Monday, February 20, 2017

All Good Things Must Come to and End

In 2006 I stumbled across the Tecmo Repository and lurked off and on for about two years, not knowing how to play on an emulator.  In early 2010 I sold my original NES console and felt seller's remorse.  I went back to the Tecmo Repository and started to ask questions.  Once school let out in June, I finally got a USB NES controller and tried out the emulator.  Not only did I accomplish my goal of playing updated Tecmo Super Bowl ROMs on the computer, but I also discovered there were online leagues.

I played my very first Tecmo Players Circuit game against timbone666.  He was kind enough to show me the ropes and get me connected. Despite it being a very lop-sided matchup in my favor, I won 28-17 and thought I was King of Tecmo.  I then went 2-12 in my next 14 games.  It wasn't until my first couple of online leagues that I started to learn a great deal about the game and started changing the way I played.  I played in a total of 17 leagues during my online career.  Some of my favorites were HSTL and ATA.

My very first online league was Season 17 of the High Speed Tecmo League (HSTL).  I took over for the Miami Dolphins where Opus decided to leave.  In the 12 games that I played I went 5-7.  I would continue to play HSTL for 9 more seasons. In season 21 I played regulator088 in the HSTL Bowl for my first online title.

Around the end of season 24 things began to get fishy playing online.  People I could out tap with my toes were suddenly beating me when I was trying 100%.  After speaking with 1 of these individuals on a private chat, I found out he was using a "slide" controller.  I did not know what this meant until I searched eBay and found the exact controller this guy used.  I bought this controller for the sole purpose of outing cheaters.  During season 26 I had the ultimate team for my skill set.  I started the season 7-0.  I was confident, barring any bad luck, that I would be playing for my second HSTL title. In the 8th game of the season I got turboed.  Same guy I spoke with in the chat.  During games against suspected turboers, I would set my input 1 controller with my regular NES and my input 2 was the slider controller.  In the last series, right before the half,  I ran 4 straight isolation plays to catch him ( I was getting beat by 2 scores after being tossed for scores).  All 4 isolation plays resulted in me losing isolation grapples in the backfield.  At the half I called him out.  I switched back to my NES controller and finished out the game.  When it was over I messaged the league commissioner.

Eventually these turboers were outed by others and banned for a certain number of seasons.  I immediately quit the season and left HSTL.  This was the first really bad instance where online left a sour taste in my mouth.  I had sat out a season, and when the turboers were gone, I came back to HSTL as the Saints.  A few games into the season the league needed a replacement.  In season 29 I came back as the Colts and had 5 out of 6 winning seasons. Season 32 and season 33 I almost got hit with demerits because of the lack of scheduling with other players.  In season 34 it was impossible to schedule with people and two games into the season I quit HSTL for good.

In the American Tecmo Association (ATA) I played from season 19-29.  I inherited possibly one of the most poorly constructed teams ever in that first season.  My highest HP lineman was 38. My best DB was 38 MS / 44 INT. My best RB was 38 MS.  My best player (which I had to trade for) was Vince Young.  He had and incredible 31 MS, but his PS was 25 and his PC/PA was 44.  I went 0-16.  I received my worst ever MAN vs MAN defeat (63-0).  I toughed it out and promised the league that when I got to draft my own team that things would be different.  The following season I drafted Peyton Hillis and broke, the then, ATA record for Rushing Yards and Rushing TDs.  I did so by leading the Colts to a 12-4 record.  Season 21 was much of the same and the league voted me the Season 21 Coach of the Year. Seasons 22 and 23 I had to combo of Carson Palmer to Wes Welker.  In season 23 I broke the ATA All-Time Passing Yards (5579), the then Passing TDs record, Receiving Yards (4824), and Receiving TDs (46). In season 27 I broke the ATA All-Time Interceptions in a season (26) with Richard Sherman.  In season 28 I broke the ATA All-Time Rushing Yards (3234) with 56 MS Anthony Sherman.  Five of these records still stand. While I shined in statistical categories and made the playoffs 8 of my 11 seasons, I never could get over the hump to win an ATA title due to some bad luck and skilled opponents.

I had several stints in the World Tecmo Federation leagues (WTF, WTFC, and WTFR), but to me they were just too juiced and felt nothing like original ROM.  Great leagues, but the constant planning, trading, and drafting (well into the future) sucked the life out of it for me. Classic Tecmo League (CTL) was much of the same with time consuming number-crunching and having to plan around dollar amounts 3 years in advamce. For Fantasy Football types, this would have been great, but I was here to play Tecmo, not run teams.  I wanted to keep playing online Tecmo because I was getting better and I did enjoy the different variety of opponents that it offered, but I didn't like many of these league formats.

I started to dabble in ROM hacking a couple of years into my online career.  I got to point where I could make my own ROMs pretty easily with the help of people on the forums.  I decided to start my own league called Money in the Bank (MIB).  This league gave owners a certain amount of ratings notches in a team "bank". Player positions had caps and minimums. Owners built their entire team the way they wanted.  Uniform colors, team logos, team names, player names, and the player ratings. I felt like it was uber successful for 4 seasons. It had very little turnover.  I won my second online title in season 2 of MIB with the Naptown Punch (all professional wrestlers on the roster).  I would have kept the league going, but it was tedious to run it.

After MIB, my participation in console tournaments started to increase as I was traveling all around the country to play.  This was also when I slowly withdrew from certain leagues.  After talking with some of my closer friends in Tecmo, I wanted to come up with another league that helped live console players in tournaments which forced you to call the matchup.  This is where Tecmo Team Cup comes in.  Tecmo Team Cup is an online league where groups of owners play as a team to win a championship.  Each week of the season requires members from a team to call matchups. The opponents then select the team they want from the matchup.  Teams are encouraged to choose more lop-sided matchups or matchups that are unconventional.  This would exploit traditional tendencies at tournaments.   These lop-sided matchups receive extra points if you can pull off the upset.  These totals go toward the team's total for the duration of a regular season and playoffs.  This league ran for 4 seasons (each season took about 8 months to complete).  The members of this league started playing much better in live tournaments and I truly believe this played a part in that.

Tecmo Team Cup

In October of 2015 I officially "retired" from online leagues.  I continued to play in Tecmo Team Cup.  Tecmo Team Cup will be ending its 4th season right before Tecmo Madison Return of the Mack.  I have already been eliminated from the playoffs and I will not be returning for a 5th season. If the league wants to continue I will run the league, but I have played my last online league game. There are so many circumstances that have brought me to this decision.

So again, I have had much greater success in person than I ever did online.  I started to question why this was.  I also had people ask me why I played so much better in person, but was just so so online.  I didn't really have an answer for them.  So here are some facts:

In the 17 leagues I played, over the course of seven years, my online league win percentage is .515. If I took out the two leagues that I ran in my online career, then my online league win percentage would have only been .507.  My Tecmo Players Circuit win percentage is .633. My live console scrimmages record (yes I keep track) is .685.  My live console tournament record is .750.  Now I know there are several circumstances that would cause SOME discrepancies in these numbers.  For instance, The TPC record is considerably higher than the league record.  Maybe this is because TPC, for the most part, is only original ROM.

