Sunday, March 3, 2013

Tecmo Madison IX - Marino Royale Recap

Last year I did not write recaps for Madison and/or the Midwest Tournaments. Shame on me. After a night a pre-tournament festivities, daboy8821 and I headed to the Badger Bowl. Let's start with this venue. I have attended Tecmo VII and Tecmo VIII, so the only venue I have ever known for the Madison tournament was Logan's Madtown, which is now out of business. I thought Logan's was a great venue, but after attending Tecmo IX, I would have to say it was not. The Badger Bowl was ideal for this tournament. Due to the enormous size of this 224 person field, not to mention the increased numbers of significant others, children, and spectators, the Badger Bowl had two large rooms to split the field. One room had about 16-18 TVs/systems arranged along long walls and a small bar. The other room had a stage for live music, a bar/restaurant area, and about 10 pods of 2-3 TVs/systems.

The tournament opened with a Casino Royale-inspired Dan Marino poem read by Josh Holzbauer. I have always felt that Josh really is the gear behind this tournament with his humor and MC ability. Competitors' names and stations were called out as group play was about to get underway. The Madison crew always do a great job spreading out talent across the groups. My group this year was no different. Out of the 8 people in my group I was pre-determined as the #2 seed. Since my OKOYE jersey didn't arrive in time I wore my Anthony Munoz jersey and white sunglasses. A player from my group nicked-named Beef Juice said that, "You have no idea how intimidating it is to watch you play or to play you (my size mixed with the sunglasses and no facial/silent expressions the whole time)". I thought that this was pretty funny as I wear the sunglasses to eliminate the bright screen on my shitty contact lenses and I don't talk because I listen to music to block out the crowds and other distractions.

vogtcd, daboy8821, BigMV54, tecmopsycho

The rest of the group consisted of #1 Lucas Streiber who sported a nifty quarter-zip black turtle-neck sweater with white 8-bit snowflakes across the chest. #3 Kevin Nicksic was a no show. #4 Jake Ironside aka "Beef Juice" had Pabst Blue Ribbon Beer headbands and wrist bands. 5 Miguel Cintron, #6 Joe Lulott who was sporting a Sebastian Janikowski jersey, a Lakers hat, and had Troy Polamalu hair (the white guy version), #7 Kevin Mulcahy, and #8 Peter Best. In round 1 Lucas defeated Peter handily 38-0. Beef Juice beat Miguel with a buzzer beater JJ to Haywood Jefferies against Eagles 21-24. Kevin N. was a no show which allowed Joe a forfeit win in round 1. I defeated Kevin M. 28-7 on a matchup I called, which was DEN vs S.D. Kevin took the Chargers.  Elway played smart scrambling and had 75% completion rate. B. Hump did his thing on the ground. I did lose 2 fumbles in this game, but B.J. Tolliver threw 4 picks. The only score that I gave up came on a JJ to Anthony Miller.

In round 2 of the winners bracket Lucas defeated Jake as Jake picked a CIN/K.C. matchup, which played right into Lucas' strong suit. I had to play Joe Lulott who called a NYJ/DAL matchup. I took the Cowboys. I had a very easy drive to go up 7-0. Joe comes back and after converting a deep 3rd and 14, tied it up at seven. Joe kicked a full meter kick off right before the half. Awalt barely gets out of the end zone before he is tackled. The last play before the half I am in the back of the end zone buying time for a long JJ attempt when I see MAN controlled Dennis Byrd coming at me. Risking the possibility of a dive safety, I baited him into a grapple, tossed him over the goal posts, and chucked to Jay Novacek as he catches in stride and zig zags the drones to go up 7-14 at the half. This was huge as Joe got the ball after half. The first play after half was a Manny Hendrix INT, which led to another Dallas TD. Jets counter with a score of their own. Dallas scored again (14-28) and then force a Jets punt. Trying to increase the point differential, the Cowboys over throw a wide open TD and then throw a miss-press INT when another receiver was by himself in the end zone.

In the loser's bracket Peter B. defeated Miguel C. 24-7 with the GIA over S.F. Kevin M. got a forfeit win over the no show. Beef Juice then defeated Kevin M. Joe L. defeated Peter B. Joe L. beats Beef Juice in the loser's bracket semi.

