensive line, so don't go running wildly out
of the pocket and rolling out, all these things, because you can just
hang in there and pick your spots. Furthermore, you can really make
people pay for calling runs, because Marino's 81 Pass Speed can get
to almost any uncovered receiver before the defense can figure out
what's going on. His targets are not fast, his WRs Clayton and Duper
are the fastest people on the team, but you can stretch the field
to a certain extent. One thing that you can really take advantage
of with this team is an open receiver deep. Because you have Clayton
and Duper and Jensen all with great Receptions, you really need to
watch out for favorable matchups against them and throw it into
single coverage if the defender can't catch. When Marino is getting
single-coverage receptions of 20-30 yards this team really starts to
click. Since you are close to the LOS, if you need to run don't roll
out, just go straight through your line to make the QB sneak. Don't
make stupid throws though, Marino can certainly be picked off and
Stoyanovich is a good enough kicker that you shouldn't need to press
the issue too much.

Miami's running game, however, needs some real work. If you can't
use Duper to at least get some speed in the backfield, then the
guy in the best condition of your four RBs is the one to use. All
these RBs are decent backups but bad starters. If one of them gets
the hot hand you can split Duper back out to WR. If you start to
get success running, just go with it, because Miami is not known for
running and you can really throw the defense's rhythm off if you
can get 5-7 yards a carry. If you want some blocking, start with
Paige, he is a load and he can blast away weaker defenders just by
touching them. If you want more, stack on some Sammie Smith, he
is no easy throw either.

The Miami special teams has a pretty decent all-around returner
in Troy Stratford. They don't have the best coverage units in the
game by any means. LILB Offerdahl can block a kick if you need it.

On defense Miami uses LILB John Offerdahl and their good safeties to
make the plays they need to make. Don't be afraid to use Offerdahl in
pass coverage, especially if he gets into GOOD. However, don't forget
about their DBs even then, they can make plays too. One thing you
need to worry about with these guys is short yardage situations.
You definitely need to call the run if they are looking to bring
big-time blockers at you, particularly if you use Offerdahl.
The basic strategy of Miami's D is to not give up big plays and
force throws into coverage where the DBs and Offerdahl can pick
them off. Condition plays a big role here too, go with the EXCELLENT
players as much as you can. RE Jeff Cross can sometimes be a factor,
particularly if Offerdahl is in BAD, so don't forget about him as
an alternative.

Defensively, the key here is firstly to keep an eye out and not let
them start to open up their running game. Where Miami struggles is
when they have to throw into coverages that they don't like and get
intercepted; they don't have a lot of safe plays they can run where
they only have to risk the fumble. Taking advantage of their slow
QB Marino and his lame running skills and also of their slower
RBs and WRs is the key. Do not let them get untracked in their
running game, keep them passing so you can take advantage of their
mistakes, because except for Clayton, you can generally pick off
any target Marino wants to throw to. When you go to defend against
the deep pass, you want to try and hang back short as long as
possible, then break at just the instant you need to so that you
can be on the X when the pass arrives. Marino will not kill you
throwing the jump ball so you just need to get there on time. Try
and hold him as much as possible to let your pass rush come free of
his powerful offensive line and get some guys to make him move around
and change directions.
Usually when I get into a game with MIA (I rarely will choose them
because I want to run), MIA usually manages to put 7 or 14 points on
the board regardless of what I do, just because they can get the single
coverage catches. You have to be patient and keep working the pass
defense. If you have an evenly matched team, your DBs are likely good
enough to pick Marino off - it will happen. 

Offensively, your focus is in working the short pass and then trying
to avoid LILB Offerdahl in the running game. They have some good safeties
but they can't be that effective against the run. Offerdahl, on the
other hand, he's just a beast when he runs free because of his great
speed. If you can, try to run at him, but be aware that a lot of
plays like those runs out of the shifting onesetback formations are
very vulnerable to the LILB attacking the LOS and coming at you.
Using power personnel and also your best REC people is usually the
best way to get good matchups, since their star players are fairly
fast but don't have any particular category in which they excel.
Try to make Offerdahl have to come at you early in the play directly
since he's weak and you often can get a power advantage, especially
if you can get some help. Don't let the play develop and then try to
explode into the open field, because this defense is very much geared
towards letting their corners and front seven engage, then have
playmaking Offerdahl and their safeties strike and prevent a major
Passingwise, you want to make a decision relatively quickly because
in many cases you won't have a favorable matchup against their
surprisingly strong defensive line. You don't want to have to panick
a throw because Offerdahl and his safety friends have the speed and PI
to close in on your short guys from deep assignments and make the play.
Roll out and play close to the line so that when the MAN has to
commit, you can throw it short or run the ball and get some quick
yards. When you want to go deep, throw it against their RCB J.B. Brown
who is clearly their weakest corner, but if he is getting some
safety help over the top, go back to the other side if it's any better
there. You don't really have much of an option if Miami gets into a
good passing play against your routes, because they can make the play.
Just work the shorter gains and make Offerdahl have to try and make
enough plays to win the game; you can often win because you can force
it in there against him and you also have the HP advantage. Really, the
big key here is to avoid getting predictable so you can chip away at
them and wait for an opportunity.

                           New England Patriots

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall   26
      Offense   26
      Defense   22
      Pass D    19
      Rush D    23

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Steve Grogan          14  QB  25 69  6 13 19 25 31 44
Marc Wilson           15  QB  25 69 13 13 38 44 25 38
Marvin Allen          39  RB  44 69 25 38 50 25
John Stephens         44  RB  44 69 31 50 50 31
George Adams          33  RB  38 69 31 31 50 25
Mosi Tatupu           30  RB  38 69 31 31 50 25
Irving Fryar          80  WR  31 69 31 13 50 63
Hart Lee Dykes        88  WR  31 69 31 13 50 50
Greg McMurty
  [sic-McMurtry]      19  WR  25 69 19 13 50 50
Sammy Martin          82  WR  25 69 25 13 50 44
Marv Cook             46  TE  25 69 44 56 50 63
Eric Sievers          85  TE  25 69 25 31 50 50
Paul Fairchild        66   C  25 69 38 38
Chris Gambol          74   G  25 69 19 50
Damian Johnson        68   G  25 69 25 44
Bruce Armstrong       78   T  25 69 38 69
Danny Villa           75   T  25 69 19 50
Jason Staurovsky       4   K  56 81 81 31 63 44
Brian Hansen          10   P  25 56 44 31 31 31
Garin Veris           60  DE  25 31 31 50 19 50
Tim Goad              72  NT  25 31 25 50 19 19
Ray Agnew             92  DE  38 50 56 56 31 56
Andre Tippett         56  LB  25 38 44 56 31 44
Ed Reynods            95  LB  25 31 38 38 19 31
Richard Harvey        58  LB  25 31 31 38 19 31
Chris Singleton       55  LB  25 31 31 38 19 38
Maurice Hurst         37  CB  31 38 50 44 50 38
Ronnie Lippett        42  CB  38 44 56 50 63 56
Fred Marion           31  FS  25 31 44 50 50 44
Rod McSwain           23  SS  25 31 31 56 31 31

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Ind.   7. BYE   13. Buf.
 2. Cle.   8. Min.  14. Den.
 3. Pit.   9. Den.  15. Ind.
 4. Hou.  10. Buf.  16. Jets
 5. Phx.  11. Mia.  17. Cin.
 6. Mia.  12. Jets

Patriots' Base Set
QB Marc Wilson
Featured Back Marv Cook
FB Mosi Tatupu
Go-to WR Irving Fryar
TE John Stephens
TE Eric Sievers

The Patriots have had the worst reputation in the Tecmo community for
some time, most of it deserved (though the Colts are nipping at their
heels). Their offense is a couple of players away from being a joke
and their defense has some players, but they aren't good enough to
get this team out of the cellar.

First order of business - bench Grogan. He is slow and, while he does
have the ability to throw unstoppable jump balls, most Sundays he just
throws moonballs and INTs. He is one of the few QBs in the game that
can be picked off by Interception LBs jumping to pull down his pass
as he releases it. Marc Wilson may not be much better but you will
get some Pass Speed and Pass Control that you didn't have before.
Try and run as much as possible, firstly to minimize the number of
balls that are actually thrown on pass plays, but also to try and
keep from having your accuracy totally destroyed by the pass rush
up the gut, your line sucks in the middle.

Fryar must be the go-to WR, while Cook must be the runner unless Cook
is in BAD and someone else is in EXCELLENT. You want the power set
here to try and open up the run since no WR is passable as a deep
threat besides Fryar. Eric Sievers gets the call in my system because
he has 50 Receptions, hopefully helping Wilson complete something.
However, others favor George Adams for his extra speed, while still
others want John Stephens because he is the best blocker. Really, what
it boils down to is who is in the best condition when you set up
your three blocking back positions. One player you should never
forget about is Mosi Tatupu, who clearly plays above his stats on
a very regular basis. If all your other backs are in EXCELLENT or
something, then you might be able to take him out, but be warned,
sometimes he's still faster than they are.
Whatever you do, don't stress the middle, you are weak up there.
If you get Cook hurt, then just go with the fastest player you have,
again, don't forget about Mosi - he wants the rock. If you can't
play WR at RB, then give it to Mosi and let him roll. :) Don't ever
take chances on offense, you will usually end up paying for it
dearly, unless you are doing a bomb play or somesuch. You have a
decent kicker, so don't overdo it.

On return teams, again, go with the healthiest players.

Defensively, the Patriots can maybe stymie the opposition. Ray Agnew
is one heck of a player at LE and Andre Tippett is not a terrible ROLB.
Their CBs are pretty decent comparatively speaking, especially LCB
Ronnie Lippett. Try to get the opposing offense into a passing down
so you can bring out Lippett who is clearly the best player on this
team, while letting Agnew and Tippett rush the passer. Stop the
run first and then pin your ears back on a longer third down. If you
want an extra cover man from the front seven take either Agnew or
Tippett, whichever one has the strongest man in front of him, since
both have the same (OK for a run-stuffer) hands. Beware of a lesser
offense that will run on all three downs, or a great running game that
can pick up a longer third down. If you doubt that it's pass, then
go with your run-stuffer for that formation.

Defensively, don't let them get anything started. Your key to winning
is preventing the jump ball and in-coverage pass deep, so use a base
of pass defense and then shut down the run with your star players.
This team can beat you if they can kick some FGs and play good defense,
so don't let them get into your territory. Giving up a few 1st downs
is OK but focus on calling their play and defending deep. Also, target
their C and RG for freeing up your boys, if you can get a pass rush
on these terrible QBs it is over for New England, because they won't
complete anything.

do not stand a chance against you if you can run the ball consistently,
and then you can catch them using ROLB Andre Tippett and LE Ray Agnew
against your WRs deep. What you do not want to have is Lippett getting
substantial time, because turning over the ball will give their offense
a chance to score, and he is their biggest playmaker. With their
Ave-Maria offense, you must play superior defense to win the game.
Sweep down low at Lippett and make them defend your run in order to
stop your attack. They can't use him if you are smart about playcalling.

                            New York Jets

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall   20
      Offense   21
      Defense   15
      Pass D    16
      Rush D    20

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Ken O.Brien [O'Brien]  7  QB  25 69 13 13 56 50 44 38
Tony Eason            11  QB  25 69 13 13 44 44 25 31
Blair Thomas          32  RB  38 69 44 25 50 31
Freeman McNeil        24  RB  38 69 38 19 50 25
Brad Baxter           30  RB  44 69 31 31 50 25
Johnny Hector         34  RB  44 69 44 19 50 25
Al Toon               88  WR  31 69 44 13 50 69
Rob Moore             85  WR  31 69 31 13 50 50
Terance Mathis        81  WR  25 69 19 13 50 44
Jojo Townsell         83  WR  25 69 19 13 50 44
Mark Boyer            80  TE  25 69 25 56 50 50
Doug Wellsandt        86  TE  25 69 19 38 50 31
Jim Sweeney           53   C  25 69 38 44
Mike Haight           79   G  25 69 31 44
Dave Cadigan          66   G  25 69 31 50
Jeff Criswell         61   T  25 69 25 50
Brett Miller          72   T  25 69 25 50
Pat Leahy              5   K  56 81 81 31 75 69
Joe Prokop             6   P  25 56 44 31 69 75
Jeff Lageman          56  DE  25 31 31 44 19 31
Scott Mersereau       94  NT  25 31 31 44 19 31
Ron Stallworth        96  DE  25 31 38 50 19 50
Joe Kelly             58  LB  25 31 31 44 19 31
Dennis Byrd           90  LB  38 50 56 69 25 69
Kyle Clifton          59  LB  31 44 50 50 50 44
Joe Mott              51  LB  25 31 31 44 19 31
James Hasty           40  CB  25 31 38 38 44 31
Tony Stargell         45  CB  25 31 38 31 44 31
Erik McMillan         22  FS  38 44 56 56 63 81
Brian Washington      21  SS  25 31 44 38 50 38

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. T.B.   7. Hou.  13. S.D.
 2. Sea.   8. Ind.  14. Buf.
 3. Buf.   9. BYE   15. Det.
 4. Chi.  10. G.B.  16. N.E.
 5. Mia.  11. Ind.  17. Mia.
 6. Cle.  12. N.E.

Jets' Speed Set
QB Ken O'Brien
RB Blair Thomas
RB Johnny Hector
WR Al Toon
WR Rob Moore
TE Freeman McNeil

Jets' Power Set
QB Ken O'Brien
RB Blair Thomas
FB Brad Baxter
WR Al Toon
TE Mark Boyer
TE Doug Wellsandt

Jets' Hands Set
QB Ken O'Brien
RB Blair Thomas
Possession WR Rob Moore
Deep Threat Al Toon
2nd Option Mark Boyer
TE Doug Wellsandt

The Jets are a team that certainly has some juice, but they aren't that
talented, especially on offense, so you will have to play very hard
and make the most of your star players to win with this team in the
playoffs. The defense must be able to stuff up the opposing offense to
give O'Brien and the passing game a chance to edge the other team.

The key for the Jets to succeed is in their passing game, and they have
two QBs who can get it done if they are healthy. Ken O'Brien is not a
terrible QB at all, and Tony Eason can do a few QB Browns tricks if he
gets into EXCELLENT. WR Al Toon is not among the elite in this game, but
he can catch some jump balls and passes in coverage, and you can score
on a few plays if you get lucky (very lucky). The problem with this
team however, is that you have some speed, and you have some REC,
but you don't have some of both. Blair Thomas and Al Toon are your only
real receiving threats. The rest of your players are slow (Moore, Boyer)
or will drop the ball (Baxter, Hector, McNeil, etc.). Players to really
avoid are Terance Mathis and Jojo Townsell. Real-life production aside,
these guys just flat out blow in this game. What you want to do in the
passing game is really a matter of how many drops you can take. What
I like to do is use Johnny Hector to give me speed out of the backfield
and then deploy Freeman McNeil as my TE while splitting Mark Boyer out
at WR #2. When you draw up your game plans and your offense for the
year, think about which players are going to be touching the ball the
most (look for conditions here), and put your best receivers where you
think the ball is going to end up going the most. Sometimes that means
splitting out Blair Thomas wide and going to Hector as the lone back;
that's OK because they can both run about as well. Try to execute plays
quickly because your offensive line can evaporate against a great
defensive pass rush.

And speaking of the running game, the Jets' personnel department wishes
they had drafted Emmitt Smith instead of Blair Thomas, because
(ironically, as Blair Thomas ran a 4.3 or somesuch while Smith ran a
4.6) Smith is a lot faster in this game than any of the Jets' backs.
Try to involve whichever players are fastest based on condition into
the running game, they have strengths and weaknesses which can offset
each other. Freeman McNeil is the odd man out in the backfield; however,
Brad Baxter can block some so if he gets into EXCELLENT, try and get
him some blocking to do. Hector is the man you want to look to for
running the ball 15 times a game because you want to save Blair as much
as possible to catch short passes. However, if Blair is in much better
condition than anyone else, feed him. You need as much running game as
you can muster with this team and if it means getting some more short
drops, then so be it.

Special teams...not much experience here, so I won't comment too
strongly, except to say that you want to try and use your reserve backs
Baxter and McNeil, maybe Wellsandt, as your returners. You need every
strong body you can get for your set offense so don't waste Hector
or Toon taking shots with this so-so return game. However you have
a great kicker and punter in Leahy and Prokop; don't do stupid things
throwing it deep to Toon every long third down because turning the
ball over will give up points and major field position.

Defensively, the Jets have some solid stars and then a lot of chumps.
Thank goodness Ron Stallworth, their best linesman, is the LE for
tactics, because the schmuckery begins up front. Their OLBs suck,
but they have one of the best pairs of ILBs in the game. RILB Dennis Byrd
is a fearsome run stuffer, but LILB Kyle Clifton is one of the most
underrated LBs in the game, period. He is decently fast, but he has
FIFTY Interceptions. That makes him a pretty decent pass defender and
it gives you a lot of options with coverages and QB spying. Don't be
afraid to go to him on passing downs, and if you can, use him on your
running downs because he can help the team recover from a pass play
easily without drawing McMillan away from deep coverage. The secondary
is terrible except for FS Erik McMillan, but McMillan can hold up a
lot from his position. A very good all-around safety, he's another very
good run-stopping/pass-coverage option for your defense. You can
really have some versatility in your looks and your play calls when
you use those three guys back and forth and not let your opponent key on
one of them in the running game. The key here is to try and force
some iffy throws short if possible because the corners blow, and that
way, you can get Clifton involved in the passing game and not tax your
weak defense too much. Playcalling has to naturally revolve around
protecting those corners and getting McMillan deep in order to stifle
the jump ball to the primary receiver. Becoming expert with the use
of the LILB to stop runs is the key to mastering this defense.

Defensively, the key is to not let Al Toon get out of hand. He is by
far their best weapon, and, with their weak running game and slow
blockers, the Jets will look to pass first. This means you come
out with the mindset to contain Thomas and Hector using your star run
defender. Toon can burn you if you let O'Brien or Eason throw a lot up
to him, so don't let it get out of hand. If they really start going
heavy with the run, don't fear to stack up, but remember that the run
is something you don't have to fear big plays against, and that Toon
is what the Jets really want. Make sure to exploit the bad hands of
the Jets short in the red zone, and don't go crazy trying to call
their play if Toon is getting covered well, especially run plays.
With competency, you can beat this team, but they can score some
points if you gamble and give them a few deep. The C and LG are
vulnerable, so free up your boys to work against the jump ball.

Offensively, you run to neutralize FS McMillan. You want to cut down
the options of the Jets' D as far as which player they use, and you
want them to have to use RILB Byrd and LILB Clifton as much as possible
because they open up opportunities for big plays in the running game,
which helps against the good MAN pass defenders.
However, you must be very careful passing against Clifton. If you are
the type of player that likes to throw to your backs, then Clifton can
eat you up if you start getting careless. This team has a bona fide
LB INT threat, but their corners blow. Throw it deep against their
corners and their SS Brian Washington. Make them use passes and expose
their LBs in the running game, then get blockers on them or wrestle
them away to begin a big run. The toughest part of your running game
is going to be neutralizing them because they are in the best places
to stop a lot of runs, but work and see what goes well. Don't forget
about your power game against them; they don't have good personnel
except Byrd and McMillan to match up against a powerful FB, so you can
get yourself open that way too.
Passing the ball in general is about avoiding Clifton and McMillan.
McMillan is more to be feared than Clifton by far, but you have better
things to do than trying to throw against Clifton. Somewhere on the
field there is a shmuck corner waiting to be torched, and your job
as the QB is to find where he is, check your matchup, and throw the
ball against his coverage. You must also really focus in, if your
opponent is trying to cover deep, into running your QB to pick up
shorter yardages on any down - this isn't a swarming interior defense
and you can bootleg like Al Capone if you are smart and don't betray
it too early in the play. You can sit back and wait in the pocket
against this team for a few seconds since their pass rush is pitiful.
Then you can penetrate the line or do the standard roll-out boot.
Don't forget about your medium options as well like your TE, sometimes
you can rip this team's guts out throwing to the TE if you begin a
ball-control attack running your QB, then throwing 10 yard passes for
20 yard gains. Because you can really draw the MAN into covering you,
there are places you can put the ball to hurt this defense big time.

                            Cincinnati Bengals

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall    8
      Offense   10
      Defense  T-8
      Pass D    11
      Rush D     8

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Boomer Esiason         7  QB  25 69 19 13 63 56 69 75
Erik Wilhelm           4  QB  25 69 25 13 44 44 38 38
James Brooks          21  RB  38 69 56 31 50 38
Ickey Woods           30  RB  44 69 31 81 50 31
Harold Green          28  RB  38 69 38 31 50 25
S.[Stanford]Jennings  36  RB  38 69 38 25 50 25
Tim McGee             85  WR  31 69 31 13 50 56
Eddie Brown           81  WR  31 69 38 13 50 56
Kendal Smith          82  WR  25 69 25 13 50 44
Mike Barber           86  WR  25 69 25 13 50 44
Rodney Holman         82  TE  25 69 38 69 50 56
Eric Kattus           84  TE  25 69 25 38 50 31
Bruce Kozerski        64   C  25 69 31 56
Bruce Reimers         75   G  25 69 31 63
Brian Blados          74   G  25 69 25 56
Anthony Munoz         78   T  25 69 38 75
Joe Walter            63   T  25 69 25 50
Jim Breech             3   K  56 81 81 31 63 31
Lee Johnson           11   P  25 56 44 31 44 69
Jason Buck            99  DE  25 31 38 50 19 25
Tim Krumrie           69  NT  25 31 38 44 19 19
Skip McClendon        72  DE  25 31 38 44 19 31
James Francis         50  LB  31 44 50 69 19 63
Kevin Walker          59  LB  25 31 38 38 19 31
Carl Zander           91  LB  25 31 38 38 31 31
Leon White            51  LB  25 31 31 38 31 38
Carl Carter           45  CB  25 31 25 31 38 25
Lewis Billups         24  CB  25 31 25 31 44 25
Barney Bussey         27  FS  31 38 50 50 50 63
David Fulcher         33  SS  44 56 69 75 69 75

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Den.   7. Dal.  13. Rai.
 2. Hou.   8. Buf.  14. Gia.
 3. Cle.   9. Hou.  15. Mia.
 4. Was.  10. Cle.  16. Pit.
 5. BYE   11. Pit.  17. N.E.
 6. Sea.  12. Phi.

Bengals' Base Offense
QB Boomer Esiason
Featured Back James Brooks
3rd Down Back Harold Green
2nd WR Eddie Brown
1st Option Rodney Holman
TE Ickey Woods

Bengals' Passing Set
QB Boomer Esiason
Featured Back James Brooks
Underneath Man Harold Green
1st Option Rodney Holman
2nd WR Eddie Brown
3rd WR Tim McGee

The Bengals were good around this time, but not good enough to win the
Super Bowl. This Tecmo team has some real talent, but they have too many
weaknesses to overcome to be a serious contender for the championship
of the world.

Boomer can beat you on any given Sunday, even given his receivers, who
are just too slow. Esiason has some fairly quick feet for a good passing
QB, so don't forget about his ability to pick up 3rd-and-short. Erik
Wilhelm is not a bad backup either, he can complete short and he also has
pretty passable scrambling ability. The key is to set up the pass with
the run because you can't really stretch the field with this team and thus
you have to have good ball distribution to throw off the defense. Rodney
Holman should be split out at WR and Tim McGee should be benched, because
there are not enough spots on this starting lineup for a 31 MS, 56 REC WR.
Harold Green's MS and HP push McGee off the depth chart. The running game
dictates that the TE be Ickey Woods, since Boomer shouldn't have too many
drops compared to Woods' ability to get a push off the LOS.

The Bengals have one of the better running games in Tecmo. James Brooks,
one of the great rushers in Bengals history, definitely has some juice
and your first priority is to make sure Brooks touches it at least 10
times a game. Their offensive line is quite good so you shouldn't
have any problems running. Plus, the Bengals have a pretty good power
set, so you can really cause problems for a defense that relies on one
star player to make the stop. If Brooks goes down, go with Harold Green,
one of the best backup RBs in the game. Green needs to see the field in
this offense, he can save you on third down with his speed and toughness
to beat the CPU defenders. I have had good success using him as my second
back so that he will get out into the short middle where he can get some
yards underneath after the catch. However if Stanford Jennings or Ickey
start to get the hot hand, don't fear to feature them at RB #2.
Ickey Woods is one of the great enigmas in Tecmo, he can have a tendency
to fumble and he doesn't have a good ability to get into and stay in
GOOD or EXCELLENT. However, his HP means you need to get him on the field
so he is the blocking TE in my offense, and he needs to find the weakest
defender and smash him out of the way if possible. However, you can't
forget that Holman is no chump in the blocking game himself, so don't
screw over your passing game by accidentally featuring Woods.

The Bengals have pretty good special teams. Jim Breech, despite low
Avoid Kick Block, is a pretty decent kicker, so you can make the defense
pay for bend-don't-break, and Stanford Jennings is not the worst KR in
this game. ROLB James Francis can definitely penetrate the FG blocking
and get a hand in. The best part of the Bengals' special teams, though,
is PR Kendal Smith, who is absolutely phenomenal at PR. Without question,
he is a Top 3 PR, and in my opinion, he is the best PR in the game.
He almost immediately hits his top speed which is in the Top 10 of all
PRs in the game, and he has great agility - you won't lose a notch of
speed when you pull some crazy move on a hapless cover guy. I would
never use Smith at KR or WR, he is just too good at PR - with this guy,
you can actually play for field position, because if the other team
outkicks their coverage, you have 10 guaranteed yards and maybe 10-30
on top of that. Throw in Jim Breech's 50-yard-line range and you have
the makings of a team that scores on every possession.

This defense has three stars and then eight chumps. James Francis is a
very good ROLB and he can make plays all over the field. He is the man
responsible for taking out the dive on 3rd down and a ton of runs on
first down. You definitely need to be up on your run defense though,
because none of the other players in this front seven are worth anything,
LILB Carl Zander can get the sack on called plays but he's still a schmuck.
Unless he or LOLB Leon White get into EXCELLENT, Francis has to hold this
front seven together. Too bad (then-)All-Pro NT Tim Krumrie's leg was
broken in Super Bowl XXIII.
Paul said it best, "The corners are second and third to worst among
defensive backs." You can see for yourself the horror of Carl Carter
and Lewis Billups, I know them well since they always get burned. The
key idea with the Bengals, as bad as their front seven is, is to protect
Carter and Billups; because if you have them one-on-one on the outside,
then the opposing team can just throw it up, and since the team's best
WR usually matches up against RCB Carter, you can't expect anything out of
him. In order to give them help though, you have to be able to pull back
Bussey and/or Fulcher and get some underneath help from the ILBs, so
you have to call passes against the opposing offense and rely on the
trifecta of Francis, Bussey, and Fulcher to shut down the opposing run,
even without LB and DL help 80% of the time.
However, if there are two safeties in the game that can get it done on
that end, certainly FS Barney Bussey and SS David Fulcher can clean up the
mess. Bussey is not that good and you have to pick your spots with him,
but if he gets into EXCELLENT he can hang with anyone. But DAVID
FULCHER...he is a weapon amongst weapons. He is by far the best-rounded
of the top defenders in this game - he can throw you down with his HP
or pick you off with his Interceptions. Not to mention he is pretty fast,
and he can become possessed. In fact, he is below the league's best
in each of those categories by just one notch each (excepting Mark
Carrier of the Bears, with 81 Interceptions). Using the Bengals
effectively means using DAVID FULCHER to his utmost, even against the
sweep down low. You have to play possessed with him, even if he's in
BAD. When you attack the run, you have to run into the blockers in front
of you and blow them away, 2 or 3 on a given play if necessary. When
they take to the air, you start defending short and then run back just
before the WR gets past your range to stop the deep pass. If you can
feed him an INT or two a game, you can often keep him in GOOD or EXCELLENT,
so definitely be aggressive about trying to get the short INT. In short,
you must singlehandedly destroy the opposing offense with Fulcher if
you want to win games, but you certainly have the juice to do so.

Defensively, you need to stop their run. James Brooks can get stronger
as the game goes on, so don't let him get into a rhythm. Call runs and
then use your best pass defender to take away their deep passing game.
If you can keep Brooks under control, you can force Boomer into some
throws he doesn't want to make. The key with this offense, because their
ground game is so solid, is to make them go 15-20 plays and scoop up
the fumble or grab a coverage sack. Harold Green can really hurt you
underneath in the passing game, so don't overestimate your ability to
stop him. The power run is very good, but their receivers are not very
talented, so being able to overload one or the other with key personnel
choices (such as great PI defenders against the passes) will really help
your defense.

On offense, you must stretch the field. DAVID FULCHER is a force of
nature and you cannot make your offense attempt to beat Fulcher like
you can try to beat Kevin Greene or Dennis Smith, you WILL lose the
battle if your opponent has any clue. This guy can hang with Jerry
Rice and Bo Jackson, don't try to go through him. Sweeping down low
and power diving is the best way to start your running attack, this
will hopefully either make your opponent try the NTD with Krumrie,
or if you can get some big plays, you may be able to make your opponent
use ROLB James Francis. Not using too many shotguns is a big key here,
because if you do that, then you will tip the play and Fulcher will be
running all over the field. Once you have him going to a certain
tendency (other than using Fulcher) then you can begin to work him
off that, since the ways this defense can stop you are very limited
(though effective). If he starts to drop down to Krumrie, having
protected against the sweep, then you can catch him with a QB sneak
or you can use a shotgun (with discretion) to work the QB draw some
and get some underneath space. One thing you must be very aware of
is what the matchup of Francis vs. your LT is, because if your LT
is getting owned by the ROLB drone rush, you must try and focus
some sort of running game to control Francis.
If you find their corners alone, burn them. They WILL NOT get the job
done, either in wresting the ball away or in keeping up with the
receiver deep down the field. You can extend the time your receivers
have to come open by watching out for Francis, as you can often dodge
just the one pass rusher. However, it's rare that Francis actually
makes the sack; players like LOLB Leon White and RILB Kevin Walker end
up making a lot of pressure plays, so don't get cocky about it. One
key way to avoid Fulcher is to throw it deep out of his reach, and you
can get some room to run if you can make some deep pass plays.

                            Cleveland Browns

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall   23
      Offense   19
      Defense   24
      Pass D    22
      Rush D    24

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
QB Browns [Bernie
   Kosar]              0  QB  25 69 25 13 44 75 50 44
Mike Pagel            10  QB  25 69 25 13 38 31 38 38
Kevin Mack            34  RB  44 69 31 88 50 44
Eric Metcalf          21  RB  38 69 38 25 50 56
Leroy Hoard           33  RB  44 69 25 31 50 25
Brent Fullwood        29  RB  44 69 25 38 50 25
W.[Webster]Slaughter  84  WR  31 69 38 13 50 63
Reggie Langhorne      88  WR  25 69 25 13 50 50
Vernan Joines         80  WR  25 69 19 13 50 44
[Brian Brenner?]
Brian Brennan         86  WR  25 69 19 13 50 44
Ozzie Newsome         82  TE  25 69 31 50 50 38
John Talley           87  TE  25 69 19 38 50 25
Mike Baab             61   C  25 69 38 44
Ralph Tamm            65   G  25 69 31 50
Gregg Rakoczy         73   G  25 69 25 50
Paul Farren           74   T  25 69 31 44
Tony Jones            66   T  25 69 25 50
Jerry Kauric           2   K  56 81 81 31 38 31
Bryan Wagner          15   P  25 56 44 31 25 19
Robert Banks          97  DE  25 31 38 50 19 38
Chris Pike            75  NT  25 31 38 44 19 19
Al Baker              60  DE  25 31 38 50 19 38
Tony Blaylock         24  LB  25 38 44 38 38 38
David Grayson         56  LB  25 31 38 38 31 38
Mike Johnson          59  LB  31 44 50 69 19 63
Clay Matthews         57  LB  25 38 44 38 19 38
Raymond Clayborn      26  CB  25 31 25 31 38 25
Frank Minnifield      31  CB  31 38 50 50 44 50
Thane Gash            30  FS  25 31 38 44 31 31
Felix Wright          22  SS  25 31 38 38 50 44

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Dal.   7. Was.  13. K.C.
 2. N.E.   8. S.D.  14. Ind.
 3. Cin.   9. Pit.  15. Den.
 4. Gia.  10. Cin.  16. Hou.
 5. BYE   11. Phi.  17. Pit.
 6. Jets  12. Hou.

Browns' Base Offense
QB QB Browns
RB Eric Metcalf
FB Kevin Mack "The Truck"
Go-To WR W. Slaughter
TE Ozzie Newsome
TE Brent Fullwood

The Browns, one of the most storied franchises in NFL history, have
certainly had their ups and downs, and in this game they got handed a
major downer. This is one of the weakest teams in the game when you
look at their personnel, especially the team speed. The saving grace
of this limp team is QB Browns (Bernie Kosar), who is a quarterback
of legends. One day Tecmoers around the world will tell their kids the
stories of the incredible victories, coming from behind, that QB Browns
orchestrated and forced through with his sheer will. What they won't
tell them is that they missed the playoffs every year.

The QB position, anomalously for Tecmo, is actually the _strength_ of
this team. QB Browns is known around the league for his extremely high
TD-to-INT ratio, and he gets passes in coverage that not even Joe
Montana can pull off consistently. The secret is his high Pass
Control, which keeps the balls out of the hands of his defenders 
(so to speak). QB Browns isn't all arm, though - he's got 25 MS, so he 
can run the football if he needs to.
With QB Browns you must find Webster Slaughter and throw it deep,
throw it short, but most importantly, you must check his matchup before
a game and match him up against the defender with the worst Interceptions.
If Slaughter is getting balls from QB Browns it can get very ugly very
quickly even if a top defender is there - never mind some of the slop
DBs in this game. Your next priority is to match up Eric Metcalf and
Ozzie Newsome against weak LBs and throw it in to them if you don't
have anyone open. Always roll out and threaten the run, rolling to
Slaughter's side and keeping Newsome or Metcalf on the opposite side.
Try and get Metcalf involved in the passing game as much as possible;
moving him to RB #2 and changing your runs to go to RB #2 usually helps
a lot with this.
Don't forget, however, about Mike Pagel. They call him "Browns Jr." in
the locker room, and can this guy play. He has 25 MS too, so he can run
it, and if he gets into EXCELLENT he is a major threat. If he is in
EXCELLENT and QB Browns is in BAD, then go to Pagel. He can make the MAN's
life very painful. Play him just the same way you play QB Browns, run
him to the line and make the throw then, to avoid your line and to
instantly force the defense to set up and commit. If you need to run
a lot, put in Pagel instead of Browns, hopefully Pagel will get hurt
(not likely, he's a damn good player) and you can then run Browns without
any fear. Even if you have Browns in there, don't worry about running,
you have Pagel in reserve and things will go well at this position
even if your guy goes down.

One only wishes one could say that for the skill positions on this
team. One of their linemen!!! is faster than all but two players on
this pitiful offense. You must work as much as possible running the
QB, because Metcalf and Mack aren't going anywhere. I don't even
know if there are really any tips for running the ball with this
team, because it is impossible at times. Try Mack if you have a good
thumb, maybe you can throw the guy when he closes on you. If Mack
goes into EXCELLENT you can get some running game going, behind
power blocking with Fullwood and Newsome. If you go with the power
dives using Mack, make sure to set Fullwood into your backfield to
lead block for you, because Metcalf is not going to do much in that
regard. Resist the temptation to use Metcalf at WR because if he
goes into EXCELLENT then he can become a running weapon, which you
need desperately. If he has any speed at all, use him in your
backfield; of course, if they still destroy your run in the first
quarter, then cut your losses and give the ball to Browns, splitting
Metcalf out at WR. Try at least to mix in a few surprise runs
using Mack if you go with the wide-open look, so that you can make
your opponent think twice about using their best pass defender.
If it turns out that Metcalf is the best option, don't forget to set
up Mack against the team's weakest defender if possible.

Special teams...not much to say here. Brennan has a rep, I don't much
give a flip about him. Your mileage may vary. Just don't use your
starters on the return, every notch of your ratings counts here.
Hoard may be an option for you returning. The kicker and punter are
atrocities as are the kick and punt coverage teams.

Defensively, get to love LILB Mike Johnson (at least he's not the third
Richard Johnson). He isn't a great player, but you can definitely
stop some runs with him. Your other option here is Frank Minnifeld
who is a decent CB, but he is an LCB, which means the sweep down low
is going to hurt him big time. Thus, Johnson plays on running downs
and Minnifeld handles passing downs.
However, there is one wild card here: ROLB Tony Blaylock. A CB in real
life, Blaylock is a good pass defender (for a LB) and has some speed
like Mike Johnson. However, his ratings are still low for an every-down
player, despite his propensity for playing above his stats. Therefore,
find situations such as certain run plays, goalline situations, passing
downs, and other places where you can use his pass defense skills. He
certainly is not a run defender for weak A buttons, but he can do a lot
of good things if you give him the chance.
The rest of your defense is an atrocity, and RCB Raymond Clayborn had to
be better than this in real life - he is horrid in this game. Most fast
receivers will beat him straight out even if Clayborn picks them up.
You must protect Clayborn at all costs - he WILL get you killed if
you leave him in single coverage on any Top 20 receiver.
One interesting view of the overall defensive strategy is that, because
Raymond Clayborn is so bad, one might go try all-out run defense and then
use Frank Minnifeld to keep him from pulling up, as Clayborn isn't very
useful anyway. Another view is to get all the warm bodies possible, and
to use Tony Blaylock to make crucial plays against the pass. Other people
want to use bend-don't-break, and have Mike Johnson throw down the short
receivers and stop runs. Really, if you keep mixing all this up, you can
get ahead of your opponent for a few drives.
However, you must be able to control the tempo of the game. This team is
not capable of defense on a regular basis because the secondary is so weak
and each defensive strategy you use has pros and cons. Compounding this is
the changing conditions; Tony Blaylock in EXCELLENT may force you to abuse
him, compared to a BAD Mike Johnson. This will further allow your opponent
to drive a wedge into your defense and fulcrum it to the end zone. These
factors mean that your offense must be capable of keeping the score in
your favor, as the defensive effectiveness is largely out of your control.
Slow down the game on offense and defense if you have a clear lead, and
speed it up on offense, especially if you are down or close to losing.
The winds change so fast with this team because the anchor is the offense,
not the defense. Fortunately, the QB-oriented attack gives you a lot of
different options - more QB runs to slow it down, more passes to speed it
up. Good luck on D.