Most online leagues allow the owner of a team to switch the defensive position of players.  This completely changes the original game.  Players are not forced to play "tougher" positions with better players.  Online players can then cater to their strengths by altering the game play.  I grew up playing on a console, so for me this is not the same.

The biggest reason why I think playing online and console are so different are the variables. First, as mentioned above, you cannot control what your opponent is doing behind a screen. Are they checking the condition of the defense with a conditions checker?  Are they using a turbo controller? Are the using a regular controller, but running a pencil or ring over the buttons to gain an advantage? Are they dragging the emulator screen to cause a missed field goal? How about the dreded play-picker?  How good is that connection? Does your game stutter?  Do you have controller input delay?  Do not get me started on input delay.  I have seriously tested both Tecmo Super Bowl and Mike Tyson's Punchout side by side on a CRT and a laptop. THEY ARE NOT THE SAME.  I don't care what data you have to tell me otherwise.  I have seen it with my own eyes.  VERY NOTICEABLE difference in the input from controller to screen. Even HDMI Retro consoles like the Retron 5 have this delay.  The only systems I have not had a chance to test are the HDMI Mod Kit from Kevtris / Game Tech U.S. and the AVS from RetroUSB.

I am not here to bash online Tecmo.  Without it I would not be the KNOWLEDGEABLE player I have become.  However, when I go to playing a great deal of online/computer Tecmo and then go to play console, it takes me weeks to adjust on timing mechanisms.  The same is true after long stints playing live.  When I go back to playing on the computer it takes me weeks to adjust back.  I am not getting any younger.  At some point the physical skills are going to deteriorate.  The back and forth is counter-productive to my play.  With this being said, I have and always will, prefer live tournaments to online play.  I like being there with the competitor.  I enjoy the moment and the experiences.  I enjoy sharing those moments with other people in person.  This is why I am deciding that I am no longer playing on a computer.  With the technology of the EverDrive I can still play modded or hacked games on console.  I don't have a need to play online anymore.  I still play the best competition there is at these live tournaments.

In closing, I just want to thank everyone from the online community.  Speical thanks goes out to Gary who gave me the opportunity to host 2 leagues at Tecmo World.  I will still be around and will have my Discord, but just for live tournament news and friendly communication.

Long Live Tecmo

Sunday, February 5, 2017

2017 Cincinnati Championships

Last weekend my college friend fatferris61 ended up not being able to make the journey to Bloomington, Illinois for his first Tecmo Super Bowl live tournament experience.  During the week this past week I saw a post about a bar in Harrison, Ohio where the Vogts were planning to attend.  I asked fatferris61 if he would be interested and he sounded like he was so I signed up for the tournament as it was only 40 minutes from my parents place.

On Saturday morning I went to my son's basketball game.  Fatferris61 arrived at my place around 2 PM.  We drove down to Greensburg and dropped off the kids at my parents place and ventured to Harrison.  When we arrived in Harrison the addressed given to us did not bring us to the bar.  We were in an area which reminded us of Sling Blade.  Rural trailer parks, small older houses, one which boasted a confederate flag.  We drove up the road a little further and found a gem of a bar called Danny B's.  The bar was small, but was decorated nicely.  Several red neon lights on the walls, plenty of seats for dining, and a nice bar.  The back of the bar had an open area for cornhole and aerial bowling.  I kept asking myself why there was such a nice bar in this backcountry area.

Fatferris61 came in and we played some warm up games.  All the televisions were flat screens.  Some of the televisions had minor lag / input delay, while others had input delay that rivaled play on Nesticle.  It wasn't going to be pretty.  The tournament directors Anthony and Mario did a random draw and filled out the double elimination bracket.  With some of the talent here this was turning out to be more like a Mini-Midwest tournament.  I got a first round bye due to the odd number of pairings on the 22-man bracket.  Fatferris61 drew Chris Vogt for his first game.  Fatferris61 called a matchup that he had success with me in, but lost 28-14.

After sitting for my bye, A.J. "Six" Fullam got the victory and would play me.  He won the toss and called Atlanta vs Phoenix.  I took Atlanta and regretted it.  Great game throughout.  I started with a Greg Davis field goal.  Six answered with a touchdown.  I punted.  Six grabbed a field goal.  In this game, Six won the taps 2-1.  In the second half I barely got to touch the ball as Six played ones ball.  Rison was overthrown on five long JJ attempts.  I did score a touchdown making it 10-10 late in the third or early fourth quarter, but my ensuing kickoff was a lag-induced onside kick.  Six scored a touchdown with about a minute to play.  Rison bomb attempts failed again and I lost 17-10.  The picture of the blue screen didn't take because it was so out of focus.

My second game was against tournament director Mario.  This game was played on the big projector.  Minimal to no lag here, which was nice.  He won the toss and called Bengals vs Chiefs.  I took K.C.  First play of the game he fumbles and I house it for a 0-7 lead.  First half was all Chiefs as Okoye ran wild.  Second half was a lot of Okoye fumbling and giving it back to Cincy.  Mario capitalized on some of the turnovers and made the game more respectable at 17-35.

My third game was against Dominic Marino.  I won the toss and called Chargers vs. Broncos.  Dominic played well in the first half and made some great cross-field passes with Elway, but Butts stumbled his way to 250 plus and Byrd got some picks late and the final was 42-10.

My fourth game I ran into Six again.  This time I won the matchup and called Redskins vs. Vikings.  He took the running back and went with Washington.  He scored early going up 7-0.  Then I had a long CC to Carter that was insta-fumbled and Six scored going up 14-0.  I started with the ball in the second half and ran off 24 points.  This game I won all of the taps and the final was 24-14.

My fifth game was against Steve Engel.  I've played Steve a few times online and lost to him at Midwest a few years ago.  That may be the only time we have played live.  Today I won the toss and called Redskins vs. Cowboys.  He took Dallas.  I scored first making it 7-0.  I ran early with minimal success.  Steve has good run defense.  He also was calling a great deal of runs it felt like so I started passing.  Humphries and Rypien combined for over 300.  In fourth quarter I was up comfortably, but a fumble and an interception on back to back plays made the game a bit more interesting.  Another pass and some runs tacked on a final score making the final 38-24.

The sixth game was for third place guaranteed.  My opponent was Matt Diaz.  Diaz won Midwest last year after losing to me in the winner's bracket and then beating me in the championship of the losers bracket.  Diaz won the toss and called Bengals vs. Dolphins.  I took Marino. Start of the game had some snags as the console malfunctioned and I got another stupid thumb cramp.  This one wouldn't allow for me to basically use the D-pad with any pressure so I knew I would be passing most of the game.  First half was back and forth.  Bengals scored on a long JJ.  Marino threaded the needle on a 3rd and 3 from the 3.  Second half I grabbed a 21-14 lead on some nice pass toggling.  Then I was able to get an interception, only to followed with a Sammie Smith fumble.  Diaz got a timed JJ, Louis Oliver got a pick to seal the deal.

