The Nastiest Player in Tecmo Super Bowl

The Deadliest Wayne

Wayne Haddix

You’ll never hear his name mentioned as one of the old greats on Monday Night Football, but his name is a shibboleth of the Tecmo Super Bowl (TSB) ardent- a passphrase to identify the most die-hard fans of the greatest 8-bit sports simulation ever created. Utter his name around anyone who grew up playing TSB and a mix of fear, reverence, and envy washes over their face.

In the real world, Wayne played only a few seasons of professional football and had precious few post-season appearances.  In the TSB world, Wayne Haddix is a god- an Olympian immortalized in a low-resolution,  frozen snapshot of terrifying physical prowess.

  • 44 Hitting Power
  • 69 Quickness
  • 75 Maximum Speed (Tied for highest)
  • 75 Interceptions (Highest)

Here’s a single game highlight video showing Wayne picking off Steve Walsh eight, yes eight (8!) times.

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nqs-H9lhVQo[/youtube]

Where’s Wayne?

How is the best defensive back in the best Nintendo game ever created totally unknown in real life?

Check out Wayne’s Wikipedia page.  It’s like a stub, there’s nothing there.  Scroll over to the history section however, and you can see the ongoing edit controversy. It’s a waging war between those of us that understand Tecmo Super Bowl’s importance in the history of humankind and the tight-pantsed dorks that refuse to acknowledge the value of Wayne’s impressive virtual accomplishments.

From what we can tell, Wayne had exactly one stellar season playing for Tampa Bay in 1990.  

  • He started every game
  • He had 7 interceptions
  • He returned them for 231 yards and 3 touchdowns

If Michael Lewis (The BlindsideMoneyball) was available he might do some digging into Tecmo Super Bowl’s programming and release history.  Could we back out the Japanese number-crunching formula that turned 1990 football stats into Tecmo Super Bowl player stats?

In fairness, there was no way to know at the time that Wayne’s stellar season was a fluke and not indicative of his future career. Michael Lewis would dig into the human story around Wayne’s 1990 season, culminating in a trip to the Pro Bowl.  When he was flying back from Hawaii, tanned, laughing and on top of the world, where was he in his contract with the Buccs? Did he have a Jerry McGuire-esque agent go to bat for him? Maybe he secured a lucrative 5 year, $40 million contract that the Bengals, his next team, had to negotiate him out of after his completely lackluster follow-on season?

The story is out there, but unfortunately we’re not professional journalists with that kind of time, so with the rest of the Tecmo Super Bowl world we’re left asking:

“Where’s Wayne?”

Fishing: How to Remove a Fishhook from an Enemy’s Ear

Like most siblings, we fought. (a lot) But that didn’t mean we didn’t love each other. We weren’t enemies per se–  it just seemed like we were to the general public. Take, for example, our regular family camping trip. We would find a remote spot to set up camp in the high Uinta Mountains in northern Utah and spend a few days fly fishing and catching salamanders. However, just because we were a million miles from civilization didn’t mean we were unable to produce mischief.

During one trip, my brother and I spent hours poking pin-prick holes into my sister’s waders so when she stepped into a pond to hunt salamanders, she immediately found herself waterlogged and unable to move. Generally it was just fun and games and no one got hurt. That is, until the fishhook incident.

I was somewhere in the neighborhood of double digits, and my brother had just reached his teens. So he was a green Boy Scout, fresh off his first scout camp, and eager to show off his new skills. Unfortunately, I gave him his first chance.

This is not my brother.

Sure, I’d been fly fishing for quite some time, but that didn’t mean it wasn’t still difficult. The rod was like three times taller than me and I still needed my dad’s help every time to get a fish off the hook. And sometimes when the fish weren’t biting, I’d get bored and play Zorro. (The fact that Zorro’s whip was not attached to a long pole had no bearing on my fantasy. Ah the folly of youth.)

Eventually, my luck ran out and during a sunny afternoon of playing Zorro, I ended up with a fishhook embedded firmly in my ear. There were grasshoppers all over the river that year, so naturally I was using a grasshopper fly with, you guessed it, the biggest, meanest hook you could imagine.

After the few moments inherent to childhood pain of thinking, “I wonder if this hurts enough to justify crying,” I began wailing.

However, the only family member in earshot was my brother George. Things were about to get much worse.Lumbering down the riverbed in his waders, he eventually saw the grasshopper firmly implanted in my ear, and a huge grin spread across his face.

