With some fumble luck I won the first game, but I felt so uncomfortable. I could tell that my lack of playing was going to be a problem. Chris rattled off four straight including a shit storm JETS vs. N.O. garbage game. I was getting pissed. I buckled down and won three straight including two of Chris' favorite matchups (WAS vs. MIN) to tie it at four games a piece. The fifth game was a great game of Tecmo which Chris won 14-17 in OT. I felt better about my game, but not super confident. Went to bed around 2 AM.
The next morning Chris got up early to go to Rick's Tavern and Grill. I couldn't get up. When I finally did I grabbed some breakfast, headed to the tavern, and set up. One by one, the star-studded field arrived. Madison is the largest tournament in the country and features some of the top talent around, but at Midwest there is no froth at the top. Highly concentrated talent. I sat down with Diaz and we practiced our kick timing by only punting and kicking FGs. I was BUF and he was IND. Both of us knew that Rohn Stark was one of the best punters I the game, but I was shocked by how much difference it actually makes. I was kicking from the five with Tuten and getting full bar, with it only getting it to the 25 or 30. When Diaz was kicking from his five he was getting it to the five or ten with almost a full bar. What a weapon IND has. Strangely, the very next day Tecmo Bowlers posted this article about Rohn Stark: Good Player Bad Team - Rohn Stark
As the registration grew to a close, Chris asked me to help with pool dividing. It was fairly easy to put the "#1 seeds" into each pool. Initially there were only 24 people and six pools. Chris and others were making a case that I was a #1 seed. I argued that I wasn't. I definitely didn't have the confidence. In a practice game I lost to Jordan W. 35-3. After a 25th competitor showed up I became a #2. Every pool was brutal. Every pool had two ultra tough, could win-it-all types, and at least one upset type player. My pool featured #1 ones11fazhu, myself, Jordan W., satellite tournament winner Nick S., and Brian M.
My first pool play game was a rematch with Jordan W. Jordan chucked it up to Rison in the 35-3 game I mentioned earlier. If I won the matchup call he was getting two shitty QBs. I called DEN vs. S.D. He took the Chargers. I felt like I was in control in this very different game. I played good defense until the end of the game and won 27-3.
My second pool play game was against satellite winner Nick S. Chris told me that he out tapped him that weekend. Chris got me a few times the night before so I didn't know what to expect from him. I won the toss and called S.D. vs. WAS. He took WAS. I mixed it up. I played near perfect. I had the feeling he was playing well too, despite some crazy Gary Clark 4th down CCs and JJs. He became very frustrated at not winning the taps and by losing. When I scored a TD that put me up 3-31 he made a comment about running it up. I had to explain point differential and how players are seeded.
My third pool play game was against Brian M. of Rushville, IN. I grew up 30 minutes from Rushville. Brian was also Tate M.'s brother who I met at the Tecmo Indy tournament. They both made the trek to play. In Indy, Tate acted as if his brother was better. Tate improved immensely during the Indy tournament and after watching a few of his pool play games, was much improved since then. Brian won the toss and called IND vs. N.O. No-brainer for me. Saints scored at will and shut down the Indy offense. Final score was 0-42. I felt like despite the poor matchup call, that Tate is the better player.
The final game of the pool was against ones11fahzu. At times we play and it feels pretty even. At other stretches he has dominated our games. I called CIN vs. RAMS. I wanted RAMS and felt he would take the Bengals. He didn't. He also ran a quality playbook taking Fulcher all, but out of the game. My defense was great though. Getting a pick early and controlling some early clock led to a 28-7 victory. For the second straight tournament I was a handful of undefeateds. This time I was the #1 overall seed with a point differential of 102. Here are the results from the pool play games:
Being the #1 seed I got a bye, but what is my reward? A "first" round game against the winner of Aaron H. and Chris H. Ugh. Hake won and he called a RAI vs. PHI matchup. Against other players this is a tougher decision. Against Hake it was easy. Hake likes to pass. I gave him RAI. QB Eagles ran wild and hit open receivers. Play calls and turnovers in his own territory led to a 14-35 win.
Second round game I get Louis B. Are you kidding me right now? He called MIA vs. PHI. I have played this a ton since Orenga called this on me in Madison. I have had success with both teams. I practice this game quite a bit. I took MIA. I played lights out and also had several called plays putting QB Eagles out of reach. After a late score from PHI, I won 7-17.