Seventh game was against Chris Vogt with the winner to face Matty V. in the championship.  Chris won the toss and called Redskins vs. Vikings.  I normally take Washington in this, but I have had success against Chris in the past with Minnesota and I played well with them against Six so I took the Vikings.  Chris got up early 10-3 and was playing good defense.  He called many of my first couple of run plays and I still was having the cramps in my thumb so I decided I was just going to pass the whole game.  I was able to make it 10-10 after halftime.  Chris scored again with some superior chop blocks making it 17-10.  I managed a field goal after a stalled solid drive making it 17-13.  Chris then gets a long stride catch in which Kelvin Bryant was doubled covered.  Instead of an incomplete pass or a CC and grapple, Bryant just keeps running.  My defender of Millard was locked and stopped moving momentarily and the computer drone did the same.  Don't know if I have ever seen this before.  None the less he scores and is up 20-13.  Vikings pass deep four straight passes, but nothing materializes and Chris tacked on another touchdown making the final 27-13.

In the championship Chris played brother Matty in a Redskins vs. rams matchup.  Matty chose the Rams and was getting those burn routes early.  Chris keeps it close for a great deal of the game, but much to my surprise, Matty wins the Cincinnati Championships with Chuck Long for THREE quarters and rode the back of Curt Warner, yes Curt Warner.  MVP for MV was Bobby Humphries with two interceptions.

First Place = Matt Vogt
Second Place = Chris Vogt
Third Place = me

Matty got a t-shirt, a trophy, a copy of TSB 2016, and $100.
Chris got $80 and I took home $50.

Fatferris61 did well in his first tournament appearance going 4-2 with a couple of 40-point wins.  His only losses were to Chris Vogt and Matt Diaz.

On our way back home we stopped at the Harrison Buffalo Wild Wings.  It was amazing.  Then we picked up the kids and headed back to Indy.  From there Mike made the 2.5 hour ride home.

Two weekends in a row of Tecmo.  Looks like Madison will be the next blog.  Until then,

Long Live Tecmo

Sunday, January 29, 2017

Blono Tecmo Super Bowl XIV

What is Blono Tecmo?  Blono Tecmo is a group of friends from between the cities of Bloomington and Normal, Illinois who get together annually to celebrate the beloved game of Tecmo Super Bowl.  Their tournament is not a high stakes display of skill mastery and big money rewards, but rather a day of celebration with close friends and family.  It celebrated its 14th year in yesterday's tournament.  To my knowledge, it would be the longest running annual Tecmo Super Bowl tournament in the country.

I wanted to attend this tournament last year after meeting many members of this group at Tecmo Madison.  Last year I just missed the deadline and vowed to make it this year.  Right around the announcement for Return of the Mack registration I got back into contact with a college friend who I used to play Tecmo with.  Fatferris61 has rekindled his desire to play and decided to travel with us to Madison this year.  In preparation for the best skill level in the country we have been meeting to learn, practice, and play each other.  I figured this Blono Tecmo tournament would be ideal to have fatferris61 get real console tournament experience without the pressures of a typical tournament.  With this in mind we signed up.

A day or two before Blono Tecmo XIV, fatferris61 had an issue at work that prohibited him from going.  I had already paid entry for the two of us, got a sitter for the kids, and reserved a rental car so not going was out of the question for me.  I scrambled to find a replacement, if anything, just for a travel companion.  I tried all my Tecmo buddies around Indianapolis and even Ohio, but on short notice, it just wasn't feasible for anyone.  I then moved on to family and my brother of all people said he was interested.  Never in a million years did I think he would want to go to this sort of thing, but late Friday night he texted me back and said he was in.  Kevin hasn't played Tecmo Super Bowl since I was in high school.

I had already picked up the car rental before closing on Friday night so I threw on the Nigerian Nightmare jersey and picked up my brother around 8:15 AM.  I don't talk to my brother as much as I should so we caught up on quite a bit during the 2.5 hour drive to the tournament.  Very little discussion about Tecmo happened.  He pretty much said he didn't care.  We stopped and ate Subway breakfast about 20 minutes before our destination.

We arrived at a warehouse storage facility in Bloomington to find Bud Light cases taped to the door.  Surely we found the right place.  I came in, reacquainted with tournament directors Tim M. and Chris R., and set up a system I brought to use.  The venue was awesome.  In the front were two easels with very organized pool play grids and full color tournament brackets.  Next was a wheel barrel full of ice, bottled water, and cans of beer.  Adjacent to the wheel barrel was a full bar with every soda known to man and top shelf bottles of liquor.  Behind the bar was several long 8-foot tables with food.  Italian beef, submarine sandwiches, fried chicken, various chips and dips, snacks, fruit, etc.  Opposite the food and beverages were several systems and television for the tournament.  In the middle were tables and chairs for downtime.  A beer pong table completed the layout near the door.

Kevin and I played some games with Donny B. and Tim Mo., two Madison regulars.  After the scrimmages, director Tim M. went over the basis and rules of the tournament.  Like many tournaments, many side-prizes were available to win.  Many of these were of the adolescent-humor variety and may be discussed at a later time.  I had trouble controlling my laughter.  Next was pool play.  Toss was decided with commemorative Jenny Jizz coins.  So you could call facial or "tail" to see what the game was going to be.  So here are my games.

Game 1

My first game was against Chris J.  He seemed really excited and said he has only been playing for a year or two.  He said he thought he was pretty good and wanted to see how his good stacked up against good here at the tournament.  I won the toss and called CHI vs CIN.  He took the Bengals.  His first half defense was descent and I had a few things go bad.  I was only up 7-0 a minute or two into the third quarter.  Then an avalanche of fumbles, good offense plays, and solid defense stops were implemented.  The game ended pretty one-sided.

Game 2

In the second game I played Kasey W.  Kasey was well respected by other players for his talent level in the game.  I noticed in his first game he was wearing blue surgical gloves.  Being a first for me, I had to ask why he wore them.  He said it eased the wear and tear on his fingers and thumbs.  This opening conversation before our game led to a variety of topics about social anxiety, life, religion, science, evolution, etc.  I was so interested I really didn't even want to start the game.  Kasey actually has written a book on the topic, but has not had the chance to get it published.  A preview of these concepts and his books can be found here.  I highly encourage you to view this.  

I won the toss again and called MIN vs. WAS.  He took WAS with no hesitation.  I really played a complete game here.  I know this guy is better than this score indicated.  Most of our game was talking about life and not really being focused on the game.

