Monday, February 22, 2016

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??????


  1. Another great recap. My addition, as a recap of my (2 year) experience at Tecmo Madison:
    1) Being there and congratulating you on your TecmoXI victory
    2) Playing against an admired Tecmo great at the TecmoXII Round of 32
    3) Doing what I do, having fun/cracking jokes, and entertaining a gathering that wanted to be entertained (and did not disappoint them)
    4) Doing all that I could do and getting that sought after "Tecmo-God-nod" to prevail over a top Tecmo player in a game where he played his best.