Defensively, you MUST shut down Webster Slaughter. QB Browns can force
balls into him all day long and he will get stuff deep. Don't worry
about the run, Browns is the real threat. Call passes and make
Browns throw it early in the play with a LB blitz, freeing up your
boy (over C) and then dropping into short coverage, or a CB coming
off short coverage to grab Browns before he can get out of bounds on
the scramble. Another ploy is to stick to Metcalf and Newsome, then
slide off them as Browns comes up to throw and attack the lesser
target (usually a RB). You can't expect to get INTs though against
QB Browns, which is just a very weird thing. You might get one or
two, but Browns is not a player you can put a demolition job on with
your coverages. The key is to not let them get things down the field
which can allow them to score points. Their running game is so bad
that they must heave it to score, and if you allow them any room to
dump pass or deep bomb, QB Browns and Mike Pagel will simply not
let up on you until they are dancing in the end zone.
However, don't be _too_ lulled into thinking their running game sucks,
because if they get a guy into EXCELLENT, then they can become a
threat to ram it down your throat. Check out what's going on with
the players' health, then go for the jugular.

Offensively, RCB Raymond Clayborn is your target. Throw it at him,
run it on him, do anything you want, but do it against Clayborn. That
side of the field is just so weak against the pass that you must
throw deep balls at least 5 times a game against that coverage,
unless you can sucker LCB Minnifeld over there. Make sure to press
the coverage and to fake the QB run so that you can betray if the MAN
has cheated back short - then you can go over the top.
Run to both sides equally though, you can also help to neutralize
Minnifeld if you go down low enough. Don't force it too much down
at Minnifeld; keep a good pass-run balance, because a good player
will try to protect Minnifeld by calling the sweep down low and
praying against the pass. If you can get these Browns to start
calling runs regularly, you can smash them to pieces, because their
pass defense will then give up all kinds of big plays. Be patient
and let their playcalling expose weaknesses - don't take any chances
against Minnifeld if you can help it. He can get them a key stop or
two, and sometimes that's all QB Browns needs.
Sometimes you will also see ROLB Tony Blaylock on the field. Do not make
the mistake of challenging him, as he can pick you off just as well.
Attempt to neutralize him and LILB Mike Johnson with solid running,
should the MAN decide to use those players. As long as you can keep the
Browns bleeding, you will score, and scoring is the most important thing
you can do, as the turnover capability of this defense is limited, while
the offensive firepower of the Browns is deceptive yet lethal. You must
stay ahead of the chains even if that means burning clock or risking
fumbles, because the Browns want long downs more than anything else, as
it greatly simplifies their defensive strategy by allowing them to bring
both Blaylock and Minnifeld to bear. Keep running in long yardage and
don't allow them to cut you off from your strengths, as any strength you
have can overwhelm this defense.

                            Houston Oilers

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall    3
      Offense    1
      Defense  T-8
      Pass D     5
      Rush D    12

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Warren Moon            1  QB  25 69 19 13 69 75 75 63
Cody Carlson          14  QB  25 69 13 13 44 31 38 44
Lorenzo White         44  RB  38 69 44 38 19 44
Ernest Givins         81  WR  44 69 56 13 81 75
Allen Pinkett         20  RB  38 69 38 25 81 25
Victor Jones          37  RB  38 69 38 25 81 25
Haywood Jeffries
   [sic-Jeffires]     84  WR  38 69 50 13 81 75
Drew Hill             85  WR  44 69 63 13 81 75
Doug Lloyd            35  RB  38 69 38 25 81 25
Tony Jones            82  WR  25 69 19 13 81 50
Curtis Duncan         80  WR  38 69 50 13 81 63
Gerald McNeil         89  WR  25 69 44 13 81 44
Jay Pennison          52   C  25 69 31 50
Mike Munchak          63   G  25 69 31 63
Bruce Matthews        74   G  25 69 44 69
Don Maggs             78   T  25 69 25 50
Dean Steinkuhler      70   T  25 69 25 50
Tony Zendejas          7   K  56 81 81 31 38 31
Greg Montgomery        9   P  25 56 44 31 69 56
Sean Jones            96  DE  38 50 56 56 19 56
Doug Smith            99  NT  25 31 38 50 19 44
William Fuller        95  DE  25 38 50 56 19 56
Johnny Meads          91  LB  25 31 38 31 31 38
Al Smith              54  LB  25 38 44 38 19 38
John Grimsley         59  LB  25 31 38 31 19 38
Ray Childress         79  LB  38 50 56 63 19 69
Richard Johnson       23  CB  38 50 63 44 75 75
Cris Dishman          28  CB  25 31 44 31 56 50
Terry Kinard          27  FS  31 38 50 44 56 44
Bubba McDowell        25  SS  25 31 44 44 50 44

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Rai.   7. Jets  13. Pit.
 2. Cin.   8. Mia.  14. Phi.
 3. K.C.   9. Cin.  15. Pit.
 4. N.E.  10. Was.  16. Cle.
 5. BYE   11. Dal.  17. Gia.
 6. Den.  12. Cle.

Houston's Base Offense
QB Warren Moon
RB Drew Hill
WR Curtis Duncan
WR Ernest Givins
WR Haywood Jeffires
WR Gerald McNeil/Lo White (if you don't throw to White)

The Houston Oilers. This team was always on the cusp of Super Bowl
domination in the early '90s. Loaded with talent from top to bottom,
choking always early in the playoffs even to teams they had smacked
in the regular season, capped with a loss that even Browns fans could
hardly stand, the 41-38 meltdown against Buffalo after the 1992 season
in which they led by 35-3 shortly after halftime, after having taken
them to the trash in the regular season closer. Heartbreakers, all.
If you avoid Lo White though, you won't meet the same fate with this
team. Nothing less than a Super Bowl appearance is acceptable with a team
this loaded.

Offensively, descriptions are sublime. Moon is throwing to 5 good
receivers, 4 of them great ones. His Pass Speed allows you to take
advantage of the defense's weakest player, matching him up against
Ernest Givins or Haywood Jeffires and firing it to him in coverage
before the defense can come help. He can run too. Carlson is not that
great, but with this supporting cast, you don't need to be great to
score. Drew Hill at RB can be a force for a defense that is trying
to contain all of the Oilers' weapons. Spread the field with this
team, run with Moon if you just need a few yards, and break down the
D with quick passes or, if you don't like what you see, throw it deep
and score a TD 25% of the time. Don't run too much because you don't
have good blockers on this team - although you do have a great offensive
line, so don't be freaked about throwing quickly.

The only thing that needs mentioning otherwise about this offense are
injury subs and Lo White. If one of your WRs goes out, replace him
with the next fastest player (NOT Lo White, ever) and keep on going.
When Houston has the run threat this team is lethal. This is a problem
for people who don't play WR at RB - in that case this team takes a
major hit at RB. To sub, you probably want Tony Jones to avoid drops;
but if you are adventurous, Allen Pinkett can sometimes do good things -
just don't try to force it to him.
The other issue here is Lo White. If you need a RB, don't succumb to
him unless you MUST use him to get running yards. If you do need him,
ALWAYS run him out of bounds. With White serving his punishment in
14-fumble purgatory, you don't want him coughing up the ball. Use
Pinkett instead (or any of the other two identical RBs) to run the
ball. However, you can't forget that Lo White is the best blocker
on this team, and if you have a position you don't throw to often if
ever (like for myself, TE), then you can put him there to get some
blocking out of him - just don't expect your opponent to respect him
if you want to try and grab a first down. He will try and tackle him
in bounds so don't force it across with White, he will betray you
too often. One place he is useful is the goal line, because if you
throw it to him there, TD.

Special teams - just throw someone there, not your runner. Gerald
McNeil, the former USFL star with the Gamblers (?) is as good as any.
Kicking, one word of advice - don't. The "Zendejas-meister" is at the
end of his undistinguished career, he's got nothing left.

Defensively, RCB Richard Johnson is the key. He is not the fastest DB in
the game but he can move, and more importantly, you have to throw away
from him. He can make the opponent pay for throwing short. He can also
stop the run pretty well. LOLB Ray Childress is a good option if you need
extra cover men down on the goal line or in very long passing downs.
Let the D-line do their work, RE Sean Jones can get a pass rush pretty
easily. Focus on stopping the run first with this team, and then go
back and work Johnson against the short threat, or FS Terry Kinard, or
SS Bubba McDowell (depending on conditions), as this secondary is pretty
decent. If you can make life difficult for the other team's backs,
you have a pretty good shot at getting the three stops you need to
win with the Oilers.

Defensively, I can offer no advice. If they play smart they will
score 21 (at least). This team has too many weapons and their players
don't fumble the ball. If you can force the ball into the hands of
Lo White, you can get some fumbles, but you have to then get him
before he goes out of bounds, and a smart player will do everything
possible, including going backwards, to keep him from getting hit.
I would advise focusing on the pass and then praying against the
running game, using your best run-stopper for that particular form
exclusively. You must get some coverage help from your other guys
since the Oilers' receivers can all make big plays. At least you can
be happy that the jump ball isn't too big of a threat, so just leave
your guys in deep coverage and don't try to help them; you have to
gamble short when you have the deep men covered if you want to beat
the Oilers. Know also that when they run, at least 50% of their players
are weak WRs, so you can just smash into them with your run-stopper
and throw them across the field on your way to the ballcarrier - that
is the key insight into stopping the Oilers' run.
In addition, make sure to not give up big plays gambling short on the
stop when you have guys in the middle and deep, or to gamble too much
on the run, because you can contain them and make Zendejas score if
you stop them. Since he's such a bad kicker, you will make your
opponent line it up, and you can then go for the block against him. This
makes not doing stupid things very important. Against teams like the
Chiefs, you gamble in certain situations to keep them out of field goal
range, but the Oilers don't have that big range like the Chiefs or
accuracy like the Bucs. Don't mistake them passing the 50 for them
having 3 points on the board.

Offensively, avoid RCB Johnson. He will make you pay if you test him.
This is not that solid of an interior defense in the LB corps. LCB Cris
Dishman is the weakest corner. Exploit these weaknesses by running down
against the grain of LOLB Childress' rush (provided Childress isn't
owning your RT) and throwing it against the much weaker personnel
on the bottom of the field. Move your deep threat WR down there as
well. Make your moves deliberately, but not slowly, because there is a
pass rush threat there. Pass first and then go back to the run when
you are beginning to see tighter coverages, because you want to
stress Richard Johnson covering the whole field later in the game
with run calls coming in the second quarter. A lot of times your
opponent will come out with run calls and try to shut down your running
game early so he can just dominate you with RJ. Don't let them get you
into a pattern, because they can dominate your run or your pass, but not
both very well. If you can run against Johnson, do so, but be aware
that he is a top corner and you may not be able to do anything against
him. If you can force the MAN to change to Childress or William
Fuller, you have done your job in that regard.
Most of all, your job is to have smart possessions and play the game
on your tempo. Unless you are down late, don't get out of your usual
offensive rhythm to try to match the Oilers'. After all, you get the
same number of possessions no matter whether you score quickly or
slowly. Unless you are trying something at the end of a half to get
a score, don't be tempted to force it.

                          Pittsburgh Steelers

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall   18
      Offense   28
      Defense    1
      Pass D     2
      Rush D     1

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Bubby Brister          6  QB  25 69 13 13 75 25 56 38
Rick Strom            11  QB  25 69 13 13 44 38 25 38
Merril Hoge           33  RB  38 69 38 38 81 44
Warren Williams       42  RB  38 69 38 31 81 44
Tim Worley            38  RB  38 69 38 31 81 25
Richard Bell          21  RB  38 69 31 19 81 25
Louis Lipps           83  WR  31 69 31 19 81 56
Derek Hill            82  WR  25 69 25 19 81 44
Chris Calloway        88  WR  25 69 19 19 81 44
Dwight Stone          20  WR  31 69 31 19 81 44
Eric Green            86  TE  25 69 31 63 81 44
Mike Mularkey         84  TE  25 69 25 44 81 44
Dermontti Dawson      63   C  25 69 38 56
B.Blankenship         60   G  25 69 38 44
Terry Long            74   G  25 69 38 44
John Jackson          65   T  25 69 25 50
Tunch Ilkin           62   T  25 69 44 69
Gary Anderson          1   K  56 81 81 31 63 50
Dan Stryzinski         4   P  25 56 44 31 38 50
Donald Evans          66  DE  25 38 44 50 19 56
Gerald Williams       98  NT  38 44 50 56 19 75
Keith Willis          93  DE  25 38 44 44 19 56
Greg Lloyd            95  LB  38 50 56 63 31 69
David Little          50  LB  38 44 56 50 31 63
Hardy Nickerson       54  LB  25 38 44 44 19 56
Brian Hinkle          53  LB  25 38 44 44 19 56
Rod Woodson           26  CB  44 56 75 69 63 75
Dwayne Woodruff       44  CB  38 44 56 56 56 56
Thomas Everett        27  FS  31 38 50 38 56 44
Carnell Lake          37  SS  38 44 56 50 50 63

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. S.D.   7. Gia.  13. Hou.
 2. Buf.   8. Sea.  14. Dal.
 3. N.E.   9. Cle.  15. Hou.
 4. Phi.  10. Den.  16. Cin.
 5. BYE   11. Cin.  17. Cle.
 6. Ind.  12. Was.

As you can see, Pittsburgh doesn't have a base offense. This is
because whom you decide to start depends mostly on condition. Isn't
that a great way to talk about this team? What talent. At least on
defense, they are the most dominating team in this game by far. Too
bad the offense can't take advantage of their incredible defense and
special teams.

QBs, QBs...Brister or Strom? The answer to that question depends on
what you see in the games. If you have short receivers you are trying
to hit, then Brister. On the other hand, if you're looking at good
coverage, then Strom Thurmond can throw better jump balls by far.
Condition here plays a good deal in the decision. It's more about
your confidence in your QB than it is about the QB himself, because
they both blow.

RBs, RBs...Hoge and Williams are "nice". However look even for WR Dwight
Stone, etc. because all these guys are just about as fast as each
other. Derek Hill, Chris Calloway, and Mike Mularkey are the emergency
outs. Just get the fastest one.

WRs, WRs...Lipps is a guy you want out there as often as possible,
but if he gets into good shape and you need a RB, give him the takes.
Try to at least have someone you can throw the ball to without
dropping it.

The only constant on this offense here is TE Eric Green. Where you
throw him, well, it's a **** stew anyway, so just take your pick.
Whatever feels most comfortable for you is what's important, because
whatever difference you might have between pros and cons of the
offensive personnel...unless you are doing outright stupid things, it
doesn't matter. However, even Green can be too slow to make the cut.
Use your discretion.

One might think that this offense, with the crack of 81 BC for every
player, is a force to be reckoned with when pounding away, but really,
the perception that Pittsburgh never fumbles is just fed by the fact
that their offense never gets any drives going and lives on long balls
because the talent here is horrid. You can still give up fumbles on
punt returns for TDs, you aren't invincible by half with this team.


Specialteamswise, Dwight Stone is a beast especially on kick returns.
So is Tim Worley on punt returns. So is just about anybody you throw
back there. But offense comes first, even with Dwight Stone who can
easily score a KR TD, so if these guys need to pull double duty, pull
the strings to make it happen. With great blocking, great coverage,
great returners, a great kicker, and a great FG blocker in Greg Lloyd,
Pittsburgh is the best special teams combination in the game.

Defense...what is there to say? Everyone is very good except the LILB
Hardy Nickerson and the LOLB Bryan Hinkle in the LBs, the D-line is
unimpressive, and the DBs don't catch as well as you might think.
But there is one thing to say about these guys...fumbles. Fumble
fumble fumble is all the other team can do against this defense.
I got at least 20 fumbles one year in a MAN season with this team,
more like 25. Remember, PIT plays the Oilers twice, WAS, etc. That
was impressive. These guys are fast and they swarm the ballcarrier.
Any DB is good for almost anything.
The strongest link of this Steel Curtain, though, is RCB Rod
Woodson. This guy is ridiculous. I have put away games in the first
quarter with Woodson. He has 75 MS, and while he only has 63 INTs,
he plays possessed. If he goes into EXCELLENT he can stop almost
any team singlehandedly. In the AFC Championship Game that year
I held Bo Jackson, yes, that Bo Jackson, to _30_ yards. All I
did was I obliterated any blockers coming my way with Woodson's
69 HP, then smashed into Jackson and took him straight down. Against
a MAN. _30_ yards. In other years he's had 3 INTs and 10 tackles in
a game, etc. An unbelievable player, and if you can get some of
your other guys to help, this defense can be nearly impossible to
score on. I easily pitched a record for shutouts that year with
more than 6 shutouts, and at least 2 more near-shutouts. The
The key is to completely destroy the run in the early stages of
the game and keep an eye on it throughout. With this team
you need to gamble because your personnel can recover, and you
need to try and call as many of the opponent's plays as possible
to get sacks which lead to fumbles, etc. Make the other team throw
into your corners and S Carnell Lake - you can get a couple INTs a
game if you are lucky. You must respect the pass though, you can
easily lose if you get too loose with the pass and you don't get
fumbles when you make the tackle. Be aggressive, because even if
you get thrown, a lot of times your other guys will make the stop
on the MAN ballcarrier for you. Use the best player to stop the
particular formation's runs and then come back into the pass
defense (usually Woodson). You've got the best D in the game, play
like it.

Defensively, just don't do stupid things. There is no one you
should fear on this team. Make them hold the ball by covering short
and make them pay for every first down with 2 or 3 passes. Do not
let these QBs hide their weaknesses by allowing the run, make the
Steelers pass 30 times a game if possible. Don't necessarily try
to tackle them in bounds, just don't let them get any more yards
than they should on a given play. Freeing up the boys can work
here as well, as their guards are weak and it can really help you
get the jump ball accuracy and timing off. Freeing up the boys,
then dropping into short coverage - you can waste the Steelers'
passing game thus.

Offensively, your first priority is to find something that works
against RCB Woodson. Try the pass first in the game to maybe try and
prey on a run-stopping mindset. Be conservative with the QB run;
your guy will fumble if hit enough times in a game, against this powerful
D. Running is going to be a very painful and very difficult process,
but every 6 downs or so, throw out a run to keep your opponent's
focus at least partially on stopping the run. If you start to get
something going then try it once every 4 downs until you become
balanced (good luck...). Against this defense, your best chance is to
keep them off guard playcallingwise, then chip away at them by
getting first downs and running out of bounds to avoid fumbling
or getting guys hurt (something else PIT loves to do to your
One VERY key thing to do is to score when you get into
their territory, even if it's only a field goal. Do not take any
major risks against PIT's D - you need every last point you can get
because a) you don't know if you'll ever get back into their
territory and b) their offense can't score much, so if you can just
steal enough points from their D, in many games even 4 FGs for 12
points will be enough to win it. Furthermore, you shouldn't be
gambling against them anywhere short, because if you turn it over
(i.e. PIT forces yet another fumble) you are just handing the PIT
offense what they need to score TDs and get FGs. Playing the game
of "kick the ball back to the PIT 20 to make their O stall and
then try to penetrate the Steel Curtain again" is the most effective
way to stop Pittsburgh. They want points at all costs and their
best way to get them is from their defense handing them great
field position with turnovers. If you deny that avenue to them, then
they rely on their pathetic jump balls and pure luck to even get
into FG range, let alone the end zone. Win the battle by running out of
bounds and throwing only when you know the guy will still be there
when the ball arrives.
Emphasize Pass Speed over passing competency in order to move the ball
more quickly with easy games of chicken and by making PIT autodive. In
the red zone, focus on getting yards instead of scoring, as Woodson
is easily capable of stopping anything you do in the air, and you must
keep their emphasis on your QB run instead of your receivers (whom they
can totally cover).
Emphasize quick-strike offense over ball-control, as PIT makes a mockery
with their sickening run defense and short-pass containment of any scheme
that forces the players to get seven yards and then hold onto the ball.
You can get in some jump balls now and then if your timing is good, so
if you end up in a long third down, throwing it up to the end zone is
just about as good as anything else outside of field goal range. If your
defense is playing well, your offense's ability to score probably far
outclasses that of Pittsburgh's, so in this situation, keep the game as
up-tempo as possible until you can get a sizeable lead, then sit on it
and make PIT's slow, pathetic players try to play catch-up. The Achilles
heel of this defense is the Steelers' offense, so don't let the Steelers
dictate a pace that allows their team to sneak by with a few lucky scores.

                            Denver Broncos

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall   15
      Offense   14
      Defense   20
      Pass D    23
      Rush D     9

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
John Elway             7  QB  25 69 25 13 75 31 69 50
Gary Kubiak            8  QB  25 69 13 13 44 38 31 38
Bobby Humphrey        26  RB  38 69 63 38 50 38
Steve Sewell          30  RB  38 69 25 25 50 50
Sammy Winder          23  RB  44 69 25 31 50 25
Melvin Bratton        32  RB  44 69 25 44 50 38
Vance Johnson         82  WR  38 69 50 13 50 56
Mark Jackson          80  WR  38 69 44 13 50 69
Ricky Nattiel         84  WR  25 69 25 13 50 44
Michael Young         83  WR  25 69 25 13 50 50
Clarence Kay          88  TE  31 69 31 50 50 44
Paul Green            87  TE  25 69 19 44 50 31
Keith Kartz           72   C  25 69 38 44
Jim Juriga            66   G  25 69 38 44
Doug Widell           67   G  69 31 44 44
Darryl Hamilton       69   T  25 69 25 56
Ken Lanier            76   T  25 69 25 50
David Treadwell        9   K  56 81 81 31 69 31
Mike Horan             2   P  25 56 44 31 81 75
Ron Holmes            91  DE  25 31 38 44 19 31
Greg Kragen           71  NT  25 31 31 44 19 31
Warren Powers         91  DE  25 31 38 50 19 31
Karl Mecklenburg      77  LB  31 44 50 56 19 63
Michael Brooks        56  LB  25 38 44 56 19 56
Marc Munford          51  LB  25 31 38 31 19 38
Simon Fletcher        56  LB  38 50 56 38 19 69
Wymon Henderson       24  CB  25 31 19 38 38 31
Tyrone Braxton        34  CB  25 31 44 44 50 31
Steve Atwater         27  FS  31 38 50 69 31 63
Dennis Smith          49  SS  38 44 56 50 44 63

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Cin.   7. BYE   13. Sea.
 2. Rai.   8. K.C.  14. N.E.
 3. Sea.   9. N.E.  15. Cle.
 4. S.D.  10. Pit.  16. Phx.
 5. Min.  11. Rai.  17. S.D.
 6. Hou.  12. K.C.

Denver's Base Offense
QB John Elway
RB Bobby Humphrey
FB Clarence Kay
WR Mark Jackson
WR Vance Johnson
TE Melvin Bratton

The Broncos look better on paper than they do as a playoff team.
They have some stars, but they come up woefully short in the depth
and in forcing turnovers on defense. You must manage your offense
and have good defensive playcalling in order to win with this team.

Elway, though he may be a Hall of Famer, is not good in this game.
He is pretty inaccurate for his ratings and he misses open guys.
Plus his team can't catch all that well, so you will see some drops
from your RBs. Kubiak can really blow, try to avoid him if you can.
One good thing about Elway is he has 25 MS, so run the cartilage
out of him and emphasize getting short receivers open with hands - this
way, you can stretch the opposite side of the field before taking
off and picking up a few yards.
In the passing game you have two good WRs so take advantage of them.
You must stretch the field to give Elway room to run, so I suggest
using both of them deep usually, and try to match up Johnson against
the slower CB while Jackson takes the one with lesser hands. One
thing you can also do with this team is that, if you want short
passing, put Kay out at WR (or maybe even Sewell) and have Johnson
run a short route, get the ball to him, and run after the catch,
since Johnson is one of the faster receivers in this game.
You can't force it into Mark Jackson too well, but you may be able to
get something going there. Try not to dump it when you can run
because of the drops you will get with this team.
Don't forget about Paul Green, he may be able to give you a little
more offense if he is in good condition. Techniquewise, this is one
of the QBs you most want to use the dupe and switch passes with
because you have enough Pass Speed to get the ball to the other guy
before the defense can recover.

I think I will let Paul describe this team's running game:
"Humphrey is a better back than anyone gives him credit for...
The other three running backs are bumbling morons who can't outrun
Elway, so don't even try to involve any of them in the ground game."
That about says it all. If you need to run, use one of your WRs at
RB should Humphrey go down. Otherwise use Melvin Bratton for his
HP and REC vs. Sewell or Winder, if you can't use a WR at RB. I wish
you luck if you lose Humphrey. Preserve him and pass first to keep
Humphrey on the field. Go out of bounds, he is that important to
this offense, especially if you don't play WR at RB. I wouldn't
even run Thurman out of bounds, but Humphrey MUST be healthy for you
to succeed running the football. Try not to use him in the passing
game, he can drop and you want to limit his touches even though he
isn't that bad of a receiver. Clarence Kay is another option if
Humphrey goes down. Try to use Humphrey's speed on the perimeter
because this offensive line is just no good.

Special teams...not too good. Treadwell is OK and Horan is pretty
good, but you have to watch out for returning. Basically put
whomever is not your starter and also who is in the best condition
back there; this team has no special returning talent except for
Vance Johnson, but he's too valuable to this offense.

Defensively these guys can stop the run, but the pass is another
issue. Wymon Henderson is a waste of jersey, and your DBs don't
have high INTs. Expect teams to pass first against you, trying to
get you to use SS Dennis Smith and LCB Tyrone Braxton to stop the
pass, then running against those personnel. LOLB Simon Fletcher will
also get caught up in those sweeps down low. You may have to use ROLB
Karl Mecklenburg more than you would, and sometimes LILB Michael Brooks
may be the best LB option. Your line sucks, don't expect anything from
them in the way of pass rush. Try to use Michael Brooks more than
Mecklenburg, because Mecklenburg may be able to generate a pass rush
when CPU controlled. Steve Atwater is your main run-stopper in the
secondary, but he can't catch at all so he's little better than
a LB (albeit a very good LB).
To stop the opposing offense, call pass first, then try and use
your run-stopping personnel to throw them down. Then try and flow
with what your opponent wants to do. Playcalling needs to be able to
generate some called pass plays and to keep the running yards to maybe
3 a carry, so you have to focus in on that aspect of the game, since
the basic strategy is usually "choose Atwater, pray vs. the pass"
anyway. Try to change up your run-stoppers to keep your opponent from
trying to run at one of your guys, since you have 4 guys who can get
it done provided you have a decent thumb. One of those guys is Dennis
Smith, so try and do some work about gambling and using him at
unpredictable intervals, so that you can cheat and get some pass plays
with Smith as well as using him to stop the run.

This team can be neutralized if you know what you are doing. The first
thing you must remember is that Elway doesn't have deep ball accuracy.
If he rolls out one way you can leave a guy open deep on the other side
of the field because he won't be able to hit him with any consistency.
The next key is to stop Humphrey so you can try and find a rhythm against
Elway's running on passing downs. Use a powerful run stopper to smash
against any WRs that come to block, and see early in the game on a
play that you know you will be able to make the stop on, to see if you
can throw their 5th man, whether it is Sewell, Winder, etc. NOT Bratton.
Sometimes you can't tell from their condition and yours whether or
not you can throw them, so test them early, it can really help you
clear away a path to Humphrey. Watch out for Paul Green, he can block
as well as Bratton, so don't be fooled into thinking he can't hurt you
at all.
Once you have Humphrey under control and you know what they can do in
the running game, then start to work Elway. You want to call as many
passes as possible against Elway to give yourself coverage deep so that
he can't get any deep balls, since he can't throw the jumper. Then
take one of your pass defenders and cover him short. If he looks to
run, fake at him and see if you can't make him throw hastily. If you
can get matched up against his short receivers you've got a pretty
decent chance for a pick. If you can force him to make a lot of close
decisions, then you are well on the way to beating this team. They will
drop it short in many cases so you can get stops just off that. If you
get some defensive stops, don't get complacent about Humphrey, he is
a major threat.
Also don't be lazy when covering short; Mark Jackson can catch some
balls in coverage, so you need to try and get over there after the
pass comes off just in case. In that regard, don't let Elway
sit back there and try for the deep ball either, go for Jackson if
Elway drops deep or go for Elway if he drops short. Just don't try for
the sack or pressure too often because it gets easy to exploit that
tactic. However you need to stay loose because even if you are
covering the receiver on Elway's side, his speed can still hurt you in
a short yardage situation.
One major key to pressuring Elway and forcing a lot of tackles in
bounds is to free up your boys. All their interior linemen have 44 HP,
so you can really clean up on them if your team is powerful. If you
can get 3 guys out there rushing Elway...happy hunting.

Offensively, the key is to make Wymon Henderson and Steve Atwater cry.
Get your deep threat on that side and throw it up all day long. You
don't have much to fear from this team picking you off, so if you go
to that side you can maim them easily. Runningwise, if they start
changing players a lot, remember to just go with your strengths. They
will eventually guess wrong and that's when you will hurt them. But
your running game mustn't dominate your playcalling even if you have
a great back, you need to let it fly against this secondary a few
times a drive, especially early on when you are trying to get down
the field and you can score big on jump balls. Be unpredictable with
run vs. pass to force the MAN back into pass coverage and to give you
more opportunities for big plays, since this defense can sometimes
stop you if they can keep you from passing the ball.

                          Kansas City Chiefs

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall    5
      Offense   12
      Defense    5
      Pass D     6
      Rush D     4

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Steve De Berg         17  QB  25 69  6 13 50 63 56 56
Mike Elkins           10  QB  25 69 13 13 44 38 31 38
Christian Okoye       34  RB  63 75 50 94 50 19
Barry Word            23  RB  50 69 31 75 50 19
Todd McNair           48  RB  38 69 38 25 50 44
Bill Jones            43  RB  38 69 25 38 50 38
Robb Thomas           81  WR  25 69 25 13 50 50
Stephone Paige        83  WR  38 69 50 13 50 75
J.J.Birden            88  WR  31 69 38 13 50 44
Emile Harry           86  WR  25 69 25 13 50 50
Alfredo Roberts       87  TE  25 69 19 50 50 31
Jonathan Hayes        85  TE  25 69 19 50 50 31
Mike Webster          53   C  25 69 38 69
David Szott           79   G  25 69 38 50
David Lutz            72   G  25 69 25 56
John Alt              76   T  25 69 19 81
Rich Baldinger        77   T  25 69 25 69
Nick Lowery            8   K  56 81 81 31 81 81
Bryan Barker           4   P  25 56 44 31 31 63
Bill Maas             63  DE  25 38 44 44 19 44
Dan Saleaumua         97  NT  38 31 25 56 19 56
Neil Smith            90  DE  31 44 50 63 19 56
Derrick Thomas        58  LB  44 56 63 69 19 81
Dino Hackett          56  LB  31 44 50 63 19 56
Percy Snow            59  LB  38 50 56 56 31 50
Chris Martin          57  LB  25 38 44 50 19 44
Kevin Ross            31  CB  31 38 50 44 56 44
Albert Lewis          29  CB  31 38 50 56 50 69
Deron Cherry          20  FS  25 31 44 38 50 50
Kevin Porter          27  SS  25 31 44 38 38 38

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Atl.   7. Mia.  13. Cle.
 2. N.O.   8. Den.  14. Sea.
 3. Hou.   9. Rai.  15. S.D.
 4. Sea.  10. BYE   16. S.F.
 5. S.D.  11. Rams  17. Rai.
 6. Buf.  12. Den.

Kansas City's Base Offense
QB Steve DeBerg
Featured Back Christian Okoye
RB Todd McNair
Go-To WR Stephone Paige
2nd Option J.J. Birden
TE Barry Word

Kansas City's 2 Minute Offense
QB Steve DeBerg
RB Christian Okoye
RB Todd McNair
WR Stephone Paige
WR J.J. Birden
WR Robb Thomas

Kansas City's Power Set
QB Steve DeBerg
RB Christian Okoye
FB Barry Word
WR Stephone Paige
TE Jonathan Hayes
TE Alfredo Roberts

Kansas City is a team that you look at it, and you say, "Where's the
beef?" But when you go against them, you find it's difficult to stop
their offensive attack, and their defense can be a brick wall at times.
While their offense isn't terrible, their defense is what carries this
squad to the playoffs.

QB Steve DeBerg is slow but he can distribute the ball very well. Don't
count on him to make any big plays, however, with his arm alone; he
doesn't have the receiving talent to force the ball into coverage. He
can however do very well if you only ask him to throw to open receivers
because he's got that kind of an arm. Thus the running game must set
up the pass. And no, Mike Elkins is not the answer despite being an
OK backup. DeBerg throws to Stephone Paige who is one of the best
in the AFC. Paige needs to see the ball a few times a game to put fear
in the MAN's heart. J.J. Birden has a little speed but he is not a
big-play threat, he's only there to stretch the defense. WR Robb Thomas,
he is so slow and you wonder if anyone ever uses him, and the answer
is "Yes". Robb Zombie seems to play above his stats so sometimes you
will see people putting him out there. After that's it's pretty iffy.
Alfredo Roberts and Jonathan Hayes are snot running down the wall when
it comes to making plays, and while Todd McNair has some skills, he is
nowhere near All-Pro. Again, throwing to open receivers is the key here.
Okoye and Word may be available but they can drop the ball, so limit
their touches in the passing game.

The running game is where the Chiefs earn their checks. This offensive
line has some of the best guys in the game to start it up, professional
boogers Roberts and Hayes are actually decent blockers, and powerful
Barry Word will blast open a lot of holes over the course of 20 carries.
And those 20 carries will be going to one and only one man: Christian
Okoye, the Nigerian Nightmare. Knee injuries ended his career, but he
still has the makings of the league-leading rusher in this game. With
50 MS, he can take the corner, but what really makes this player a force
on the field is his astounding 94 HP. Furthermore his 63 RS and 75 RP
mean that when he gets the ball he is already at full speed. In short
yardage, the defense can't count on stopping him via simple confrontation
to throw him down. For the Chiefs to succeed, Okoye must be getting 5 yards
a carry. Even though this team doesn't have much depth, Okoye needs to
carry 15 times a game if possible, because he sets up the passing game
and forces the defense into stopping him, which means that now DeBerg
can get the ball to Paige or McNair coming out of the backfield.
If a total disaster should come about and Okoye goes down (and he
will go down at least once in 16 games) you must watch conditions. If
Word is in EXCELLENT he is your man. However Todd McNair may be the best
option as well. If you are in a pinch, you can sacrifice Paige on the
altar of a running game, but know that your opponent will have nothing
to fear from your deep pass. If Paige is not an option, Birden may be
your man. If all else fails, just go with the best condition player
of the remaining chumps. Of course, if all the aforementioned players
are not going to cut it at RB, then you have major problems in any
case. And if you can only use RB at RB, then good luck to you if Word
and McNair aren't up to it. One tip to remember if Okoye goes into
BAD: if you go to Word, say (if he's in EXCELLENT for example), then
put Okoye in a position to blow up defenders because you can't leave
that incredible HP out of your offense, not to mention his speed.
In any event, make sure to return to the passing game even if Okoye
is running well. You want to try and not kill Okoye if you can avoid
it, and DeBerg is a nice distraction to the defense, to give them
something else to think about to keep the fire off Okoye, because
Okoye (and indeed, no back in this game) is good enough to do it alone.
Also, make sure to run out of bounds to avoid injuring Okoye and to
prevent fumbles which can really kill this team, for reasons stated

The Chiefs' special teams are actually something to remark about. K
Nick Lowery is the best kicker in the game, and he can put it through
the uprights consistently from 70 yards out. Yes, you read that
correctly. You only want to throw to open receivers because even if
you can only make it to the 45, Lowery will bail you out. You just
need a few first downs to score 3 points. Use his range, give your
opponent something to think about when he is defending your 1st down
from your 30. Derrick Thomas is the second-best FG blocker in this
game, he can do sick things.

Defensively, the Chiefs can really take it to you, as they have one of
the best front seven units in the game. Their line isn't that good
although LE Neil Smith is a pretty good player, but their LBs are some
evil fellas. ROLB Derrick Thomas will make your opponent throw
controllers because he is so fierce in run defense if played by an
aggressive MAN, and his friends are almost as bad. RILB Dino Hackett
is a pretty good run stopper and LILB Percy Snow can do a little bit
of everything. Derrick in particular, he plays possessed, but even
LOLB Chris Martin can make some plays. On many downs you want to be
Derrick just because he is such a playmaker, but many times you may want
to use Snow because he has 31 Interceptions. Check which LT Derrick is
up against and if he can blow him up, let the CPU control him while you
cover with Snow. But if you need some possessed run defense or just some
all-around beatings to be handed out, stick with Thomas.
And indeed, covering with Snow will be helpful. While your corners
are pretty decent, your safeties aren't good at all. You need to be
able to stop the run with your front 9 because your safeties are of
not of much use in that regard, or in pass defense. Be wary of using
run plays because if those corners pull up, you can be toasted very
easily with the deep ball. If you have your corners back there, though,
you can be very aggressive. Stopping the run with these LBs should be
pretty easy and containing it almost a no-brainer, so don't let the
opposing quarterback get some easy shots on you while you are pounding
the opposing running game senseless.