Game 3

Game three was against Jason L.  He won the toss and called T.B. vs. WAS.  I took WAS. I ran a playbook to make Haddix pretty unusable.  This guy was the best of the three I played in group.  His defense was good and I earned the points I got.  I did fumble going in for a score from about the 15 and a drone sacked me in the end zone for the safety.  Weird score, I know.

So after group play I was 3-0 with a 80-16 differential.  The most surprising news of group play however, was my brother Kevin, who also went 3-0 with a 13 differential.

After group play I got some grub and ruined the progress I started on my diet.  The food was awesome.  I did however stay away from any carbonation and soda.  There was a long wait between group and the tournament.  

In the opening round of the tournament I played Jason M.  He won the toss and called GIA vs. ATL. I asked him if he was sure.  He said yes.  So sometime in the second quarter he asked if this was a good match up and I said I would never in a million years call this match up.  He said it was on the list of the suggested match ups provided by the organizers.

When I grabbed the sheet I asked him to show me where it said that.  He pointed at NYJ vs. ATL.  I said man that means Jets not Giants.  He laughed and said he didn't remember the Falcons being any good so he thought something was up.  Good sport and tough game.

My next game of the tournament was against tournament director Tim M.  I won the toss and called PHI vs. MIA.  I prefer MIA in this and I was quite surprised that he took the Dolphins.  I played a great game and executed perfectly.  I made zero mistakes.

Tim played really well and the game was 21-14 in the 4th quarter, but a long sustaining drive by QB Eagles sealed the deal when I scored the final touchdown.

My next game was against the other tournament director Chris R. a.k.a. Big Poppa Poops.  I won the toss and called S.D. vs. DEN.  He took controller one and I took S.D.  Game started bad for me on offense, but my defense was strict keeping him inside his 10 the first three drives.  His only early score was a fumble by Butts which he returned for a touchdown.  

In the second half Butts ran wild and Vlasic came in completing every pass he threw.  The next game would be the winner's bracket final of the competitive side of the tournament.

In the winner's bracket final I played Geoff  S. a.k.a. storksdaman from the online world.  Geoff  has beaten me before online, so all this talk about running away with the tournament before it even started was nonsense to me.

I won the toss and went with CHI vs. RAI.  I could tell he wasn't happy, but he picked the Raiders, the team in which he was donning a jersey.  I put Neal in at WR and really played perfect.  My offense clicked on all cylinders, moving the ball for first downs, and my defense shut down the Raiders.  Besides one long run from Bo on a bump block, the Raiders really had no offense during the game.  That mixed with some fumbles and some interceptions was a recipe for disaster.  The 4th quarter was basically Geoff  and I punting back and forth to each other to run the clock out.  I told him to come back and play me two more times.

After the game with Geoff  I waited 3 hours before I would play again.  This is never a good thing and I probably should have played some pick up games.  During this time, the Beer League division champion was crowned.  During this time, my brother Kevin had won three games in the competitive tournament.  He had lost once to Jason L. from my group.  In his elimination game he was playing Phillip A., another Madison regular.  Kevin was up 14-3 at halftime.  Phillip managed to score on a long drive making it 14-10.  

Kevin then got saftied on a called play making it 14-12.  In the 4th quarter Kevin drove down to the five yard line and threw a pick with Elway in the end zone.  This would have sealed the deal.  Instead, Phillip drove the length of the field and he threw an interception at the other five yard line, BUT Dennis Smith insta-fumbled it and Phillip A. ran it in to go up 19-14.  Kevin brought in Kubiak and had two tries at the full field bomb, and the last second bounced out of Mark Jackson's hands incomplete to end the game.  Such a heartbreaking loss in such an unexpected showing in his first tournament.  I would love to see what my brother could do if he took  the time to learn the game and start playing more frequently.

As I waited, it came down to Jeff S. and Tim M. with the winner to face me for the championship. Jeff won a 14-3 RAMS over PIT game.

So the final arrived.  We moved to what seemed like an 80 inch television, at least compared to what we were playing on all day.  I can't quite put my finger on it, but it seemed fast/weird playing on it. Geoff won the toss and called DAL vs. PHX.  This is a match up that has kind of haunted me lately.  I had thought he already called this match up against another opponent earlier in tournament, but I wasn't 100% sure so I didn't say anything.  I was 100% sure he played it and was on the one-player side, but I do not know for certain that he called it.  I took the Cardinals.  Get ready.  This is a blood-pressure barnstormer.

He won the toss and elected to kick off.  I received and nearly fumbled, but the ball went out of bounds.  I recover and score making the game 0-7.  Geoff  comes down and scores a touchdown of his own making it 7-7.  I foolishly went for a 4th down at midfield and came up 3 or 4 yards short giving him the ball with excellent field position, but he missed the field goal.  We exchanged touchdowns and I think the score was tied at the half 14-14.

In the second half Dallas players were all in GOOD, but I was able to force a punt and get the ball back.  At this point I felt good.   I switched Proehl from bottom receiver to top and exchanged him with Roy Green who went into EXCELLENT.  A called play and I threw to Proehl for a diving CC for a first down.  Johnny Johnson got some runs to move the chains as well, and I drove the length of the field with a 4th and 7 from about the 15 yard line left.  I went for it and had a wide-open receiver in the end zone.  Geoff  didn't have the angle to block the pass and he DROPPED THE BALL. Turnover on downs.  Geoff  marched the field and he connected on a series of defended/covered JJs and scored making it 21-14 with only time for one or two plays at the end zone.  After the kickoff, I was at about the 16 yard line.  With one or two chances left I drop to the back of the end zone with Rosenbach, launch the pass to Roy Green who is all by himself with Jeff the MAN defender.  Green CCs and I out-tap Geoff  to run it in sending the game into overtime.  The crowd was going wild.  You have all been there and know that situation.

In overtime, Geoff won the toss and started with the ball, a JJ, and a great run block for Smith, put Jeff in field goal range.  After some called plays and stalling for the first down, he was going for a fourth down 30 yard field goal with about three minutes left in the overtime.  Ken Harvey gets in.  I see the numbers switch and I got the block.  Dallas recovered, but Harvey made a dive tackle to give me the ball.  Johnson gets Al Del Greco in field goal range and with 3 seconds left I use my final timeout. Field goal is up, no block after the cut scene, and good.  What a ride!  Great game Geoff !

Now before a get a ton of questions, I will explain this so it is not so confusing.  This tournament was actually three separate tournaments in one day at the same location.  Of the roughly 40 competitors there were players from Bloomington, IL who played in a Bloomington only tournament.  These players could also play in the overall tournament which was divided into a Beer League Division and a Competitive Division.  The winner of this Bloomington only tournament wins the championship belt you see pictured with me.  This belt is a $500-$600 custom belt.  The directors did not want the belt leaving Bloomington.  They told me this when I registered and I completely understand as it is a Bloomington city traveling belt.  As awesome as it would be for me to have it for a year and even though I would personally would drive it to Bloomington the next year, I understand their concerns. My only request was that I got to take a picture with it if I won. 

