The 10 Best Video Games: Football Edition

The 10 Best Video Games: Football Edition

Sports and video games have been inextricably linked ever since Tecmo Bowl galvanized youngsters to challenge each other head-to-head and when t tohey started witness the herculean exploits of Bo Jackson's virtual avatar for themselves. The real and virtual worlds have come a long way since Jackson ran roughshod over hapless defenders, but one truth stands out among the rest: as long as these video games continue to hit the market, people will play them until their fingers bleed.

Of the countless NFL and NCAA video games that have been released to date, here are ten that stand out among the rest.

10. NFL Quarterback Club

Along with a virtual recreation of its namesake skills-based challenge for NFL quarterbacks, this Acclaim classic featured exhibition, season, and scenario-based modes in which players attempted to recreate some of the best moments in NFL history.

9. NFL 2K5

Innovative and dazzling for its time, SEGA's NFL series is best known for its impeccable presentation that eventually carried over into EA Sports' famed Madden franchise. Along with an in-depth franchise mode, NFL 2K5 players can expect to see their favorite ESPN hosts and analysts break down the biggest hits and highlights.

8. Madden NFL '95

Madden NFL '95 was the first game to feature the NFL team logo and a license from the players association, which meant that you could take command of stars such as Steve Young and Jerry Rice rather than players who vaguely resembled them. It also had the FOX NFL Sunday theme song, which has been a staple of the sport for the last three decades.

7. NCAA Football '11

Along with a dynasty mode that had an updated scheme for recruiting new players, NCAA '11 introduced the devastating read-option for in-game use.

6. Madden NFL '06

This was the first game in the Madden franchise to feature the "quarterback cone," which allowed players to scan the field for open receivers and make throws with pinpoint accuracy.

5. Madden NFL 2001

The Madden series took a huge leap with its first installment for sixth-generation consoles. Though its franchise mode was largely stripped down, the graphics were second-to-none for its heyday. 

4. Madden NFL 2005

Possibly the most innovative and immersive Madden to date, its 2005 iteration allowed players to assume control of a franchise as an owner, hire and fire coaches, relocate their teams, build new stadiums, adjust ticket prices, and more. The truck stick gave players the ability to either bowl over defenders or jar the bar loose with bone-crushing hits.

3. Front Office Football

This text-based simulator allowed players to take control of a franchise from top-to-bottom, and its success has spawned the multi-year approach to roster management that has dominated the electronic landscape since. 


2. NCAA Football 2007

If home-field advantage defined prior entries in the NCAA series, its 2007 update emphasized that momentum still reigned supreme. Just like in real life, interceptions, long bombs, and big gains could turn the tide of a game very quickly. In addition, it was the first college game to be released for seventh-generation consoles.

1. Tecmo Super Bowl

This 8-bit classic may have aged terribly, but its impact is still felt among anyone who has organized a neighborhood tournament or regaled others with the feats of Bo Jackson (who is probably better known to youngsters for his virtual exploits rather than his actual play).

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