Against their offense, know that they only have two weapons: Christian
and Stephone. Shut these two down and you have taken all the explosion
out of this team. Stopping Paige is easy, just drop and cover him,
DeBerg is not known for jump balls. However, stopping Christian and
the short pass is more interesting. Really, what you have to do is to
get some decent play calls going and let Okoye outrun his blocking on
longer 3rd downs. You have to kind of hand a few yards to Okoye,
especially if you don't have a strong thumb. If you can stop the short
pass and get some pass plays called against the Chiefs, you are going to
do well against these guys. With Okoye also, you want to force him back
into the middle of the field where your LBs can get back into the
play. If you just let Okoye run along the sideline, he will be able to
take on your corners and you will usually lose that battle, plus he
can break out more easily without a ton of strong LBs to go through.
His key weapon is his ability to punch through the weak parts of your
defense so emphasize in your playcalling, that you take away the
plays that go against your weaker personnel and make him go through
the strongest parts of your defense. Another key to Okoye is to make
sure and tackle him. He's just a typical 50 BC back, and with the
reliance that this team has on his running, you can expect to be
able to make him fumble at least once a game. Plus, if you can tackle
him, you may be able to injure him and that will put 3 flat tires
in this offense. If you let him beat your guys, get 5 yards, then go
right out of bounds, it's going to be all day.
Also remember that DeBerg is slow, so if you need a key stop, you may
be able to blitz him or NTD him and take away his deep ball.

On your own offense, don't rely on your line to keep things sane. They
have players who can make your life ugly in a few seconds, so try to
make your plays direct and to the point, especially when it comes to
avoiding their great LBs, one of whom is the ferocious Derrick Thomas.
Try to run at Thomas as much as possible because he can do a lot of
ugly things to you in a very short time. Also emphasize the pass
because their safeties are weak. Try to get one of your WRs matched
up against a single safety and throw the ball to him. Watch out for
Percy Snow, because he can make you pay if you carelessly check down,
seeing that the corners have left the screen.
Know that their LBs are the key to their run defense and that if you
work the power run, or pass frequently, you can cause them major pain
and grief with big plays. This team can be very solid, even
dominating, if you play conservatively, but if you let it loose then
they can have some problems containing you.
One thing that is worth mentioning about this team is the fact that
Derrick Thomas can block your FG extremely quickly. You definitely want
to set up quickly and try to get the ball into the middle of the
field if you are looking for a game-winner, because Thomas will block
you twice a game if you aren't getting the kick off swiftly.

                        Los Angeles Raiders

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall    4
      Offense    4
      Defense    6
      Pass D     8
      Rush D     5

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Jay Schroeder         13  QB  25 69 13 13 69 31 44 63
Steve Beuerlein        7  QB  25 69 13 13 44 38 31 38
Bo Jackson            34  RB  38 69 75 31 81 19
Marcus Allen          32  RB  38 69 56 25 50 31
Steve Smith           35  RB  44 69 25 50 50 31
Greg Bell             28  RB  44 69 31 38 50 19
Mervyn Fernandez      86  WR  38 69 50 13 63 63
Willie Gault          83  WR  44 69 63 13 50 56
Tim Brown             81  WR  44 69 56 13 50 50
Sam Graddy            85  WR  44 69 63 13 50 19
Ethan Horton          88  TE  25 69 44 50 50 44
Mike Dyal             84  TE  25 69 19 38 50 25
Don Mosebar           72   C  25 69 31 50
Steve Wisniewski      76   G  25 69 44 69
Max Montoya           65   G  25 69 31 56
Bruce Wilkerson       68   T  25 69 50 50
Rory Graves           60   T  25 69 25 50
Jeff Jaeger           18   K  56 81 81 31 56 56
Jeff Gossett           6   P  25 56 44 31 31 38
Greg Townsend         93  DE  38 50 56 63 31 69
Bob Golic             79  NT  25 31 31 69 25 56
Howie Long            75  DE  38 50 56 69 31 69
Aaron Wallace         51  LB  25 38 44 38 19 25
Scott Davis           70  LB  25 68 44 63 25 63
Riki Ellison          50  LB  25 31 38 38 44 25
Jerry Robinson        57  LB  25 31 38 38 44 25
L.Washington          48  CB  38 44 56 44 38 50
Terry McDaniel        36  CB  38 44 56 44 38 50
Eddie Anderson        33  FS  38 50 63 69 50 63
Mike Harden           45  SS  25 31 44 50 50 50

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Hou.   7. Sea.  13. Cin.
 2. Den.   8. Rams  14. S.D.
 3. Ind.   9. K.C.  15. Buf.
 4. Atl.  10. BYE   16. N.O.
 5. S.F.  11. Den.  17. K.C.
 6. S.D.  12. Sea.

Raiders' Base Offense
QB Jay Schroeder
RB Bo Jackson
RB Marcus Allen
WR Willie Gault
WR Mervyn Fernandez
TE Ethan Horton

Raiders' Open Set
QB Jay Schroeder
RB Bo Jackson
RB Marcus Allen
WR Willie Gault
WR Mervyn Fernandez
WR Tim Brown

Raiders' Power Set
QB Jay Schroeder
RB Bo Jackson
FB Ethan Horton
WR Willie Gault
Physical Specimen Marcus Allen
TE Steve Smith

The Raiders are a team, the depth of which makes you just shudder and
ask why none of this was distributed across teams like Green Bay or
Pittsburgh. Al Davis was notorious around this time for bringing in
pure speed and he sure got what he asked for, at least in this video
game. These guys are too fast on offense, and on defense, this team
can certainly bring it as well.

QB Jay Schroeder is what keeps this team from being totally unstoppable.
He has good Pass Speed but nothing else to back it up. Beuerlein isn't
any better in that regard. Use Schroeder's PS to beat the defense deep
with the speed of your WRs, and fake the bootleg to throw shorter
passes. The ability of this team to stretch the field is almost beyond
comprehension or rival, and that will open up a lot of QB running room.
If they try to play you short, throw it over their heads. Send your WRs
deep on every passing down, no sense in wasting this speed running
curls. You can get anything short you want when you know the MAN has
to be 30 yards downfield almost every time. As far as whom you actually
throw to, well you have your choice! I like Willie Gault as the WR #1
because that way he will streak on a ton of plays, and having Fernandez
as the second gives you a lot of flexibility when it comes to just
being able to force a bad matchup. Tim Brown is faster than Fernandez
but not as good otherwise.
One thing I think is very important with this team is to use as many
high Receptions players as possible because Schroeder will cause some
drops. You can see if you try throwing even to Allen, where Jay will
just screw it up. Be patient and let things develop, you've got a pretty
decent offensive line. Ethan Horton is a good target too, so don't forget
about him, especially in short yardage where he can bull his way up for
a few extra yards.
One other thing to note: while Sam Graddy is a WR, he cannot catch at
all, so don't use him to catch passes. If you want to stretch the field
with him though, that's OK.

There is a temptation there, with the defense almost always stacking
against Jackso and Allen, to want to throw the ball more than 50% of the
time in order to get massive plays, or to try and extend the running game
over into the passing game by running Schroeder and throwing "safe"
dumpoffs. DO NOT DO THIS. Schroeder IS NOT CAPABLE of performing these
tasks on a consistent basis. He is only in there so that the MAN must be
honest about his playcalls, as opposed to Beuerlein, who isn't going to
win any chicken games short, nor will he deliver the ball over the top
before the defender can recover with the superhuman speed given to the
pursuer after the ball is thrown. Schroeder's PS doesn't help any with
his brainfarts and his alarming tendency to throw picks - Schroeder is a
triple edged sword: one against the MAN, two against you. Furthermore,
with Schroeder's slow speed and the high number of set runs on which you
will get stuffed, the conservative approach often ends with you falling
behind the chains due to insufficient yards-per-snap.
The thing you MUST avoid with the Raiders is to fall into 3rd and more
than 5, because on those downs, you are relying on either

a) the ability of your running game to pick up the 1st with more than 5
yards per carry on a consistent basis
b) the ability of your passing game to stretch the field and produce
open receivers who can stretch past the marker
c) picking up less than 5 yards on 3rd down, then going for it on 4th down
and getting positive yardage

a) doesn't apply for any team, c) is extremely risky for any team, and
b) doesn't work because Schroeder has such a low completion percentage.
Schroeder's strength is the big play, not the move-the-chains play. If you
force him to move the chains, he will sputter and bring down your offensive
momentum. He throws too many wild passes and too many interceptions to be
a featured component. He can go one or two possessions maybe without incident,
but he always returns to his old ways. This is because sooner or later, he
has a bad play on 1st or 2nd down, then the Raiders run and get stuffed, and
now 3rd and long is looming, and the Raiders, for what their offense is worth,
have more trouble with 3rd and long than any team with even a hint of this
kind of firepower. Jackso is the most reliable back in the game; don't let
him go to waste trying to be cute with pass playcalling. Found your offense
on the constant pressure of Jackso and Allen and let Schroeder be the pinnacle,
not the basis, of your success.

Well, I talked a little bit about speed. Bonus for you! You get to hear
me prattle on more about speed! This time though, it's about Bo Jackson
("Jackso"), the best pure running back in the game. Jackso does not
have ordinary speed. Jackso is a little slow to start, but when he's
going, there are about 10, maybe 15 defenders, in this entire game who
can stop him alone. You can cut back with Jackso. You can reverse your
entire field and break out with Jackso, if there's no room to run where
the play was originally intended to go. However, you cannot catch
passes with Jackso, that is his one weakness. Jackso is, amazingly, a
player you can and should abuse, because if he goes down - pity! - you
just put in his friend Marcus Allen to get the takes. If you allow
WR at RB, you can also go for Sam Graddy, especially if Graddy gets up
into EXCELLENT or something equally horrifying for your opponent.
Not to mention all the fast WRs you could also substitute (Willie Gault
in EXCELLENT comes to mind as a beastly thing). However if Marcus goes
in alone, then don't push it too much with the running game, because
after that, you're out of running backs (if you don't allow WR at RB).
Your blocking however may be suspect. The people who can really block
for you are Horton, Steve Smith, and to a limited extent Greg Bell.
Just use Smith and Horton for power and get more speed out of whatever
slot you would have put Bell in.

On special teams, Tim Brown is your best bet. I have always been fond
of Greg Bell but he may not have any skills whatsoever. Jaeger is OK
as a kicker but Gossett needs some serious coaching. Bo Jackson can
make devastating plays to tackle the punt returner almost instantly,
so try and free him up if possible, because he will smack straight
into the guy if Bo is in EXCELLENT.

On defense, you are to hold the fort until the devastating line moves
through to the quarterback. By "moves", I mean "evaporates". This
defensive line is the best in the game and they can break through
almost any interior offensive line within a few seconds. Your job is
to get the QB into trouble by holding him from throwing to his short
receivers and forcing long bombs which will be less successful at
creating sustained drives. That's pretty much the passing D in a
nutshell. To execute it, FS Eddie Anderson never hurt anyone...on your
own team, that is. SS Mike Harden is just not as good and you are not
going to cover anyone with those lower linebackers. You should try
and double-cover on the deep ball though, because while you have some
speed at CB, you don't have very good hands there, or even in
Anderson himself, so prudence is best there. If you are really good,
you may even be able to get those lower linebackers to come out
into coverage with a particular pass play call, and that would be
very nice for you, since this team has two of the better Interceptions
linebackers in the game in LILB Riki Ellison and LOLB Jerry Robinson.
However Jerry Robinson is a rush LB (since he plays LOLB), so you might
try freeing up him in the beginning of the play with someone like LE
Howie Long and then running back to cover. However this doesn't work
so well, because now you're stuck with Howie, who is not anywhere near
the pass defender that Eddie Anderson is. (In EXCELLENT, though, he
and Greg Townsend are fearsome all-around defenders.)
In the running game, you need to try to push the play back inside
because your LBs will have problems pursuing the play, being so slow.
However, Eddie Anderson is a Top 5 safety in this game, so if you can
beat it down with him, hey, that's what 69 Hitting Power is for. RILB
Scott Davis may be of some mild use to you in stopping the run as well
(ironically, a DL in real life), but don't ask many favors of him. If you
can hold up the progress of the running play, you may also be able to get
your defensive linemen in on the fun. Your corners are pretty solid
against the run as is Mike Harden. You shouldn't have much difficulty
against the run with this team.

Defensively, the key is to make Schroeder make plays. This means
not allowing him to throw wide-open deep bombs and forcing him into
his RBs who will drop the ball. Also, you want to call some of his
plays and make him take sacks, because Schroeder is not capable of
completing in coverage.
However, the real problem here is Jackso. Don't expect to completely
shut him down, just make them run it twice and throw a pass to get
a first down. With Jackso you want to contain and then get a bead on
their playcalling strategy, focusing on passes. You are NEVER immune
to a Jackso run, though. He can pick up 3rd and 20 easily if you are
goofing off. Jackso is not the key to stopping this offense, but he is
what makes it go, so you can't let him run wild. If your opponent
tries to abuse him, make him pay, but otherwise, you need to break
the weakest links and those are the drops and the sacks in the passing
game. You aren't trying to hold this team to no yards, you are trying
to stop them on 3 straight downs. Find out which plays Jackso runs
that you can stop - don't call those plays. Find out which plays
Jackso runs that you can't stop - call those sometimes. Find out
which plays Schroeder is running well - destroy those.
Also, don't be fooled by deep receivers going way deep. Even though
Schroeder has PS, he can't throw a jump ball with any consistency, so
don't worry about humping the receivers, you just need to get there
whenever the ball arrives. You can pick him off too, so that's another
reason to call passes - then you can cover short and flush him out
or get him to throw an ill-advised short pass.

On offense, avoid FS Eddie Anderson. Also, avoid your offensive line, and
know that if you want to play chicken you better do it quick, because
that defensive line is going to eat your guys up. Other than that, you
are kind of free to do what you want. Their DBs aren't great at
catching, so you can throw it up at them, and you should definitely
try the outside sweep (like Pitch L Open) to attack Anderson and take
him away. Just don't run through the middle, you will be eaten alive
by their defensive line. Also, don't get stupid about throwing it
short, they do have some Interceptions LBs you have to be careful
about and that can get you in trouble very quickly. Keep changing it
up and keep making Eddie Anderson make plays and you should be able
to score with _some_ regularity against this defense.

                          San Diego Chargers

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall   10
      Offense   11
      Defense   10
      Pass D    12
      Rush D    10

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
B.J.[Billy Joe]
   Tolliver           11  QB  25 69 13 13 81 31 31 44
Mark Vlasic           13  QB  25 69 13 13 44 38 25 38
Marion Butts          35  RB  38 69 63 38 50 25
Rod Bernstine         82  RB  44 69 25 44 50 19
Joe Caravello         46  RB  38 69 25 44 50 25
Ronnie Harmon         33  RB  38 69 31 25 50 50
Quinn Early           87  WR  31 69 31 13 50 44
Anthony Miller        83  WR  38 69 44 13 50 69
Nate Lewis            81  WR  25 69 25 13 50 44
Wayne Walker          80  WR  31 69 31 13 50 44
Derrick Walker        89  TE  25 69 31 50 50 38
Arthur Cox            88  TE  25 69 19 63 50 31
Frank Cornish         63   C  25 69 31 56
Courtney Hall         53   G  25 69 38 50
David Richards        65   G  25 69 25 69
Joel Patten           78   T  25 69 25 63
B.[Broderick]Thompson 76   T  25 69 25 56
John Carney            3   K  56 81 81 31 75 50
John Kidd             10   P  25 56 44 31 69 56
Burt Grossman         92  DE  31 44 50 50 19 69
Les Miller            69  NT  25 38 44 56 19 44
Lee Williams          99  DE  31 44 50 56 19 56
Leslie O.Neal
   [O'Neal]           91  LB  31 50 56 63 19 69
Junior Seau           55  LB  25 31 38 44 19 38
Gary Plummer          50  LB  25 38 44 69 19 44
Henry Rolling         57  LB  25 31 38 38 31 50
Sam Seale             30  CB  38 44 56 38 50 44
Gill Byrd             22  CB  38 50 63 50 69 75
Vencie Glenn          25  FS  31 38 50 44 44 44
Martin Bayless        44  SS  25 31 44 56 44 44

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Pit.   7. Rams  13. Jets
 2. S.F.   8. Cle.  14. Rai.
 3. Atl.   9. Sea.  15. K.C.
 4. Den.  10. BYE   16. Mia.
 5. K.C.  11. Sea.  17. Den.
 6. Rai.  12. N.O.

Chargers' Base Offense
QB Billy Joe Tolliver
Featured Back Marion Butts
Physical WR Ronnie Harmon
Go-To WR Anthony Miller
Pass-Catching TE Derrick Walker
Blocking TE Arthur Cox

Chargers' All-Out Muscle Offense
QB Billy Joe Tolliver
Featured Back Marion Butts
FB Joe Caravello
Pass-Catching TE Derrick Walker
TE Arthur Cox
TE Rod Bernstine

Chargers' Hands Set
QB Billy Joe Tolliver
RB Marion Butts
Physical WR Ronnie Harmon
Primary WR Anthony Miller
Last Read WR Wayne Walker
Big-Play TE Derrick Walker

The Chargers might be 3 years away from the Super Bowl...but they are
3 years away from the Super Bowl. This team has some talent, especially
defensively, but they have a lot of needs as well. Pretty much a mixed
bag with this squad, the names of which make me wonder what in the
world Bobby Beathard was thinking when he put this team together.

QB Billy Joe Tolliver...I'll remind you that his first two initials are
'B' and 'J' and leave it at that. One thing he does have though is the
highest Pass Speed in the game (T-1 w/Dan Marino) so you can play
chicken with him like nobody's business. He's just an average Tecmo
QB running though, so you can't slash your opponent's throat just with
that. Be careful about throwing over defenders with him and make sure
you have a clear lane to your guy, because Tolliver is VERY vulnerable
to jumping interceptions. One might wonder about Mark Vlasic, and I
will say that he is a better in-coverage QB, but Vlasic has so much
of a disadvantage compared to BJ when it comes to the Pass Speed that
it usually isn't worth it to put him in, because it can really
disrupt your offensive rhythm with the two different styles of play
that you end up using by switching them around. However if Pickle-Boy
is in EXCELLENT and Blow Fish Tolliver is in BAD, you can give the
pickle a little tickle (I assure you, it will be cleaner from this
point onwards). If Tolliver goes into EXCELLENT though, he can really
fire some balls and make life very difficult for an opposing offense.
The key to using him then is to find the open receiver and just
throw the ball to him once you know the MAN is out of range, and
believe me, in EXCELLENT, almost any defender is out of range against
Tolliver's short pass once they leave the screen.
Now about the receivers...I will say that Billy Joe's initials are...
the same as the receiving talent: a lot of anticipation and a few
seconds of glory. The glory in this case is Anthony Miller who has
some skills in this game (some say that he is way underrated).
Anyhow, Miller is your fastest WR, so he should be your #1 in this
offense by default. None of these QBs can force balls into him.
The anticipation is a deep but not stellar supporting cast (obviously,
as otherwise Miller wouldn't be the show). Ronnie Harmon is listed
as a RB but he is your man; he thankfully also has a little HP (25)
so he is not a _total_ pushover, but a top run stopper won't have
any problems wiping the floor with him. What you do with the rest is
a matter of how much power you want in your running game, and what
the conditions are. Thus I won't spend any more time here, other than
to say that Derrick Walker should be on the field at all times, both
for his HP and his REC ability. This guy is a big-play TE, believe
it or not, and in EXCELLENT he can really hurt you underneath, doing
things like throwing 5 defenders off and running for 20 more yards.

In the running game, Marion Butts is the cast, crew, and lighting
apparatus, but the offensive line and the power blockers are the
stage on which this team's offense is played. 63 MS and 38 HP make
Butts a force to be reckoned with, and he gets some serious help on
every down from this dominating offensive line in front. I
would very strongly recommend taking a position that is not featured
in your passing offense (like TE is in mine) and putting Arthur Cox
in there, because Cox (does it stop?) is a force in the blocking game.
If you can get him matched up against a weaker defender he may be
able to throw them after a brief struggle. However your offensive
rhythm and keeping the threat of the pass is more important than
blocking so if you've got some receivers itching to go, by all means
use them instead. If Butts goes down, Miller may play, but do not
forget about Derrick Walker - check his condition first, for since anybody
you use will be slow anyway, you can at least get some power out of
Derrick. If you are in desperate straits, go to your WRs Wayne Walker
and Quinn Early, and if you really are in deep (or you play only RB at
RB), go to Harmon, then your choice of Joe Caravello or Rod Bernstine.
Just pray it doesn't get that far.
Whether you want to protect Butts by limiting his number of touches
or not is an interesting issue. This team is one of the absolute
worst teams as far as its backup running options, and I think you have to
protect Butts to a certain extent, especially since he only has 50 BC
and he can cough it up if he gets a lot of touches, plus you don't
want to test his 25 REC much. However, know that he is your true
big-play threat, so you can't leave him out in crunch time, and if you
have to push for the first down or the big run, give him the ball and
let him work. If Butts doesn't get the ball 15 times a game, you are
going to have major problems pulling out wins against competition,
especially since you will be letting this great offensive line go to
As far as blocking is concerned, you will typically have as many power
players (Derrick, Ronnie, Cox) as your offense will permit already in
there, so your real need for extra power comes when Butts goes down,
and for that, you want to put in any of those first three in first,
then go to Caravello and Bernstine if you don't need to throw passes
to those positions. However, one certainly wonders what in the world
kind of runner you are if you don't even need 2 or 3 positions in the
passing game; use your discretion.

On special teams, Carney and Kidd definitely have skills, so again,
don't do stupid things with Tolliver. Leslie O'Neal is also a pretty
good FG blocker, so make use of him. On returns Wayne Walker can get
the call in PRs, but KRs and depth is iffy usually. Bernstine and
Caravello are just about as good as anyone in that department, so you
don't need to fret about it too much. Just don't use starters on the
returns because this team is shallow as it is.

Defensively, the Chargers have some firepower they can use to cripple
the opposing offense, but they have some weaknesses that can bring them
down if you aren't careful. The line here is pretty nice, you are not
going to find so many better lines - not a premier nose tackle here, but
the ends are definitely sufficient. The linebackers are also nice, you
have ROLB Leslie O'Neal who can do everything (but intercept), and LILB
Gary Plummer is a very good run-stopper at the right times. You can do
a tad of coverage with Henry Rolling but he is too slow and too vulnerable
at LOLB for general use, I would avoid him. Certainly avoid RILB Junior
Seau, hard as it may be to choke down, he is a pretty crummy linebacker,
especially compared to the other guys here.
The Chargers' secondary is where things get interesting. The corners
are pretty good, especially LCB Gill Byrd, who is one of the better
corners in the league. RCB Sam Seale isn't that great but he has some
wheels, so don't count him out of your defensive gameplan. However, you
kind of have placeholder safeties, they are so-so in every way. The
key here is to be a corner, trying for Byrd but shifting to Seale to
try and prevent the sweep down low from becoming too vicious, and then
let the CPU take the safeties. Unless you have a play on which you KNOW
the safety is the best option (and those plays are few and far between
with Gill Byrd on your team), stick with the corners and linebackers.
Your strategy is to shut as much down as you can with your corner play
and go to your linebackers when there is the threat of a run you can't
stop. You aren't going to win by running O'Neal all around because you
don't have that much in the way of big-play potential short, although
your corners will screw over their opposing WR #2 and Seale is not
going to get beat. If you can get a MAN Byrd on 50% of the plays you
are in good shape to win the game. Don't ever forget about Plummer
and O'Neal against the sweep down low, because those two can create total
chaos for an offense trying to pulverize Byrd. Shifting your choice of
MAN around and using Byrd on obvious passing downs is usually going to
give you a nice solid D, but if you can protect Byrd, then do that and
make it difficult for the opponent passing.
Run vs. pass is a much more difficult chore than for most teams, which
are typically star-centered teams, because with this team, you aren't
trying to figure out so much whether run or pass, you are trying to
figure which player your opponent is trying to target. Once you know
this you can figure out what they want to do offensively, and you can
key on it and shut it down. As a general rule of thumb (this certainly
isn't unique to this team due to the skewed plays in this game), think
sweep down low and short pass. As the game goes on and you make plays,
you will have more specifics on what your opponent is going to think
is important to stop. If at all possible try to get Byrd available,
because he improves your pass defense by the boatload. If your
opponent matches up a good receiver against your safeties, and he is
a gambler, then think about helping out, but otherwise let your
guys make the play, they aren't _that_ bad.

Defensively, try to pressure BJ. He isn't going to make plays with
his feet, and because you will often be a LB in order to try and shut
down Butts, this will present you with some nice opportunities to try
and free up your boys or to LB blitz. BJ is not going to have any real
success throwing in the backpedal - this can be a very good way to get
some INTs. However, you can't gamble too much, because if he has a
checkdown who sets up quickly, you are going to overplay him since he
has such good Pass Speed. When you go to cover, you are looking to
get single coverages on all receivers (you don't have much to fear by
in-coverage passes or jump balls), so leave your guys all alone and
try to focus in on forcing BJ to get tackled or to make some risky
throws which you have a decent chance of getting in there and forcing
the incompletion or making a diving INT. Focus on stopping those pass
plays which spread the field short, because Tolliver lives on those
passes since he can play chicken with you in a major way.
Against the run, Butts is the key, keep tackling him and good things
will happen. Watch out if an EXCELLENT Harmon or Derrick Walker lines
up back there, they may be able to surprise you with their speed on
short-yardage plays. Butts is a back you want to key on, but you must
remember that if they want to run Butts 30 times a game, they will pay
the price in short order, so make sure that BJ can't clean up the mess
and keep Butts' knees intact by converting third down. Keep the heat
on Butts but reject the BJ.

On offense, you cannot rely on your WR #1 and WR #2 positions getting
open. If you've been subsisting on jump balls, you are going to be in
for a rude awakening. Try to flow your offense in through your TE
or your RBs, they aren't going to have much short coverage ability if
their corners drop deep. If you must go deep, RCB Sam Seale is a much
better side to go on than LCB Gill Byrd whom you must avoid, and know
that their safeties aren't going to beat you by themselves. The man you
put against Seale is your hands WR, because you don't have much of
a chance of beating him with speed. What you want to do with Byrd is
the problem, you might try making that a blocker position because you
aren't going to want to throw that way.
Against their LBs, you are going to have issues in the running game.
Know that their LBs are capable run stoppers and can blitz as well,
so you had better try and get some big plays against them by running
straight against them rather than around them. The temptation is
there to kill Byrd, but you can't just leave ROLB O'Neal and LILB Plummer
to devise against you behind the LOS; try to work your opponent into
a pattern in which set players are used and then kill those players. One
easy way to do it is to run a few passing plays at the beginning of each
half and see which player is chosen on which down, and then come back
at a particular player you hate with runs, and when you need a play,
kill the player your opponent is resorting to. Try as much as possible
to use the pass, because even though there are the corners to worry
about, you want to get some room to run underneath and this team does
have the ability to shut you down, plus it gets the MAN away from the
LBs to the corners, which alleviates deep ball problems somewhat.

                           Seattle Seahawks

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall   27
      Offense   27
      Defense   27
      Pass D    26
      Rush D    27

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Dave Krieg            17  QB  25 69 13 13 25 69 69 69
Kelly Stouffer        11  QB  25 69 13 13 44 38 38 38
John L.Williams       32  RB  44 69 25 38 50 69
Derrick Fenner        44  RB  56 69 25 75 50 25
James Jones           30  RB  38 69 38 31 50 25
Chris Warren          42  RB  38 69 38 31 50 25
Brian Blades          89  WR  31 69 31 13 50 50
Tommy Kane            81  WR  31 69 38 13 50 56
Paul Skansi           82  WR  25 69 25 13 50 44
Jeff Chadwick         88  WR  31 69 38 13 50 44
Ron Heller            85  TE  25 69 19 44 50 31
Travis McNeal         86  TE  25 69 25 44 50 31
Grant Feasel          54   C  25 69 31 56
Edwin Bailey          65   G  25 69 38 44
Brian [sic-Bryan]
   Millard            71   G  25 69 31 50
Andy Heck             66   T  25 69 44 50
Ron Mattes            70   T  25 69 25 56
Norm Johnson           9   K  56 81 81 31 44 38
Rick Donelly           3   P  25 56 44 31 44 63
Tony Woods            57  DE  25 38 44 50 19 56
Joe Nash              72  NT  25 31 38 44 19 31
Jacob Green           79  DE  38 50 63 56 19 69
Rufus Porter          97  LB  25 38 44 44 19 56
Cortez Kennedy        96  LB  25 31 38 56 19 44
David Wyman           92  LB  25 31 38 38 19 38
Terry Wooden          51  LB  25 31 38 38 19 25
Patrick Hunter        27  CB  25 31 38 38 38 44
Dwayne Harper         29  CB  31 38 50 31 50 50
Eugene Robinson       41  FS  25 31 38 38 50 38
Nesby Glasgow         22  SS  31 38 50 56 25 56

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. N.O.   7. Rai.  13. Den.
 2. Jets   8. Pit.  14. K.C.
 3. Den.   9. S.D.  15. S.F.
 4. K.C.  10. BYE   16. Atl.
 5. Ind.  11. S.D.  17. Rams
 6. Cin.  12. Rai.

Seahawks' Base Offense
QB Dave Krieg
RB James Jones
Checkdown WR Jeff Chadwick
Deep Threat WR Tommy Kane
2nd Option WR Brian Blades
TE John L. Williams

Seahawks' Power Set
QB Dave Krieg/Kelly Stouffer (take your pick)
RB James Jones
FB Derrick Fenner
WR Tommy Kane
TE John L. Williams
TE Travis McNeal

The quarterback situation in Seattle might lead you to believe that
this team has some talent. You are wrong. Look again, at Krieg's 25
Pass Speed and this team's slew of players with 38 MS (no higher),
and you will quickly be disabused of the notion that this can be a
.500 team. I haven't even talked about the "defense"...

QB Dave Krieg has great passing stats except for Pass Speed. This is
a major problem because you have a much harder time throwing short
than with normal quarterbacks. To alleviate this, go with the deep
pass. For some reason, these receivers just seem to do well with the
jump ball some games. Brian Blades is particularly notorious as being
a jump-ball threat. There isn't that much ability here to force the
ball in to the receivers because their REC ratings are pretty average.
Establish the deep pass early in the game by letting it fly and make
sure to mark the deep routes with the passing cursor before throwing.
Then use that to get some QB runs with Krieg.
Other people want the short pass, so they want Stouffer to be the man.
He can't throw the deep ball that well, so your emphasis then is speed.
Only problem with this is that Stouffer is not a good QB and RBs
Chris Warren and James Jones and Derrick Fenner (blocking back) are
going to drop on a semi-regular basis. Pick your poison.
In either case, pick Tommy Kane and then your choice of Brian Blades
or Jeff Chadwick as your primary WRs. I like to use all of them, and
I put Chadwick in my backfield for his speed. Watch the conditions
and also the performance of these players in the game, sometimes one
of them will get hot and you can throw deep all day long. One other
thing to mention is Paul Skansi, "The Polish Thunder". In the passing
game he seems to have abnormal strength at times, do not count him
out just because he is slow. Also, keep your feet alive in the pocket,
particularly if you are using Krieg and the deep pass, because you
simply have no hope of staying alive if you just sit there and let
your interior collapse.

Early in a game (as in, the first snap), you are going to have to
come to grips with the fact that you have no running game unless you
have someone in GOOD or EXCELLENT who also happens to be a key player
for you. James Jones, Chris Warren, Tommy Kane, and Jeff Chadwick are
your options in the running game, choose whichever of the eligible
runners is fastest. Try to avoid Chris Warren if possible since he
plays in the return as well, but if he's fast use him. I would
seriously discourage you from using a power set with this team
because you still aren't going to go anywhere, but Derrick Fenner
is a beast and can be used to blow up selected defenders. Note also
that Travis McNeal is better than the starter TE Ron Heller so don't
be fooled by the foolishness of the game. :) In a pinch John L.
can also be used to pound out some yards. In any event, just settle
for 4 yards, you aren't going to get big plays with this offense,
especially with the fact that even if you have a 50 MS back due to
one of your fast guys being in EXCELLENT, you still have to deal
with this offensive line and the strength of this team being in
the deep pass. It's more important to focus on getting short third
downs and moving the chains so that the QB can run for first downs
when the receivers stretch the field (however slowly they may do
so) than it is to make big plays with James Jones.

In the returning game Chris Warren and Paul Skansi have some skills,
both on kickoffs, and Warren for sure on punts. Don't rely on anything
from the kicking games or the coverage teams, they just reek.

Your defense has a name: Jacob Green (LE). Learn to love him and learn
to stop every play with him and learn to play possessed because he's
all you have on a consistent basis. SS Nesby Glasgow may be available
sometimes as well, but he is a pure run stopper and nowhere near as
fast in coverage so you don't want to OD on him. Likewise for LCB Dwayne
Harper, he may be something but he is in the line of fire even more
than Green when the sweep down low comes out strong. Watch for
FS Eugene Robinson, if he goes into EXCELLENT he can be of assistance
in a big way. The rest are not worth mentioning, they're just eating,
sleeping, and diddling on company time.
One thing you must learn with this team is how to stop plays with
generic personnel like ROLB Rufus Porter and Eugene Robinson. If you
can't do some measure of run stopping with tactics, then you are done
for sure. The first key to defending here is to contain the run. Once
you have contained the run, try and work the pass some, and try to seek
big plays in the run defense so that you can get them into an obvious
passing down where you can actually do something. Use your A button to
throw the blockers that come at you instead of trying to dance, if you
can develop a good sense of when to avoid and when to struggle you can
really help the contain. Playcalling is essential here, and if you
don't call at least 5 of their plays a game, you will lose. Big plays
and contain are the keys with a defense with this little power to
change events. Make sure to keep up on those conditions and seek to
go to the LBs or the DBs if the numbers add up. One thing you might
also try is to bait the offense into running at one of your guys,
typically Green, then exploit that tendency by calling the sweep
going at Green.

Defensively, don't let Krieg aim and fire. Key in on the pass and
call their plays, and also free up your boys (LG especially), and
go out and cover.
If he's out there and he's in BAD, you can also work the LB blitz,
but you don't want to feature that since you can get some major
turnovers if you can force him to make terrible throws under
pressure. Moreover, he is a known jump-ball quarterback and
he can kill you deep even in coverage. Make him throw into your
DBs where they can sit on the X on an overthrown or underthrown
ball and pick it off. You can also force a lot of incompletions
short, even with a LB, so you don't want to gamble *too* much against
Krieg. Sacks are nice but you don't want to give him opportunities
to show off his arm, so don't force it on the blitz. Also, since you
want to shut down the run using tactics, you don't want to be selling
out with the nose tackle with any regularity.
If you can't shut down this run with a good defender you need some
serious practice. I am not going to insult you by giving you tips
about run defense here, this is Defense 101.

Offensively, just feature your offense's strength. Throw against
RCB Patrick Hunter, sweep down low, that's the rubric here. They want
big plays, so be conservative and just move the ball. Focus on not
being predictable, because you will let them back in the game that way.
Jacob Green will often be the MAN's choice, so make sure not to use
plays that he can easily stop.

                         Washington Redskins

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall   11
      Offense   13
      Defense   12
      Pass D    10
      Rush D    18

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Mark Rypien           11  QB  25 69  6 13 38 44 44 38
Stan Humphries        16  QB  25 69 13 13 44 38 31 38
Earnest Byner         21  RB  38 69 50 25 81 38
Ricky Sanders         83  WR  44 69 56 13 81 56
Gerald Riggs          37  RB  44 69 31 81 81 19
Kelvin Bryant         24  RB  38 69 44 19 81 38
Art Monk              81  WR  38 69 44 38 81 63
Gary Clark            84  WR  38 69 50 13 81 75
Brian Mitchell        30  RB  38 69 38 31 81 25
Joe Howard            80  WR  25 69 25 13 81 44
Don Warren            85  TE  25 69 19 38 81 31
Jimmie Johnson        88  TE  25 69 25 38 81 31
Jeff Bostic           53   C  25 69 38 69
Russ Grimm            68   G  25 69 38 56
Raleigh McKenzie      63   G  25 69 38 56
Jim Lachey            79   T  25 69 31 69
Ed Simmons            76   T  25 69 25 63
Chip Lohmiller         8   K  56 81 81 31 50 81
Kelly Goodburn         2   P  25 56 44 31 25 50
Markus Koch           74  DE  25 38 44 44 19 38
Darryl Grant          77  NT  25 31 38 50 19 44
Charles Mann          71  DE  31 44 50 56 19 63
Wilber Marshall       58  LB  25 31 38 50 31 50
Greg Manusky          91  LB  25 31 38 44 19 31
Tracy Rocker          99  LB  25 31 38 50 19 44
Andre Collins         55  LB  25 38 44 38 19 50
Darrell Green         28  CB  44 56 75 44 44 31
Martin Mayhew         35  CB  38 50 63 31 69 38
Todd Bowles           23  FS  25 31 44 44 50 31
Alvin Walton          40  SS  25 31 44 31 44 31

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Det.   7. Cle.  13. Dal.
 2. Dal.   8. BYE   14. Rams
 3. Phx.   9. Gia.  15. Phx.
 4. Cin.  10. Hou.  16. Gia.
 5. Phi.  11. Atl.  17. Phi.
 6. Chi.  12. Pit.

Washington's Base Offense
QB Stan Humphries
Scatback Earnest Byner
WR Ricky Sanders
Deep Threat Gary Clark
Physical WR Art Monk
TE Brian Mitchell

Washington's Power Set
QB Stan Humphries
RB Earnest Byner
FB Gerald Riggs
WR Gary Clark
WR Art Monk
TE Brian Mitchell

Washington's Open Set
QB Stan Humphries
RB Earnest Byner
WR Ricky Sanders
WR Gary Clark
WR Art Monk
Pass-Catching Back Kelvin Bryant

In my view, the Redskins are pretty much underrated. The QB situation
is the cause of this, but make no mistake: this team can kill you if
they have juiced players and your opponent knows how to conceal their
weaknesses. Solid play down after down is the key to beating this team
because they have some weapons on both offense and defense that can
make you pay for gambling.