So, there were two other trophies that were given to the winner of the Overall Tournament Beer League and the Overall Tournament Competitive Division.  This may be the best trophy I own.  I love it.

Overall Tournament Winner:  Me

Overall Beer League Tournament Winner:  Matt B.

Bloomington City Champion: Geoff S.

While I still love all Tecmo tournaments, this kind of tournament takes the cake.  Many tournaments are starting to feel "too organized', maybe too high stakes, maybe too business-like for me.  I had several people ask why I didn't go to Tundra Bowl, like many did this weekend.  Here's the answer: It's too far.  I had a chance to play Tecmo that was 2.5 hours away, it was a one-day deal, and I met new amazing people that share experiences similar to me.  This is no knock on the Tundra Bowl, Madison, Midwest, and the like, but this family/friends loose atmosphere has got me thinking.  There may be a similar style event coming to Indianapolis soon.  I want to thank Timm and Chris for allowing my brother and I to attend.  My brother doesn't do the Tecmo thing and he had a blast. Great tournament guys.  

I am also announcing that this is my last Madison tournament win, lose, or draw.  I actually wasn't going to go this year, but I didn't want Dave to think that I was dissing on the new administration and I do want to experience it the first year.  So I am making a new rule for myself.  I will play in tournaments that are no more than three ours from my residence.  I will no longer play in tournaments farther than three hours unless:

A.  I am invited


B.  It is a new tournament that I have never been to before.


C. I have the fiances to do it.

All three have to be there if it is more than three hours.  Tecmo is changing for me and really has since Tecmo Madison XI.  It still will be an important part of my life, but it has a different purpose now.

Until next time,

Long Live Tecmo

Monday, February 22, 2016

Tecmo Madison "The Mecca of Tecmo Super Bowl" - A Retrospective

If you are reading this and do not know what Tecmo Madison is you could read this article by Owen Good first:  The Super Bowl of Tecmo Super Bowl Comes to an End

If you do not want to read it here is my summary:  Tecmo Madison is the Mecca of Tecmo Super Bowl Tournaments.  You have not lived if you have not attended, and your life has been greatly enhanced if you have.

When I began searching how to play Tecmo Super Bowl online around 2009, I stumbled upon this piece of magic:

After viewing this video about ten times consecutively I told myself that I will go to the next tournament these guys put together.  This is also when I started to play online.  I found there were leagues for Tecmo Super Bowl with current rosters and everything in between.  I played a great deal of Tecmo Players Circuit (TPC) games and slowly joined multiple leagues.  I created a name for myself by devoting a great deal of time creating artwork, logos, signatures, and videos for the online community.  

At the beginning of this new online career I also played in my first live tournament in Fairfield, Ohio at Midwest III.  Little did I know I actually played Chet from the video I viewed, losing 3-7 (T.B. vs. DAL).  I was eliminated in the Sweet 16 round by Jon Bailey 24-21 in overtime (CLE vs. SEA).  I finished my first live tournament 3-2, losing only to Tecmo Madison members.  Later that same year I played in the only Chicago tournament and went 1-2.  One of those losses came to Kevin "Buzzsaw" Miller (Tecmo Madison V Champion) in overtime 21-28 (S.D. vs. DET).  At this same Chicago tournament I started the elimination bracket playing the number one seed of the tournament Josh Holzbauer (Tecmo Madison I Champion).  A few minutes into the third quarter leading 14-10 (WAS vs. S.D.) and with the ball, I was told that the tournament organizers had made a mistake on the mathematical calculations and I was not supposed to be in the game, but another competitor was supposed to play instead.  We stopped the game and I traveled back to Indianapolis.

After the Chicago tournament I told myself that I needed to get better, but that I was not too far removed from these elite console players.  I devoted time to learning more about the game and sharpening my timing by playing in online leagues.  I wanted to be like these guys.  I knew i had the tools, I just wanted to be accepted and accomplish something.  Then the time came.  My opportunity to play in the tournament I waited so long for.  Tecmo Madison.

That initial tournament turned into six.  I found myself playing in HALF of the Tecmo Madison tournaments. During those tournaments I amassed a 31-9 record, never missed the elimination bracket, and won Tecmo Madison XI.  Here are my nine losses:

Games in BOLD is where I called the matchup.
  1. Seth B. (St. Louis, MO) - HOU vs. RAI (28-14); this was when Drew Hill could run
  2. Isaac L. (Madison, WI) - JETS vs. PHX (24-21); in the rematch of the same teams I won 0-39
  3. Kevin Miller (Milwaukee, WI) - S.D. vs. CIN (10-20)
  4. Lucas Streiber (Kiel, WI) - PIT vs. PHX (14-7); chose the wrong team
  5. Josh Holzbauer (Madison, WI) - ATL vs. N.O. (24-26); the infamous cramp game
  6. Matthew Cobb (Chicago, IL) - G.B. vs. N.O. (14-17); won the rematch 42-7
  7. Chet Holzbauer (Madison, WI) - S.D. vs. CIN (21-31)
  8. Matt Tarrillion (Perryville, MO) - GIA vs. HOU (17-14); won the rematch 24-6
  9. Cory Schultes (Johnston, IA) - HOU vs. BUF (24-21); played a perfect game

If I had to rank the fun I had at the six tournaments I attended it would go like this:
  1. Tecmo XI Appocolipps Now - obvious reasons
  2. Tecmo X Gannonball Run - camaraderie at it's highest / Matty V.'s run
  3. Tecmo VII The Hoss Whisperer - time with my wife / seeing the real thing the first time
  4. Tecmo XII - There's Something About Barry - new crew / great games / ESPN coverage
  5. Tecmo IX - Marino Royale - exciting games / first "large" crowd
  6. Tecmo XIII - Muster's Last Stand - ESPN Films / worst finish

My only regret about Tecmo Madison is that I wish I found out about it sooner, and I wish I could have attended them all.

Long Live Tecmo?????

Since the announcement of the final installment of the Tecmo Madison Tournament several have speculated about the continued tradition Tecmo Madison has done over the years.  Some have speculated that Tecmo Super Bowl tournaments will die out and some have speculated that with the coverage from ESPN that the next "national" tournament or the next "big one" will be larger than ever.  He is my take on this.  LEAVE THIS ALONE!  Do not try to make the next big one.  Do not try and emulate what Tecmo Madison has done.  Definitely do not have a "Madison" tournament at the Badger Bowl.  Do not try and take this thing to Las Vegas.  I think you owe this to the the Holzbauers and the Tecmo Madison Crew.  What is acceptable is to continue having Tecmo Super Bowl tournaments.  Have it in your city.  Have fun. Keep the spirit alive.  Put a new spin on your tournament.  Make your tournament unique and build the three things that Josh and Chet did with theirs:
  1. Camaraderie 
  2. Nostalgia
  3. Spirit of Competition

The Tecmo Madison Crew has done something that I think few people understand.  They took a small group of people having fun and gaining bragging rights to creating the largest Tecmo Super Bowl tournament in the country.  I have been involved with tournament organizing and planning for two other tournaments and I can tell you that the time spent planning and preparing is great.  This is for small tournaments of 25-50 people.  I cannot imagine what this looks like for 270 plus.