“Don’t worry,” he yelled, not breaking his stride. George calmly explained to me that he’d JUST learned how to remove fishhooks in his most recent scout camp. “Lennie had one just like this and the scoutmaster showed us how to get it out. It’s super easy,” he reassured me.

As any anglers out there are aware, removing a fishhook from skin is, in fact, relatively easy. It’s a matter of pushing it through the skin and breaking or squeezing the barb. Then, you simply pull the hook out the way it came in.

See? Super easy.

Easier said than done when you’re an overeager 13-year-old with a guinea pig for a little brother.

Twenty excruciating minutes later, I felt that if my ear was amputated, I’d count that as a win. When my father finally came back downstream, he found what looked like a scene out of Saw–my brother, hands covered in blood, holding me down with one knee as my ear dripped blood all over my face. There was no telling where the hook even was anymore.

Needless to say, I’m much more cautious when I fly fish now. And if I ever hook myself again, I’ll probably just leave it in there.

Fly Flishing, who knew it would lead to a pierced ear?
Fly Flishing, who knew it would lead to a pierced ear?

 

Choose your NCAA Bracket Manager Wisely

It’s too late now; your $5 or $20 (or if you’re single, $150) is tied up with your NCAA bracket manager. He’s an old friend or some random guy you know by association. And either way, he is not to be trusted.

I admit, I’m not really trusting when it comes to bracket managers. But I have a good reason. When I was in high school, two of my enterprising classmates took it upon themselves to run a massive school-wide bracket. It sounded like a great idea at the time–a pot over $1,000 divided appropriately between different tiers of winners. So I bought two brackets, filled them out, and was on my way.

It was only a few days later, when I was at McDonald’s with the rest of the football team (undertaking our weekly challenge of trying to eat enough Big Macs that the restaurant ran out of middle buns) that I got a jarring call. Apparently one of our more intelligent classmates had added up the tiers and found that they didn’t equal the total amount of coin we had put in.

It was mutiny.

Within minutes, hundreds of students had swooped down on the two unsuspecting march madness bracket managers in the lunchroom where the two tried to explain that “we were just taking a cut to pay for our hard work!”

Needless to say, there were countless wedgies and swirlies. It was like Jesus and the money counters all over again. And I stopped trusting NCAA bracket managers forever. So the next time you fork over a check (seriously, like one of three checks you actually write every year) for $20 to Ron in accounting, remember my tale. And make sure to add up the winnings.  Because everyone knows Ron is a weasel.

Your Manly March Madness Survival Guide

So you managed to fake your way through your company’s March Madness bracket. Good work. You were able to fill it out because after all, you can still count.

“A 1 should beat a 16. Yes. And that 8 should beat a 9. Okay…” you muttered, huddling over in your cubicle, hiding your shame.

But now what? You know damn well you’re going to get roped into watercooler talk about teams like “Creighton (7)” and “Florida Gulf Coast (15).” Teams you never even knew existed. And you sure as hell don’t want to get caught saying something stupid like “wait. Harvard (14) has a basketball team?”

But what can you do? You can’t possibly learn enough about college basketball in the next day to avoid sounding like a philistine. Don’t worry, I’ve got your back.

First response – avoid the situation

  • Avoid gatherings – if there are men congregated anywhere in the office, you can be damn sure they’re talking about March Madness. So have your cell phone ready at all times to fake a call. (However, don’t let women in the office lull you into a false sense of security. Many of them also know more about the tourney than you do.)
  • You social drinkers are out of luck for the rest of the month–and to be safe, the first week of April–because bars are definitely not an option. Do you really want a waitress with pigtails and booty shorts guffawing because you mixed up New Mexico (3) and New Mexico State (13)?

Second response – fake it 

Do a modicum of research on a few teams, get together a few vague phrases and practice them in a mirror. I’ll provide a few samples:

  • “Did anyone pick any 12 -seed upsets?”
  • “Yeah, the Zags are good, but I don’t think they have the stamina to make it to the Final Four.”
  • “So who do you guys think is this year’s Cinderella?”

Emergency response – start a fight

March madness is a unique time of the year. No one is going to keep questioning you if you lose your temper over something silly. Here’s a good one:

Coworker: “Wait, you seriously have Valparaiso (14) beating Michigan State (3)?”
You: “If you value your front teeth, don’t mention the M-word when I’m in the room.”
Coworker: “Whoa, sorry man. I’ll leave you alone.”

Sure, threatening physical violence will probably get you fired and should therefore only be used in an emergency. Like if that butthole Ron in accounting tries to make you feel foolish. But hey, he’s been asking for it since day one.