On offense, many people don't know this, but Mark Rypien is a 6 MS
QB. Sure, he won the Super Bowl this year. Ride the pine Hermes!!!
Really, you aren't giving up much if anything, and in my view, Stan's
greater Pass Speed and Maxiumum Speed give you a much better use of
your weapons and much less vulnerability to the sack. I would not risk
Humphries too much, because you do not want to be trying to go up
against a nose tackle dive or star OLB blitz with a QB as poorly rated
as Rypien, but don't play scared with Humphries, you aren't giving up
_that_ much by going to Rypien. And of course, with two QBs this poor,
check the conditions fairly often.
That's where the pain ends with this offense, thankfully. This is one
of those cracked-up teams, where everybody has insane Ball Control, and
you have to stay in bounds to make the most out of your team, because
the depth is great here as well. Ricky Sanders is not a blocker, but he
can definitely get it on underneath against LBs, and Gary Clark is one
of the top receivers in the NFC, a 50 MS-75 REC guy. Art Monk is probably
your best all-around player though; he's not that fast but he can catch
and get jump balls, and he is by far the best WR at blocking in this game
with 38 HP - not a Jamie Mueller or Brad Muster number, but you can
definitely make life difficult for your opponent by getting him out there
in the running game. Plus, he is just as good of a deep target as Gary
Clark because he can power through the DBs if he makes a catch. You cannot
let this crew go unused by trying to protect them; this receiver corps
was made for big plays at key times and you don't want to be relying on
Humphries or your running game too much. As far as your reserve options
are concerned, your RBs are your best deal for getting passes: Byner if
he goes into BAD is not a total atrocity, and you can also use Kelvin
Bryant and Brian Mitchell to catch passes, but you will have some drops
with those guys. I wouldn't rely on Don Howard or your TEs, they are
_really_ slow. Gerald Riggs vs. Brian Mitchell, it's a toss-up, but
Mitchell is the better pure pass-catcher. However, you don't want to
forget about Riggs, especially for his run-blocking ability.
Pass protection-wise, you are set. If you want to hide in the pocket
and not be fooling around rolling out, you can do that with this team.
Such is an especially good idea with Rypien, who can't get anything going
in the running game outside of EXCELLENT. That way, you stay closer to
your short receivers and force the defense to come back for Ricky
Sanders and Earnest Byner, at which point you let it fly for Clark or
Monk. They're not invincible, but the Hogs are pretty close...as Paul
says, "Every time I see the Redskins' offense, I look at Rypien and
think of what could have been." Add Humphries to that list.

In the running game, the Redskins are not feared for their speed but
rather their power in their blocking - you can't bowl over a lot of guys
on this team. This offensive line of theirs was feared for many years
because of great talent and coaching, and they are one of the absolute
best in Tecmo. You've just got to get in there and pound away at it.
To compound that, you have Art Monk whom even LT has a hard time
throwing, and you have the devastating blocker Gerald Riggs whom you
must match up against the team's weakest defender, or even get in
behind him on the power dive, because this guy will leave the defense
seeing stars after a few runs up the gut. The key here is not to rely
on the inside running game too much, because you will get behind the
chains quickly if your opponent is keying on your run, especially in
a game like Tecmo with the called plays. Fortunately, Byner can take the
corner with the blocking he gets from his friends. Your options at
backup RB are pretty good: between Bryant, Riggs, and Mitchell someone
has to be feeling good, and if it's legal, you can use Sanders
or Clark there for speed. This isn't a terrifying running game, but
you can get some yards if you know what you are doing. Also remember,
you aren't going to fumble much with this team, so fight for every yard
and keep pounding on the A button to work your way out from the middle
into the open field. I have to say I love Gerald Riggs on the field
at all times, but he can be a liability in the passing game depending
on how your other players are feeling.

On special teams, I don't think the Redskins are that great, their
kick and punt return teams are sort of an enigma - they have great
blockers but don't get too much out of their returners despite this.
Brian Mitchell may be the greatest KR ever but he isn't very good in
this game at all. Kelvin Bryant, Gerald Riggs, maybe even Don Warren!
Kind of your pick here. If you are a skin-of-your-teeth guy, Gary Clark
might be able to break something. Chip Lohmiller isn't too bad though,
great Avoid Kick Block here. However, I wouldn't want to be giving the
ball to this shmuck of a punter if I were backed up deep - fortunately
punters are almost meaningless in this game. I wouldn't pick this team
if you want to block things, they don't have the speed for that.
Thankfully their coverage teams do have some ability - Darrell Green
can make life painful if he gets up there in condition.

The defense here is solid in the power but not in the hands. The line
is pretty average with LE Charles Mann being a guy who can rush the passer.
Their LBs have a little power but lack in everything else, especially
LOLB Andre Collins who has to hold up the sweep down low. ROLB
Wilber Marshall has 31 Interceptions, but he is a pass rusher and he is
way too slow for a MAN to use, so that much is a wash. The safeties aren't
horrid, but you can't leave them alone against top receivers or try to stop
great running backs with them too often, as they are decent, but nothing
What makes this unit capable of getting big stops and turnovers is the
play of their two excellent corners RCB Darrell Green and LCB Martin Mayhew.
Green is a pure burner and you can't expect to pick off too many balls with
him. Mayhew, on the other hand, is a much better pass-coverage player.
Using Green on running downs and Mayhew on passing downs is kind of the
prototypical strategy with the Redskins. However, you must use your
speed to stop the run, because neither of these guys will blow apart
an offense. Harassing the opposing running back and forcing him into
your guys is the key here. If you have a great A button you can start
to dominate against the run, but usually a player has to be more cautious
about giving up the big play with this team. Remember to use Wilber
Marshall when you've called a pass play, as you can get some key stops
because their corners can hold it up on the outside. This team's run
defense is a lot different from other star-driven teams in that you
can't really fight off their guys and then pound the runner; you have
to make a sure cut through their blocking team, and you are vulnerable
to the sweeps in a big way, so discretion is the better part of valor
with this defense. Make them go bust in the passing game instead of
trying to completely shut down the run.
Playcallingwise, try to pinpoint which of your corners your opponent
hates more and wants to neutralize and use the other, while punishing
him when possible, but never allowing big plays in the passing game.
These corners have to hold it down or you are going to get taken to the
trash. Know that if you are a great run-stopper, your opponent will try
and take out Green, while if you try and defend the pass, Mayhew will
get the bulls-eye. That can hold you for a drive or two at least.

If Rypien is out there, blitz the Hades out of him. Nose tackle dive,
whatever it takes, bring him down. Using the nose tackle is often a
good idea with this team, because they want to use the power dive
with Byner behind one of their relatively powerful backups. Watch
out for Riggs, he can make life painful for you if you go flying into
him. With Humphries, you can't be as aggressive trying to sack the
guy, because he can make some moves in the backfield and let his line
come back into you. However, powerful run defense up front is the key
to beating this team: they aren't _that_ fast in the running game and
you can shut them down if you play it smart and don't let them bust
ones out of the middle.
In the passing game, you want to apply pressure, because if these WRs
get down the field, the QB can sometimes get the jumper. However, you
can cover the receivers as well, I have had pretty good success just
coming straight for the receivers and the QB is just not going to get
the job done. The key is not to let them chip away at you too much
with their WRs short, as they can get down the field in 7 plays with
their great underneath speed if you don't pay them any mind. Try to
sneak in as many pass plays as possible and know that Byner is not a
top back, he has his limits and the pass is more important than holding
him to nothing.

Offensively, relying on the pass is a mistake. You must establish the
run early and make them guess as to which corner (or LB) to use, then
when they guess wrong, you must capitalize on it with a big play.
They can shut you down on 75% of your snaps, but on that other 25% you
can completely tear apart their otherwise untalented defense by
abusing the drones. Using your fastest player is the key, because
unless you can throw the MAN quickly, they can trap you with speed before
you can get some room to run. Effective use of your blockers is vital
because none of these guys, when controlled by a MAN, can stand up
to you and the blocker smashing into your struggle. DO NOT throw it
on LCB Mayhew's side; RCB Green is not that talented of a pass defender in
this game, but Mayhew can and will make you pay on a regular basis - he is
their one big turnover threat and you cannot let him beat you. When you
have lots of coverage on the field though, don't try and play games with
those corners short, throw it deep against their safeties. Even Green,
with his 75 MS, can make your day very very long even if you catch the
MAN cheating up on you. Don't take stupid risks against their corners;
put points on the board and force their offense to put it in the end
zone to beat you.

                           New York Giants

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall    1
      Offense    3
      Defense    2
      Pass D   T-3
      Rush D     2

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Phil Simms            11  QB  25 69 13 13 50 63 63 81
Jeff Hostetler        15  QB  25 69 25 13 38 31 38 19
Ottis Anderson        24  RB  56 69 50 88 75 31
David Meggett         30  RB  38 69 56 19 75 50
Maurice Carthon       44  RB  44 69 25 44 50 25
Rodney Hampton        27  RB  38 69 31 38 63 38
Mark Ingram           82  WR  44 69 56 13 63 50
Stephen Baker         85  WR  44 69 56 13 69 56
Stacey Robinson       81  WR  25 69 25 13 50 44
Odessa Turner         83  WR  25 69 25 13 50 44
Mark Bavaro           89  TE  25 69 31 69 69 44
Howard Cross          87  TE  25 69 19 56 56 31
Bart Oates            65   C  25 69 38 50
William Roberts       66   G  25 69 31 56
Eric Moore            60   G  25 69 31 63
John Elliott          76   T  25 69 25 75
Doug Riesenberg       72   T  25 69 31 50
Matt Bahr              9   K  56 81 81 31 44 63
Sean Landeta           5   P  25 56 44 31 81 81
Leonard Marshall      70  DE  25 31 38 56 19 56
Erik Howard           74  NT  25 31 38 50 19 50
Eric Dorsey           77  DE  25 31 38 50 19 44
Lawrence Taylor       56  LB  44 56 69 75 31 81
Pepper Johnson        52  LB  38 44 56 69 31 69
Gary Reasons          55  LB  25 38 44 38 63 44
Carl Banks            58  LB  38 44 50 63 19 56
Everson Walls         28  CB  38 44 56 31 63 44
Mark Collins          25  CB  31 44 56 50 44 63
Myron Guyton          29  FS  31 38 50 56 44 56
Greg Jackson          47  SS  31 38 50 56 56 56

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. S.F.   7. Pit.  13. T.B.
 2. Rams   8. BYE   14. Cin.
 3. Chi.   9. Was.  15. Phi.
 4. Cle.  10. Phi.  16. Was.
 5. Dal.  11. Phx.  17. Hou.
 6. Phx.  12. Dal.

The Giants' Base Offense
QB Phil Simms
Power Back Ottis Anderson
Speed Back David Meggett
WR Stephen Baker
WR Mark Ingram
TE Mark Bavaro

The New York football Giants won Super Bowl XXV over the Buffalo Bills
20-19, after Scott Norwood's game-winning kick sailed wide right, and,
as befits all champions, were rewarded for their tremendous year with
a bounty in video game ratings. Some might say the Hall of Fame is
the greatest individual honor a player can receive, but how can that
compare with being immortalized in the greatest football game of this
era, Tecmo Super Bowl? This team gets some serious juice, and the most
interesting part of this story is that some believe this team is
actually snubbed (Mark Bavaro). Versatile and powerful offense, great
special teams, and a lights-out defense make this team the best in
Tecmo Super Bowl.

QB Phil Simms is who gets it done here. He doesn't have great receivers
so he can't generally force the ball in coverage, but he has been known
to throw some nice jumpers, and he certainly has the skills to deliver
the ball to his targets. You want to protect Simms some because you
really don't have anything meaningful in Hostetler (ironically, he was
the one playing in Super Bowl XXV after all); this team's offense can
really bog down with Hostetler taking the snaps. This passing game
is about speed - every player on this starting squad with the exception
of Bavaro has 50 MS or better, so you don't want to ever think twice
about dumping it off because your checkdowns can move the ball good,
never mind what happens when you do some sideline games with Simms.
Stephen Baker is the key TD threat here, but Mark Ingram and Dave
Meggett are nipping at his heels, all of them with 56 MS. When you
have to, check it to Ottis, but he does drop on occasion, so don't
run your passing game through him. Bavaro is a guy you can throw to
when you just need the reception and not any yards after the catch.
Backupswise, really Rodney Hampton is your best option if one of your
guys goes down, and he can get the ball, but he is not going to get
you a big play with any regularity. The rest are terrible, just go
with the one in the best condition and REC if you need the passing
that badly. All these guys have pretty decent Ball Control and the
depth here is good enough because the starters are all so good, so
when you get the ball, go for the extra yard.
I must mention this offensive line. They aren't the overall best in
the game, but they have two great guys, Eric Moore at RG and John
"Jumbo" Elliot at LT, who will often end up taking the defense's
best pass rusher, being that they are usually either at LE or ROLB.
You can definitely hang in there in the pocket with this team and
work the manual QB sneak through the OL.

The Giants have one of the deepest running games in Tecmo, rivaling
the Raiders and Bears even, and if you use WR at RB you have a
limitless supply of runners. Power back Ottis Anderson is not
all that good normally, but if he moves up into EXCELLENT he is even
better than Christian Okoye in EXCELLENT. His power is what makes
him a viable back. David Meggett, however, can catch and has
pretty good speed, so you can't ignore him either. Either of the WRs
at RB are just as fast as David. If you have lead blocking sets in
your playbook, Ottis must be lead blocking in those because he can
make life very painful for the other team. You may want to ease up
the load on Meggett if you make him your returner, as Meggett can go
down three times a year easily if you just pound him into the turf.
However, when you do go to him, just pound it out with him, because
every runner candidate on this team has great Ball Control and you
don't have to worry that much about getting injured.
If one of your guys goes down, feature the other and put in Rodney
Hampton as a fullback to block and get short passes. If you lose
another RB, well you're in trouble. Howard "Iron" Cross - if you
want to feature one back, he's a pretty good lead blocker who never
sees the field normally because of the talented starters on this
team. He won't go to the Pro Bowl because he has no speed, but if
you want someone to open it up behind this great blocking offensive
line, then by all means set him up and let him blow back the D.
Otherwise, if you only play RB at RB, your only option is Carthon,
which isn't much of an option at all.
Also, one of the reasons you have Bavaro in there is because he
can block. Get him into your fiercest blocking position and let
him rip. In addition, make sure to set Ottis out at TE if you go
with two fast backs (be it because Ottis goes down to BAD or Baker
goes into EXCELLENT), because 88 HP is a terrible thing to waste.

On special teams, the Giants are really good on the return with
David Meggett in there. You can go with Rodney Hampton but it won't
be quite as good. However, Hampton is a pretty decent returner in his
own right, just not anything superspecial in the speed or agility
department. Kind of your pick whom you would want returning
if you want to preserve Meggett. If both those guys are not an option,
Carthon is the next best thing. These guys work since their return
teams' blocking is pretty good. On coverage teams, the Giants aren't
the best but they can get it done. Matt Bahr is not a great kicker, but
Sean Landeta, you don't want to get too risky with this team,
because he can move the other team back to their 20 from almost
anywhere on the field. Remember, if you are going to use his great
punting ability, hold up until the punt rush begins to get the
upper hand, then you will have more guys to run 80 yards down
the field, or, if you aren't going to win any matchups on the line,
free up some boys with Landeta, this way you won't end up totally
outkicking your coverage and giving the return man a ton of yards.
On field goals...LT is the man. On XPs...LT is the man.
Just come flying at them and you will make their lives miserable
in a hurry.

Defensively, the Giants are a top unit - they've got skill at every
position but on the defensive line; RE Leonard Marshall and the rest
won't get blown up often at all on running plays, but don't think
that they will get into the backfield often because that's not
happening either. A merely sufficient line, but it is more than
made up for by the back eight.
ROLB Lawrence Taylor was the NFL MVP in 1986...he isn't so far from
it in this game. Not only is he one of the absolute best pure
run-stoppers in this game, he plays possessed on top of that.
He can cover and catch (31 Interceptions). I don't think
he plays quite up to his reputation, but LT can be absolutely
dominating nonetheless. Same with RILB Pepper Johnson, though to a
lesser extent in the run-stopping. Carl Banks is a pure LOLB so just
let him rush the passer, but sometimes he can be possessed himself.
LILB Gary Reasons now, this guy is weird. He isn't fast or strong...
but 63 Interceptions never hurt anybody. Sometimes it's really
tough to tell what to do with Reasons; if he is not in EXCELLENT
or GOOD where he can get some more speed to be able to go anywhere
in coverage, you probably don't want to use him. The reason (sorry)
for this is simple: this guy picks off anything you throw over his
head. You can have a wide-open TE in the middle of the field, the
pass is thrown...Reasons jumps and picks it off, or tips it away.
You can make pocket quarterbacks move out of the pocket if you
let Reasons stay over the middle of the line, so don't be too
anxious to use him. However, if he's feeling good and you know
it's most likely a pass, then don't be afraid to bring him out in
coverage to make plays. The caveat here is not to overestimate
his skills, because if LT or Johnson is in EXCELLENT they are just
as good in pass coverage because of their speed + their catching
ability. All in all, this LB corps is clearly the best in the
game and (unfortunately!) a match for many of the defensive
secondaries out there.
The DBs are not anywhere near as good as the LBs, but there is
definitely some talent here. RCB Everson Walls is the key here,
it's a good thing their best pass-coverage player is up on top
to cover the team's #1 WR. FS Myron Guyton isn't a good pass-coverage
player, but he can stop the run to a certain extent. It's the
reverse on the bottom of the field: SS Greg Jackson is the pass man
while LCB Mark Collins is a better run-defender, ratings-wise though
not position-wise. Everyone here though has some speed and, with
the notable exception of Walls (31 HP!), they can all grapple with
the opposition, but can't blow them up. When going for INTs, your
best option is Walls, but Jackson also has some skills, and don't
be afraid to use Guyton if you need some FS run-stopping ability.
Collins is kind of the odd man out here, but that's the way it is
when you have a great defense like the Giants'.
If you want to talk about great problems to have, talk about what
the strategy with this powerful D is. Really, I think you have to
try and totally shut down the opposing offense - there is too much
talent in the back eight to settle for anything less. Don't ever
use the linemen unless there is a very specific tactic you want
to use that you know will have a pretty good chance of working:
prefer the linebackers in almost all situations because they can
cover the pass so much better. When using your LBs, look for the
guy who can stop the runs out of the formation the best. What
the key is here is to get as many guys into coverage as possible
so you can shut down the pass, so you want to maximize the number
of pass plays you call by taking out the run with these LBs.
If there is a team that can stop the run with the linebackers,
this is it. When you have a pretty even choice between guys, try
to go for Johnson in preference to LT if you can spare it, because
against the pass, LT is fearsome even against good tackles; there
are about 4, maybe 8 left tackles in this game who can stop LT
with consistency. Of course, if the game is on the line, go to
Taylor and let him make plays. If you need to make a sure stop
and you are not confident in your LB play, don't forget about
your safeties, as they are decent enough to make a stop on a long
third down. If you are covering short against the goal-line pass,
Everson Walls is the best because of his tipping ability if you
know it's coming, but Gary Reasons is a player you want to use if
he's fast, plus he's going to have an easier time with the run
and you usually aren't getting tipped on the play early. Against
the obvious long pass, use Reasons unless Johnson is clearly better.
Always remember with LT: play possessed, blow up as many of their
guys on the run as you can on your way to the RB.


When you go to defense, know that the passing game is most fearsome
because it stretches the field so well; you can cover their guys if
need be, so don't go freaking out about getting 4 guys over down in
the defensive backfield. Mind you, it's not a sure process, but nothing
is guaranteed against a team with this many weapons.
Ottis can kill you, so don't look at his 50 MS and think he's going to
be stoppable, because if the MAN has a great A button you can get a
ton of guys tossed, both you and the drones. Against Dave Meggett,
though, you want to engage him early in the play instead of trying
to get your boys to help out, because he doesn't have great physical
strength. Try to work for stops as much as possible, as this isn't a
team that fumbles with any regularity (though they can cough it up
from time to time), so just making them go 15 plays won't be enough,
because if the MAN can execute and be effective running both with
his set plays and with Simms - you can just get driven down the field.
Plus, you don't have too much of an opportunity to work for the INT
against Simms. Try to work against their backs when you think they
can get some yards running, but otherwise try and keep Simms from
doing too much in the passing game. Their two-back system isn't
_that_ good so don't make a mountain out of a large hill by letting
4 guys come open on 3rd and 7 and having Simms run for the first
down (that has happened to me too often). Know that they can and will
look for the short pass against single coverage deep, trying to get
the ball to Meggett or OJ Anderson, so don't overdo it deep. If they
are getting into a rhythm going down the field, try and find their
key play that they are using, and call it on third down to stop them;
this team can be predictable sometimes in their rhythm, because the
tendency here is to be pretty conservative and use Simms to make
sure plays instead of laying it all down. You can keep them from
making it across with patience and most importantly, the ability to
not let them do one thing over and over again to you - that's what
opens up their offense which has no one great overwhelming strength.

On offense, LT is a wild beast and sometimes you are going to have a
very tough time getting to him even when you run straight at him,
because he can just slither out of your way, and then, when you try
and get some yards having swung wide, their DBs come up to tie you
up or hold you up, and LT comes back around to you and takes you
down. One thing that you cannot do, however, is try to avoid him
with the sweep down low because he is so fast; in most situations
he will just run your back down in the backfield or just take a hard
angle to the line and come up facing you two yards deep. Plus he is
going to smash some of your blockers, so try and use power personnel
to apply against him late in your running plays, that way he can't
get a free line to you. The key against this incredible LB corps is
to keep blockers close to you early in the play to protect you, if
they can take you on one-on-one you are going to be totally stuffed.
Keep close to your guys and make them hold off long enough to be
able to get some yards. Be aware that there may be no running game
there if you have 50 MS backs or worse, and you may have to just
air it out. If you can try and pass early, you may be able to get
the MAN to start using LILB Reasons, and then you can come with your
run against a much weaker MAN opponent. When you go the pass, throw
against their most isolated defender deep, except if it's RCB Everson
Walls. These guys aren't going to kill you with jumping INTs, but
they can stop you if you start getting greedy with the deep ball.
Try and reserve it for when you have the credible threat of the
run; you don't want to just give this team any easy turnovers to
get them going. Your best WR should be on the bottom of the field
to try and avoid the pass coverage of Walls, because Walls can put
a blanket on your guy. Make sure you are running your QB close to
the sidelines, that way he can't be tackled for injury or fumbles.
If you can do that, you can start to draw off the short coverage
of their LBs, and you will avoid Reasons up in the middle of the
line taking shots at your passes. Make sure to send out two
deep receivers to get some good jump-ball matchups, but keep some
short ones as well, so you don't risk too much against the
speed of LT. You can't really throw into coverage too well against
this team because even their LBs can intercept. As much as possible,
avoid taking risks and work with your strengths in order to beat
this all-around solid pass-coverage team. As much as possible,
run to hold down the coverage to a reasonable level, and hang on to
the ball to try and win it by getting a guy open deep late in the
game. If you give this superior team a lot of shots they are going
to find a way to get it done.

                          Philadelphia Eagles

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall    7
      Offense    6
      Defense   18
      Pass D    21
      Rush D    16

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
QB Eagles [Randall
   Cunningham]         0  QB  25 69 56 13 63 69 63 63
Jim McMahon            9  QB  25 69  6 13 38 38 38 38
Keith Byars           41  RB  38 69 31 38 50 69
Heath Sherman         23  RB  38 69 38 38 31 31
Anthoney Toney        25  RB  38 69 31 38 50 25
Robert Drummond       36  RB  38 69 38 31 50 25
Fred Barnett          86  WR  31 69 38 13 50 56
Calvin Williams       89  WR  31 69 31 13 50 50
Mike Quick            82  WR  31 69 31 13 50 44
Kenny Jackson         85  WR  25 69 25 13 50 44
Keith Jackson         88  TE  25 69 50 63 50 63
Harper Le Bel         87  TE  25 69 19 50 50 25
David Alexander       72   C  25 69 31 38
Mike Schad            79   G  25 69 19 50
Ron Solt              66   G  25 69 19 38
Ron Heller            73   T  25 69 25 50
R.Singletary          68   T  25 69 25 50
Roger Ruzek            7   K  56 81 81 31 50 25
Jeff Feagles           5   P  25 56 44 31 50 31
Clyde Simmons         96  DE  31 44 50 50 19 69
Mike Golic            90  NT  25 31 38 50 31 44
Reggie White          92  DE  38 50 56 69 31 75
Jessie Small          52  LB  25 31 38 44 19 44
Jerome Brown          99  LB  38 50 56 69 19 63
Byron Evans           56  LB  25 31 38 44 31 44
Seth Joyner           59  LB  31 44 50 63 31 75
Eric Allen            21  CB  38 50 44 50 50 69
Ben Smith             26  CB  38 50 38 31 50 63
Wes Hopkins           48  FS  25 31 19 50 56 31
Andre Waters          20  SS  25 31 19 31 25 19

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. G.B.   7. N.O.  13. Phx.
 2. Phx.   8. BYE   14. Hou.
 3. Dal.   9. S.F.  15. Gia.
 4. Pit.  10. Gia.  16. Dal.
 5. Was.  11. Cle.  17. Was.
 6. T.B.  12. Cin.

Eagles' Base Offense
All-Pro QB Eagles
Featured Back Keith Jackson
Blocking Back Robert Drummond
WR Fred Barnett
Physical WR Keith Byars
TE Anthony Toney

Eagles' Hands Set
All-Pro QB Eagles
Featured Back Keith Jackson
WR Calvin Williams
WR Fred Barnett
Physical WR Keith Byars
WR Mike Quick

Eagles' Power Set
All-Pro QB Eagles
Featured Back Keith Jackson
Blocking Back Robert Drummond
WR Keith Byars
TE Anthony Toney
TE Harper Le Bel

The Eagles...so close and yet so far. This team has the best player
in this game and the worst. They've got All-Pros and All-Waterboys.
The talent on this team is just not enough to make it to the Super
Bowl, but they can get to the playoffs for sure, even in this tough

QB Eagles.........................................................
You have to protect him by running him out of bounds, because he is
basically the Eagles' offense - but mother, if you can't get 100 yards
using the one-two punch of QB Eagles and Keith Jackson (provided you
can use Jackson as a ballcarrier on a running play), you have no hope
of winning. QB Eagles is a master of the game but his receivers aren't.
(Though in my experience, he has a very disturbing trend of choking and
hurting his team when the defense starts to close up on him.)
His best WR (besides Keith Jackson) is his RB Keith Byars who, despite
being physical with amazingly soft hands, is slow as molasses, and it
doesn't get any better as you go down the lineup. Fred Barnett is fast
enough and talented enough to start, but otherwise, this is slim pickings.
You can either try to max out the speed and blocking with Robert Drummond
and Anthony Toney, or try and keep from dropping with Calvin Williams
and Mike Quick; either way, no one is going to stretch the field for
this team. That is a major weakness. Another major weakness for this
team is Heath Sherman - NEVER use him, as he will fumble, and you cannot
have turnovers like that when Eagles is one of the best run threats in
this game.
If QB Eagles gets hurt, this team dies. Moreover, he will fumble, so don't
get tackled in bounds for the love of Robert Smith! Jim McMahon is not
a geezer you want taking the snaps. Plus, don't get caught behind the
line of scrimmage, because your offensive line will dissolve against a
good defense. Roll out early and roll out almost always. Taking sacks is
not something you can do with this offense, as QB Eagles has to make things
happen on almost every down to put the ball in the end zone.

In the running game the Eagles have two options: QB Eagles and Keith
Jackson. If you can only give the ball to a RB, forget running with
anyone other than QB Eagles and make Keith Jackson your go-to WR. Now,
there isn't much to say about QB Eagles' signature sweep, but it is a
play one must use and mention because he is one of the few players who
can run it well. Shotgun Sweep L is a play that you have to read the
blockers on; if there are a ton of LBs moving up at the front line up
top, cut it back inside and try to get some yards there, but otherwise,
make your opponent confront you in a mess of your blockers, and as
always with a player as valuable as QB Eagles, run out of bounds if
things start getting hairy.
Now for Keith Jackson. You have to protect him as he is your only
real running threat (except if someone else with 38 MS goes into
EXCELLENT). However, you have a lot of power, so if the MAN comes down
to confront you, you can take him on (if you're all alone) to try and
make some big plays. Obviously you don't want to run too much, but you
can get some yards if you keep returning to the run and not making
QB Eagles do everything. Teams will always call the pass to stop QB Eagles,
so you can sneak things in there with some regularity. Try to work
outside plays with blockers because your offensive line is terrible
and you don't want to be running any offense through them.

Special teams...bleh. Nothing much here, returner by committee, no
real talent from your kicker and punter. Kick coverage isn't that bad

Defensively, the Eagles have a pretty decent front seven but their
back four is just...ick. This line of theirs is anchored by LE Reggie
White - he will make the opponent smash the controller. Otherwise
they aren't great up front, though do note White's and NT Mike Golic's
31 Interceptions. Their LBs are OK at least, RILB Jerome Brown is the
best of them at run-stopping but LOLB Seth Joyner is better in pass
coverage because of his 31 Interceptions. Overall, this front seven
has some stars that can dominate you. You probably want to use Seth
Joyner as the pass defender and let White blow up his man in the
pass rush. If you're thinking run, go with Jerome Brown because he's
at RILB and he has some pretty nice ratings.
You will spend most of your time defensively trying to cover for
three of your DBs, though. RCB Eric Allen is close enough to good to
hold up his own most of the time, but it really fades from there.
LCB Ben Smith is slower and weaker than Allen, and while FS Wes
Hopkins has 56 Interceptions, he is pitifully slow, which makes him
close to useless. However, the crown turd in this defense is yet
another player Tecmo screwed over, SS Andre Waters. A big (dirty)
hitter in real life, Waters is incredibly weak in this game. It's hard
to imagine how a player could possibly be rated this poorly and still be
considered NFL-worthy. One wonders what the programmers were smoking
when they put him down. Really, the bottom part of this secondary is
so terrible, you really shouldn't bother too much about calling passes
because you will still get burned a lot of the time, especially if
Andre Waters gets matched up against a good WR.
The key with this defense is to totally shut down the opponent's run
and then just try and do what you can against their passing offense.
If you can make them drop back a lot, Reggie White will get in there
and make plays, and also you have a better chance of your opponent
screwing up and throwing it to Wes Hopkins or something similar.
Really, you must get your opponent to try and screw up in the passing
game in order for you to win, because they will bring it on a lot of
downs against Waters and you just can't deal with that + 100 yards
rushing. You can do something about the run, so make sure they can't
beat you keeping it on the ground, and once you get them throwing it
all over the place in a drive, then you can start calling passes and
getting stops and coverage sacks and these things. They will score, but
you have some offense while QB Eagles is still upright, so you can
definitely pull out some wins with this team.

Defensively, your first, second, and third priorities are stopping
QB Eagles. Eagles' run is the most devastating of his weapons because
it gives him a lot of flexibility about what he tries to do with his
slow WRs. If he can run it 15 times a game, he is going to get a lot more
shots at throwing it deep when guys come open. You definitely want to
stop his signature sweep by finding a pass play that works well against
it, covering many of their receivers in the process, then you can force
him into making some throws he doesn't want to make, and since this
team can't beat you throwing into coverage, you can really stifle this
offense. The wildcard here is their set running game. If they can use
Keith Jackson or if they get Drummond or Barnett in EXCELLENT, they
might be able to make some plays with those guys. Now and then, when
Heath Sherman goes into EXCELLENT, you will see him out there sometimes;
tackle him in bounds if he gets the ball. You have to really temper
your desire to stop the set run because Eagles will beat you. If they
want to keep Eagles in the stable and try to run Keith Jackson or
Robert Drummond, don't freak out about them. If you don't allow Jackson
to be the runner, you will see him out on deep routes and that's where
all the desperation passes will go - don't let him alone if he's going
long. Don't do risky things once the ball is out of Eagles' hands,
and make him run around so he can fumble by getting tackled in bounds
if he tries to make a play, and also so you can injure him. This way,
you get enough opportunities to wear down their defense. Also try to
hold him short and then come back for their deep receivers, they aren't
fast and a lot of pass defenders will make mincemeat out of them.
Make their plays last to get yourself some guys to help you out with
Eagles' run. You can add to the fun by freeing up your boys over the
C and RG, it is easy to smash those guys into the turf.
Of course if QB Eagles is hurt, happy feasting!

On your own offense, the key is to set up your best receiver on the
bottom of the field to match up against LCB Smith and SS Waters.
Your follow-up to that is to call runs early in the game, forcing
your opponent's playcalling to track your tendency. Then, when you
call a pass in a non-obvious situation, Smith will pull up on many
run calls, and then you have Andre Waters all alone to feast on with
the jump ball. That's the first basic strategy. The second is to
use pass plays that hit quickly because LE Reggie White will tear
through your line and start riding your quarterback. Either run
back away from the line and throw the jumper if the coverage is good,
or press up and try to run and get RILB Jerome Brown or Seth LOLB Joyner
to overplay the short pass. Try to avoid the top of the screen because
a lot of the time, you are taking a risk by throwing up there whereas
below, really you have single coverage no matter what. In the running
game, just target their defender of choice. Typically you can work some
big plays off that, but be aware that if you dawdle and cut too much,
White will come after you and beat you down. If you can, try to use
some runs that make them use Ben Smith or Wes Hopkins to defend them
well, then you can get some vicious chicken games going. However, that
probably won't be possible; you can force your opponent out of White
or Joyner, but forcing him out of Brown as well is pretty difficult.
Don't be stupid throwing short, Joyner and White can pick you off, so
you aren't home free if you get a good matchup.

                          Phoenix Cardinals

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall   19
      Offense   22
      Defense   14
      Pass D    13
      Rush D    13

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Timm Rosenbach         3  QB  25 69 19 13 31 44 38 31
Tom Tupa              19  QB  25 69 13 13 44 38 31 38
Johnny Johnson        41  RB  38 69 50 38 50 38
Roy Green             81  WR  38 69 44 13 50 56
Ron Wolfley           24  RB  38 69 38 38 50 25
Vai Sikahema          44  RB  44 69 38 25 50 31
Ricky Proehl          87  WR  25 69 19 13 50 69
Ernie Jones           86  WR  31 69 38 13 50 56
Darrell Thompson      34  RB  38 69 38 38 50 25
J.T.Smith             84  WR  25 69 25 13 50 50
Walter Reeves         89  TE  25 69 19 44 50 38
Tim Jorden            85  TE  25 69 19 38 50 25
Bill Lewis            51   C  25 69 31 38
Derek Kennard         70   G  25 69 25 56
Lance Smith           61   G  25 69 31 38
Luis Sharpe           67   T  25 69 50 63
Tootie Robbins        63   T  25 69 25 56
Al Del Greco          17   K  56 81 81 31 19 56
Rich Camarillo        16   P  25 56 44 31 75 81
Rod Saddler           72  DE  25 31 38 50 19 50
Jim Wahler            66  NT  25 31 38 44 19 44
Freddie Joe Nunn      78  DE  31 44 50 56 19 56
Ken Harvey            56  LB  31 44 56 63 19 63
Garth Jax             53  LB  25 31 38 31 31 44
Eric Hill             58  LB  25 31 31 38 19 38
Anthony Bell          55  LB  25 31 31 38 31 44
Jay Taylor            27  CB  25 31 38 19 50 31
Cedric Mack           47  CB  25 31 31 38 44 44
Lonnie Young          43  FS  69 31 44 44 56 44
Tim McDonald          46  SS  38 44 56 56 56 69

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Rams   7. Min.  13. Phi.
 2. Phi.   8. Atl.  14. BYE
 3. Was.   9. Min.  15. Was.
 4. Dal.  10. Dal.  16. Den.
 5. N.E.  11. Gia.  17. N.O.
 6. Gia.  12. S.F.

The Cardinals' Base Offense
QB Timm Rosenbach
Featured Back Johnny Johnson
Blocking Back Ron Wolfley/Darrell Thompson
WR Roy Green
WR Ernie Jones
TE Walter Reeves

The Cardinals' Hands Set
QB Timm Rosenbach
RB Johnny Johnson
Possession WR Ricky Proehl
WR Roy Green
WR Ernie Jones
TE Walter Reeves

The Cardinals' Power Set
QB Tom Tupa
Featured Back Johnny Johnson
Fullback Walter Reeves
WR Roy Green
Physical Back Ron Wolfley
Physical Back Darrell Thompson

Phoenix, like Atlanta, is a team that has some stars who can dominate,
but also a lot of "carbon-based life forms" as Paul would say. The key
with the Cardinal is to play to your strengths and work solid
fundamentals to give your stars a chance to win the game for you.

Your quarterback situation is iffy, to say the least. The conditions
typically determine which is the best. Tom Tupa has better Pass Speed,
but Timm Rosenbach has 19 MS and better pass quality stats. Rosenbach
is a better jump-ball man, and in my view, an overall better QB, while
Tupa is a better move-the-chains passer. Basically take your pick.
However you have some OK receivers, nothing special but you do have
some measure of depth. Roy Green and Ernie Jones can stretch the field
but only to a very limited extent. Ernie Jones plays above his stats
but don't quote me on that. Ricky Proehl is a pretty interesting player
to say the least - slow as bleep, but he can definitely pull the ball
in. Still, he is just so slow that you usually don't want him out there
because even in the jump-ball game he is just too slow to get down into
the end zone before you get sacked. I wouldn't use J.T. Smith because
you have some pretty decent backup RBs, and if you really need more than
the 25 REC the RBs will give you, try Walter Reeves (never Tim Jorden)
because he has more power than Smith for not _too_ much of a REC cost.
You can involve Johnny Johnson in the passing game if you need a play
to get across the marker, but you need to limit his touches somewhat, so
don't start throwing it to him 5 times a drive. The theme of this
passing game is to dump it to your backs who have decent speed and can
get some yards before the MAN can help out; then, if the MAN cheats
up, go to Roy Green and Ernie Jones for a big play. Even though you
will have some drops throwing to your RBs 10 times a game, you can't
give up on it because otherwise your deep passing game will wither
from the MAN being able to blitz up on you and to cheat up on you when
you try to take the corner, especially with Rosenbach. Don't dawdle
around behind the line; while you have some good tackles, your interior
can and will be overmatched against good defensive linemen.