  1. Exposure - For crying out loud these guys were on Sports Center.  An ESPN camera crew was at Tecmo XII for the entirety of the group play.  ESPN writer Michael Rothstein was at the tournament the night before, the morning of, and the entity of the whole tournament.  It is my understanding that a piece will be done for the ESPN website.  NFL Films did a documentary of Tecmo VIII.  Not to mention the local news stories, local and national radio podcasts, and national websites doing articles and interviews for this.
  2. Planning - This crew has to learn about 256 competitors skills levels, sift through previous tournaments including Madison and others, find out which competitors are riding/staying together, and figuring which competitors have played each other before so they can make groups for group play.  Have you ever heard of anyone legitimately be mad about the groups?  No.  This is the one thing that shows how successful Tecmo Madison has been, and they have been doing it for 12 years!  The planning that goes on site with programs to tabulate scores from different regions and different groups is seamless and has never had extended waits or issues.  With the chaos of people being mad drunk, all of the members of this crew NEVER lose their composure, always handle things professionally and fairly, and put on a happy face as if they are having as much fun as we are (which they are not).
  3. Venues - During my six years of Tecmo Madison the tournaments were played at the Badger Bowl and Logan's Madtown (no longer in business).  Both were very accommodating and provided an atmosphere that cannot be forgotten.  the tournament outgrew Logan's space, but both had Tecmo "specials' and had excellent service for food and drinking.  in wanting to host my own Tecmo tournament, this has been the most challenging thing for me to do,  Every year they lock up a venue where the establishment wants them back for more.
  4. The Example - Tecmo Madison has been the example for the other tournaments that have popped up around the country.  Everyone models their tournaments after the World Cup format, the coin toss for matchups, and the trophy presentation.  
Here is a tribute made by Owen Good of Polygon:

Josh and Chet Holzbauer are the brain-children of this monster.  Everything these guys have done has been top-notch and done in the most professional manner.  They always have time to talk with the field and make everyone feel at home.  I remember at my first Tecmo Madison I was invited to Tony Orenga's place for scrimmages.  Josh and Chet gave me suggestions on what to do/see with my wife while we were there.  These guys didn't know me from the next guy, but it didn't matter.  The wives, fiancees, and friends of the Tecmo Madison Crew all took heat from this tournament over the years. I know all of us are happy they were able to sacrifice for the tournament as long as they have.  That is why I am fine with this tournament ending it's own run.  They are deserving of this time.  I wish each and everyone of them the best with their families and their time together.  I hope that as this tournament fades away that you stay in contact and communicate from time to time, keeping us updated on the important things in life.

The Tecmo Madison tournaments have created some of my best friendships.  It has allowed me to be on local radio, local television, local newspapers, national magazines, and national television.  I have traveled to parts of the country I have never been before because of Tecmo Madison.  Tecmo Madison helped strengthen a bond with my son.  Tecmo Super Bowl and online Tecmo have taught me new computer skills which I use in my classroom everyday.  What I am trying to say is when I watched that video seven years ago, it changed my life.  It has become a part of who I am.  Even more so than the countless years and hours playing the game in my youth.  Josh, Chet, and the rest of the Tecmo Madison Crew are a huge part of this.  I cannot thank you guys enough for this.  

May god bless your families and your future endeavors,

Derek "Tecmo Psycho" Ruble
- Tecmo Madison XI Champ

Tecmo Madison XII There's Something About Barry

Same story, different cast of characters.  For the past few years I have shared the Madison experience with the same group of guys.  Since Tecmo Madison XIII I have made the journey with daboy2281.  In this final installment of the Tecmo Madison tournament, I would find myself making plans with other Tecmo friends.  On Thursday night dynastydegeorge arrived at my place from eastern Pennsylvania.  I made that journey in October, and it is no joke.  I can't imagine doing it alone.  After a quick introduction to my family we decided to grab some dinner.  Matt was impressed by the variety and new restaurants that the south side of Indianapolis had to offer.  I was blown away that he had never heard of Steak N Shake.  He told us a story that Ponderosa always gave him honor roll certificates for free meals when he was in school.  He also said Ponderosa had the greatest chocolate milk.  With the Ponderosa franchise almost obsolete, I decided it would be best if Matt got the opportunity to relive that dining experience.  Despite a shortage of chocolate milk, we got our fill and head back to my place where Matt and Dolan played some practice games while I packed stuff for the trip.   Then I played a few with Matt before heading to bed.  PIT vs. SEA is not a good matchup for the record.

The next morning we woke up around 5:45 AM EST.  After loading up the car and getting some gas we embarked on our journey to Hobart, Indiana to pick up Ryan11P.  After two and half hours on the road and passing through the field of windmills, we met up with Ryan at his grandmother's house.  You see, Ryan's grandmother was fixing us breakfast.  Matt and I had this feeling that breakfast was going to be epic, and I think it may of exceeded our expectations.  As we waited for final table preparations I met Ryan's wife, son, and grandparents. Really nice family.  Breakfast was served.  Let me try and give you a visual.  The plate of bacon was about two NES consoles wide and three NES consoles tall, a large size mixing bowl of scrambled eggs, and two loaves of sausage bread.  Never had sausage bread.  Amazing.  Haven't had breakfast like that in a long time.  During breakfast we listened to stories of His grandfather's mill stories, television schedule, and some time talking about our lives.  We also got hooked up with an iPass for a quicker/cheaper journey to Chicago.

After the stop in Hobart we journeyed to O'Hare airport in Chicago. We were in route to pick up arncoem who was flying in from Connecticut.  After a short release of breakfast in the cell phone lot
at O'Hare, we picked up our final rider for Tecmo XII.  There may not be a cooler guy in Tecmo.  Erik is a smooth blend of trendy, funny, classy, and genuine.  I have known all of these guys for a long time, but it was really good to spend the whole weekend with them.  We had about two hours left on the journey.  We did make a stop at a gas station.  Erik picked up some Subway and I drank some Hog Wash, better known as as Palmolive Gatorade.  About 45 minutes later my low pressure light came on in the car and the wheel was pulling a bit so we stopped to check the tires.  When we got out of the car the temperature dropped about 15 degrees and the the wind was blowing about 30 miles per hour.  Welcome to Wisconsin.