In the championship of the winner's bracket I played Lucas S. He wins the toss and called a PIT/PHX matchup. I took PHX. Most frustrating game of the tournament. First drive I immediately force him to punt. My first possession I drive and score 0-7. Next possession I force another punt. I drive to into the red zone and then fumble away at the 25. He then scores making it 7-7. Middle of the second I have to punt after two called plays, but I get it back with a MAN controlled Lonnie Young INT. I get the ball after half only to lose another fumble. Again, I make a great MAN controlled INT with Lonnie Young with 3:20 to go in the game; still tied at 7. I march the ball down to the 25 and in FG range to take the lead. I have a wide open Roy Green at WR 2 on a streak to the end zone. I have to avoid two PIT drones in the backfield (was happening all game). As I am tapping off the drone, I over press and instead of hitting Roy Green, the ball is thrown up top to a Rod Woodson-covered Johnny Johnson and is picked. To make matters worse, the INT is returned from about the 20 to the 50. He checks conditions and of course Strom is in EXCELLENT. I have to call pass. He runs two run 3s with ridiculous blockers and then connects on a short pass to go up 14-7 with hardly anything left. After the kick-off I have 3 seconds and from my 3 he calls my play to end the game. First and foremost, Lucas is an incredible player. He was ranked higher than me for a reason. He did beat MattyV and Josh H. He had Mort down and out for the elite eight. With that being said, I completely dominated this game and got screwed by Tecmo in every way possible. He had 48 rush yards and 64 pass yards to my 108 rushing and 79 pass. I was in his back field the entire game. He had to punt 3 times yet I lose. Nuts.

So after some really bad luck I have to play the championship of the loser's bracket against Joe L. again just to advance to the big dance. I win this toss and call DET/S.D. He took DET as I expected. I dominated this game and was winning 21-0 until he kicked a FG with 43 seconds left to avoid a shut out. I held him to 77 yards on 17 carries (43 of these were Rodney Peete). So I finish 3-1 and advance to the big 64-man tournament with a bad seeding and would have to play a very skilled player in the opening round.

After group play I went to check on Jon aka daboy8821 (he rides up with me). He won his pool only giving up 7 points and going 3-0. With a small break before the big boy tournament, I met up with one my wife's friends who lives in Madison, and ate lunch at the bowling alley. Half-pound cheeseburger, fries, cheese curds, and a Mountain Dew ($15.63). Delicsh!

Region studs were Chet, Sobhi, Skunker, daboy, regulator088, ryanfulcher33, Mort, and Josh H. As the names get drawn out, I wait and wait. With the last names called, I am paired with Kyle Floetl aka Flo. I can count on 2 hands the number of elite tappers who are equal with me or better out of this 224 man field. Flo is one of them. I knew he was the same or better, so this would be interesting. He won 2/3 one-on-ones during the game. He called a WAS/MIN matchup. After some deliberation I took WAS. Game was a defensive slug fest. Punts, TODs at mid field, a missed Flo FG and a Chip Lohmiller make was the only score of the first half. Flo had a posse. I love this. I tend to play better when people are against me. I got a lot of shit about 3 feet from my ear despite blaring some Notorious BIG. In the second half I was able to start moving the ball with ease, mixing it up with pass and runs. The play action plays were huge and led to a 24-7 win.

In the round of 32 I got Josh Holzbauer. I called a N.O./ATL matchup. I hoped he would take ATL. He didn't. Josh has a great drive inside the 10 and all the sudden my thumb locks. I couldn't move it unless I used the other hand. I have never had this happen. I guess it was the massive amount of games played the week before. I straighten it out and try again. Same result. Extremely painful. I was on the verge of forfeiting. Josh graciously tells me to take as long I need. His wife (a nurse) says I need water and gets me a glass. This is a testimate to the Madison crew. Thank you Erin. Josh, like me, you hit the jackpot on that one. I chug and she gets me another glass. I chug again and wait about 10-15 minutes stretching my thumb. When we resume, I am wary of pressing hard, but I am able to play. Neither of us could stop each other. He ran at Deion and I threw to Rison. The difference in the game was a 3rd quarter safety on a called play. I lost 24-26. I can accept a loss like this because there was no shit and the safety was a bad play call on my part.

 I got the chance to meet several new people yet again. Chad Norwood from Louisiana. Travis R. (Moulds33), and Dave Murray were just a few. Dave Murray may very well be the coolest human being alive. Dude was as nice as could be and had the technology rolling with streaming games and conducting the interviews with O'Dell and Chris Vogt. He was throwing packs of 1990 and 1991 football cards into the crowd, giving free T-shirts, and I got a copy of the exclusive Tecmo 2013 cartridge.