The running game of the Cardinals is quite solid, nothing fearsome but
you have some blood flowing here. Johnny Johnson is the focal point of
your rushing attack because he has 50 MS, but know that you have 3 RBs
with 38 MS, and if any one of them gets up into EXCELLENT they will be
good options for you. You want to keep Johnson on the field because of
his talent and because you find sometimes that the MAN will key on him
instead of a guy like Ron Wolfley, who just pounds it out if he gets up
in condition - this you can exploit. However, being paranoid about the
center of your offense is going to get you stuffed, so use Johnson as
much as you need, and go out of bounds when convenient. Your RBs are
also your best blockers, so set them out there in the power sets, and
if you need even more power, then go to Walter Reeves (don't use Vai
Sikahema however: he's only got 25 HP and he is your best returner, so
don't push it with him on double duty blocking). However, don't
think that this is a great rushing offense because it isn't: you can
and will be shut down if you go up against a great MAN run defender,
but if you have a great A button you may still be able to fight out
of the defensive interior. Go offtackle and on sweeps to avoid relying
on your interior line too much, while taking advantage of your good

On special teams, Al del Greco is a positively horrible kicker. On
the positive side, however, Vai Sikahema has some return skills and
P Rich Camarillo is one of the best in the game. Ken Harvey also has
some modest kick-blocking ability.

The Cardinals have to win games on defense, but they have some players
who can make it happen, though they also have some guys who are just
along for the ride. On the line, LE Freddie Joe Nunn is a player who can
rush the passer or stop the run. In the LBs, ROLB Ken Harvey is your great
star - don't be deceived by RILB Garth Jax, Ken Harvey should be used at
all times if possible, both in run defense and pass coverage. Jax is
an Interceptions LB though, he may drop in pass coverage and do
something meaningful. Don't worry about LOLB Anthony Bell though, he is
useless even if he weren't a rush OLB, so don't try to do something
exotic to free him up.
The secondary is where things happen for the Cardinal. RCB Jay Taylor is
not that good but he does have the ability to tip passes. LCB Cedric
Mack on the other side though, he's nothing to be proud of. The play
of the safeties is what makes this defense work. FS Lonnie Young, with
his mutant 69 Rushing Speed, has pretty good quickness and closing
ability, though he can certainly be overmatched at times, so don't
think he's invincible. He is a pretty good pass defender, so he needs
to play a part in your defensive gameplan. SS Tim McDonald, on
the other hand, he's an all-around good safety, but he can be caught
up in the flow of the run at times, so you have to be prudent about
him. With this defense you are looking not so much to contain as to
make good solid plays against both the pass and the run, and not
really looking to make turnovers as much as to sap the vitality and
the element of surprise out of your opponent's playcalling. Sometimes
it will be the skin of your teeth with this team, but you can hang with
a lot of offenses if you design your defensive scheme around making
your opponent vanilla with your stars in the front seven, then looking
to finish with the safeties. Know that the power dive is your greatest
enemy and you must force your opponent out of it, because you really
don't have any guys in a good position to be able to stop it, and you
won't be able to free up your boys with Ken Harvey in time to stop
the advance (you can't free them up period, most of your boys are weak).


Defensively, the mindset is to make mincemeat of Johnny Johnson and
the running game. They do have a little speed at receiver, but it's
nothing vicious, and while you will give up a few jump balls, you
don't have much to worry about as long as Johnson, Wolfley, Sikahema,
and Thompson are running for no gain. QB is the weakness of this
offense, and if you can make them pass-reliant, you are going to make
the low REC of their players and the accuracy problems of their
quarterbacks really blatant, which you can exploit using your pass
defender. Do note however, since this passing game relies so much
on the dump-and-run, that you can't be doing the automatic dive that
Tecmo makes your guy do when he gets close to the defender; you must
be able to come up and make the quick stop, because if you give them
enough shots at Roy Green and enough chances at the chains, they will
be close to your end zone and have a chance to punch it in. Your job
is to deny them the TD and make Al del Greco beat you which is not
going to be easy for them at any range. Don't give them easy things
and let them get 70 yards on a botched run defense when you can just
give up 5 per pass to their backup RBs and make them drive drive
drive down the field, and at some point you will get a fumble or
they will drop a pass or you will get some good play calls and you
will make them bring out "Automatic Al" to try and put some points
on the board. Try to destroy their running game early so that they
become one-dimensional; if you can focus on the pass exclusively
you can shut this team straight down. Know however, that a good
opponent won't fall for you selling out against the run and will
come back to it later in the game when you try and pressure the
pass. Their C and RG are easy prey for you freeing up the boys, so
that can help you when you are trying to stop the jump ball and also
the run with the front seven.

On offense, you don't want to throw it into their safeties, or RILB
Garth Jax. After that, let it fly. Run at ROLB Ken Harvey and take him
away, but don't get too caught up in the mind games of which safety to
obliterate, just stick to the basics of power running and get your
yards before help can arrive. This is a safety-driven defense, so use
the power dive to open things up. Run early and run often on both
sides to make the MAN have to run all over the field to try and stop
you. If PHX gets into a rhythm in the run-stopping game, they can
become dominating; you want to set them back in the running game
at least once every drive. In this way, you will keep a lot of the
pressure off your deep receivers and you can get them open late in
the game when you are trying to convert a long third down - PHX
will try and drain away your desire to penetrate them, so don't just
give in to the pressure that they will periodically apply, don't
mistake their few stars for a horde like Pittburgh's, and take it
to them using your strengths.

                            Dallas Cowboys

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall   14
      Offense   17
      Defense   11
      Pass D    15
      Rush D    11

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Troy Aikman            8  QB  25 69 13 13 50 44 50 50
Babe Laufenberg       15  QB  25 69 13 13 44 38 31 38
Emmitt Smith          22  RB  38 69 56 31 50 38
Tommie Agee           34  RB  38 69 25 44 50 44
Alonzo Highsmith      32  RB  38 69 38 38 50 44
Robert Perryman       39  RB  38 69 31 38 50 25
Kelvin Martin         83  WR  31 69 38 13 50 56
Michael Irvin         88  WR  38 69 44 13 50 50
Alexander Wright      81  WR  25 69 25 13 50 44
James Dixon           86  WR  31 69 31 13 50 44
Jay Novacek           84  TE  25 69 44 69 50 69
Rob Awalt             89  TE  25 69 19 56 50 31
Mark Stepnoski        53   C  25 69 38 38
Crawford Ker          68   G  25 69 31 50
John Gesek            67   G  25 69 31 44
Kevin Gogan           66   T  25 69 19 56
Nate Newton           61   T  25 69 25 75
Ken Willis             1   K  56 81 81 31 44 44
Mike Saxon             4   P  25 56 44 31 56 75
Tony Tolbert          92  DE  25 31 38 50 19 56
Danny Noonan          73  NT  25 38 44 50 19 50
Daniel Stubbs         96  DE  31 38 50 56 19 69
Ken Norton            51  LB  25 38 44 38 31 44
Eugene Lockhart       56  LB  31 44 50 56 19 56
Jimmie Jones          97  LB  31 31 50 56 19 69
Jack Del Rio          55  LB  25 31 38 38 19 44
Manny Hendrix         45  CB  38 50 63 50 44 50
Issiac Holt           30  CB  38 44 56 56 50 63
Ray Horton            20  FS  31 38 50 56 44 38
James Washington      37  SS  31 38 50 50 50 38

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Cle.   7. Cin.  13. Was.
 2. Was.   8. BYE   14. Pit.
 3. Phi.   9. Det.  15. N.O.
 4. Phx.  10. Phx.  16. Phi.
 5. Gia.  11. Hou.  17. Atl.
 6. G.B.  12. Gia.

Dallas' Base Offense
QB Troy Aikman
Primary RB Emmitt Smith
Secondary RB Alonzo Highsmith
Speedy WR Michael Irvin
All-Star WR Jay Novacek
Third Option Kelvin Martin

Dallas' Power Set
QB Troy Aikman
RB Emmitt Smith
FB Rob Awalt
Physical WR Jay Novacek
TE Tommie Agee
TE Robert Perryman

Dallas is a team that can be easily misjudged because of the two
extremes of their future and their recent past (when this game came
out). This isn't a 5-11 squad here but neither is it a 13-3 juggernaut that
can dominate throughout the playoffs. There are some great stars on this
team, but also some roster spots that need upgrading, so you must know
your team well on offense and have mastery of all the ILB and DB positions
on defense to make the most out of this team.

QB Troy Aikman is a player who is both strong and weak. He cannot stand
up against a top DB and challenge him, because he will get picked off.
He can put a solid drive together if he can find his guys and get them the
ball at key moments in the play. Even then, however, he will still miss
open receivers and throw picks in an eerily Chris Everett way, even in
EXCELLENT condition. Caution is required - Aikman throws short better than
long without question. Babe Laufenberg isn't a player to really
rave about, he can be really flat sometimes, although he can have his
moments too. Aikman throws to a lot of guys who can all catch the ball,
but none really that well with the exception of his TE Jay Novacek. What
you want to do with Novacek is a mystery; to me the trick is finding a
place in the offensive lineup where he can use his power to overwhelm the
defender across from him, but to where he can also get out way deep and
get jump balls and just stretch the defense with his power after the
catch, and force the MAN to go and double-cover. Since in my offense the
sweep down low is the key, I put him at WR #2, but he will lose some of
his ability to go deep on shotgun plays for example. I think it's even
more important to get him deep than it is to get him a great blocking
matchup, but if you just leave him totally out of the blocking game you
have wasted your best blocker.
As far as Irvin vs. Martin is concerned, Martin is a better receiver
overall, but speed is important and stretching the field with Irvin is
more of a priority, because you're sending Novacek deep a lot of the
time anyway, and you can't force it into Martin against a half-decent
coverage anyhow. The other WRs on this team suck, don't bother using
them when you have decent backup RBs, and even backup TE Roy Awalt whom
you can get some decent blocking out of. The guy I really like out of
the backup RBs is Alonzo Highsmith, as he's all around decent at everything
he does, but Tommie Agee is your next option for his blocking ability.
Definitely find Highsmith a place on the field and then go with the
conditions and your style of offense, you can go more open or more
powerful depending on what you like to do. About Emmitt, he's a pretty
good receiver out of the backfield for a RB, but don't give him a ton of
touches - you want his 56 MS to always be on the field.
You can't sit in the pocket at all, roll out and then there, you can
stay safe because you've got two pretty good tackles, especially RT
Nate Newton. No real mobility running here but hey, Aikman's not
Marino (yet).

Continuing about Emmitt, he has speed and a little power and a little
Receptions. It's his speed that is what makes him a good back, and you
need to get him at least 10 touches a game to try and keep the heat
off the passing game - Aikman and Novacek can't do it alone you know.
However, going above 15 is a bad idea, because without Emmitt, the threat
of the run is substantially though not totally gone, because you can
sub in Novacek and then Irvin there (provided you can use WR at RB).
Plus, you also have Alonzo Highsmith in there, so you can push it
somewhat; but to me, balance is pretty important with this team, because
you can definitely get in there to where, you start running a lot with
Emmitt, and you get a few drives where you have to start passing for
the first down, and you just totally lose your offensive push forward,
and you end up wasting a quarter. This is not a quick-strike offense,
so even if you end up catching the MAN off-guard with your play-call,
there's really no way to guarantee that you are going to get a play
commensurate to the risks and the adversity you face trying to move
the ball just one way. When Novacek gets a passing TD, Smith gets a
rushing TD, and Highsmith gets 40 total yards, that's when this team
is really moving well. You have a lot of different weapons, none of whom
can win games by themselves without getting sick numbers of touches,
so to try and maintain the stamina of the team, you want to go and
spread the ball around. This will also reduce the volatility of Emmitt
getting hurt and "Aikma" making stupid plays, as he has an unfortunate
tendency to do. Keep the defense guessing so you can release the ball
in time and get out of bounds.

On special teams Dallas' return teams aren't the best in the league
by any means, and Ken Willis is a guy who reminds you of '70s sitcoms.
As far as the return man is concerned, no advice from me, they really
aren't that good returning in Dallas - just don't put one of your
offensive stars back there, this team is not _that_ deep so you don't
want to press your luck.

Defensively the Cowboys are all-around solid, but no one is really a
true superstar, so you want to use the best player for a given down
and formation and never let your opponent try for a big play by keying
on one of your guys. This line is OK, led by LE Daniel Stubbs, but this
team is not going to get a huge number of sacks based on pressure up
front, nor will they play great run defense. The OLBs are pretty sad
at rushing the passer though ROLB Ken Norton can do a small amount of
pass coverage. However, with the DBs on this team, you really shouldn't
bother about using him, just lump him and LOLB Jack Del Rio in with the
defensive linemen, because you aren't going to be hearing about big
plays from those guys very often.
However, what makes this defense go is the play of RILB Eugene Lockhart
and his (slightly lesser) sidekick LILB Jimmie Jones. These two guys just
dominate the interior with tactics against run plays, so you definitely
want to get to know and use these guys, because you can get some big
plays out of them if you are experienced at taking out the run. Neither
has any special coverage ability, go figure.
The DBs are a pretty surprising rock in this defense. None of them has
less than 50 Hitting Power, so you can definitely stand tall if some
punk wants to try and get his blockers on your CBs, because they are
not moving. However, what they can do is move the ball on you, because
the top (fast) side of your defense is 44 Interceptions land, and
the bottom is 50 Interceptions land. Expect to have to go out and
double-cover against top hands receivers. One thing to like though, is
that everybody in the secondary can defend the run and also, they have
the speed to stay with the players on the field.
My view of the defensive strategy here, is kind of to play with a
more spread NYJ set. Try and dominate the run with the ILBs as much
as possible, but if you need to, kick out to the best DB to stop the
formation. Manny Hendrix the RCB and Ray Horton the FS definitely have
some wheels, so you can go after the sweep down low with them. The thing
is, you have to get good coverage to compensate for the lack of a
superstar pass defender, so you want to call pass first and then come
back and use your versatility to stop the run.


Jay Novacek and Emmitt Smith will present your defense with the major
problems, and guys like Highsmith and Irvin can do some damage to you
if you totally ignore them, but with competency you can shut this team
down. The first rule of thumb is, find their power players and avoid
them on the run, because they can end up deploying 3 power guys in
their base offensive sets, and if you don't know where guys like
Novacek and Awalt and Agee are, you are going to be in for a very long
day. Even Alonzo Highsmith and Robert Perryman can give you problems,
not to mention Emmitt Smith, as he is not a terrible blocker himself.
Trying to smash away their WRs and pounding your way into the RB is
not likely to be an effective strategy here. Smith is a guy who can
rush for 200 yards on you if you underestimate him and just stick
with calling passes, so the first priority is to stop him cold. If
they have to make Aikman throw a lot of passes and you have a superstar
or a good pass defender, you can get a lot of opportunities for baiting
him because he doesn't have good passing stats overall, coupled with
a pedestrian Pass Speed. However, it isn't easy pickings here because
their underneath men can actually catch and hold onto the ball, and
from time to time they can complete it in coverage, so you can't be
gambling _too_ much there. They can't stretch the field with their speed
too much, so you shouldn't freak about them getting down there; try and
hold Aikman, especially if you have a pass rush, because you can bring
him down and, more likely, force him to throw some inaccurate passes
which you can exploit. However, know that their WRs can get deep enough
to hurt you, especially Novacek who is going to act as a WR on a lot
of plays and go deep. You can't just leave Novacek alone out there, he
will make you pay. If you are in an obvious passing down and you need
something, you can blitz but it's not necessarily going to be effective.
You can definitely free up your boys on the interior of this offensive
line though, this line is hurting at C and RG and you can exploit this
in a major way.

On your own offense, it really doesn't matter what you do as long as
you avoid giving your opponent predictable run looks and trends. The DBs
and the ILBs on this team can stop a ton of runs if you just give it
away, so you don't want to give them chances to use the right defender
to shut you down hard. Against this secondary you can throw; they are
fast, but if you like to use the jump ball, you aren't going to get so
many better opportunities than this. You want to try and play to your
strengths, but pass first if your team can take that, because Dallas will
be taxed by it more than anything else; you won't be able to fluster
them often at all by running. Use your open sets against this team,
because there really aren't any DBs you can roll by using a blocking TE
alone against them, and you want to exploit their pass defense with your
hands guys to avoid getting picked off. However, if you have a great
blocker like Jamie Mueller, you can definitely take out the OLBs with

                            Chicago Bears

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall   17
      Offense   23
      Defense    4
      Pass D     1
      Rush D     6

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Jim Harbaugh           4  QB  25 69 13 13 44 25 56 25
Mike Tomczak          18  QB  25 69 13 13 44 31 31 38
Brad Muster           25  RB  44 69 25 94 50 56
Neal Anderson         35  RB  50 69 63 50 50 50
Mark Green            31  RB  38 69 31 25 50 25
Johnny Bailey         22  RB  38 69 56 25 50 38
Ron Morris            84  WR  31 69 31 13 50 50
Wendell Davis         82  WR  31 69 31 13 50 50
Glen Kozlowski        88  WR  25 69 19 13 50 44
Dennis Gentry         29  WR  25 69 19 13 50 50
James Thornton        85  TE  25 69 25 63 50 25
Cap Boso              86  TE  25 69 19 44 50 31
Jay Hilgenberg        63   C  25 69 50 63
Mark Bortz            62   G  25 69 44 69
Tom Thayer            57   G  25 69 38 50
Jim Covert            74   T  25 69 31 50
Keith Van Horne       78   T  25 69 31 50
Kevin Butler           6   K  56 81 81 31 38 50
Maury Buford           8   P  25 56 44 31 31 25
Richard Dent          95  DE  31 44 50 63 44 75
William Perry         72  NT  38 31 19 69 19 56
Trace Armstrong       93  DE  31 44 50 63 19 69
Jim Morrissey         51  LB  25 31 38 44 31 44
Dan Hampton           99  LB  25 31 38 56 19 63
Mike Singletary       50  LB  38 50 56 75 19 81
Ron Rivera            59  LB  25 31 38 44 31 44
Lemuel Stinson        32  CB  38 44 56 50 69 56
Donnell Woolford      21  CB  31 38 50 44 63 63
Mark Carrier          20  FS  38 44 56 50 81 69
Shaun Gayle           23  SS  25 31 44 44 56 44

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Min.   7. BYE   13. Mia.
 2. T.B.   8. G.B.  14. Det.
 3. Gia.   9. N.O.  15. G.B.
 4. Jets  10. Det.  16. T.B.
 5. Buf.  11. Min.  17. S.F.
 6. Was.  12. Ind.

Bears' Base "Offense"
RB Mike Tomczak
RB Johnny Bailey
FB Brad Muster
WR Ron Morris
Deep Threat TE Neal Anderson
Blocking TE James Thornton

Bears' All-Muscle Offense
RB Mike Tomczak
RB Johnny Bailey
FB Brad Muster
Deep Threat TE Neal Anderson
Trick Play TE Cap Boso
Blocking TE James Thornton

The Monsters of the Midway...in this game, they are the Munsters of
the Midway, because their offense is a total joke. While this team does
have a dominating defense, there is almost no passing game whatsoever,
and you end up running the ball 25 times a game instead of trying to
pass it to players who have no better than 50 REC and getting picked off.
Good luck winning the Super Bowl with this team.

I think Jim Harbaugh is EVEN WORSE than Steve Gorgon. Think about it,
Grogan can at least throw a few jump balls right? The only balls Harbaugh
throws are interceptions to the MAN. Make no mistake, that 56 PA is only
there so the DBs can pick it off more easily. 6 MS Jeff George moves a
team down the field better than this atrocious excuse for a quarterback.
Against a MAN controlled Bears team, I set what must be an all-time serious
play MAN vs. MAN record of 28 INTs in 16 games, of which Harbaugh played
about 14 whole games. Near the end of the year, Harbaugh REFUSED to throw
to wide-open receivers; instead, he just threw it out into space, or better
yet, to one of my guys.
DO NOT EVER THINK about using Harbaugh, this guy will kill you every time.
Every rose may have its Thornton, but I can assure you, every time
Harbaugh touches the ball, it's an INT waiting to happen.

Tomczak...let's just move on. One thing you do have with him is at least
a little Pass Speed, so you can throw the ball to Muster short. Do not
throw to Neal Anderson whom you are setting at receiver, this is disaster
if he is covered. The only reason you put Neal Anderson out at receiver
is so that if he goes uncovered, you can stretch the field out all the
way to get your 7 yard dump pass off. You can't throw anything into
coverage with this team, and while Tomczak can have his moments, he can
melt down in a couple possessions, so don't start getting cocky with
him. Your short options are Johnny Bailey and Brad Muster: use Muster
when you need to go through guys and Bailey when you want pure speed.
Muster has some pretty sure hands, so if you need a reception in the
clutch, Muster can and will come through for you when it counts.
I would not advise throwing to Ron Morris except if he's wide open,
nor to James Thornton if you can avoid it; Thornton is good at blocking
so you need him, but he's not anything you want holding the ball for
extended periods of time. If you need more receivers, Wendell Davis
is OK and Glen Koslowski is a hard-working receiver, but Glen just
doesn't have any talent whatsoever. Run as much as possible with
Tomczak and step out of bounds to avoid having Harbaugh enter the game;
believe me, you don't want Harbaugh to defy physics while the ball
is lofted towards the MAN.

The running game is where the Bears have to make their money and there
is some talent here. Brad Muster is a good option if you are going
up against a team with a lot of weak players, he can smash the lights
out of any chump he touches. Nevertheless, Muster in this offense is at
his best when he is blocking and catching dump passes and going down in
a pile of 5 people once he gets the ball, because this guy can give out
concussions with his strength. He is a natural fit at WR, but you may
end up using him at fullback if you throw to the fullback a lot -
in any case, get someone for him to blow up. Neal Anderson is a pretty
good back for this team, he's a top back with 63 MS, 50 HP, and
50 REC. However, you need his talents most at receiver, so you really
don't want him back there, although if Bailey gets hurt (and he will
if you use him on special teams), Anderson is a runner you want to
try and take the corner with. Still, you can go anywhere on the field,
especially on the power dive behind Muster, because that is a double
load screaming through the hole. If you want to block for Muster or
Bailey though, or run a two-back system with Bailey, you can do that
just as well, because NA's no pushover. Anderson's talents in this O,
though, are best used blocking and receiving because the receiving
is what this team needs. Johnny Bailey, on the other hand, can
supply any remaining needs this team has. He has 56 MS so he's no
slouch either, and while he is not the back Neal Anderson is, if you
need Anderson to run the ball for you, you are in real trouble because
nobody is going to respect Tomczak throwing to Bailey's 38 REC on the
deep ball. My view of this personnel schema is to set up Muster where
he can block on running downs and get short receptions on passing
downs, set up Neal Anderson where he will go deep on the pass and get
a good block on the outside sweep, set up Thornton to block, and then
either get Cap Boso in there for super muscle or Ron Morris to at
least _try_ and make the MAN think there's a pass threat there, and
then put Bailey back there to get the takes, subbing in Anderson at
RB whenever Bailey goes down. This way you can get the most out of
this miserable WR and TE corps.

On special teams Johnny Bailey can bring it all day. You may have some
success with others but Bailey is the key attraction as the return man.
The coverage teams are definitely at least passable but the kicker and
punter...ick. LILB Mike Singletary however, using a little trick, can
rush the kicker though, so this team isn't all thumbs anyway.

Chicago's defense must keep the scoring down to allow a lucky running
score or jump ball to get the lead, then close it out at the end of
the game by preventing the jump ball and the big run. Fortunately, this
team has some of the absolute best pass defenders in the game, and one
of the best lines as well, so you can definitely at least stop the big
pass plays and, with LILB Mike Singletary, you have a pretty good chance
of stopping runs as well.
This defensive line is dominating, but one fact that is not well known
is that RE Richard Dent has 44 Interceptions. You definitely have to bring
this guy out on passing downs if you can, as he is much better than Mike
Singletary at stopping the pass. Even though you are going to give up
a little pass rush, 44 Interceptions + 50 MS + one of the best pass
coverage secondaries in football = domination.
Avoid the LBs. They are the Achilles heel of this defense. None of them
are any good except for Singletary, and to add insult to injury, the
Interceptions LBs are the OLBs who rush the passer (and can't do that
worth a tobacco spittoon). Use Singletary when you feel like you can
stop the run: he is one of the strongest defenders in the game, so you
can throw some drones for sure, but he is not all that good in pass
coverage especially compared to your other options. However, you can't
be too conservative, because your other run-stopping options don't have
much strength (save for your D-line).
The DBs are guys who need to go out in coverage as much as possible
to take advantage of their hands. RCB Stinson and FS Carrier together
make the worst side in football to try and throw on. Carrier doesn't play
up to his reputation and no one in the secondary is _that_ fast, but
they can still tear it up in a hurry if the MAN starts playing it fast
and loose by throwing it on that side. The other side with Woolford
and Gayle has "only" 63 and 56 Interceptions. Start the defense by
calling run to make them throw. If you can make them throw even once
every three downs you are in pretty good shape. Any MAN will think
twice (except me, I have ice in my veins and fire in my eyes) about
throwing it even into single coverage by Carrier, let alone a swarm
of Bears defenders. The next key is to find out what runs you can
contain for 5 or less yards if you get them backed up. Singletary
or Dent or whoever, if they can make the stop, it frees you up to call
more passes. Sooner or later, they will throw it at one of your guys,
and that is when you will burn them by pulling down the ball. Be
tenacious and make the QB run instead of doing any passing, as you can
make him miss open receivers if you just flat out stop him 5 times
or more, because he will just want to take off instead of trying for
a big play.
The difference between the Bears and a lot of lesser defensive
teams is that, instead of trying to make them pound it out in the
running game and making tackles all around, you want to make them
pound it out in the passing game and get interceptions. However,
don't just let them run twice and get the first, bring them to
third down to make them want to try and open up a big play with the
pass, instead of keeping it on the ground and not getting your
playmakers involved.

Defensively, don't do anything stupid to let them spring their
running backs. Know who their power guys are and avoid
them, as the blockers are usually slow. If they bring a receiver or
two, or Johnny Bailey or Mark Green is making a block, then
smash through them. The easiest way to give up a big play against
this team is to get caught up by one of their power blockers, then
the back burns your defense with speed.
You can easily make them run 20 plays in a full drive if you know
what you are doing. Let them take underneath stuff instead of
letting guys go wide open, but if there is coverage down the field,
just frustrate them short and make them run Tomczak even more and
get their yards-per-snap down. If you can make them just sit there
and throw it every two downs to try and get things going, that just
tests Tomczak's accuracy to the limit, and they are not going to be
able to keep that up over four quarters. You put those two things
together, and it makes their ability to string together 15 plays to
get into the end zone very limited. One thing you must do in the red
zone is to focus on the run, because they are not going to be able to
pass it in if you have any kind of a defender out there - if you can
just get the single coverage, you've won the battle. If you can make
them kick field goals and not let them into the end zone you are
halfway to beating the Bears, because they are not going to be able
to get that far consistently if you make them flow their offense
through the passing game and force them to settle for 4 yards a normal
run snap. It's when they start getting 14 points on the board that
things become hairy, because then you have to punch it in against
their defense.
On long 3rd downs, watch out for the jump ball to Ron Morris; he can
and does make an occasional play deep. At the end of halves, watch for
this tendency also. However, the Bears will try the run before anything
else, and only when the pass play is sour or the final ticks are coming
off the clock will the Bears use this method.

On offense, run against LILB Mike Singletary and take him, their best
run defender, right out of the game. If you have him out, then you are
a pretty good way towards getting some room to run, which is what you
want to be doing against this defense. You must employ speed at RB to
work against the DBs, to make them keep their corners up and allow you
to get some open guys whom you can hit without fear of interception.
One thing you must remember is that this team does not have any true
burners who can peel in from way off and make a play on your guy, so
if you have a ton of deep guys out there, you often have a safe move
you can make on your short man. Roll out to avoid this pass rush
and to run the ball if no one comes open; however, try to get a man
open behind Singletary, because Singletary is fast enough to come
after you and take you down. Likewise with RE Richard Dent, who can
pick you off as well, so don't try any funny business with him. If
you catch the MAN cheating up on you when you've got guys open deep,
you can definitely throw it over their heads because they don't have
the speed to get back there consistently (if FS Carrier pulls up, for
instance). DO NOT be throwing the ball deep against solid coverage
unless you are in a long third down and you have no chance of kicking
a field goal and you are close enough that you can take a shot into
the end zone without getting caught by the pass rush, because if you
throw it up, sometimes it's as good as gone. Prefer the run to
everything else, so that when you go to pass, you will have some space
in which to work. Don't run through the line unless you have a powerful
offensive interior, you will get smacked down by their defensive

                            Detroit Lions

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall    9
      Offense    7
      Defense   17
      Pass D    20
      Rush D    15

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Rodney Peete           9  QB  25 69 31 13 38 44 31 25
Andre Ware            11  QB  25 69 25 13 44 38 31 44
Barry Sanders         20  RB  38 69 69 25 69 44
Aubrey Matthews       83  WR  25 69 19 13 50 50
James Wilder          34  RB  44 69 31 25 50 25
Mel Gray              23  RB  38 69 56 19 50 50
Richard Johnson       84  WR  25 69 19 13 50 75
Robert Clark          82  WR  38 69 44 13 50 69
Willie Green          86  RB  38 69 38 13 50 31
Jeff Campbell         87  WR  25 69 25 13 50 44
Terry Greer           89  WR  31 69 31 13 50 44
Mike Farr             81  WR  25 69 25 13 50 44
Kevin Glover          53   C  25 69 31 44
Eric Andolsek         65   G  25 69 31 50
Ken Dallafior         67   G  25 69 31 38
Lomas Brown           75   T  25 69 38 56
Harvey Salem          73   T  25 69 25 50
Eddie Murray           3   K  56 81 81 31 31 50
Jim Arnold             6   P  25 56 44 31 50 56
Dan Owens             70  DE  25 31 38 56 19 56
Jerry Ball            93  NT  31 44 44 69 19 69
Keith Ferguson        77  DE  25 31 25 31 19 31
Michael Cofer         55  LB  38 50 56 50 31 56
Dennis Gibson         98  LB  25 31 31 31 19 25
Chris Spielman        54  LB  31 44 50 56 19 56
George Jamison        58  LB  25 31 31 25 19 25
Leroy Irvin           47  CB  25 31 25 25 38 50
Ray Crockett          39  CB  31 38 50 50 50 50
Bennie Blades         36  FS  25 31 38 50 44 38
William White         35  SS  38 44 56 56 56 56

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Was.   7. BYE   13. Min.
 2. G.B.   8. S.F.  14. Chi.
 3. Mia.   9. Dal.  15. Jets
 4. Ind.  10. Chi.  16. G.B.
 5. T.B.  11. T.B.  17. Buf.
 6. Min.  12. Rams

Detroit's Base Offense
QB Rodney Peete
RB Barry Sanders
RB Mel Gary
Deep Threat Robert Clark
Third Option Terry Greer
Possession WR Richard Johnson

Detroit is a team that has a pretty decent offense - they're not centered
around Barry as much as you might think, but the defense that tries to
back it up is just not good enough for this team to win the Super Bowl.

The quarterback situation in Detroit gives you some options as to what
you want to do. Neither Rodney Peete nor Andre Ware is a great passer,
but Ware has 25 MS, while Peete has 31 MS. This definitely urges you to
get out there and run it with them, but you can't neglect these receivers:
Robert Clark is a pretty decent receiver, and while Richard Johnson isn't
the greatest thing since sliced bread, he has some wicked hands. Plus,
both Mel Gray and Barry Sanders have some catching skills, so you aren't
going to have many drops with this team. Stretch the field with Robert
Clark or Mel Gray and then dump it underneath or run it. You can go with
the deep pass with this team though, even though the QBs aren't all that
In that regard, Peete will complete more passes (to your guys and to
theirs), while Ware tends to be a hot-and-cold type of quarterback that
can falter sometimes when being asked to throw 3 touchdown passes a game.
Your fifth man out there is a matter of debate, whether you go
with Willie Green who has some speed, or Terry Greer who has better hands.
Just check the conditions to see who to sub in in the passing game if
someone goes down.
My personal opinion here, but I think, over the course of a season, Ware is
a better passing QB than Peete by far; I have had some extremely hot games
with Ware in the lineup - but if Peete gets into EXCELLENT, he is a
pretty fearsome runner at 44 MS, and you don't want to forget about him if
Ware struggles. Peete requires a lot more discipline to play with because
the temptation to run the ball is so great, and a lot of times, you end
up falling behind in the chains and not taking advantage of good matchups
deep down the field when you play with the conservative tendency that
Peete often inspires. You must remember to seek the big pass play to Robert
Clark and to find ways to get Richard Johnson matched up against poor pass
defenders deep, and you must also utilize your RBs coming out of the backfield,
since they can hold the MAN up short, allowing you to get an easy TD on 3rd
and long.

The running game in Detroit is pretty well set, though the offensive line
can cause some problems. Barry is the second-best back in the game, but
for all he's worth, he can be stopped cold in some games. Mel Gray is a
fearsome RB as well, as 56 MS never hurt anybody. I think you have to go
with the split backfield and work the outside sweeps to take advantage
of the speed + no power in the running game - the best blocker on this
team is James Wilder, but even he has only 25 HP. You definitely want to
try and look to cut back, because against a great run defender who can
blow up your whole team, essentially, you want to try and get him to
overpursue and blow right past you and then get some yards streaking
right up in the heart of the defense. Plus, you want to get the best
plays in there regardless of the back they use, and when you go with the
two backs, you get some fearsome threats who can really keep the heat
off Peete and Ware when the defense tries to close on them in the QB
running game. Unpredictability is what you want to stress with Detroit,
because with all your ballcarriers, you can't force it in with power but
you have speed, so you can just move the ball running down the field if
you can keep the defense on its heels and not allow them any time to get
in position to make drive-stopping plays. You don't really need to protect
any of your runners, but going out of bounds is still a good idea if you
are going to run a ball-control offense, especially since you won't be
able to fight your way out of any big struggles with the CPU. If either
back goes down, replace them with Willie Green to get some speed in there
and to not totally disrupt the rhythm of your offense, as he can catch
a little as well, then shift your playbook to a one-back set.
James Wilder, if he gets into EXCELLENT, you definitely want to try and
set him up in your backfield because he is a power blocker then, and you
need power on this offense at all costs. You can then split Mel Gray out
to WR to stretch the field deep.

On special teams, Mel Gray is one of the better returners in this game.
Beyond him, I can offer no advice as to whom to use. Mike Cofer can rush
the kicker somewhat, but don't expect your own footmen to be able to do
anything; Eddie Murray is a joke.

Defensively, the Lions are thin and don't have any true superstars, so they
are going to have problems keeping the offense out of the end zone. RE Dan
Owens and NT Jerry Ball are pretty fearsome on the line, but Keith Ferguson
is one of the absolute worst in the game, so don't expect anything out of that
LE spot; he's not even good for tactics. However, Ball is the only lineman who
has the speed to cover, as Owens is just plain slow.
You've got two good LBs and two schmucks. ROLB Mike Cofer is the best because
of his 31 Interceptions, but LILB Chris Spielman is pretty decent in his own
right, use whichever one you need for a given run defense.
In the secondary, your bottom is strong and your top...ick. Leroy Irvin is
just flat out awful, he is going to get burned a lot. FS Bennie Blades is
better, but he is still a bad pass defender, as his 38 MS means he's not getting
there in time. However, LCB Ray Crockett is an all-around decent defender
against the pass and the run, while SS William White is the best defender
on this team, an upgraded Ray Crockett by 1 notch in each rating. However,
White isn't capable of dominating a lot of players on the opposing offense,
so you are still vulnerable somewhat.
The key strategy with this team is to use the front seven to stop the sweep
down low and White + Crockett to stop everything else. If you can free your DBs
up with your playcalling, that will really help you. Mike Cofer is the
all-around man to go for against the run, because he can recover and stop the
pass, but if Spielman is the right man for the job, use him to totally stuff
the sweep down low. The key is to be careful about the pass, because if they
can get you to use the LBs, they can toast the top side with a speed WR
all day long. You definitely want to go for big plays and just let them by
without giving up too many yards if you guess wrong. You want as much
coverage as possible, so you might also try starting against the pass, then
using Cofer to stop the run. However, you won't be able to force many
interceptions then, but it is a more solid defense if Cofer is able to make
the plays he needs to make in the run defense.

On defense, your key is to not let guys get open downfield. No matter how
much you want to stop Barry, these QBs are too fast for you to go down the
field and let them dump it to their backs or just run it themselves. You
don't want to allow this team to play a very conservative game, you want
to test their QBs' passing ability, because that is this offense's only
weakness. Try to anticipate their tendencies to force them into longer
downs where you can try and blanket their receivers deep. You have to pick
your poison with this team, either the RB run or the QB run, and you want
to take away the QB run to give yourself a chance on 3rd and 5. The best
part about this though, is that they have NO ONE who can stop a great
(i.e. strong) run defender. Take your most powerful defender and just
whail away on their blockers; they won't be able to take you, not a single
one of them, unless one of their RBs is in EXCELLENT. If they do have one
or two players who can block, see if you can still toss them - the best
they can muster is 38 HP, so you still do have a chance with some elite
run defenders to blast them to kingdom come. In this way, you have a
pretty good shot at stopping their set running game. They won't scorch
you in coverage, but they can get some jump balls so, while you should just
leave your guys in single coverage deep, you want to come back and help
them out if possible. Freeing up your boys (C and RG are the weaknesses)
can also help you especially since you are using your strongest player;
you most likely won't get rolled, especially against RG Ken Dallafior,
an easy mark if I ever saw one.