We rolled into the coveted Super 8 South about 2:30 PM CST.  The first person we were greeted by was Joe M. of Detroit.  Joe was jacked.  We were pulling a luggage cart with two CRTs, several large bags, and back packs and before we could get into the lobby Joe wanted some scrimmages.  Madison tends to do this to people.  I can't blame him. After unloading our stuff we set up two systems and began practice. The suicideking met up with us as well.  The list of games played in the hotel can be found on tweets:  @tecmopsycho

As practice games mounted, Erik started Track and Field competitions on his laptop.  Matt, Gerald, Ryan, and I also got a little Contra action in as well.  During the training sessions we were greeted by
the one and only bruddog, Dave Murray, and coconuts622.  Coco is someone I have gained much respect for the past few years.  Josh is very articulated.  He has a wide range of interests and is extremely relate-able.  Josh is one of the captains in the most elite online Tecmo league (Tecmo Team Cup). 

Josh set up reservations at the swanky Bonfyre Bar and Grille at 6 PM for a TTC meet up.  The crew headed to Bonfyre and got seated.  The owner of the restaurant has the last name Mort. When opening the menu we discovered Mort's Pot Roast.  Gearld tried ordering it, but they were out.  We enlightened our Canadian waitress about our journey, our professional gaming experience, the Sports
Center story, and Matt's "birthday".  She was quite impressed with Matt's geographical knowledge of Canada.  The restaurant had a nice setting.  The food was a bit more debatable.  Gerald's Wisconsin
jambalaya failed the authenticity test.  Erik and I ordered New York Strips.  I ordered mine medium.  It came out fresh off the cow.  I couldn't cut through some of it, literally.  Much of the 12 ounce steak could not be chewed.  Erik sent his back, and for whatever reason I didn't.  The waitress discounted my $32 steak $15 dollars. Thank you Josh for setting up that meeting.  Our league is a tight-knit one and I hope we can do more of this kind of thing in the future.

After dinner we set out for the Badger Bowl for pre-registration festivities.  Checked in and got my sixth Tecmo Madison shirt.Controversy ensued as the There's Something About Barry Shirt featured
the Sprite of L.T. waving after winning the Super Bowl.  I later found out that they wanted the waving L.T. as a symbolic good-bye to the tournament.  Makes sense.  Traditional hello exchanges occurred.  I met dueceloose and invaderstar for the first time.  Both soft-spoken and nice guys.  A few of the guys played practice games.  After speaking with a reporter from ESPN, I found out my group got much tougher as Jason Palazzo of Buffalo, New York was added.  I found the other tough competition for the pool in Jim Socks and discussed our new addition and the education system as we are both teachers.  After about an hour Erik and I headed to a convenience store and grabbed some drinks and large pastries.  When we got back to the hotel we could not get the television to work.  After a call to the front desk twice, someone came to the room and fixed it.  Went to bed early which
is quite the change.  Despite the early bed start I didn't get great sleep as I got sick several times during the night.  During the night Ryan and Kevin Cabarello (who met up with us at the Badger Bowl) slept on the floor and went camouflage as Erik and I barley saw them.

The next morning we got up early and watched Sports Center anxiously waiting the coverage we were told about at the Badger Bowl the night before.  Almost five minutes of airtime.  Tecmo Super Bowl has made the big time.  Kevin and I videoed the segment on our cell phones and I immediately posted to YouTube.  Unbelievable!


Next we ate breakfast in the lobby.  Told/talked with everyone about Sports Center.  The night before there was a tall guy that was extremely intoxicated and could barely speak in coherent sentences.  He had what sounded like a Russian accent.  As we were eating breakfast we see this same guy drinking a bottle of scotch at 8 AM pool-side.  He came in to the lobby and asked us if we were any good. Erik said we cannot beat the computer.

At about 9:15 AM we drove to the Badger Bowl.  The tournament started with a video tribute to Barry Sanders and readings from The Book of L.T.  With that, the final Tecmo Madison group play began.

My first game was against Phillip Aldridge of Illinois.  He won the toss and called a CHI vs. MIN matchup.  After some deliberation I decided on the Bears.  Bears defense was out early forcing two or
three punts to start the game.  ESPN had a camera man viewing us from above on the stage.  Little bit of added pressure there.  Johnny Bailey was having his way and after going up up 0-21.  I stopped to
check conditions, but went too quickly (used to playbook hack) and kicked like a 90 yard FG. Vikings take advantage by kicking a FG. Next drive Neal Anderson dropped a pass in the middle of the end zone with no defenders around.  Vikings were safetied.  Bears final attempt at a score resulted in an INT.  After the game was over I found out Phillip was a part of the annual Bloomington, IL crew and I also met storksdaman who is also a part of the crew as well.  Looking forward to playing in Bloomington some day.

I then had to wait what felt like two hours before my second game. Why might you ask?  Well one game went into two over times and another went into four over times!  My second game was against Nate Verstegen of Wisconsin.  You may remember the story of the person who came to the cabin room before the championship last year.  The guy who was really intoxicated and wouldn't leave myself and Matty V. alone?  I was reminded by his buddy that I played him a few years back and
that's why he came in to talk to us last year.  I looked a up our previous game (T.B. vs. RAMS) which I won 14-35.  I immediately remembered this game and the opponent.  He called a matchup monkey of mine after winning the toss.  CLE vs. G.B.  I hate this.  No matter what teams I have taken I always lose.  He must have done his homework.  I went with the Packers because they gave me the best chance defensively.  The game couldn't have started worse.  Packers first two touches were fumbled.  I was fortunate to only be down 7-0. The Packers offense scored pretty easily with passes to an always open Sterling Sharpe and great running by the trio of mediocre running backs.  Browns had lots of deep JJs, but really played a strong overall offensive game, amassing good yardage on the ground and in the air.  The Packers went up 20-28 after Thompson went into EXCELLENT. The Browns first play after the kickoff was a called play sack fumble for a TD.  Score was much closer than indicated.  Nate is much improved from a few years back.  He also knocked back many beers and kept under control.  He really is a good guy.  Keep up the good work.

Another long break allowed me time to split a pizza with Louis B. During this time we sat with Matt DeGeorge and Matt T. from Missouri (the guy that beat me in group last year).  He told us about a
horrific story where he was shot last year delivering pizzas part time.  Unbelievable.  Glad he's OK and able to participate.  I love Matt T.  Down to Earth best describes him.

Next up is the winner's bracket championship with Jason Palazzo of New York.  Jason was the number two seed.  He has had several great finishes at the Buffalo tournaments, was runner-up to Chris Vogt in the Youngstown tournament a few years back, and played a few seasons in my Money in the Bank League (MIB).  I will credit Ryan11P with giving me some playbook help and scouting for this one.  I was hoping to call this matchup, but for the third straight game I lose the toss and he calls PIT vs. T.B.  Another long deliberation, but I went with my personal success rate of the Steelers.  The first quarter was a back and forth of me forcing punts and him getting turnovers.  My first drive was great, but Haddix picked Bubby in the end zone.  We were tied at 0 for the first half. In the second half I had another solid drive, but this time was able to punch it in.  Storm would throw two picks in the second half, but Vinny threw a pair of his own as well.  That mixed with a called play fumble return for touchdown resulted in the 0-14 final score.  Great game Jason.  Great seeing you again.  You are awesome.  For the the sixth time out of sixth tries I advanced to the elimination bracket of Tecmo Madison.

