Who is the Greatest Video Game Football Player of All-Time? Michael Vick or Bo Jackson?

This past Monday, Michael Vick turned in an unbelievable performance for the Philadelphia Eagles, throwing for 333 yards and 4 touchdowns, while also rushing for 80 yards and 2 TD’s.   The Redskins had no answer for him.

Vick played so well that it reminded me of his video game counterpart in the 2004 version of Madden. Anyone who grew up playing Madden knows the version I’m talking about.  Vick fittingly graced the cover of that year’s edition and he was pretty much unstoppable.

This got me thinking: Who is the greatest football video game athlete of all-time?

When having this debate, there are really only two people who can be in the discussion:  Tecmo Bowl Bo Jackson and the Madden 2004 version of Michael Vick.

I will objectively break down each player in the latest edition of “The Great Debate.” After reading my arguments for both, feel free to leave your thoughts in the comment section.

The Argument for Michael Vick

I’ve owned nearly every version of Madden since the mid-90’s and I can say without any doubt that Vick is the best player in the history of the Madden franchise.  With a 95 speed rating and a cannon for an arm, there was no way to defend him.  In the words of Dan Patrick “You can only hope to contain him.”

A smart Madden player could just send all his receivers on a streak, which would push all the defensive backs downfield.  Vick, since he was faster than everyone else on the field, could then just rush past the linebackers for a huge gain.  If the defense countered by spying Vick, that would leave a man in single-coverage downfield, which allowed for him to zip a pass to the open receiver.  Even if the defense did successfully cover all the receivers while spying the quarterback, Vick could usually still outrun the linebacker and get a decent gain.

It was completely unfair.

In fact, it was so bad that when I played against friends we had a rule that neither team could play with the Atlanta Falcons.  An inferior player using the Atlanta Falcons could defeat a stronger player convincingly playing the 2004 version of Madden.

Vick had only one weakness. Like many QB’s in Madden, he was prone to the fumble when scrambling out of the pocket.  If you were playing the Falcons, your only chance of victory was to score every single possession and hope that you could recover a fumble from Vick at some point.

The Argument for Bo Jackson

Tecmo Bowl for the original Nintendo was probably the first football video game to really become popular.  The game was pretty basic.  Each team had only four offensive plays to choose from.  Typically you had two run plays and two pass plays.   On the defensive side, you had to guess which of the four plays the offense would choose.  If you guessed correctly it would almost always results in a sack in the backfield.  Bo Jackson was the exception to the rule.  Even if the defense guessed correctly, he would still bust off a ridiculous gain.

One other thing to remember: During the 1980’s the L.A Raiders featured a two-headed running attack of Bo Jackson and Marcus Allen.  Thus, in the original version of Tecmo Bowl, Marcus Allen was the runningback for one of the running plays.  Therefore, there was only one Bo Jackson play you could use!   So anyone with half a brain would just pick the corresponding play on defense every time to counteract Bo Jackson.

It didn’t matter.

Bo Jackson could not be stopped.  In all the times I played Tecmo Bowl as a kid, I think had Jay Schroeder drop back to pass about three times.  There was no need to pass if you played with the L.A. Raiders.  No matter what the situation, the correct play call was to hand the ball to Bo.   Every once in a while, I’d get bored and hand off to Marcus Allen.  But 90 % of the time, #34 would get the call in the huddle.

There was only one player who could contain Bo Jackson in Tecmo Bowl.  Lawrence Taylor was nearly the defensive equivalent of Bo Jackson.  Just like Bo Jackson was guaranteed a touchdown almost every time he touched the ball, Lawrence Taylor would sack the quarterback nearly every time a QB dropped back to pass.  Taylor was almost as fast as Jackson was in the game.  So if you wanted any chance to beat the Raiders, you had to play with the New York Giants.

My Choice

I’ve given this a lot of thought. Probably more than I should.  Both of these video game characters were dominant, but if I had to pick one, I’m taking Bo Jackson.  I was on the fence until I saw this youtube video:

This is just absurd.  Jackson runs for like 300 yards on the play and uses up the entire quarter!  As good as 2004 Madden Vick was, he could not have pulled this off!

My vote goes for Bo Jackson. What’s yours?

2 comments for “Who is the Greatest Video Game Football Player of All-Time? Michael Vick or Bo Jackson?

  1. Deuce McGee
    November 20, 2010 at 10:53 am

    I can’t believe Vick is getting any votes after seeing that video. Bo was ridiculous. And he never killed anything, which is always a plus.

  2. Jason G
    December 31, 2012 at 3:20 am

    I contained vick with the titan’s defense and keith bulluck. Was easy and McNair was very suitable as a scrambling quarterback back in the day. Titan’s secondary was mad awesome back then and made it easy to take down the newbies that would roll with the falcons online back in the day. Video Bo is easily the winner.

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