On offense, you must look to take advantage of their terrible RCB Leroy
Irvin. If your WR gets single coverage on him you MUST throw it up to
him, it's just too good there. Put your speed WR there and wait until
your guy clearly burns him, then throw it and watch the TD celebration.
One player you must also target is ROLB Mike Cofer; he is a decent pass
defender, so you want to run at him and take him out of their gameplan.
However, know that if you do this a lot, the defense will counter with
SS William White who is a better pass defender, so just do it enough that
you can strike at them while the MAN is using Cofer, and that way you can
get some big plays out of it. Their defensive line is pretty good, so
don't just sit back there in the pocket looking for an opportunity, as
Jerry Ball can grab you if you aren't watching for him. Try and put
the defense in a hard place between William White and Mike Cofer and
use that to energize the running game, then, when you have them forced
to stop your run, go over the top and score the passing TD. Even FS Bennie
Blades is an iffy pass defender, so you still have some room to work with
him. Finally, when you get them totally exasperated trying to stop your
big plays, you can move in with your QB run and your short pass to seal
the deal and avoid turnovers.

                            Green Bay Packers

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall   25
      Offense   20
      Defense   26
      Pass D    27
      Rush D    25

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Don Majkowski          7  QB  25 69 25 13 38 50 50 50
Anthony Dilweg         8  QB  25 69 13 13 44 38 31 38
Keith Woodside        33  RB  38 69 44 31 50 31
Michael Haddix        35  RB  38 69 25 94 50 25
Darrell Thompson      39  RB  38 69 38 31 50 19
Herman Fontenot       27  RB  38 69 38 25 50 38
Sterling Sharpe       84  WR  38 69 50 13 50 75
Perry Kemp            81  WR  31 69 31 13 50 50
Charles Wilson        88  WR  25 69 25 31 50 50
Jeff Query            85  WR  31 69 31 13 50 50
Ed West               86  TE  25 69 31 50 50 38
Jackie Harris         80  TE  25 69 25 44 50 31
James Campen          63   C  25 69 38 38
Rich Moran            57   G  25 69 38 44
Ron Hallstrom         65   G  25 69 25 50
Alan Veingrad         73   T  25 69 31 44
Tony Mandarich        77   T  25 69 19 63
Chris Jacke           13   K  56 81 81 31 56 38
Don Bracken           17   P  25 56 44 31 25 50
Robert Brown          93  DE  25 31 38 38 19 44
Bob Nelson            79  NT  25 69 38 56 19 56
Matt Brock            62  DE  25 31 38 44 19 44
Tim Harris            97  LB  38 50 56 50 19 63
Johnny Holland        50  LB  25 31 31 31 31 25
Brian Noble           91  LB  25 31 31 31 19 31
Scott Stephen         54  LB  25 31 31 31 38 31
Jerry Holmes          44  CB  25 31 44 38 50 38
Mark Lee              22  CB  25 31 38 38 31 31
Chuck Cecil           26  FS  25 31 38 44 38 31
Mark Murphy           37  SS  25 31 44 44 50 38

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Phi.   7. BYE   13. Ind.
 2. Det.   8. Chi.  14. Atl.
 3. T.B.   9. T.B.  15. Chi.
 4. Mia.  10. Jets  16. Det.
 5. Rams  11. Buf.  17. Min.
 6. Dal.  12. Min.

Green Bay's Base Offense
QB Don Majkowski
RB Keith Woodside
FB Michael Haddix
WR Sterling Sharpe
Physical WR Ed West
Blocking TE Jackie Harris

Green Bay's Open Set
QB Don Majkowski
RB Keith Woodside
RB Herman Fontenot
Go-To WR Sterling Sharpe
WR Perry Kemp
WR Jeff Query

Green Bay isn't as bad of a team as some think, especially on offense,
but this team is still terrible: this defense is just flat out awful
and it will be all day for you even if you play smart. Gamble on offense
to hopefully outscore the other team.

Green Bay must win the game on the offensive end, and they are just not
good enough to get this done. The Majik Man, Don Majkowski, he's got
some wheels with 25 MS, but he is a slower passer who isn't really all
that good throwing the ball. (Avoid Dilweg at all costs.) However, Don
has got some strings he can pull with his superstar WR Sterling Sharpe,
if you choose to put him out at WR. He is a game-breaker, but you may very
well need him to run the ball for you, particularly if Woodside is feeling
miserable, plus Woodside isn't a good runner to begin with. Throwing jump
balls to Sharpe is a big part of this offense. You can also get some pretty
good room to run underneath as Sharpe clears out.
The rest of this passing offense is dictated by the physicality of the running
game, what you want to sacrifice in terms of # of WRs out there who can't do a
diddly in blocking vs. powerful players who will drop the ball. Perry Kemp
and Jeff Query are the WRs you can use, but RB Herman Fontenot definitely
deserves a look if you need more, because he has more speed underneath.

The Packers don't have much of a running game, but at least it isn't totally
lifeless. Keith Woodside is who you start with; if he doesn't work, you go to
Sharpe if you can play WR at RB. Otherwise, give up. Michael Haddix is a guy
you can try against a weaker team to smash open some holes, but he doesn't
have any speed, so it's not going to be easy to try that approach. It is
worth mentioning as well, that with his 94 HP, you can let him lead block, but
you definitely want to try and get him matched up against a drone that you
can throw, because this guy can hit. Ed West is a decent blocker and he can
catch a little too; he is one of the faster guys on this team. You definitely
want West in there at all times. For additional power you can go to your
reserve TE Jackie Harris, he is a downgraded West but he still has 44 HP,
which is at least two notches better than anyone else on the team. After that,
you are left with guys like Darrell Thompson who really aren't worth it
unless you have a lot of guys hurt. If Woodside goes down, try Sharpe but if
you can't do that, go with Herman Fontenot or Darrell Thompson; try not to
feature Haddix unless the conditions dictate it, because you have no big-play
threat at all with him unless he's in EXCELLENT.

The special teams of the Packers isn't great, they have a lot of similar
returners in ability and some of them are decent but not spectacular. Make
sure not to use your starters on the return. Tim Harris can rush the FG kick.
Chris Jacke is a decent kicker but nothing more.

I will let Paul describe this defense:
"NT Bob Nelson and OLB Tim Harris are the only glimmering points in this
dismal defense.  Offenses can have their way with the Green Bay D,
because other than these two, every player is below average, and more
than half are horrible."
The way to play with this team is to gamble on the pass with NT Bob Nelson
and just try to survive the run with ROLB Tim Harris, because the offense
is going to run at those two guys all day long. You have two Interceptions
linebackers, but one of those is LOLB Scott Stephen and he's basically
worthless in pass coverage. Nose tackle dive, blitz, whatever, you have
to do something with Bob Nelson, one of the all-time great Tecmo legends -
his Rushing Power gives him incredible burst. When you try for pass
coverage (heaven forbid), you want to leave back behind the best matchup
of Tim Harris vs. the LT or Bob Nelson vs. the C, because you need every
last bit of pass rush you can muster with this miserable secondary and
pass defense. Freeing up your boys: you almost have to do this because
you need something, anything, to keep them from picking you apart.
Watch for SS Mark Murphy and RCB Jerry Holmes to go up in condition; if
they can get up into EXCELLENT, you might be able to do something about
the pass, and they can add a whole other dimension to your run defense.
You must focus on trying to bait the offense and calling their plays
because you are not going to have any solid part of your defense they
can't just hammer straight through without your guys being in EXCELLENT.
As much as possible, avoid giving up big plays when you guess wrong,
because you need every tackle you can get.

Defensively, attack Majkowski. He will make life painful if you just let
him rear back and find Sharpe, plus he can run it if you let him
stretch out your defense with Sharpe. One easy way to do this is to free
up your boys, as their entire left side is weak (C, LG, LT), so if you have
anybody over there with speed, then free them up and let them go after
Majkowski, especially a guy over the LT, as he will contain Majkowski
and not let him roll to the top of the screen where he usually tries to
hit Sharpe with a jump ball. That's the first key, but the second is
to get short coverage as opposed to deep coverage, because this offense
wants to throw to Sterling so much and you need to be back deep to try
and cover him. This isn't to say you shouldn't get any deep coverage,
because you should; but if you can get your drones to stop up and cover
short and you have a guy pressuring Majkowski, you can go deep and
double cover Sharpe to take away their big plays. Finally, you want to
try and work against the run using tactics. Green Bay isn't a great
running team, but they have some power and they may be able to move the
ball down the field if you just sit there and let them do whatever they
want. If you can isolate only two big running plays that you have to
guard, it backs them up when they try to focus a running game to keep
from having to pass with the Majik Man so much. Getting Green Bay into
longer yardage where they must pass allows you to just get after their
passing game and shut them down in a series instead of having to take
a lot of chances against Sharpe.

On your own offense, POUND THE ROCK. They have no one who can stop you
if you just run at ROLB Tim Harris and NT Bob Nelson - so as long as
you don't get too predictable, you will eat them alive. When you go to
pass, look for big plays against LCB Mark Green, he can't catch worth
a bleepety-bleep; so as long as SS Mark Murphy isn't double covering,
you can really work him. As long as you keep using the run to get
big plays and then burn them passing (don't get _too_ greedy) you can
smack this defense around.

                           Minnesota Vikings

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall   12
      Offense   18
      Defense    7
      Pass D     7
      Rush D     7

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Wade Wilson           11  QB  25 69 13 13 44 44 44 38
Rich Gannon           16  QB  25 69 13 13 25 38 25 31
Herschel Walker       34  RB  38 69 44 63 50 44
Rick Fenney           31  RB  38 69 38 38 50 25
Jessie Clark          33  RB  38 69 31 31 50 25
Alfred Anderson       46  RB  38 69 31 31 50 25
Hassan Jones          84  WR  31 69 31 13 50 63
Anthony Carter        81  WR  44 69 56 13 50 75
Leo Lewis             87  WR  25 69 19 13 50 44
Cris Carter           80  WR  31 69 31 13 50 50
Steve Jordan          83  TE  25 69 38 44 50 44
Mike Jones            82  TE  25 69 19 50 50 25
Kirk Lowdermilk       63   C  25 69 38 63
Randall McDaniel      64   G  25 69 50 69
Todd Kalis            69   G  25 69 25 50
Gary Zimmerman        65   T  25 69 31 69
Tim Irwin             76   T  25 69 25 50
Fuad Reveiz            7   K  56 81 81 31 44 63
Harry Newsome         18   P  25 56 44 31 25 44
Chris Doleman         56  DE  31 44 50 69 31 69
Henry Thomas          97  NT  25 38 44 50 19 63
Al Noga               99  DE  25 31 38 50 31 56
M.[Mike]Merriweather  57  LB  31 44 50 56 44 69
Keith Millard         75  LB  38 50 56 69 19 81
Scott Studwell        55  LB  25 31 31 31 19 31
Ray Berry             50  LB  25 31 31 31 19 31
Reggie Rutland        48  CB  31 38 50 38 44 50
Carl Lee              39  CB  38 50 63 56 50 69
D.[Darrell]Fullington 29  FS  31 38 50 44 38 44
Joey Browner          47  SS  38 50 63 56 69 69

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Chi.   7. Phx.  13. Det.
 2. Atl.   8. N.E.  14. BYE
 3. S.F.   9. Phx.  15. T.B.
 4. N.O.  10. T.B.  16. Rams
 5. Den.  11. Chi.  17. G.B.
 6. Det.  12. G.B.

Minnesota's Base Offense (RB at RB)
QB Wade Wilson
RB Herschel Walker
WR Cris Carter
Go-To WR Anthony Carter
WR Hassan Jones
TE Steve Jordan

Minnesota's Power Set (RB at RB)
QB Wade Wilson
RB Herschel Walker
FB Rick Fenney
WR Anthony Carter
TE Steve Jordan
Blocking TE Mike Jones

Leif's Crazy Set (what I would do)
QB Rich Gannon
Scatback Anthony Carter
FB Rick Fenney
Hands WR Hassan Jones
Physical Specimen Herschel Walker
TE Steve Jordan

Minnesota is a team driven by star power but undermined offensively by
a lack of talent at the QB position and a lack of speed. The key to
mastering Minnesota is to get the most out of the limited offensive
talent you have and then to close the game out with this powerful D.

QB Wade Wilson isn't the worst in the game, but it always seems to me
that he's prone to meltdowns and choking. Conversely, while Rich Gannon's
ratings look terrible, I find that he plays above his stats on a
consistent basis, especially when he runs; he is quite a load to try
and take down when he crosses the line of scrimmage. However, Rich's worst
days far outdo Wilson's worst days. Take your pick.
In any event, throw it to Anthony Carter, as he is one of the top receivers
in this game. He can stretch the field and he is a threat to pull it
down at any time. Hassan Jones is not fast, but he has good hands.
Cris Carter is your best third option, but I wouldn't bother with Leo
Lewis at WR, as Mike Jones has much more power if you need another body.
If you use Anthony Carter at RB (recommended but not required), then
I would kick Herschel Walker out to block somebody because he's the best
on this team at that, and try to get him going deep some, since he's then
your speed WR. I would, as per usual, roll out with these guys, but you can
hang in the pocket as well because of this pretty good offensive line.
Steve Jordan _may_ be able to do something in the deep passing game, but I
wouldn't rely on him, the QBs have trouble throwing jump balls and Jordan's
lack of speed means that if the QBs overthrow him, he won't even be close,
and if the ball is underthrown, Jordan doesn't have enough Receptions in
order to keep the ball out of the DB's hands. However, Jordan will make
some plays for you, so don't forget about him.

In the running game, if you are allowed to use WR at RB, go with Anthony
Carter for his speed, and zero in Herschel Walker on a weak guy. AC
at RB is fast and can catch great, but he is not going to hold up in a
struggle for any real length of time, so get him some help from Steve
Jordan firstly, then Rick Fenney at the FB spot. Mike Jones can help if
one of those guys is injured. If Herschel has to make the start, then
know that he is powerful but not fast, but still not powerful enough to
overwhelm the defense, so you are mainly going to use his strength in the
context of MAN vs. MAN struggles. Again, protecting him is recommended,
but none of the blockers on this team can just blow a guy straight up,
so you are just going to tie guys up - that's still pretty decent
though. If you have to go deeper than Herschel, either Rick Fenney or
Steve Jordan will do "nicely". You can run through the middle untouched
with this team because of their powerful offensive line. Don't test
speed too much in this running game, because with the exception of AC,
none of these guys is going to get it done by sweeping outside. Try and
feature the power dive if at all possible, both in order to minimize the
speed required, and also to get your decently powerful blockers directly
involved in this offense.

On special teams, Leo Lewis is a good punt returner but not a good
kick returner. Mike Merriweather can get in there and block kicks
pretty well, and the Minnesota coverage teams are solid to good.
However, FUAD is a less-than-sufficient kicker, so don't rely on him to
win games.

The Minnesota certainly has enough stars and quality players to make
life painful for your opponent, but they are not invincible, so you
can't gamble too much. RE Chris Doleman is the best of these guys; he can
really lay a LG out, and he does have 50 MS and 31 Interceptions, so he's
not a terrible cover man if you need someone. However, if you drop him
into coverage, your pass rush will really suffer, so I can't recommend
that course of action. The other two guys on this line aren't great but
they are good enough to hold their own against most lines. LE Al Noga
has 31 Interceptions, but he's not any kind of a pass defender, especially
compared to the guys in the secondary, so don't bother about dropping him
back to cover guys, as your recovery ability will be severely affected by
his lack of speed.
The Minnesota LBs are half and half: half great guys and half losers.
ROLB Mike Merriweather is a pretty good all-around defender, he's better
than your FS Darrell Fullington AND your RCB Reggie Rutland in every way;
and with 44 Interceptions, Merriweather can make you pay for trying to
dump it to your backs. RILB Keith Millard is no slouch himself, he's not
a great pass defender but he is a disruptive force against the run.
Typically you won't find that Merriweather is going to be able to blow up
his man, so you can drop him into coverage pretty regularly. You obviously
want to use Merriweather as much as possible, but if Millard is the right
man for the job, you aren't giving up all that much by going to him, so just
be content to smack down the run in lieu of trying to totally suffocate the
pass. Don't bother with the two losers at LILB and LOLB, Scott Studwell
may have gotten screwed ratingswise even though he had a good career by
then, but he still sucks. Likewise for Ray Berry.
The Minnesota secondary isn't very good at all, RCB Reggie Rutland has
some speed but little else. FS Darrell Fullington is better at hitting but
worse at catching and is still not what you expect out of the FS position
as far as being a good MAN player to use against the run. The keys to the
Minnesota secondary are their LCB Carl Lee and their great SS Joey Browner.
Joey Browner is a beast with good speed, HP, and 69 Interceptions, and
Carl Lee's only dropoff is in the Interceptions (50). You definitely want
to go to Joey Browner here and let the CBs cover, because they aren't going
to get straight up beaten very often.
As far as the general strategy of the defense is concerned, you want Joey
Browner whenever you know he's not in substantial danger of getting run
at, and Mike Merriweather if he's not going to get beat up too badly, then
Keith Millard if you have a particular run play that you know he can just
shut down. If you have an obvious passing situation, then what you do is not
too clear, because Browner is the better pass defender, but you can drop 5 guys
into coverage if you use Merriweather. I would definitely go with Merriweather
if I need general pass defense, but down in the red zone you want to go with
Browner, because he can force the turnover you need to keep the offense from
scoring. Know that no player on your team, unless they are in EXCELLENT (except
for Chris Doleman) is a total beast against the run, so you will have to do some
run defense. However, you have to find ways to shut down the run with those
good LBs. If you can do that for a formation or two, you can call passes and
get this decent secondary out there to cover, and that will make it close to
impossible to get any rhythm other than jump balls in the passing game. With
Merriweather going short you have a lot of options as to what you want to do
with your coverage patterns - you don't have to worry much about the short pass
as long as you get the deep coverage, so you want to watch for coverages that
will get 3 guys going deep, and that will give you a pretty good opportunity
to stall the offense.

Defensively, you want to kill the running game and force them to throw to win.
The Pass Speed and the speed of the receivers isn't dominating except for
Anthony Carter, so take away Carter with your coverages and then use your best
pass defender to try for the rest. Neither QB is going to be that accurate
throwing deep along the sideline, so if they try to run, you can often leave one
guy open deep on the other side of the field and catch the QB, as long as you
don't do it too often. If they have to throw it 25 times a game, they are in
major trouble, even with Anthony Carter. They have some power in their runs
so you will need to target them with playcalling somewhat, but they won't break
too many big ones, so you don't need to be obsessed with that - covering the
deep receivers is more important. Watch the run up the middle, they can get
guys to come clean through the line with their powerful blocking up front.
Herschel is powerful, so don't expect to take him down with a weak CB. Don't
rely on drops, this team can catch out of the backfield, so just keep tackling
them and make the offense pay for every yard.

On your own offense, throw against the top of their defense, they won't be
able to pick you off very often if you put your hands receiver up there. DO
NOT challenge SS Browner in the passing game, but do run at him if the other
team starts trying to use him on every down. A key to beating the Vikings is
not to let ROLB Merriweather make any big plays; he is going to put a blanket
on your short receivers, so prefer to run the QB over making the short pass,
because he can both tip and intercept. Try to run at him as well to go for some
big plays, because running to that top side takes you away from the strength of
the secondary when you are trying to break out. Know that RE Chris Doleman may
own your LG, so don't rely on a cohesive pocket, and roll out to the top to try
and get your LT involved in blocking him, since the LT will often be free from
having to block Merriweather who drops into coverage frequently. Know that the
LBs are going to try and put a muzzle on your run, so targeting them is going
to make them kick it out to Browner if that's what you want to set up. Doleman
is a wild card in the running game; if you run to the bottom, the MAN may take
him and try to blow up your guys down low, so make the MAN get away from him
if you don't have any power blockers.

                            Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall   21
      Offense   16
      Defense   21
      Pass D    14
      Rush D    21

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Vinnie Testaverde     14  QB  25 69 31 13 31 56 44 44
Jeff Carlson           7  QB  25 69 13 13 44 38 31 38
Gary Anderson         40  RB  38 69 50 25 50 50
Reggie Cobb           33  RB  44 69 25 94 50 44
Bruce Perkins         32  RB  38 69 31 31 50 25
John Harvey           26  RB  38 69 38 25 50 25
Mark Carrier          88  WR  38 69 44 13 50 63
Bruce Hill            84  WR  25 69 25 13 50 50
Danny Peebles         83  WR  25 69 19 13 50 44
Willie Drewry         87  WR  31 69 31 13 50 44
Ron Hall              82  TE  25 69 38 44 50 44
Jessie Anderson       89  TE  25 69 31 44 50 31
Randy Grimes          60   C  25 69 38 31
Carl Bax              75   G  25 69 25 38
Ian Beckles           62   G  25 69 25 44
Paul Gruber           74   T  25 69 25 50
Rob Taylor            72   T  25 69 25 38
Steve Christie         2   K  56 81 81 31 69 75
Mark Royals            3   P  25 56 44 31 38 69
Jim Skow              71  DE  25 31 38 31 19 44
Tim Newton            96  NT  25 31 31 50 19 44
Reuben Davis          79  DE  25 38 31 50 19 38
Kevin Murphy          59  LB  25 31 38 31 19 25
Winston Davis         58  LB  25 31 31 31 31 38
Eugene Marve          99  LB  25 31 31 31 19 25
Broderick Thomas      51  LB  25 31 38 38 19 56
Wayne Haddix          45  CB  44 56 75 44 75 69
Ricky Reynolds        29  CB  25 31 38 31 50 38
Harry Hamilton        39  FS  25 31 44 44 56 50
Mark Robinson         30  SS  31 38 50 50 56 44

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Jets   7. BYE   13. Gia.
 2. Chi.   8. N.O.  14. Mia.
 3. G.B.   9. G.B.  15. Min.
 4. Buf.  10. Min.  16. Chi.
 5. Det.  11. Det.  17. Ind.
 6. Phi.  12. Atl.

Tampa Bay's Base Offense
QB Vinny Testaverde
RB Gary Anderson
FB Ron Hall
WR Mark Carrier
Physical WR Reggie Cobb
TE Jessie Anderson

Tampa Bay, thanks to Hugh Culverhouse, was a laughingstock of a team,
always having some talent, but never any kind of consistency to it to
get this team into the playoffs. Unfortunately, Lee Roy Selmon is gone,
so this team is just absent up front, and the offense will have to use
the rushing skill of Vinny Testaverde and a consistent unpredictable
offensive attack to slow the game down, while scoring enough points to
cover for the "thin" defense.

QB Vinny Testaverde is not a Hall of Famer, but he has 31 MS to complement
his decent passing ability, so you definitely want to get him out and
running early. Do note however, though Jeff Carlson is not a terrible
backup, this team relies on Testaverde's ability to make plays; if you
lose him, you lose the punch in your offense, so protect Testaverde and
grind away. WR Mark Carrier is the nicest WR of this bunch by far; not
an unstoppable playmaker, but he can torch a defense on any given Sunday.
Whom you pair with him is questionable: Willie Drewry is the best of the
pure pass-catchers at WR, but TE Ron Hall and RB Gary Anderson are better
than he is, not to mention the powerful and soft-handed Reggie Cobb. Really,
this offense is dictated by the power run, so you want to get your big guys
out there instead of marginal players like Drewry and Bruce Hill. Don't
even mention Danny Peebles to me.

The running game of Tampa Bay is what gets them into the end zone by
not allowing the defense to get any big easy plays; they will really have
to bring their game to stop you. RB Gary Anderson is not a great back, but
he has some measure of speed, so you want to feature him as he's the
fastest player on your team. If he goes down, Mark Carrier is probably
going to be the best bet, but otherwise, if the conditions are saying
Carrier isn't in great shape, you look to John Harvey and Ron Hall next,
followed by Jessie Anderson, Bruce Perkins, and Willie Drewry. The
RB-only progression is Anderson->Harvey->Perkins. Reggie Cobb is a massive
blocker, but he has no speed, thus he's only a desperation back unless you are
going to try and smash him into a weak front seven to spring him. However,
you must find a way for Cobb to hit some weak defender in the blocking game,
because this guy can tear through a defense if his game is on. He can catch
as well, so he is a good fit at WR if you have a particular drone corner you
can focus in on, despite his slow feet. Ron Hall and Jessie Anderson can
get some measure of blocking done and can catch OKish, so you want them
to be in there most likely. You have to run outside though, this offensive
line is terrible - **** sandwich is all I can say about C Randy Grimes, while
LG Carl Bax and RT Rob Taylor are the fries and soda.

On special teams, Danny Peebles can certainly return the ball. No FG
blocking to speak of here, but K Steve Christie is a good one, and you may
need him in the clutch.

The Tampa Bay defense has 4 players and then 7 writhing carbon masses
moving in an amoeba-like fashion towards the ball (that is, if they don't
all get blown up by the team's power blockers). It's not worth it to
talk about the front seven except to say that they all suck for anything
sane; unless you can get tactics to work, these guys aren't worth touching,
and they can't cover the pass worth a pigeon stool.
The DBs are where this team has to make its money. LCB Ricky Reynolds is
bad; he can catch a little, but he's pretty slow and will be prey for
both power runners and speed receivers. FS Harry Hamilton is better, and you
can use him generally to a limited extent, but he isn't a burner or
dominator by any means. SS Mark Robinson is a step up from Hamilton and
is a decent safety, certainly. However, this defense lives and dies by
the plays of RCB Wayne "Crack" Haddix, the best cover corner in this game.
The key is to figure out how to stop the run - generally you are going
to try and go to Mark Robinson if Haddix is in any major danger, in order
to stop the run without getting caught totally short. Also, you can try
and protect Haddix by calling runs if the offense can't stretch the field,
or you can come up behind the run. One thing to remember is that Haddix
only has 44 HP, so you aren't going to be able to just run right in there
and play possessed in order to stop the run; you have to discipline yourself
and not allow the big running play, you want to give yourself a chance for
fumbles and for Haddix to make big plays. Stopping the run at Haddix is
important but not paramount, because you need for your guys to cover deep
in order to give yourself a chance at stopping the QB run game; your front
seven is not going to get the job done at all in any way, so it's basically
the secondary that's responsible for the entire defense. Dissuade
them from running at Haddix, then get drone coverage deep in order to keep
the scoring to a minimum.

Defensively, you must take out Vinny Testaverde. If you don't do this, you
will suffer. Testaverde is the heart and soul of this team, and if you let
him perform his part of the running game, you are just going to get killed
by a thousand cuts. You want to take away Carrier deep with coverage schemes,
and then go and stop the run with whatever you have left. Against a team
that wants to move the ball gradually down the field, you want to try for
big plays, especially as far as calling their run plays; it's nice to call
their passes, but they definitely have some power in their runs, so it's not
going to be a simple matter necessarily to beat their run with just your
LBs. If you can get them into longer yardage, now you can work against
Carrier in a big way and force Testaverde to try and do things himself, and
it gives you a cushion against his QB run. Plus, since you can free up
all your boys on the line (even your ROLB, if you can beat down a 50 HP
lineman), you can make it very difficult for Testaverde to get his runs
started, and importantly, you can get him tackled in bounds which is going
to wreak havoc on their offensive rhythm, forcing them to throw the ball
more into coverage, which is an opportunity to make a big play should they
manage to drive you into the red zone (and they can certainly do this if
they stay unpredictable). Don't give them one thing; make them get lucky
a lot in order to beat you, because no part of their offense is that potent,
but considered together, they do have some stuff.

On offense, the key strategy when passing is to catch them in a run call,
wait wait wait until RCB Haddix has to leave the screen and cover deep, then
throw it short and run for the first down. Start by running at Haddix, see
if they are going to try and protect him from the get-go. If they are, then
throw it until you start drawing some coverage, then run right back again
at Haddix (once). If you got smashed on that run, you know that the entire
focus of the run defense is on protecting Haddix and not on a sweep down low
or anything. Thus, you can then pound on the sweep down low for most of your
runs thereafter, and only occasionally run at Haddix. Otherwise, balance your
runs both left and right so they don't get a pattern which they can then
smartly exploit. Use power in the running game to keep Haddix and SS Robinson
off you - they won't be able to contain you if you don't give them any favors
by putting a bunch of WRs out there. If you must throw deep, throw it on the
bottom side of the defense; you will encounter Robinson, but the LCB Ricky
Reynolds will get beat by a speed receiver, so keep the pressure on that side.
If you can make the corners pull up, Haddix may be forced to try and peel
all the way over to that side to cover him before you can fire off the deep
throw, which gives you a great opportunity for a quick QB run for a first
down or somesuch. You are safe in the power dive up the middle, particularly
if you lead with a great blocker, because you will just flat out tear up the
ILBs. Just don't get in a sick predictable pattern and you should be OK to
score 21 a game.

                         San Francisco 49ers

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall    2
      Offense    2
      Defense    3
      Pass D   T-3
      Rush D     3

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Joe Montana           16  QB  25 69 19 13 56 81 81 75
Steve Young            8  QB  25 69 25 13 56 44 50 56
Roger Craig           33  RB  38 69 50 25 50 44
Tom Rathman           44  RB  44 69 25 94 50 56
Dexter Carter         35  RB  38 69 44 19 50 38
Harry Sydney          24  RB  38 69 44 25 50 31
John Taylor           82  WR  38 69 50 13 63 69
Jerry Rice            80  WR  44 69 69 13 81 81
Mike Wilson           85  WR  25 69 25 13 50 44
Mike Sherrard         88  WR  38 69 44 13 50 50
Brent Jones           84  TE  25 69 38 69 50 69
Jamie Williams        81  TE  25 69 19 38 50 31
Jesse Sapolu          61   C  25 69 38 63
Guy McIntire          62   G  25 69 31 50
Harris Barton         79   G  25 69 25 56
Bubba Paris           77   T  25 69 19 69
Steve Wallace         74   T  25 69 31 63
Mike Cofer             6   K  56 81 81 31 56 56
Barry Helton           9   P  25 56 44 31 19 38
Kevin Fagan           75  DE  25 31 38 50 19 44
Michael Carter        95  NT  25 31 38 69 19 56
Pierce Holt           78  DE  31 44 50 69 19 50
Bill Romanowski       53  LB  31 44 50 50 19 63
Keith DeLong          59  LB  25 31 38 44 19 44
Matt Millen           54  LB  25 38 50 63 31 63
Charles Haley         94  LB  38 50 56 63 19 75
Don Griffin           29  CB  31 38 50 38 50 50
Darryl Pollard        26  CB  25 31 44 44 38 44
Ronnie Lott           42  FS  44 56 69 69 50 75
Dave Waymer           43  SS  38 50 63 50 69 63

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Gia.   7. Atl.  13. Rams
 2. S.D.   8. Det.  14. N.O.
 3. Min.   9. Phi.  15. Sea.
 4. Rams  10. Atl.  16. K.C.
 5. Rai.  11. N.O.  17. Chi.
 6. BYE   12. Phx.

San Francisco's Base Offense
QB Joe Montana
RB Roger Craig
FB Tom Rathman
Jump-Ball WR John Taylor
In-Coverage WR Jerry Rice
TE Brent Jones

Leif's Crazy Set
QB Joe Montana
Scatback Jerry Rice
FB Tom Rathman
Deep Threat John Taylor
Physical WR Brent Jones
Third Option Roger Craig

The 49ers dominated the NFL in the '80s and come pretty close to that
standard in this game. The lethal passing game of the 49ers is what
makes them such a frustrating team to play, and they have a top defense
that can make games very ugly very quickly for an inferior team.

Both QB Joe Montana and QB Steve Young are mobile, Young with 25 MS and
Montana with 19 MS. You don't really need to move them around much if
you don't want to though, this offensive line is one of the best in the
game. You want to keep Montana from getting gratuitous hits, but you aren't
losing all that much with Young, so eat away at their defense with the
QB run when John Taylor (possibly with Jerry Rice) stretches the field.
If you need a jump ball, go to John Taylor; Jerry Rice is too fast, he'll
just run right up to the ball. However, Rice can make some sick catches
in coverage, so it's not as though he's a total wash. Rice can stretch the
field a lot better than Taylor, but you may end up using him at RB for his
great speed. Tom Rathman is slow, but can the guy catch. Same way with
Brent Jones, he's not a bad option at all. Roger Craig and Mike Sherrard
are two guys who can both catch and run. In a pinch you can use Dexter
Carter to catch passes; he's not going to drop many balls from Montana,
although he can drop some from Young. Surprisingly, this team is not good
at jump balls at all, as the speed of the receivers combined with the
accuracy of Montana makes it a lot more difficult to get a huge play when
everyone is covered.
Focus on passing quickly and getting yards after the catch, especially
with Montana->Rice. However, if nothing is available immediately, the speed
of Taylor and Rice will create a mismatch against lesser defenders, and
you will be able to complete deep passes when they create separation.

The 49ers' running game is not as good as their passing game, but they
have some talent here too. If at all possible, use Jerry Rice at RB,
his 69 MS makes him eminently qualified. However, Roger Craig isn't a
_terrible_ back, just not a very good one when it comes to pure running.
If Craig goes down, put in Dexter Carter and then Harry Sydney to get
the takes. The power in this running game is in the starters: Rathman is
an explosive fullback, and you need to find him someplace where he can
knock some heads, because he can take two guys off their feet on any given
play. Brent Jones is no slouch at blocking, but he isn't the terror that
Rathman is. Your options past those two starters aren't really appetizing,
as Jamie Williams is just too slow and too weak to really make his mark in
anything but blocking, and with the amount of talent and depth on this
team, that roster spot is better used somehow else.

The special teams of the 49ers are pretty good. Mike Cofer is a decent
kicker, while Bill Romanowski can certainly block some kicks in a given
season. The coverage teams are outstanding, and John Taylor is one of the
best punt returners in the game. Harry Sydney and Mike Sherrard have some
return skills as well. However, the shameful P Barry Helton keeps these
special teams from being the second best in the game to Pittsburgh.

The 49ers' defense is overshadowed by their offense, but there are at least
15 head coaches in this game who would kill to get this kind of talent.
This line is vicious: RE Kevin Fagan isn't that good, but NT Michael Carter
and LE Pierce Holt will evaporate their men in a hurry. Holt is a pretty
fast guy with closing ability. Just let these guys work, they can get it
done and you have some dang good LBs you can cover with.
ROLB Bill Romanowski isn't the best LB for the 49ers, but he does have
some run-stopping skills. RILB Keith Delong isn't a terrible LB, but he is
not worth using except for a very specific tactic. LILB Matt Millen is the
best all-around LB here with 31 Interceptions. However, LOLB Charles Haley
is the best run-stopper, but don't expect him to come free on a lot of
plays, as he is going to get skunked by the sweep down low. Typically you
want to use Millen out of this set, unless there is a specific run which
you can shut down cold with the OLBs.
The secondary is hot and lukewarm. RCB Don Griffin is a decent cover corner,
but LCB Darryl Pollard is just flat out ick. He is the one weakness of this
defense, and you have to find a way to keep him from being exposed. However,
the two safeties here are the best tandem in the league. FS Ronnie Lott
plays possessed, and despite having only 50 Interceptions, he is one of the
best all-around defenders in the game. SS Dave Waymer isn't as good against
the run, but he can certainly strangle the pass. The key here is to try and
use Lott mostly, both because he's not as vulnerable to the run, and also
to try and protect Darryl Pollard by having Waymer stay over the top or pick
up the receiver.
Overall, the strategy is to stop the run cold with the LBs who can do
almost anything in that regard, then go with Millen on passing downs and
force them to dump it short of the first down marker. If you want to try
for turnovers, then go with Lott or Waymer. Being aggressive is the best
thing with this defense, because CPU-controlled Lott and Waymer can
certainly clean up on any runs that get past the LBs. Plus, they can't
stretch the field on you too much because of the pass rush you will get.

Single coverage. You heard me right, single coverage even on Rice. Of
course, you want to try and get back there to help out, but the thing is,
the 49ers are going to rip you apart underneath if you just go and freak
about Rice. Rice is not invincible and you can hold him down provided the
MAN doesn't go to him every single time. The key here is to make the 49ers
pass and have them make mistakes and let your coverage make plays. If the
49ers can get a lethal passing game AND a good-enough running game going,
you are toast. I have held the 49ers to 14 points using the Cardinals -
they are not invincible by half, as long as you throw down their running
game. That is easier said than done, but you want to try and key in on
their running game first, and in longer yardage, try and call their pass
play to avoid their jump balls and passes in coverage to Rice. Your
playcalling is what will win or lose you the ballgame, so definitely focus
on patterns they have instead of trying to get just general coverage or
general run defense - you will give them a lot of chances at deep passes
if you don't try and call 10 of their plays in the game. If they bring
Rice into the backfield, you must go all-out against the run. Stay solid
and don't gamble against their run: frustrating their ability to get big
plays will send more deep passes into coverage that they shouldn't be
making, and that impatience will help you stop them. Just stay disciplined
and let the odds come to you; don't go freaking out if they screw you over
in the first quarter, just keep playing good, solid, fundamental defense and
you can contain this team.