After winning the group I was interviewed by Hannah Flood of the local NBC 15 Madison News Team.  Hannah was old friends with Lou Raguse, who I also met in person for the first time.  It was easy to see why these two have the types of jobs they have.  They are so charismatic.  Never been interviewed on camera like that before.  I was asked about why I play in the tournaments and why Tecmo Super Bowl is better than Madden.  She told me I would be on the news.  I was, but watch close because you might miss me!  Thank you Hannah for that opportunity.

I returned to my group to watch the final game between Jason Palazzo and Jimmy "Socks" Persin.  It was a WAS vs. MIA matchup.  Jason was the Skins and Jimmy was the Dolphins.  This game was crazy.  Jason was up 10-3 for a good chunk of the game.  Jimmy got the ball back in the 4th quarter and tied the game late at 10-10.  Jason then lost possession and Jimmy drove down inside the 15 with 18 seconds left. Jimmy ran run 3 and made Jason miss with a dive tackle, but instead of running out of bounds, got caught by a drone.  With 1 second left he could not get the timeout called and they went to OT.  Jason won the toss and drove down to kick the FG for the win.

Here is the ending:

Group play upsets featured Eric O'Dell and fellow rider Erik Merliss being knocked out before bracket play.  Despite maxing out, this year's tournament was missing some big name firepower of years' past. Four years of Tecmo champions were not present (Moonwalk, Air Bontempo, and Sobhi), Skunker, all four of the Vogts, Diaz, and Daboy are all regulars to make deep runs who did not come this year.  That statistic alone plus the early exits of O'Dell and Merliss made me believe that this year's tournament had a chance to be very wide open and new at the end, which it did.  The traditional costume contest featured Olaf the Spanish Snowman, Elmo from the Orenga Posse, Broadway Joe, and the Nature Boy Ric Flair.  The red-robed Flair donning an Atlanta Falcons Jeff George jersey underneath was the overwhelming crowd favorite with Woooooooooo's permeating the room. The contest was followed with another reading of the Book of L.T. before seeding occurred.

My reward for winning my group was playing Tecmo Madison V champion Kevin "Buzzsaw" Miller.  I lost an overtime game to Miller at the Chicago tournament and another close game at Tecmo Madison VIII. Kevin and I always split taps in those games so this was going to be interesting.  We developed a good sized crowd and I finally won a coin toss.  I called S.D. vs. WAS. He took the Redskins.  I was giddy. B.J. was money, completing 72% of his passes.  Butts got his and Gill Byrd got two jump picks.  It was 24-3 when Joe Howard snagged a timed JJ for the final score of 24-10.  I was able to win all of the isolations and didn't make mistakes.  I was feeling good about this
win.  Tough loss Kevin.  Thanks for the great games.  True champions.

After playing Kevin I had to take on Cory Schultes aka noonan.  Cory just won the Nebraska tournament.  Cory is also knowledgeable about the game.  This felt weird because he was one of my biggest Psych Ward contributors last year.  We developed a large crowd in the cabin room. He won the toss and called BUF vs. HOU.  I immediately felt screwed because whoever has the ball last in these games wins.  I despise the Oilers so the Bills were the obvious choice.  Before the game the
crowd behind us was very quiet.  I told them that I am like Happy Gilmore and I need the noise.  One asked for a nipple signature and from that point on it was loud.  Cell phone air horns, screams, and
chants.  Cory played the game smart.  This will come across salty, but these sentiments are from the spectators and Cory as well.  As expected the Bills were CC'd to death in double and triple coverage.
Add in a few JJs in traffic.  Sprinkle in no INTs and no fumbles. Again, these are sentiments from the spectators of the game.  "What garbage".  "The Bills played a perfect game."  "The offense could not
be stopped."  "Thurmal juked the entire Houston defense all over the field."  "If I had a dollar for every time the crowd said, another Tecmo Psycho first down I'd have my entry fee back."  The deciding moment of the game was right before half when James Lofton failed to jump on what appeared to be a guaranteed JJ TD.  If that JJ happens, Houston is unable to run seven run 4 QB sneaks without fumbling, which resulted in the FG breaking the 21-21 tie with 12 seconds left.  I can
honestly say that I am not upset by this loss.  I did play a perfect game.  I got zero breaks.  Cory did what he needed to do.  He got the breaks and played a smart clock game.  Great win Cory.

With Merliss knocked out in group play, Ryan losing to Ashman in the Round of 64, and myself losing in the round of 32 we had one car member left and that was dynastydegeorge.  Other TTC members LuckyTool lost in the round of 64 to Flo, D.T. lost in the Sweet 16 (?), and coconuts622 lost in the sweet 16 to Kyle N.  Everyone now was pulling for DeGeorge.  Matt lost to Rickster in a close PHX vs. PIT matchup in the Elite Eight.  In an elimination game he defeated Flo 0-19 Colts
over the Patriots (held Pats to 3 total yards), and then squared off against Aaron "the Kid" Toner.  It was a weird matchup (PIT vs. DEN). PIT did catch more of the breaks in this with CCs and a recovered fumble I believe.  Aaron also started making some of his first mistakes of the tournament in this game.  In the end we lost all of our rooting interests.  I along with many others were pulling for the Kid the rest of the way.  I played Aaron T. in Tecmo X.  I played a great game against him and won, but I remember it being the toughest group play game I had.  I also remember telling him that if he kept working he would be contending for this thing one day.  Sooner than later I suppose.  I also tried providing him with any inside information I could during the day.  The third place game versus Rickster was epic and the loudest pop of the day was when he almost recovered the fumble to beat Rickster in regulation.

In final Joey C. defeated the Kid 14-7 with the Chargers over the Steelers.  It was a good game and both played well.  I happy that Joey won because it has always been a dream for him to win the big one. I'm glad he was able to achieve that and get some money in the process.  He was so nervous all day.  Between games and especially during he's was jittery.  In the end it all worked out because he
joins an elite company of ten people to say they won a Tecmo Madison.

Following the tournament I took some group pictures, said some goodbyes, and went to Perkins with Kweh/Neerm, DeGeorge, and Merliss. There I indulged in a breakfast platter that included Lemonade
Blueberry Pie Pancakes.  Stuffed and tired we journeyed back to the hotel got some sleep and woke the next morning to venture home.

Quick shout outs to the Tecmo Madison Crew which I will elaborate more in a  Tecmo Madison Retrospective post, the Badger Bowl, Hannah Flood for the local news story, ESPN crew creating the ultimate buzz for Tecmo, and Michael Rothstein ESPN reporter covering the tournament the ENTIRE DAY.  Congratulations to the champ Joey C.

I leave this tournament with a different feeling than the rest.  Empty.

Long Live Tecmo??????