Round three and the right to play in the winner's bracket championship and a guaranteed fourth place finish I had to play ones11fahzu again who just got a monster win versus Chet H. I won the toss and went with the same matchup Louis called on me. He chose PHI. Game was a great one. Probably my most exciting game of the day. He scored on a solid drive to go up 0-7. I was held to a FG to make it 3-7. I brought in Mitchell for the last second bomb at the half and it falls incomplete in the end zone despite a GOOD diving Mark Duper. I get the ball after half and have a great drive. I switch Duper up top and got a burner over a jumping cut screen Eric Allen. Allen whiffed and Duper runs for an additional 20 yards or so and then FUMBLES!!!!!!!!!!!!. Ooooooof. Talk about a punch in the gut. Eagles gets a FG and makes it 3-10. Fourth quarter I march it down the field and with a minute and some change (52 seconds I think) score a TD to tie it. Eagles have time to march and kick, but after converting a 4th and 3 from their own 35 the RB fumbles and give it to Stoyanovich with nine ticks left. A punt and this game is in OT. Instead the tournament run continues.
The winner's bracket championship is against regulator088. Since Madison I hear one or two things. 1. Psycho had a great run THAT DAY or 2. Psycho is the champ and he has proven himself. Either way, I feel like there is an asterisk next to the win. Yes, regulator088 was not there. I understand that. If he was there, yes I may have lost. So going into this game I felt like I had to prove something about playing top tier talent. To this point, no one had given me a game besides ones11fahzu. I felt pretty good, UNTIL regulator088 called the matchup. He called his self-proclaimed BEST matchup JETS vs. PIT. I was like, OK I just need to keep it under two scores. I've seen how bad he has beaten great players in this matchup. I took the Steelers because the JETS suck for me. Game opens up with a JETS fumble and I got 3 off a FG. The rest of the game I just limited yardage on the JETS. I felt like my defense was solid. I did catch a break on a JJ INT by Woodson in the end zone across the middle (Clifton had one on Bubby earlier in the game). On offense I felt like every other play was a first down. I had some big gains. I found myself up 0-19 at the end of the game. JETS did get a fumble at the end which was returned to about the 3. Regulator088 got pissed and punted it through the uprights. If anything, I feel like no one has ever played him like that before, especially in that matchup.
After that victory I sat what seemed like a day. I was refilling my water on my own because the new server that replaced Taylor was non-existent. Taylor was awesome by the way! I watched other talented Tecmoers get knocked off one-bye-one. Chet got revenge on ones11fahzu, regulator088 defeated Diaz, Jimmy was defeated by Chet on a 60+ yard FG by Del Greco as time expired to be eliminated. Jimmy finished 4th. Jimmy also won the Boomer Esiason Starting Line-up by throwing for the most yards with him during the day (199).
While David Fulcher Sr. couldn't make it this year, he donated some autographed items including a football, a painting, and a jersey. Raffle tickets were sold for his foundation. I dropped $20 and missed the jersey by two tickets, ugh! Regulator088 donated a larger amount to the bag, but didn't take his worth in tickets. The Tecmo Gods rewarded him by winning the jersey. Awesome stuff.
Yuengling was also gracious sponsors by donating T-shirts, banner work, a chalkboard, a golf bag, and a bar light. First through third place would take home those prizes. Chet went on to play regulator088 in the third place game. Kyle took the Vikings in a WAS vs. MIN matchup call. Kyle won big for the rights to clash with me.
I so wanted to call the matchup against Kyle. This is one thing he does so well against everyone that I don't think he gets credit for. He can take people out of their game. In the first game of the championship he called RAI vs. CHI. Against anyone else I am jumping up and down. I took CHI. Looking back, I should have taken RAI. He made me look silly and I felt like we just should have hit reset and played the second game once he got up 21-0.
The second game he won the toss again. Ugh! I was going to call CIN vs. WAS if I won it. He later said he would have taken CIN, which is what I planned on. Instead I get another matchup against everyone else I am jumping up and down against, DEN vs. S.D. When I played this game I thought he had the upper hand the entire time. After watching it back the game was much closer than the final score indicated. A couple of plays here or there that did not go my way and the game is easily 13-13 or possibly in my favor. If I would have ran R and S with Pro T Run 1 instead the offset playbook, I think it would have been a game for the ages. Congratulations Kyle. You are the measuring stick in Tecmo. You watch the championship at minute marker 10 hours 9 minutes 33 seconds: Midwest Tecmo VIII Championship Game
Whether you want to call it a magical year or a "run", I am 27-5 in live tournament play in 2015 on original ROM. I have finished 1st at Madison, 4th at Tecmo Indy, and 2nd at Midwest VIII. The fact of the matter is that I am improving and I am one of the better console players around. There are others that are just as good and better. Big ups to Chris Vogt who continues to do more for the game of Tecmo than anyone I know. I think we are running people off. We need to get this thing back up to 56 people like it was two years ago. You do an awesome job and you are the reason why I continue to plan life around Tecmo.
After the tournament I picked up my stuff at Hotel de Vogt and headed home with ones11fahzu and regulator088 behind. I offered them a place to stay to save them some drive time and a ridiculous late night. We grabbed some pizza and crashed hard. I woke the next morning to find they left me some cash and a tidy living room.
Another great weekend. I love these, win or lose.
Long Live Tecmo