On your own offense, Ronnie Lott is a disaster waiting to happen. Avoid him
at all costs. Throw the ball against LCB Darryl Pollard but NOT against
SS Dave Waymer, he can make you pay too. Be totally unpredictable in what
you will do, even if you have a play that is working well; the 49ers have the
personnel to stop almost anything you do if you do it a lot, so make them
work against your QB run and your short passing game. Keep sending receivers
deep even though they may be getting covered, so that the MAN doesn't start
getting bold and bringing the safeties in close - you will go three-and-out
every time if Lott gets to patrol the short middle.
Always roll out to the top so that you can avoid NT Carter and LE Holt.
Keep in mind though, Romo may lie in wait for you and blitz you straight off
the snap, so don't be lulled into a sense of security. Avoid throwing it into
coverage short, because one of those guys may be LILB Matt Millen and that is
not a matchup you like. Once you get into field goal range, come away with
points, as this will force the 49ers' offense to score touchdowns, and that will
pressure them into doing stupid things with their passing game. The 49ers will
win the luck battle with Montana-Taylor and Montana-Rice, so don't give them the
game by not at least establishing a threshold that they have to pass in order
to beat you. Use the sidelines and run out of bounds, because you are going to
be in trouble if you let them tackle you all 40 snaps of your offense.

                            Los Angeles Rams

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall   22
      Offense    9
      Defense   25
      Pass D    25
      Rush D    26

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Jim Everett           11  QB  25 69 13 13 56 63 50 44
Chuck Long            16  QB  25 69 13 13 44 38 31 38
Cleveland Gary        43  RB  38 69 50 38 38 38
Curt Warner           21  RB  38 69 38 31 50 25
Gaston Green          44  RB  38 69 44 25 50 25
Buford McGee          24  RB  38 69 44 31 50 50
Henry Ellard          80  WR  44 69 50 13 50 81
Willie [Flipper]
   Anderson           83  WR  44 69 56 13 50 75
Derrick Faison        89  WR  25 69 25 13 50 44
Aaron Cox             84  WR  31 69 31 13 50 44
Pete Holohan          81  TE  25 69 19 56 81 56
Damone Johnson        86  TE  25 69 19 44 81 31
Doug Smith            56   C  25 69 38 63
Tom Newberry          66   G  25 69 31 50
Bern Brostek          61   G  25 69 25 56
Irv Pankey            75   T  25 69 25 63
Jackie Slater         78   T  25 69 31 63
Mike Lansford          1   K  56 81 81 31 19 25
Keith English          8   P  25 56 44 31 19 50
Brian Smith           96  DE  25 31 38 38 19 31
Alvin Wright          99  NT  25 31 38 50 19 31
Doug Reed             93  DE  25 31 38 44 19 44
Mike Wilcher          54  LB  25 31 38 38 19 31
Fred Strickland       53  LB  25 31 38 38 19 25
Frank Stams           50  LB  25 31 38 31 19 25
Kevin Greene          91  LB  38 50 56 69 19 69
Bobby Humphery        48  CB  31 38 50 31 56 31
Jerry Gray            25  CB  25 31 38 31 38 38
Anthony Newman        26  FS  25 31 31 44 44 31
Vince Newsome         22  SS  31 38 50 31 56 44

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Phx.   7. S.D.  13. S.F.
 2. Gia.   8. Rai.  14. Was.
 3. N.O.   9. Atl.  15. Atl.
 4. S.F.  10. N.O.  16. Min.
 5. G.B.  11. K.C.  17. Sea.
 6. BYE   12. Det.

The Rams' Base Offense
QB Chris Everett/Chuck Long
RB Willie Anderson
FB Pete Holohan
Go-To WR Henry Ellard
2nd WR Buford McGee
Punk Cleveland Gary

The Rams' 2 Minute Offense
QB Chuck Long
WR Derrick Faison/Aaron Cox
Underneath WR Pete Holohan
WR Henry Ellard
WR Flipper Anderson
WR Buford McGee

The Los Angeles Rams can light up the scoreboard, but so will their
opponents, with this pitiful defense. In order to get past .500, you must
play great defense and avoid turning the ball over with Chris Everett
and Chuck Long (not to mention Cleveland Gary!).

Which QB to use here is a mystery. Everett can really smoke a defense if
he's in EXCELLENT, but I have always seen him do nothing but choke and
melt down in AVERAGE. I personally prefer Chuck Long because he plays
above his stats, but he's not that great either, though Long can really
get hot. Whatever decision you make, you are going to want to stretch
the field and throw it deep to Henry Ellard and Flipper Anderson, those
two can really get it done. However, you may have to take one of them
away for the sake of the running game, which is this offense's weakness.
Pete "Hologram" Holohan can make some clutch catches in coverage to score
the football, but he doesn't have tremendous big-play ability due to
his slow speed. RB Buford McGee actually has some skills, both with his
legs and his hands. Whether Derrick Faison or Aaron Cox is better is a
matter of debate: Faison can get his game on when seemingly no one else
on this team can, but Cox has better ratings. After that, if you're in
the mood for a heart attack, you could always put Cleveland Gary in there -
he's the last real pass-catcher out there, but boy, can he lose the ball.

The running game is the weak link of this offense by far; if you can,
use Ellard or Flipper to jump-start the ground game. Otherwise, feature
Buford McGee and follow him up with Gaston Green should he go down.
Curt Warner is then your emergency back, good luck...the power in this
running game comes from Holohan, Cardiac Gary, and if you want extra
beef, Damone Johnson. However, unless you are being wracked by injuries,
Johnson doesn't have any place out there with the talent of the starters.
At least you have a good offensive line to run behind.

The Rams' special teams...ick. Terrible kickers, no ability to block
kicks. Returners, maybe Faison or Cox is worth something, just don't put
any starters, Gary, and maybe not even Curt Warner back there, special
teams can only be miserable for the LA Rams...

The Rams are defensively challenged in every way. Eight spots on
this roster are pitiful, talking about them would make no sense.
You do have two secondary defenders - RCB Bobby Humphery is one of my favorite
guys, but he is just a cover corner, and you can't use him against the run
without a superstar A button. Likewise with SS Vince Newsome. Only against
the obvious pass should you be using either one of those DBs. At all other
times, defense begins with LOLB Kevin Greene; he is a big bulls-eye for the
sweep down low, but he's all you've got. Not a great pass defender but
he can stop the run provided it's not coming at him (which it usually is).
Just stick in there and try at all costs to protect Greene against the
run, because he is your only real hope defensively against the run and
he has to be upright for this to happen. Don't use him if you are scared
about the run to his side, but in all other running situations you must
be able to use him effectively. He's got pretty good power, so you can hit
some weak WRs and such. Having thus sold out against the run, you are
pretty much in for a ride with the pass, just try not to give up big plays,
but you will, it's a fact of life when you have to just hang on for dear
life with Kevin Greene. Try to call their passes, that's much more
effective than trying to slug it out with Humphery and Newsome.
And remember...the best defense is a good offense. -_^

Defensively, take away the deep ball and make them work it underneath.
They do have some power in that regard, but the Rams' deep ball is what
gets them hot. If you can make them throw to Holohan and McGee, you are
halfway there. The second priority is to snuff out the Rams' running
game; beat their WRs when you charge in, but if Holohan or Johnson is in
the way, you may be in for a ride. Make them grind it out and get
tackled in bounds so that they will fumble. The Rams may try the QB
run, but you can deal with Everett or Long running - if they have
to run the ball every down and you are calling passes to keep their
receivers in coverage, you are going to hand them a long third down sooner
or later. Make Everett and Long put it up 25 times a game, of which only
5 or 7 will be to Flipper and Ellard. Most importantly, don't let them
get any quick scores, because if this offense can get enough chances, they
will put points on the board and threaten to beat you by outscoring you.
Control the tempo of their offense and make them beat your defense all
the way down 80 yards to score.

Offensively, don't throw it into huge coverage. Try to avoid SS Newsome
and RCB Bobby Humphery, but really, your key here is to stretch their
defense so far apart with the pass that you have them at your mercy.
Put your speed receiver on the bottom of the field and let him work,
but using both sides of the field is important because neither one has
great pass defense and you get more opportunities for deep balls. You
don't want to be too slow in your offensive attack, because enough hits
by LOLB Kevin Greene, and now they have a chance for a fumble. Run near
the sidelines to preserve your possession, once you've squeezed most of
the yards out of the play. Kill Kevin Greene if your play won't get called,
otherwise pass - pretty simple.

                          New Orleans Saints

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall   24
      Offense   24
      Defense   23
      Pass D    24
      Rush D    22

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Steve Walsh            3  QB  25 69 13 13 44 38 50 50
John Fourcade         11  QB  25 69 13 13 44 44 31 38
Craig Heyward         34  RB  44 69 25 94 50 31
Dalton Hilliard       21  RB  38 69 50 25 50 25
Reuben Mayes          36  RB  38 69 44 25 50 31
Gil Fenerty           22  RB  38 69 44 25 50 31
Eric Martin           84  WR  31 69 38 13 50 69
Brent [sic-Brett]
   Perriman           80  WR  25 69 25 13 50 50
Lonzell Hill          87  WR  25 69 19 13 50 44
Floyd Turner          88  WR  31 69 31 13 50 44
Hoby Brenner          85  TE  25 69 19 44 50 38
John Tice             82  TE  25 69 19 38 50 31
Joel Hilgenberg       61   C  25 69 44 50
Jim Dombrowski        72   G  25 69 31 69
Steve Trapilo         65   G  25 69 31 50
Kevin Haverdink       74   T  25 69 25 56
Stan Brock            67   T  25 69 44 69
Morten Andersen        7   K  56 81 81 31 56 69
Tommy Barnhardt        6   P  25 56 44 31 63 44
Renaldo Turnbull      97  DE  31 44 50 63 19 63
Jim Wilks             94  NT  31 44 50 56 19 69
Wayne Martin          93  DE  25 31 38 44 19 44
Pat Swilling          56  LB  31 44 50 63 19 63
Vaughan Johnson       53  LB  31 44 50 69 19 31
Sam Mills             51  LB  25 38 44 50 19 31
Rickey Jackson        57  LB  25 31 38 38 19 56
Toi Cook              41  CB  25 31 38 38 44 38
Robert Massey         40  CB  31 38 50 44 56 50
Gene Atkins           28  FS  25 31 38 44 44 50
Brett Maxie           39  SS  31 38 50 44 44 38

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. Sea.   7. Phi.  13. Atl.
 2. K.C.   8. T.B.  14. S.F.
 3. Rams   9. Chi.  15. Dal.
 4. Min.  10. Rams  16. Rai.
 5. Atl.  11. S.F.  17. Phx.
 6. BYE   12. S.D.

The Saints' One-Back Offense
QB Of The Day
RB Dalton Hilliard
FB Craig Heyward
WR Eric Martin
Backup WR Reuben Mayes
TE Hoby Brenner

The Saints' Two-Back Jamboree
QB Of The Day
RB Dalton Hilliard
RB Reuben Mayes
WR Eric Martin
TE Hoby Brenner
TE Craig Heyward

The New Orleans Saints hadn't won any playoff games before 1991, and
thanks to the lack of stars on this team, it won't happen in 1991 either.
The players on this team are good backups and depth guys, but most of them
can't cut it as starters and that is why New Orleans must battle to get
to .500 on the year.

Steve Walsh...carbon-based life form. John Fourcade...not much if any
better. The difference between these two guys is that while Walsh has
more ability to throw jump balls and complete passes in coverage, Fourcade
typically throws less interceptions, although he's not exactly Joe Montana
either. Eric Martin is really the only target worth throwing to if he's
not wide open, these receivers just suck. Go with the power of the running
game instead of the molasses of the passing game, save for Martin of
course - he can get 5 for 255 sometimes even if the D humps him. Knowing
when the QB can throw it to Martin and get a jump ball is a big key to
winning games. Know that when you try to throw it to anyone else, that they
are going to drop the ball now and then, so look for the big play if you
have a good chance, in order to stay ahead of the chains and keep whichever
QB from throwing too much. However, the speed underneath is pretty decent at
RB, so it's not as though you are lost on a desert island; just don't expect
to be able to throw 10 passes a drive and get away with it on a consistent

The Saints however do have at least one way of scoring. "But Ironhead, what's
this?" RB Dalton Hilliard's career was cut short by knee injury, but in this
game he is not an absolutely terrible ballcarrier. Massive FB Ironhead
Heyward can blow up a lot of defenders; you have got to get him somewhere
to smash open the hole for Hilliard, because he's neither a good runner nor a
good receiver. The backups on this team are pretty decent: Reuben Mayes is
your first option because you want Fenerty for special teams, but if Gil is
feeling happier than Reuben, give Fenerty the takes. If all else fails,
Hoby Brenner can carry if you need him that badly, but know that your running
game is toast in that event. The power in this running game comes from
Heyward and Brenner; John Tice is too slow to justify putting him in over
a guy like Mayes. This will make you a little vulnerable to the powerful
run defenders, but not to the extent that it'll wipe you out. Your offensive
line isn't terrible, so don't be afraid to run 20 times a game.

The special teams of the Saints just kick ***. K Morten Andersen and P
Tommy Barnhardt are both good players, the coverage teams are decent,
but the crown jewel here is the return teams, specifically the kickoff
return team. Gil "The Thrill" Fenerty is a wild animal when he takes the
kickoff - I have returned at least four kickoffs for touchdowns against a
MAN in my 30ish games in the last year with New Orleans, against a MAN - this
guy is half the Saints' offense. I would even go so far as to say that you might
not want him on your punt return team, because his kickoff ability is _that_
good. Reuben Mayes can back up Fenerty, and you might try using one of the
useless WRs like Floyd Turner on the PR or KR as well. A lot of guys on this
team can rack up yards like nobody's business on kicks and punts.

The Saints' D is not that good because they don't have a great pass
defender who can shut you down, or even two decent DBs, but the overall
quality of the unit means the opponent isn't just going to be able to waltz
into the end zone. The line is decent: RE Renaldo Turnbull and NT Jim Wilks
rush the passer and play the run well, while LE Wayne Martin won't let you
down too much.
The LBs are two up and two down: RILB Vaughan Johnson is the best of them
and ROLB Pat Swilling is not a terrible player either, but you want Johnson
because Swilling is also going to rush the passer and the RILB doesn't,
plus Johnson is slightly stronger. LILB Sam Mills isn't a terrible player
either, but he's not dominating in this game, while LOLB Rickey Jackson is
not worth using.
The DBs are less than good. RCB Toi Cook WILL get you killed against a great
receiver (or a good receiver in great condition), although he does have a
little defensive talent, enough to shut down bad receivers. FS Gene
Atkins can't make it happen either. LCB Robert Massey is the best pass
defender on this team by far, but SS Brent Maxie is not going to be able
to hold the fort for long periods of time. Basically, check the conditions
here, but you definitely prefer Massey because he can pick off the opposing
QB, while the others are kind of average LBs playing DB. None of these guys
can stop the run with any consistency, so if you need that ability, you had
better go with Johnson or Swilling.
Overall, the defensive strategy is to use Johnson to play possessed, and use
Massey when it's an obvious pass. You want to stop them quickly as opposed
to letting them grind it out, because they can burn you with the jump ball
pretty easily. Look for big plays against the run in the early downs,
then stop the QB run on 3rd and 5 if at all possible.

Defensively, Eric Martin can and will burn you if you leave him alone or
even in single coverage, but no one else can. Get a single man on him and
double up deep when you know the short pass is not a threat. The running
game is what you must shut down though; they can get some yards on you, so
just put them straight down in the running game and make the miserable
Saint QBs beat you. They are kind of powerful in the running game, so you
will have to use some playcalling to achieve this, but overall, this is not
a potent offense by any means. Use your best pass defender if possible,
because you can force the QBs to turn it over pretty easily if they start
to try and dump it short, plus you have Martin to think about, plus you
are stacking against the run with your playcalling. Overall, this offense
is not a big challenge; to shut them down hard, take out Hilliard because
he gives them a little big-play ability. However, even if you break his
kneecaps, Mayes and Fenerty can fill in pretty well, so don't go freaking
about tackling Hilliard in bounds.

Offensively, pass first against the top side; RCB Toi Cook and FS Gene
Atkins are not going to get it done in any way whatsoever, and if you put
your hands receiver up there, you are going to score with little risk of
turning it over. The only guy you really need to avoid in the passing game
is LCB Robert Massey, but he isn't _terribly_ fearsome. If you pass the ball
quickly to the receiver on the top of the screen, Massey simply isn't going
to be able to stop you and that is going to wreak all kinds of havoc with
their pass defense when the MAN tries to adjust.
When you go to pass, watch out for RE Turnbull, NT Wilks, and ROLB Swilling.
Try to stretch the defense and run out of bounds to avoid taking too many
hits from their powerful right-side LBs, because those guys are the only
ones who are going to make the tackle on you. Going to run, run on their
side - if you can run at those top LBs they have (which will also consume
their good linemen in the process), you are going to get some big plays and
you are going to make life very easy for yourself in the passing game,
because the DBs that the MAN can use are not going to get it done if you
are playing smart. Don't do stupid things, because you should be able to
score every time down the field against this team, and if you give them any
turnovers, you are letting the Saints back into the ballgame.

                            Atlanta Falcons

Points and Rankings
   Category    Rank
      Overall   16
      Offense   15
      Defense   19
      Pass D    17
      Rush D    19

Name                   # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4
Chris Miller          12  QB  25 69 13 13 31 44 50 31
Hugh Millen            7  QB  25 69 13 13 38 38 38 38
Mike Rozier           30  RB  38 69 50 25 50 31
Michael Haynes        81  WR  25 69 25 13 50 50
Steve Broussard       34  RB  38 69 38 25 50 31
Keith Jones           38  RB  38 69 38 31 50 25
Floyd Dixon           86  WR  25 69 25 13 50 50
Andre Rison           80  WR  44 69 63 13 50 75
Tracy Johnson         43  RB  38 69 31 50 50 25
George Thomas         89  WR  31 69 31 13 50 44
Shawn Collins         85  WR  44 69 50 13 50 50
Gary Wilkins          87  WR  25 69 25 31 50 31
Jamie Dukes           64   C  25 69 19 50
Houston Hoover        69   G  25 69 19 44
Bill Fralic           79   G  25 69 44 50
Mike Kenn             78   T  25 69 31 38
Chris Hinton          71   T  25 69 31 69
Greg Davis             5   K  56 81 81 31 25 50
Scott Fulhage         17   P  25 56 44 31 63 69
Tim Green             99  DE  25 31 38 50 19 56
Tory Epps             97  NT  25 31 38 56 19 44
Mike Gann             76  DE  31 44 50 50 19 56
Darion Conner         56  LB  25 31 38 38 19 31
John Rade             59  LB  25 31 38 38 19 31
Jessie Tuggle         58  LB  25 38 44 38 19 50
Michael Reed          95  LB  25 31 38 38 19 31
Deion Sanders         21  CB  44 56 75 56 56 50
Charles Dimry         22  CB  25 31 31 31 50 25
Scott Case            25  FS  25 31 38 31 50 25
Brian Jordan          40  SS  25 31 25 44 50 19

Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.  Wk. Opp.
 1. K.C.   7. S.F.  13. N.O.
 2. Min.   8. Phx.  14. G.B.
 3. S.D.   9. Rams  15. Rams
 4. Rai.  10. S.F.  16. Sea.
 5. N.O.  11. Was.  17. Dal.
 6. BYE   12. T.B.

The Falcons' Conventional Base Offense
QB Hugh Millen
RB Mike Rozier
RB Steve Broussard
WR Andre Rison
WR Shawn Collins
TE Tracy Johnson

Leif's Base Offense
QB Hugh Millen
Fast-But-Loose RB Andre Rison
Pass-Catching RB Steve Broussard
Go-To WR Shawn Collins
Speed WR Mike Rozier
TE Tracy Johnson

Leif's Power Set
QB Hugh Millen
RB Andre Rison
FB Tracy Johnson
WR Shawn Collins
Backup WR Steve Broussard
TE Keith Jones

The Atlanta Falcons are the most schizophrenic team in this game.
They can break games wide open or they can get totally shut out. They can
run for 200 yards or for 35 yards. They can dominate the opposing offense
or get a major spanking. The reason for this is the heavy reliance on the
stars, which means that you must master them in order to advance in the
playoffs. This is a team that can give all kinds of readings to all kinds
of different people - you really have to play with them for a while to know
if you can tolerate their inconsistency. As a result, a lot of the ratings
I give these players are controversial, so you should not necessarily take
me as the last word on these guys, especially in Preseason.

QB Chris Miller...he is just not going to cut it. The chemistry he has with
this team is just terrible; he never seems to be in sync with his receivers
and that really hurts this team, because these guys have some good WRs and
that is the strength of this offense. Therefore, you should use Hugh Millen,
who, while being as schizophrenic as any Tecmo QB, can be a clutch player
late in the year and can put on some dominating performances in the deep
passing game, thanks to jump balls pulled down by Shawn Collins, his favorite
It seems as though no QB on this team can throw good jump balls
to Andre Rison, but Rison has great speed and Receptions. However, in my
view, Rison is a choker with a severe case of fumblitis. I personally think
Rison is best at RB because he can make an impact there, whereas the QBs
here aren't suited to his talents at all. Shawn Collins on the other hand,
if Hugh Millen can throw him a good jump ball (and he can in the season games),
he will absolutely destroy any secondary. This guy has pulled down more jump
balls in more key situations than I have seen any Tecmo WR pull down in his
entire career. Shawn Collins can easily catch 2 balls for 117 yards in any
given game. Don't rely on him in Preseason though, Millen is not any kind of
a QB in Preseason. Know also that you have to have quick feet with your QB,
because the left side of your line can evaporate against a strong pass rush
from the ROLB and RE. However, I wouldn't recommend moving Collins to the
bottom that much because he really seems to thrive up top; however, if you
are just getting owned up there, sacrificing Collins to the QB running game
is not a bad option.
The other receiving options aren't good. RB Steve Broussard is by far the best
of the remaining options, he will kill the defense underneath and he has a
knack for making clutch plays. Past him, you have slow and not good receivers
like Michael Haynes, faster but lacking hands guys like Mike Rozier and George
Thomas, and you have (relatively) powerful guys like Tracy Johnson and Keith
Jones who can't catch at all. I would definitely recommend filling out the
rest of your roster with Rozier for his speed, then Tracy Johnson because
he has power which will help you in your running game. However, don't expect
to be able to throw to either of those guys, because they will certainly drop
the ball with regularity.

The running game of the Falcons lacks power to some degree but is not terrible,
especially if you can use Andre Rison at RB. Rison at RB is a speed demon, but
he can fumble and you want to protect him, so run out of bounds with him. If
you can't use him, Rozier has some speed and is kind of a natural RB, can't
catch, can't block, but can run a little bit. Failing him, if you can spare it
in the passing game, Shawn Collins is an option, but if you can't use him, then
go to Broussard, who is a hard-working back but doesn't have much talent at
pounding the rock. If all else fails, Keith Jones or Tracy Johnson has to be
doing something in terms of their condition. Jones and Johnson both are your
power blockers, Johnson is by far the better of the two but Jones usually won't
get rolled by a strong run defender. The left side of the offensive line is flat
out bad (LG, LT) but fortunately you can find some room to run on the right

The coverage and return units in general aren't anything special, Broussard
is a pretty good KR but not a good PR. Rison is a good PR...but do you want to
give up a touchdown every time he fumbles? No advice past that. K Greg Davis is
just awful, try to avoid using him by getting big pass plays.

The Falcons' defense is basically 4 guys you might ever hear about, and then
4 guys who will get by, and then 3 chumps mooching off Jerry Glanville.
The line is solid but not great. Every DB but RCB Deion Sanders is slow but
can get a pick now and then, and the LBs...the only "Midnight Rade" these
guys will be making is a heavy assault on the team fridge. Check conditions
frequently if you plan to use any no-name player.
Now as to the names on this D. LILB Tuggle is mentioned but he's slow and not
good for much of anything except tactics. FS Scott Case has a real tendency
to jump up and bat balls down, he's the second best DB on the squad. LE
Mike Gann has 50 MS and 50 HP so you can use him to cover in a pinch, and
he can also be used to help stop the run. The key to this defense, though,
is RCB Deion Sanders, one of the better cover men in the game. His biggest
strength is his speed (75 MS) but he can cover the run and intercept to a
certain extent as well.
Stop everything you possibly can with Deion, because you don't want to have
to use Mike Gann or Jessie Tuggle to cover passes. If that means calling
runs, so be it. Use Deion's speed to harass the opposing running back, but
Deion isn't a powerful player; you can't throw people with him. If they
try to run at him, Case or Gann will probably be able to stop whatever
they are bringing. Call passes to try and get your guys in coverage; they
can cover better than one might think because they tip so many balls.
However, the run comes first because Deion can cover a lot of the field.
If you can make them hold the ball, you have an outside chance of Gann
or NT Tory Epps getting pressure.

Defensively, don't bother trying to double cover Shawn Collins or stop
the jump ball, it's not going to happen. However, Rison can be double
covered - typically, he will end up catching it in stride, thus you
can get the extra guy on him. Their running game is undermined by the
amount of pass-catchers and playmakers they want to deploy, so try and
focus on them with a powerful run defender, while calling passes to get
the deep coverage you need to stop them from stretching the field and
opening up Millen's run or Broussard's catches underneath. Know that if
you leave open any guy but the WRs and Broussard, that you have at least
an OK chance for a drop. Don't let them run the ball; if they can get the
running game going, Millen will have a lot of options and you aren't going
to be able to stop the jump balls and QB sneaks at all. Make sure to tackle
them in bounds because Atlanta is known to fumble the ball. Keep them out
of the end zone by playing it safe and make them use their terrible K Greg
Davis to score.

Offensively, avoid Deion. Run at Deion. Do anything, but make it impossible
for Deion to make any plays. Deion is their defense and you don't need to
really fear anyone else, but don't throw it into their DBs unless you
really like the matchup - they can tip balls with some regularity.
Run early and run often against the LBs because they are all weak - the
power dive is a great play to use against this team. Try to get your power
personnel matched up on Deion in the running game, as you can get great
success that way. However, don't rely too much on the sweep down low,
because Deion has great speed and he can make the play down there if the
MAN knows how to use him. Play to your strengths because other than Deion,
this defense has none.

                           AFC Pro Bowl Squad

Left the percentiles in here.

Name                 Team  # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4 Total Perc.
QB Bills [Jim Kelly] Buf.  0  QB  25 69 13 13 56 81 81 81  419   96
Warren Moon          Hou.  1  QB  25 69 19 13 69 75 75 63  408   93
Bo Jackson           Rai. 34  RB  38 69 75 31 81 19        313   99
Thurman Thomas       Buf. 34  RB  38 69 63 25 75 50        320   96
Bobby Humphrey       Den. 26  RB  38 69 63 38 50 38        296   96
James Brooks         Cin. 21  RB  38 69 56 31 50 38        282   93
Andre Reed           Buf. 83  WR  25 69 56 13 56 69        288   90
Drew Hill            Hou. 85  WR  44 69 63 13 81 75        345   97
Anthony Miller       S.D. 83  WR  38 69 44 13 50 69        283   86
Ernest Givins        Hou. 81  WR  44 69 56 13 81 75        338   96
Rodney Holman        Cin. 82  TE  25 69 38 69 50 56        307   90
Ferrell Edmunds      Mia. 80  TE  25 69 38 56 50 50        288   82
Kent Hull            Buf. 67   C  25 69 38 69              201   92
Mike Munchak         Hou. 63   G  25 69 31 63              188   80
Steve Wisniewski     Rai. 76   G  25 69 44 69              207   99
Anthony Munoz        Cin. 78   T  25 69 38 75              207   99
Bruce Armstrong      N.E. 78   T  25 69 38 69              201   92
Nick Lowery          K.C.  8   K  56 81 81 31 81 81        411   96
Rohn Stark           Ind.  3   P  25 56 44 31 75 56        287   79
Bruce Smith          Buf. 78  DE  44 56 69 75 25 81        350   99
Dan Saleaumua        K.C. 97  NT  38 31 25 56 19 56        225   55
Greg Townsend        Rai. 93  DE  38 50 56 63 31 69        307   95
Derrick Thomas       K.C. 58  LB  44 56 63 69 19 81        332   98
David Little         Pit. 50  LB  38 44 56 50 31 63        282   86
John Offerdahl       Mia. 56  LB  28 50 56 44 31 50        269   75
C.[Cornelius]Bennett Buf. 97  LB  38 50 63 63 19 69        302   93
Rod Woodson          Pit. 26  CB  44 56 75 69 63 75        382   98
Albert Lewis         K.C. 29  CB  31 38 50 56 50 69        294   76
Steve Atwater        Den. 27  FS  31 38 50 69 31 63        282   71
David Fulcher        Cin. 33  SS  44 56 69 75 69 75        388   99

                          NFC Pro Bowl Squad

Left the percentiles in here.

Name                 Team  # Pos. RS RP MS HP C1 C2 C3 C4 Total Perc.
Joe Montana          S.F. 16  QB  25 69 19 13 56 81 81 75  419   96
QB Eagles [Randall
   Cunningham]       Phi.  0  QB  25 69 56 13 63 69 63 63  421   98
Barry Sanders        Det. 20  RB  38 69 69 25 69 44        314   98
Earnest Byner        Was. 21  RB  38 69 50 25 81 38        301   87
Emmitt Smith         Dal. 22  RB  38 69 56 31 50 38        282   93
Johnny Johnson       Phx. 39  RB  38 69 50 38 50 38        283   86
Jerry Rice           S.F. 80  WR  44 69 69 13 81 81        357   99
Andre Rison          Atl. 80  WR  44 69 63 13 50 75        314   97
Sterling Sharpe      G.B. 84  WR  38 69 50 13 50 75        295   92
Gary Clark           Was. 84  WR  38 69 50 13 81 75        326   93
Keith Jackson        Phi. 88  TE  25 69 50 63 50 63        320   96
Steve Jordan         Min. 83  TE  25 69 44 63 50 56        307   90
Jay Hilgenberg       Chi. 63   C  25 69 50 63              207   99
Randall McDaniel     Min. 64   G  25 69 50 69              213   99
Mark Bortz           Chi. 62   G  25 69 44 69              207   99
Jim Lachey           Was. 79   T  25 69 31 69              194   86
Jackie Slater        Rams 78   T  25 69 31 63              188   80
Morten Andersen      N.O.  7   K  56 81 81 31 56 69        374   79
Sean Landeta         Gia.  5   P  25 56 44 31 81 81        318   96
Chris Doleman        Min. 56  DE  31 44 50 69 31 69        294   88
Jerry Ball           Det. 93  NT  31 44 44 69 19 69        276   87
Reggie White         Phi. 92  DE  38 50 56 69 31 75        319   98
Lawrence Taylor      Gia. 56  LB  44 56 69 75 31 81        356   99
Mike Singletary      Chi. 50  LB  38 50 56 75 19 81        319   97
Pepper Johnson       Gia. 52  LB  38 44 56 69 31 69        307   96
Charles Haley        S.F. 94  LB  31 44 50 50 19 63        257   92
Darrell Green        Was. 28  CB  44 56 75 44 44 31        294   76
Carl Lee             Min. 39  CB  38 50 63 56 50 69        326   88
Ronnie Lott          S.F. 42  FS  44 56 69 69 50 75        363   97
Joey Browner         Min. 47  SS  38 50 63 56 69 69        345   96


There are a few main considerations in drafting players from the
original Tecmo Super Bowl in a 28 team setting (for other drafts,
the specifics will vary as far as draft strategy but the same principles 
apply - although when you have very few teams drafting it makes
strategy basically irrelevant):

1. What players do I need to win the championship?
2. What angles should I take with respect to trading up or down?
3. How does the draft board look at each round?

With respect to the first, you need to pick up enough players to have
a passing game, a running game, competent special teams, and good
defense. Simple enough, but getting all those things in the first 8
rounds of the draft is not as simple.
For a pure 1 pick per 1 player draft, you just go down the charts of
which players you need, and what you are willing to give up to get them.
If you can trade away 2 good WRs to get a great DB and you will be nearly
unstoppable on D with that great DB, then move up when the time is right
or even make a draft-and-trade deal. Remember though, you can only get
a few great players, so you must not require 5 superstars on your team.
It starts with a good plan based on your needs (do I need a powerful player,
do I need a gross amount of speed, do I need high Pass Control) and
then augmenting your team to enable you to beat the other teams' units.
One good way to do this is to identify the absolute bare minimum of
ratings you need in each player and then to classify each player by
which tier such a player will be found.
For a draft where some positions are aggregated (for example, you draft
defensive lines as one unit), you then take the value of the highest
priority player on that line that you need and strip away all the units that
don't have that type of player. Then you go down to the next player,
etc. until you have taken away all the draft units that are unacceptable
for your needs in those positions.
For drafts that don't allow you to move players (like switching CB sides,
or moving WR to RB), you modify your algorithm by selecting units that
match the profile of your alignment or player position requirements.

Another way to think about it is to examine the types of teams that will
come out of the draft, and to then draft players that will set you up to
exploit the weaknesses and playing styles of those teams. Such a strategy
is useful when you draft late in the first round and basically take the
best available player. In this case, you will have seen two rounds worth
of players come off the board, and you can thus analyze the strengths and
weaknesses of each team (especially in your division) well enough to formulate
a draft strategy for your picks that can neutralize each team's attack.
Such a strategy will rely on your ability - for example, one might choose to
accumulate pass defense if most of the teams are focusing on QB and WR and
to stockpile RBs and power players on offense, if you play a conservative style.
Other players might want to make deals and overload on one side of the ball
in order to cover up their own weaknesses, and then to make it work on the
other side with one or two star players.

I won't put information here that is sure to become stale about programs or
files that you can use to sort these things, a spreadsheet is always nice
if you can get the player data file dumped (and you can) as far as sorting
and marking is concerned. I am also not going to waste space here going
through a whole file's worth of players who are all the same, so you can
get the file and do it yourself, you'll like it a lot better.

Trading up is for when you can get a player in the next tier if you
can move up 20 or so selection spots. If you have to move to a whole
other round, the only rounds where it can really help you is to move
into the second or third rounds where a lot of the top players are still
on the board, but you won't be overpaying for the privilege. On a spread
like the original Tecmo, elevating your third round pick is a very good 
strategy if you don't need a lot of good teammates in a lot of places, 
especially on defense. Tecmo is a game of impact players, so you want to 
get as many as possible.
Breaking apart a fourth-round or fifth-round pick to get some a couple OK 
players is a good way to round out your starting WR corps, and is very 
helpful on LBs and DLs where you just want a minimal competency. Another 
reason to trade down is when you just want a player in a certain tier (top 
DB for example), and you are fine with moving down 4 or 6 spots if it can 
get you a 5th rounder or somesuch.
I could continue, but basically it boils down to moving to the bottom
of the tier in which you wish to select a player and moving no lower.
Nothing is worse in the top rounds of the draft than going too low
and missing out on a key piece of the puzzle. I think you can see the
strategy I will be conveying here.

Finally, knowing what the draft board will actually play out as is a
very useful thing to know if you are offering or are offered a chance
to trade down out of the "assured level" in the draft in which you will
get a player from the tier you want to be in no matter what. If another
team wants to offer you a huge bounty in the mid-rounds you can really
make out, but this is still a game of impact players. Knowing what the
board will be like will tell you which players will probably still be
on the board by the time the lower pick comes around, and then you can
gamble and see if you can get more value out of it.

Once you know these three things, now you can make your own plan.

                              Draft Strategy

Going into the draft war room (which may be your bedroom, kitchen, etc. :)
you now have your list of players for each position which satisfy your
requirements and a general idea of the priority each one holds. You also
have a decent idea of what the other people want out of the draft (asking
around or looking at old Tecmo draft webpages is a good idea) and thus
where people expect to pick players.
Make sure beforehand to establish lines of communication, whether it
happens to be a separate draft message board, instant messenging, etc.
to each and every team drafting the players. This can't just be something
you do right before you want to make a move, because not only will you be
in danger of missing the opportunity that has presented itself, you will
also be panicking and hurrying to try and do things, and end up making
stupid mistakes in the process. YOU, not they, must be in
control of your draft. You want to make sure and do this now so that you
have a current, functional line over which you can communicate and
negotiate your draft picks, draft-and-trade, or just chat up other people
about what they want so that you can later make deals involving them that
can benefit you.

Now that you are plugged into the other teams and to the draft board,
now you make out a list of each team's draft picks as they go along.
Have one sheet for each team so you aren't cramped for room and you don't
end up misreading your handwriting or doing something stupid like that.
Amend it every time a player is traded from that team to another team.
A small table is not helpful here.

should have it online somewhere, so open it up and leave that window
displayed the entire time. Also, keep a sheet of the draft picks traded
so that you know what the distribution is and what time you need to be
making a deal.

Now, you have the draft order, the draft selections, the draft picks and
moves, what you want, what they want, how people are going to try and
get what they want, and the means to get what you want.

If you want the first picks in the draft (QB Eagles, Bo Jackson, etc.)
now is the time to discuss the parameters of a deal because they will go
fast. They will ask for your first rounder and 50% (weighted) of your
other picks - in short, half your team. I would never go for these players
because the cost of trading up (unless you are in the Top 5 picks) is so
great that you don't have any real shot at putting together a competitive
team, especially when you have a few 63 MS backs out there. In particular,
QB Eagles is not worth the price you will pay for him. Unless you can
restrict the picks you hand out to just offense or just defensive
degradation, you are courting disaster. You are putting together a team,
not hiring one player.

Once the first few picks have opened up, for each team, note their
drafted player and the position they have drafted. If they drafted
defense, expect an offensive pick to follow. If they drafted QB,
expect defense or a WR or a RB, and for a RB, expect defense or a QB.
Note down these tendencies in the next round's board. This
will give you a rough idea of how many players can go off the board
in the next series of picks. Unless a player is in an interesting spot,
don't expect them to draft a position twice in the first 5 rounds.