The Sweet 16 and Elite 8 were started by readings from the book of L.T. Mort was magical pulling out back to back miracles. regulator088 steam-rolled the competition to win the winner's bracket. Daboy defeated Joe Naughton (RAI over CHI) and bgboud (K.C. over MIA) to advance to the final four.

8-bit Tecmo helmet on Joey Browner 

The crowd was getting larger. The outfits and throwback jerseys were awesome. Saw Steve Grogan, Joey Browner, Christian Okoye, Randal Cunnigham, Thurman Thomas, and Hardy Nickerson, and Jesse Tuggle throwbacks. Tecmo T-shirts were for sale. Beer was flowing, pizza being devoured, and spectators from the bowling alley were gazing at the spectacle. I also saw the coolest Mario tattoo ever.

Mario tattoo (castle and shy guy was on the back) 

Bounced players, significant others, and family members crowded around the two big flat screens and were standing on tables and chairs as the final four games were displayed. Daboy achieved redemption after a big loss to Jeff B. 42-21 in the Sweet 16 Round. In that earlier game, he was down 21-0 in the first 3 minutes due to a Marion Butts fumble and 2 Louis Oliver INTs. He did come back to 21-14, but a Mark Clayton CC, wide open Dolphin receivers on pass calls, and several dropped balls from Charger RBs led to that defeat. Daboy would meet Jeff B. in a rematch and called a G.B./N.O. matchup. Daboy got G.B. This was actually a really good game that was 10-3 late in the 4th. Jeff was 4th and 5 from the 5 and going for the tie. He scrambled with Fourcade and daboy MAN controlled Tim Harris. Daboy tornadoed Harris and cheated on the short pass to the end zone forcing Jeff to run with Fourcade. Harris stopped Fourcade at the 2 to hold on for the win.

Jon played Chet with the winner to meet regulator088 in the championship. It was a Browns/Saints matchup. The first half was completely dominated by daboy8821. Where ever Chet went on defense, QB Browns carved it up. Daboy stuck with Eric Metcalf and played the sidelines to avoid the fumble. He never fumbled. The pro-Chet crowd was silenced and doubtful as daboy went up 14-0 right before the half. One daboy supporter shouted, "Take him to the f---ing woodshed Jon." Shortly after this, Ironhead Hayward returned a kick right before the half with Chet having possession afteR. This completely won the game. In the fourth quarter daboy was 4th and 3 from the 3 and elected for a FG to tie it at 17. Chet was able to march the field and get a FG with little time left. I felt bad for Jon. I thought he earned it. Chet played well too, but I just felt bad.

In game one of the championship Chet faced elimination in a DET/K.C. Game started horribly for regulator going down 9-0 with a DT safety. Regulator did come back, but Chet pulled back away late forcing regulator to pass. I think that final was 33-14? The elimination championship game was another Chet matchup call. DET/CIN. Chet was the Bengals. WR2 burn route to Tim McGee all game. Regulator countered with long Barry runs on dangerous 3rd and longs and 4th shorts deep in his own territory. Two huge plays late gave the Bengals the edge. A JJ to Eddie Brown between 3 defenders for a score and a diving CC to Ickey Woods in the end zone on double coverage for a 28-17 win. Chet is truly the Michael Jordan of Tecmo with a back to back Madison titles to go along with his numerous résumé of other tourney titles.

LuckyTool, Ones11fauzu (front), bgboud2 (back), tecmodell42, daboy8821 (front), tecmopsycho (back), regulator088 

The tourney followed with the awards ceremony (video below) and group pictures. Just awesome. You aren't a true Tecmoer until you experience this. Huge thank you to Josh and Chet with their crew (Bailey, Orenga, the women of Tecmo, etc.) for another brilliant production of the Madison Tecmo Tournament. You have to keep this going.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

Travel and Pre-Tournament Festivities

Hit a bad snag of traffic in Chicago.  Wasn't nearly as bad as last year.  Decided to skip the tolls this year and took a bunch of back roads through northern Illinois and eastern Wisconsin.  Daboy8821 rode with me again this year and got a bad case of McDonald's pains.  Not a restroom in sight.  We finally discovered a small hole-in-the-wall bar called Snuffy's Still.  He reported that it was very embarrassing to have all the locals stare at him while he made the march to the John.

We realized we got the same hotel as last year.  We played several games before heading to the early bird registration.  Got to the Badger Bowl and they had about 16 TVs/stations going.  We played each other several times again.  Met a few from online for the first time (Dave Murray and Travis R./moulds33).  Talked with the Vogts, O'Dell, Toolie, Louis B., and the Wisconsin crew.  Several were there getting in pre-tournament reps.