Once you get outside the basics (great players + notable players),
usually sometime around the end of Round 4, basically anything can
happen and your own draft board is about as good as anything as far
as telling who will go in the next rounds. The key here is seeing which
teams have which weaknesses, and proposing trades with them that can
substantially improve them in a weak area that they have prioritized.
Don't offer a trade immediately; instead, wait for the draft board to
dwindle off at that position and see if you can get every one of the
players which that team wanted off the board. Right then when they are
wondering what to do, that's when you propose a trade. Don't make it
outlandish, make it beneficial for you and helpful for them. This will
make it much easier that a slightly one-sided deal will go through.

One other key moment to trade is right before you go on the clock,
because then, if you still have players at that position that you can
live with on the board, but you have another player already at the
position to which you would like to trade, right then you can make a swap
for your higher-quality player whom you don't really need, and improve your
team in an area that you can use more. Another way you can use this
is to "advertise" a player to a potential draftor later in the round,
and to offer the opportunity to move up to take that player in
exchange for swapping draft picks, players, etc.

If you are offered a trade, the first thing you do is switch right
over to the draft boards to check in which tiers each of the players
fall in. If you aren't getting any higher tier players out of it and
they are moving up multiple players that way, then why bother? Also
check how many tiers of the players you are being offered are still
on the board. If they are offering the type of players that you can
still draft, then it's also worthless. If they are moving up one of
your tiers but taking away others, you have to look at it as an
opportunity, but one you may not want to take. Essentially, when you
trade during the draft, you are redrafting, especially when
multiple players are being offered. You have to take a look at
the team as a whole as it would be after the trade, then take a
look at how the team would be filled out without the trade, and
compare the two. If you are clearly better off then pull the
trigger; otherwise stand pat. When they offer picks, look to
see which players they are standing to get by the picks, and what
players you will then end up with. If you are getting the short
end of the tiers you want, then screw it. On the other hand, if
the boards have gone such that you have two tiers, one for the
other team's and one for your own, that you can both gain by
a trade (maybe you get an upgrade at a key position or you get
extra draft picks in the middle rounds) and you aren't going
out of the tiers you want to be in by making the trade, then go

One piece of advice: don't bother about late round picks (14 etc.)
where you are getting into trading. People don't care about Rob Moore
vs. Jojo Townsell, so don't waste your time and their patience.
If you are having trouble pulling the trigger on a trade, then a
swap in the low rounds isn't going to do it for you. Likewise if they
have problems with the trade, then a low round pick isn't going to
make them feel secure either. I may care, but that doesn't mean the
rest of the world does. You can swap those but do it with caution.

After the draft, fill out each team's roster (the commish may do this
for you). This is in many cases the last practical time you can make
a trade before people become set in what they have, so make fairer
offers than before and during the draft. Of course, if someone is
desperate, then play them on a little bit and raise the price to a level
where you can be absolutely sure you are making your team better, then
execute the trade. Just don't dilly dally about that, because sometimes
another team may strike a deal before you do.

During the year you may get a bonus if someone finds their team isn't
making it, but you have to gauge what you are getting by taking a
team's players that they haven't had success with. You may be
damaging the strength of your own team by making a trade with such
a GM. If you have the opposite problems then maybe it can work,
but that usually isn't the case in this game, where defenses and
offenses are so much alike and the depth of teams at given positions
is so similar, due to the drafting methods.

                      Player Tier Criteria (Sample)

I just listed down here some pretty common and then some not-so-common
tiers one might go about ranking the players. Of course, use your own
judgement when making out your tiers, these are not even guaranteed to
be correct, they are just here for purposes of demonstration.
One thing you might want to add is their ratings so that you can easily
compare them at draft time, but that may clutter your papers too much.
Again, use your judgement, and also, since I hope you are using an
automated tool to make these, keep that tool open during the draft to
make things easier.
Also, I have mentioned what to do for certain types of positions that
don't have a clear difference between players.

MVP: These are the players who have unique and powerful talent.
Expect them to be gone by the 5th pick.
1. QB Eagles, QB-Phi.
2. Bo Jackson, RB-Rai.
3. Barry Sanders, RB-Det.

Elite QB: These are QBs who deliver the ball on target with some
promptness. Expect these to be gone by the 20th pick.
1. Warren Moon, Hou.
2. QB Bills, Buf.
3. Joe Montana, S.F.

Elite DB: These DBs can intercept and also punish a ballcarrier. They
can be gone anywhere from the 20th pick to the 50th pick, depending
on how the board flows, RB. vs. QB. vs. DB.
T-1. David Fulcher, Cin.
T-1. Rod Woodson, Pit.
T-1. Wayne Haddix, T.B.
T-2. Ronnie Lott, S.F.
T-2. Dave Waymer, S.F.
T-2. Richard Johnson, Hou.

Elite LB: Power and speed makes for a lethal combination. Expect them
to be gone by pick 40, but you never know.
1. Lawrence Taylor, Gia.
2. Derrick Thomas, K.C.

Elite RB: Very good speed, or good speed and great power. Pick 40 at
the lastest.
1. Thurman Thomas, Buf.
2. Christian Okoye, K.C.

Elite WR: Can beat any coverage. Pick 40 at the latest.
1. Jerry Rice, S.F.
2. Willie Gault, Rai.

Elite DL: Speed comes with power here. Gone anywhere from pick 40 to 60.
1. Bruce Smith, Buf.
2. Howie Long, Rai.

Some other categories:

Nice Arm QB: Good PS + PC.

Safe Throw QB: PS + PC.

Accurate QB: High PC.

QB Browns: High PC.

Elway QB: Great PS and MS (for a QB).

Cannon QB: Great PS, but little PC.

Jump Ball QB: Throws it long and overthrows just a bit.

Mobile QB: Can run the ball without completely flaking.

Slow QB: Too slow for his own good.

Awful QB: Low PC, or nothing whatsoever.

Power Blocker: Is powerful enough to take on the weakest defender and
blow them up, moving on to others (at least 88 HP recommended).

Superstar RB: Great MS, or good MS and great HP.

Triple Threat: Good MS, some HP, and REC.

Double Threat: Good MS and REC.

Decade Runner: Good MS and some HP.

Speed Back: Good MS.

Power Back: Decent MS and at least 44 HP.

Receiving Back: Decent MS but also at least 44 REC.

Generic Starter RB: Decent MS.

Third-Down RB: Can catch and also run a little if needed.

Backup Blocking Back: Some HP.

Generic Terrible RB: Blah Blah. :)

All-Everything WR: Has MS, HP, and REC all in one package.

Prototype WR: Has MS and REC in abundance.

Ballcarrier WR: Has only MS and HP.

Deep Threat WR: Stretches the field, can get jump balls and such.

Physical WR: Has some HP and MS and REC.

Pure Burner WR: Great MS.

Force WR: Great REC.

Generic Terrible WR: Slow and 44/50 REC. :)

Superstar TE: Exceptional qualities. I would evaluate these under
WRs if they are for REC ability, or RBs if not.

Good TE: Good HP + MS + REC.

Receiving TE: At least 44 HP, but better speed and hands.

Blocking TE: Enough HP to stand in there and overwhelm a CPU defender.

Bad TE: At least 44 HP, but not much else.

Elite OL: Can take even a top DL for a few seconds without difficulty.

Good OL: Can take most DLs for a few seconds without difficulty.

Bad OL: Gets blown up a lot.

Penetrator DL: Gets through average OLs quickly and attacks the ball.

Power DL: Blows up his man consistently.

Pass-Coverage DL: Can be dropped into pass coverage effectively.

Sufficient DL: Has enough HP to keep back the OL for a little while.

Bozo DL: Gets tossed fairly often.

All-Time LB: Great HP, good MS and PI.

Prototype LB: Great HP and good MS.

All-Purpose LB: Good MS and HP.

Run-Stopper LB: Has PI and HP enough to execute most LB tactics.

5th DB LB: Good MS and PI.

Gap-Plugger OLB: Can take on most offensive linemen and win, great HP.

Sufficient OLB: Has enough HP to keep back the OL for a little while.

Burner LB: Great MS, not necessarily anything else.

Worthless LB: No MS or HP.

All-Time DB: Great MS and PI, good HP.

All-Purpose DB: Good MS, HP, and PI.

Run-Stopper DB: Suitable for stopping runs (MAN usage), good MS and HP.

Pass-Coverage DB: Suitable for defending against the pass, good MS and PI.

Sufficient Power DB: At least 44 in MS, HP, and PI.

Sufficient Cover DB: At least 44 MS and PI.

Wannabe LB DB: Good MS and HP, but poor PI.

Stump DB: Poor PI, but good MS.

All-Hands DB: Great PI, nothing else.

Stone DB: Only decent HP.

Chump DB: Poor PI, nothing else.

Anomalies: Players who are just totally warped which causes performance
to be affected.
Sam Graddy, WR-Rai.
Lonnie Young, FS-Phx.
Bob Nelson, NT-G.B.

Other Matters:

Punters: Just pick the one with the highest KA. You can figure out the
rest. I would pick this about the time the backups begin to drop off
the board, so that you don't end up leaving a player who can make a
real contribution to your team on the table.

Kickers: For online play, since it would appear in online leagues that
there is a lot of lag, I would pick these around punter time, unless
you can deal with whatever lag will be presented, in which case you
have to make sure you aren't leaving any impact players on the table.
After that, draft away, especially if your offense needs this help.

                      My Personal Team Needs

Now I'm going to just go on about what I would do if I were trying to
choose or put a team together.

If you can get a GREAT rushing quarterback (Cunningham-type,
or slower, but with 88-range hitting power), then he is worth gutting
your running game and downgrading your passing game. If you can muster
a back with a little speed (44+ Maximum Speed), then you probably want
to trade for such a player as you will find in a rushing QB. You can
put in a backup TE as the FB, or, if you're running two-back systems,
simply put in your fastest guy (no matter the position) left over from
the WR slots (and possibly TE) at RB#2. Your power set and your offensive
line is the key here; if they are poor, you are going to have major
trouble running, and you need to look to upgrade these positions
(shouldn't cost much for a couple power blockers).
However, if you have only mediocre rushing QBs available (Vinny
Testaverde/Rodney Peete-caliber), don't go specifically for them unless
they also have great other ratings.
As far as normal QBs is concerned, the rating you want to look at is Pass
Speed, and then look for good supplementary Pass Control, some Maximum
Speed to avoid getting sacked and to run for key first downs. Don't even 
bother with Avoid Pass Block, because there are distinctions enough with 
the four main criteria, unless there is some kind of humongous drop-off 
between two candidates.
Your replacement QB is usually going to stink anyway, so go with the usual
Speed/Control test and get one you can afford. Watch and try to
get a high MS backup QB, because then you can use the running game more

Power Blockers (NON-BALLCARRIERS):
Great at TE if you can get them. At least 88 HP, and REC never hurt anyone.
If you don't need a lot of receiving talent, you can find uses for such
handed players at one WR position. Typically these guys are listed under
RB and TE, try to see if you can get at least one - they are great values,
particularly if you can play one at WR #2. Even a 88+ HP guy with no hands
can still be used at TE. However, don't blow the bank for 81- players who
don't contribute much other than blocking. Watch for the rules of your
league, they may not like these uses. These guys are not to be acquired if
other talent of more impact is available (i.e. this is a hole-filling
type of player, not an acquisition priority), but when players who can do
other things at your position become scarce (when all the 44+ MS RBs are
off the board, for example), then getting one is a great way to make
something out of a TE or WR #2 position where you don't have any use of
the other players available.

Your best bets on these are very fast backs (63 MS+), because these can
carry a whole running game for most of the season. If you have demons
(at least 50 MS + 94 HP) available, they are better than a 56 MS back,
but know that they won't be that effective against a very good or very
fast linebacking defense.
Depth is an issue here; as long as you have enough MS and HP in the rest
of your backs to pose a significant run threat in the absence of the star,
you're covered. When you go for running backs, make sure you have one
with 56+ Max Speed if at all possible as your star, and then whoever is
a good enough compromise between HP and MS to make the cut (for examples
of how not to acquire running backs, look at the Eagles' running backs -
they are quite mediocre, despite having relatively even point totals).
If you can get a 38/88 back, he is definitely better than a 44/19 back,
but a 31/88 back simply is not going to cut it. You are not looking for
guys who can make the MAN fear you because you won't find them unless the
draft is very rich in RBs; rather, you are looking for guys who can make
the MAN actually care about your run and use run-stopping tactics (and
the key thing, run-stopping personnel) to stop you. Furthermore, you want
to at least have the threat of the run down on the goal line, so that you
can get somebody open and throw to them if the MAN sells out on your QB run.
That is the main thing.
However, there are some other considerations with depth. For one thing, a
half-decent receiving backup RB may also be used in the WR category.
Therefore, you should be looking at backup RBs and backup WRs in roughly
the same light in that regard. In addition, if the overall quality of your
offensive starters is not good, your "backup" RB will be starting, so you
want some quality there in that case.
If you can, try to get backs with 25+ HP at least so that they can't get
flattened by strong defenders all the time (moreso if you have a good
or great thumb and can take down your opponents with mediocre hitting
power guys), but put speed first.
My backup _ballcarriers_ should at least have 44 MS, or 38 MS with 88+
Hitting Power.

Wide Receivers:
It's all about Receptions and Maximum Speed. Whosoever has the best of these
is your pick, at least as far as you have the ability to acquire. REC is more
important than MS, but if your WR can burn up the road, then he can be
deficient in Receptions to a certain extent. With receivers, you need a star
for bombs and coverage problems, and then another who can haul the water well
enough to require looking after. In my view, a star should be at least a 44/63
type of player, although if a 50/75 or 50/69 type of player is available, you
definitely want to look into that type of player.
Backup receivers, even the best, don't really do a whole lot for you, so
that's a place that you can starve if you please. If you can play WR at RB,
you definitely want to get guys who can play at either position, and, if you
see a fast WR with little REC, he is a great-valued pickup for the RB position.
Try and get such a player when you are through with critical needs and don't
have any gaping holes.
If you can get Hitting Power in this position, do so, but if you are giving
up a lot otherwise, then don't make that kind of a deal.

Tight Ends:
You want a certain amount of Hitting Power (44+) and after that it's MS and REC.
Get whatever mix you like; it depends on how much dump vs. deep passing you're
doing as to what one you want more. These are the guys to pinch on, unless you
can get a skilled one to use for depth in the RB category, or when you can use
him as a deep threat in a shotgun set or somesuch.
Remember that you may not play a traditional TE set, depending on how much
passing you are doing, so don't go and get a true TE for the heck of it -
make sure you are going to end up using his blocking talent in a major way.
Again, if you can play TE at RB, look for a guy who can play both, and also
ask the commish if you can play TE at FB, even if TE at RB is disallowed (i.e.
non-ball-carrier). It may raise your draft priority for them if you like to
run with one back, but lead block for him, and then use the blocking back in
the passing game.

I would have at least one Team Area (not starter) person who could fill in
at either RB or WR (either a backup ballcarrier with hands, or a WR with 44+
MS); a person who could fill in at either FB or TE (if I had a fullback in my
system) who could simply be a normal RB with 38+ Hitting Power or a formal TE;
then my third guy would be a "best value" player at the time I choose to pick
the third backup, whether he is a WR or a RB or a power blocker type.
You can always just blow off a couple guys on your roster, because situations
where you have three starters injured almost never happen, and your team is
screwed anyway if you have three guys go down (either that, or by some miracle,
your starting RB and your good WR are not injured - yeah right!).
The QB depth is almost always a problem; getting two decent QBs is not cheap,
and to furnish a whole team after that is not easy. I would simply get a
not-bad QB, not necessarily a good QB, as my backup, since anything will be a
drop-off after your starter. Definitely look for backup QBs with high speed
because then you can use the running game more, instead of passing it with
your low Pass Control.
My philosophy towards depth is "fake it until the real players return" and I
think it shows. Since you usually don't have guys injured for more than three
weeks, this can work for you, but you can get guys injured right after they
come back.
Remember also that you are going to want to have one or more of
those guys return the kicks and punts, so don't skimp on Ball Control for
the guys you want to assign to the returns. DO NOT try to make your starters
return if at all possible - if you can avoid that by spending money/draft
picks here, then do it.

Offensive Linemen:
Hitting Power. You don't need exorbitant amounts of it, but anything less
than 50 is worthless. It's most important to have a strong overall quality
in your line, rather than having some stars and some candy bars. If everyone
is above 50 HP, you have the kind of line you want. It may be expensive to
get all of your guys above 50 HP, but it makes your life so much easier when
you don't have to worry about defensive linemen breaking free and running
after you when you're trying to pass, not to mention what guys can do to you
on the run. If you can get a great guy on the line, that's nice, but it's more
important to avoid horrible guys than it is to procure John Alt-type players
who can muffle anyone.
If you are faced with a choice between two or more linemen with different
Maximum Speeds, then choose the one whose MS corresponds with how you want them
to behave, i.e. if you like to explode out there on the sweep, get a fast one,
but if your RB isn't that good, go with a slower one so you won't be getting
left behind by your blockers.
Also, in the original format, the RT's Maximum Speed affects your Kick Return
game, so bear that in mind as part of the tradeoffs.

Defensive Linemen:
DLs in Tecmo toil in anonymity and don't really do all that much (provided, of
course, your line isn't so bad that the OLs in the league are breaking through
your guys). If you want a star to break through the line for you while you do
something else, get one. If you want a manual rush, then you want to place him
at NT, and if you want an automatic rush, place him at LE since the LE comes in
handy for stopping certain plays. A star has decent speed and at least 63+ HP.
However, don't lose your lunch on DLs because they can be tough to use against
strong runs. A slow lineman is more than okay if that frees up resources for
other defenders or the offense. The star is good; but don't waste money on more
than one, unless you know that in your league, you will have at least two
interior linemen on a given team that you can bust up.
However, make sure that your left end has some speed and HP. Otherwise, some
plays will work (Pitch L Open) that you could otherwise easily stop, and that
will cause all kinds of problems.
You do need 50 HP for your other linemen though, so the offensive line won't
break through and start knocking your other people around (56 HP would probably
be a safer bet than that). The only thing you really need for DLs that you won't
control is Hitting Power, because that will keep them in place on running plays
instead of getting chipped down by the runner or other blockers, not to mention
knocking down their offensive lineman. The right end can fade on speed, unless
you use him in coverage.
One key note is that if you are playing in a league and you pick up a guy with
great Hitting Power, look to play him against the team's weakest lineman. You
can wreak havoc this way.

You want a star to control in either the linebackers or the defensive backs.
If you want to stop runs, go for the linebackers, and if you want to intercept,
either get a defensive back or get an great Interceptions linebacker (but don't
waste resources on getting one if you can acquire an upgraded defensive back,
who will be covering passes all the time). If possible, get both, but have
a star linebacker if you can have a solid secondary.
Your star should have a Hitting Power of 69 or greater, Maximum Speed of 50 or
greater, and sufficient Rushing Power to get around the field.
You can let the rest fade if you like as long as you have defensive backs that
can cover the run as well as the pass. If you have specialized pass coverage
secondary, though, you will want to make sure you've got Hitting Power enough
for the linebackers to beat WRs in some sane time, and not to get thrown by the
OLs coming at them. Iffy LBs should _at absolute minimum_ have 44 HP, but
you really want something more like 50 HP for this position.
There is another view of this, though. If LBs aren't scarce by the time you end
up coming to getting backups, there are some considerations here - primarily,
the role of the LOLB, who is constantly attacked and involved in the sweep down
low. If he is very powerful, he can really hurt the other team, and even if he's
just a good linebacker, he can still make a big impact when you try to free up
your boys. Furthermore, in pass coverage, the LOLB is a pass rusher, so in that
regard, one should view him as a DL. However, he is not just any DL; he is a DL
on the outside of the blocking on many plays, and gets involved in the action
from the get-go, whereas most DLs typically end up being sandwich meat for the
offensive line, and can't effectively attack the QB for the amount of ratings
that they have, since the QB often rolls out. If the LOLB frees up, however, he
is in good position to cover the QB down low, and this can help tremendously in
some situations.
Therefore, if you can acquire a LB with pretty good HP (56+) to be your LOLB,
even if he is going to be CPU-controlled most of the time, and thus you end up
wasting the MS he will probably come with, this may be useful. If you can find
a pure power LB, then, if he is around when the pickings become slim, he will
really help you out.
In addition, you may be interesting in acquiring "5th DBs", and placing them at
the ILB slots. However, such a 5th DB must either be fast (so you can control
him), or he must have very high Pass Interceptions for a LB (63+ PI). This type
of player is definitely worth acquiring, especially if you can also use him in
run defense, but don't go wild for one if he isn't the real deal. In my view,
compared to LBs who are just as good as he is in run defense, you pick the 5th
DB two rounds higher. You can try one round higher, but you are risking
tradeups and such. If you decide to go for a "cover LB-5th DB" :) then you
can't fool yourself by thinking a guy with low HP is going to help you that
much against the run.
Note also, that if you find a fast LB for a good value, even if you have a star
already, putting him at ROLB is going to make life very difficult for anyone
trying to kick field goals against you.
The LB corps is where you pool your resources that you can't spend anywhere else
(other than picking up better backups for your offense).
LB Star Placement
Where should you place a star? You should put him wherever you think you want
to stop the most powerful runs from. A lot of times you want LILB, but sometimes
you want RILB, other times ROLB. I've even seen systems best shut down with a
great LOLB. Take a look at your run-stopping ability and what you can do with
your individual players, and set yourself up to stop the most runs in the
playbooks that you will see. Sometimes you may want to set your LB to ROLB to
block FGs, so that is a major consideration as well. You must know what you can
do with your other players as well, so if it turns out that you have a guy who
can do something against certain systems (and he is not your star), then that
gives you some leeway to take some riskier moves with your star. Definitely
find out if your opponents can change around the playbooks to attack your guy -
if they can do that, it definitely affects your choice, particularly if you 
wanted to put your star at the ROLB spot.
General Recommendations (with and without run-stoppers at topside DB positions):
1 Star  (alone)        - ROLB
2 Stars (alone)        - ROLB, RILB
3 Stars (alone)        - ROLB, RILB, LOLB
1 Star  (topside DB)   - LOLB
2 Stars (topside DB)   - LOLB, ROLB
3 Stars (topside DB)   - LOLB, ROLB, RILB

Defensive Backs:
These you want, more than any other group, to all be fast, to all have some
measure of Interceptions, and to all have some Hitting Power. This is the one
group to waste resources on, because a slow secondary can't keep up with
receivers, a handless secondary can't get the crucial turnovers that make and
break games, and a powerless secondary will get bowled over by fullbacks and
blockers, letting running backs go home free. Having a group of people that you
can count on to keep people covered is very convenient for pass coverage;
a group that will end your defense is even better; and one that can stop runs
is boss. If you have a star, you probably want him at RCB or FS to stop runs and
passes. He should have good speed, good Interceptions, and great Hitting Power.
If you don't have any good or great linebackers, then you should seriously
consider putting your star at RCB for tactics. A great RCB can be absolutely
dominating in the right hands. A great FS however is dominating as well. It
depends on the opposing running playbook. Go with FS if you can't decide
which one to use.
The rest of your DBs need to have at least 44 MS and 50 PI, if at all possible.
Avoid weaknesses rather than trying to get two superstars and two schmos. If you
come into two star DBs, trade one if the quality of the rest of your secondary
is not par.

Kickers: If you can get a great kicker, that's great. If you have a mediocre
offense, you can get enough points to win games if you have a good kicker,
whereas a bad one won't be able to kick the long field goals that you would try
to kick two or three times a game (if your offense is shoddy). It should be
worth paying for a good kicker if your league system is sane at all, but it
may not be worth the upgrade to a great kicker. If you're not going to kick
70-yard field goals, you don't need a great kicker. But if you're going to kick
50-yard field goals, you will need a good kicker.

Punters: You can get about 10-20 extra yards on a punt with a great punter vs. a
bad punter given the same power bar. Do you want to pay for 10-20 extra yards?
If you're always punting when you're deep in your own territory, yes. But if you
don't usually punt from your own 10 or 20 yard line, you won't need a good
punter. However, a great punter can keep you from having to worry about
shanking the punt, since you won't need to hit it to full with a great punter
in order to get a good kick. If you can get a good punter at a good value, and
without forsaking other parts of your team such as defensive backs and depth,
get him. Otherwise, don't waste your money and/or your draft picks on a punter.

Kick/Punt Returners: You need a guy who will hold onto the ball over anything
else, both on those critical punt returns, and on kick returns as well. After
that, it's always nice to have some Hitting Power. Be aware that if you put a
starter on the return, they aren't wide receivers that may go the whole season
without a trip to the hospital - I've seen returners get injured three and
four times in a season. Get that Ball Control under control and deal with
whatever procurement/financial constraints you have afterwards with your

                          Tecmo Passing Study

Originally, I worked this up in order to support
an argument for Dan Marino as the best strict
passer in Tecmo. But, this proved so
instructive and insightful that I could hardly let
it languish like that (by the way, I still think
Marino is the best pure passer, even after seeing the
results of my tests, which did not say a whole lot
for the skills of Marino in coverage).

I played some COA games with Washington as the
coached team. I picked each play and had the
coached Washington defense call all of the other
pass plays in the book two or three times each,
excluding the ones where the QB can't get the pass
off and repeating in many cases the plays where
the ball was wild or the player clinched or was
uncovered. All of these tests were in
a Preseason, no-boost environment. 

Here are the results, only counting the ones where 
there was coverage - the computer is so stupid - 
and where the pass got to the receiver, but not 
counting blocked passes and jump interceptions from 
the defense that players could have done little 
about. For the purposes of this study, 1 defender 
slide that touches the receiver is counted as .5 


Passes     Receptions     Interceptions     Coverage
1          0                0                 2
2          0                0                 2
3          0                0                 1
4          0                0                 1
5          1                0                 3
6          2                0                 3
7          2                0                 2
8          3                0                 2
9          3                0                 1
10         3                0                 2
11         4                0                 1
12         4                0                 1
13         4                0                 2
14         4                0                 2
15         5                0                 2
16         5                0                 2
17         6                0                 2
18         6                0                 2
19         7                0                 1
20         8                0                 3
21         8                0                 .5
22         8                0                 2
23         9                0                 1.5
24         10               0                 1
25         10               0                 1
26         10               0                 1
27         11               0                 1
28         12               0                 1
29         12               0                 2
30         12               0                 2
31         12               0                 2
32         12               1                 1
33         12               1                 1
34         13               1                 1
35         13               1                 2
36         13               1                 1
37         13               1                 3
38         14               1                 1
39         15               1                 1
40         16               1                 1
41         16               1                 2
42         16               1                 1
43         16               1                 2
44         16               1                 2
45         16               1                 1
46         16               1                 2
47         16               1                 2
48         17               1                 2

Reception %: 35.41%
Interception%: 2.08%
Average Coverage: 1.60 defenders

Comments: I think it's quite interesting that for
this test, Rice performed much better on triple
coverage passes than on lesser coverage. It might
be a statistical error. For those of you who are
wondering what Rice's actual reception rate is,
it's somewhere around 20% of the passes that were
actually thrown to him, with wild throws
from Montana and Rice not catching up to the ball
or other things included, and also jump balls

Moon-Oilers' Receivers

Passes     Receptions     Interceptions     Coverage
1          1                0                 1
2          1                0                 2.5
3          1                0                 2
4          2                0                 1
5          2                0                 2
6          2                0                 2
7          2                0                 1
8          2                0                 2
9          2                0                 1.5
10         3                0                 1
11         3                0                 2
12         3                0                 3
13         3                0                 2
14         4                0                 2
15         4                0                 1
16         5                0                 1
17         5                1                 1
18         5                1                 3
19         5                1                 2
20         6                1                 1
21         7                1                 1
22         8                1                 .5
23         8                1                 2
24         9                1                 2
25         9                1                 1
26         9                1                 2
27         9                1                 2
28         10               1                 1
29         11               1                 2
30         12               1                 2
31         12               1                 2
32         12               1                 2
33         12               1                 2
34         13               1                 1
35         13               1                 2
36         14               1                 1.5
37         15               1                 1
38         15               1                 3
39         16               1                 1
40         17               1                 2
41         17               1                 2
42         17               1                 2.5
43         17               1                 2
44         17               1                 2
45         17               1                 2
46         18               1                 3
47         18               1                 2.5
48         18               1                 1.5
49         19               1                 1
50         19               1                 2
51         19               1                 2
52         20               1                 1
53         20               1                 2
54         20               1                 1
55         21               1                 2
56         21               1                 2

Reception %: 37.50%
Interception%: 1.79%
Average Coverage: 1.74 defenders

Comments: These guys could not catch nearly as
well as Rice in double or triple coverage, but 
they were very consistent in single coverage. 

Marino-Dolphins' Receivers

Passes     Receptions     Interceptions     Coverage
1          0                0                 1
2          0                0                 2
3          0                0                 2
4          0                0                 2
5          0                0                 2
6          0                0                 1
7          0                0                 2
8          0                0                 2
9          1                0                 2
10         1                0                 1
11         2                0                 1
12         2                0                 1
13         2                1                 2
14         2                1                 1
15         2                2                 1
16         2                2                 1
17         2                2                 1
18         3                2                 1.5
19         4                2                 2
20         5                2                 2
21         6                2                 1
22         6                3                 1
23         6                3                 1
24         6                3                 1
25         6                3                 1
26         7                3                 1
27         7                3                 1
28         7                3                 1
29         8                3                 1
30         8                3                 1
31         8                3                 2.5
32         8                3                 1.5
33         8                3                 2
34         8                3                 1
35         8                3                 1
36         8                3                 2.5
37         8                4                 1
38         8                4                 1
39         8                4                 .5
40         8                5                 1
41         8                5                 2
42         8                5                 2
43         9                5                 1
44         9                5                 1
45         10               5                 1
46         10               5                 2
47         10               5                 2
48         10               5                 1
49         11               5                 1
50         11               5                 2
51         11               5                 .5
52         12               5                 1
53         12               5                 2
54         12               5                 2
55         12               5                 2
56         12               5                 1
57         12               5                 1.5

Reception %: 21.05%
Interception%: 8.77%
Average Coverage: 1.39 defenders

Comments: Mark Duper accounted for at least four
and maybe all of the interceptions. Interestingly
enough, he is WR #2, the same position as Rice.
That was where all the higher interception rating
people on the Washington defense were. Martin
Mayhew had a 69 Interceptions. I guess Marino's
lower Pass Control and Duper's lower Receptions
(both 63, incidentally) had something to do with
this. Not surprisingly, Mark Clayton, with a 69
Receptions, had a higher receptions percentage,
but he seemed to account for more than 60% of
the total receptions. That much is quite
unexpected, and it really doesn't say much for
Duper. It seems to me that maybe the rate of
interceptions as well is affected by the
Receptions rating a player has, and not just the
Pass Control of the quarterback.

                   Extended Miscellaneous Discussions

Who's the best player in Tecmo?

I think only as far as defense is concerned, David
Fulcher is the best. His ratings are almost unbelievable
and his utility is vast. However, players in better
positions for a human to control, such as Rod Woodson,
Lawrence Taylor, and Bruce Smith, are better in light
of the whole defense and deserve honorable mentions.
As far as offense and all of Tecmo is concerned, best
player without a doubt is QB Eagles (Randall
Cunningham) who can pass pretty well and can run
better than a ton of running backs, receivers, and tight
ends. He alone makes Philadelphia's offense one of the
best, threatening a significant run and yardage gain with
every pass play called, which makes defending against
the Eagles' run game harder (which is good, because
Byars and Sherman are pretty lousy) because of the need
to circumvent the open man/open QB dilemma by calling
more pass plays. He alone can't do everything without
the threat of a running game, though; if you can't use
Keith Jackson at RB, you have to be careful with your
playcalling to prevent stack against the pass. 

What's the best team in Tecmo?

The best Season team is the Giants. There are several
reasons for this. On offense, the passing game is not
as good as others, but works well enough. The running
backs are a great combo, with Ottis Anderson a fast and
powerful fullback and David Meggett even faster. These
two could carry a running game alone, and together
they make the Giants' ground attack a powerful threat;
as conditions vary, one of your RBs can become Christian
Okoye or even Barry Sanders. Nor do you have to
compromise your receiving corps in order to get the MS,
and you have some injury insurance.
The Giants' defense is where they truly pull ahead,
with the best linebacker corps in the game - Lawrence
Taylor the demi-god; Pepper Johnson, a notch weaker but
in a better position; Gary Reasons, who has the highest
Interceptions (63) of any linebacker; and Carl Banks,
just a tad worse than Johnson. With this, you can
stuff almost any run with fast and powerful guys in
several positions, top and bottom. The one man who
can't do that so well, Reasons, isn't in a crucial spot,
and doubles as a defensive back for the medium and
short-range pass where coverage seems to be lightest
at the worst times. He can jump up and pick off a pass
coming over the middle easily. Not only does Reasons
handle pass coverage, but Taylor and sometimes even
the other guys rush the quarterback hard in ways that
Bruce Smith would applaud. Even though their line
could use some work, their defensive backs are all
solid and competent. This, the best defense in the
game, will never get injured, adding to its value. On
special teams, Bahr is not that good (though he does
have a decent Avoid Kick Block...^_^) but Landeta's
powerful punts will fly nearly anywhere on the field.
Add in Lawrence Taylor's ability to block even extra
points against a human and his tendency to tackle holders
on field goals and you have the best team in Tecmo Super

However, in a Preseason format where lurching is banned, 
the San Francisco 49ers are the better team. In a
straight up matchup with the Giants, I don't know that
the 49ers gain relative advantage; in fact, the Giants are
built for no-lurch format on defense, and Phil Simms'
slowness compared to Montana and Young is not such a 
liability. What makes the difference here is that the
Giants' RBs aren't going to get into EXCELLENT condition,
so the game-breaking running as the season goes on is not
going to come into play. Furthermore, without injuries,
you can abuse Rice at RB if it is allowed, or you can
just heave it at Rice over and over again with no 
consequences for the QB sacks or the difficulty in 
completing coverage catches as your record improves.
However, the biggest difference is that without lurching,
the power dive becomes a much greater threat, and Roger
Craig is just fast enough that he can sometimes elude the
LOLB dive. This gets even worse if it is Rice or John
Taylor making that play. As such, now you have to start
using more run defense, and that really opens up the
Montana to Rice or Montana to Taylor bomb plays. In the
NTD format, you can shut down Craig and force the 49ers
to win in the air, or make the MAN put Jerry Rice back
there. However, if you are getting caught in run calls
in Preseason, those receivers will eat you up.  

What's the worst team in Tecmo?

The worst team category has three main contenders: the
Colts, the Patriots, and the Seahawks. Of these, I
believe the Colts to be the absolute worst. The reasons
for this are as follows:

The Colts have a passable offense, but absolutely no
defense to speak of, with only around two players even
able to touch a fullback without bouncing off, and the
slowest defense in the game. Two of the worst
linebackers in the AFC hail from this team, as one
example. They have absolutely no stars whatsoever.

The Patriots have a horrid offense to start, and it
will barely become 75% percent of that of the Colts with
subsitutions like moving the tight end Marv Cook, 
placing him at running back. Their defense, however, 
can actually stop runners, and they feature stars Ray
Agnew at left end and Ronnie Lippett at cornerback who 
can be taken by human players to stop the opposing 
passing offense.

The Seahawks have a better initial offense than the
Patriots, but with substitutions they end up around the
same - just a little better because of depth. Their 
defense is weaker than that of the Patriots,
but their star, Jacob Green, is better than any rival
player on New England; however, he starts at left end.
Even so, they don't approach the Colts' horrible defense.

Seattle, when faced with the tough defense, will be
hard-pressed to move upfield, but it will eventually
strike, if on nothing else than third-down punt-bombs
from Dave Krieg to Tommy Kane or John L. Williams. When
it comes up against a powerful offense, it has an
outside chance of containing the drive and coming up
with a fourth down before the end zone with the
relatively passable secondary and Jacob Green.

New England, when coming up against the tough defense,
will have lesser chances of coming up with points
since desperation bombs won't work terribly well with
either Steve Grogan or Marc Wilson. However, against
even the best offense, it can make a stand with a
called run or pass play that moves the offense back
four or five yards, due to the overall quality of the
players and due to the two-pronged attack of Ray
Agnew and Ronnie Lippett on pass coverage + prevent
run defense that can hold the line on single-play
yardage gains for the other two (non-called) downs.

Indianapolis, when faced with the tough defense, can
grind it out to a fair degree, with good receivers,
Jeff George with 50 Pass Speed, and Albert Bentley
with 44 Maximum Speed. However, if consistency
becomes a problem with George missing passes or
general turnovers, this offense won't have the
strength to consistently make quick strikes and take
it downtown. But on defense, there will be no stopping
a determined offensive campaign. If the offense has
a good fullback, the opponent will run him for all
he's worth, beating down not only the computer players
who make futile attempts at tackles, but also the
human player who gets into a struggle but is
overwhelmed by the huge hitting power difference.
If the offense has a demon (and two teams do), then
it's lights out for the Colts. With a fast back,
the Colts won't be able to prevent four and five
yard gains on most plays, not to mention the
inevitable breakouts. This is just the rushing. If
the opposing team starts passing, the only hope is
the nose tackle dive, because open men will be
everywhere, and if by some miracle every man is
covered, then the quarterback can just run for
five yards without any difficulty. What's worse,
the opposing quarterback can throw into coverage
deep if he's any good, since the Indianapolis secondary
will not pick off the ball in most situations, even
if they are not challenged by a receiver in the area.

Because Indianapolis will not be able to stop the
opposing team from scoring, the best they can do is
a shootout, and the worst they can do is a blowout
where fast QB-WR tandems just throw long on every
down and make huge yardage on every play. Other teams
have chances, however slim they may be, because they
can stop the opposing scores long enough to make
their own. Indianapolis has no such refuge. With
such long odds guaranteed by a defense that even at
its best won't be good enough, Indianapolis is the
worst team in Tecmo Super Bowl.



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