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The big game as seen through the eyes of a classic

By Blane Singletary
Posted on January 26, 2012 | Columns | Comments Off on The big game as seen through the eyes of a classic

The football match up of the year has been set. The New England Patriots and the New York Giants will square off in Super Bowl XLVI. It sounds exciting, but sadly we have to sit through a little more than a week before we get to witness the outcome. And don’t get me started on how pointless the Pro Bowl is.

Luckily, with today’s simulation technology, we can simulate the outcome. All you need to do is pick the two teams and let the computer play out the game. Electronic Arts’ annual Madden NFL simulation gets a lot of buzz especially since it has correctly picked the winner in 6 of the last 8 Super Bowls.

Last year’s Packers/Steelers match up was one of those years that Madden was wrong, picking the Steelers to win in a very close game. But you wouldn’t believe what video game simulation picked the winner correctly: Tecmo Super Bowl. Yes, this 8-bit Nintendo game from 1991 was able to produce a more accurate result than EA’s ultra-detailed HD powerhouse.

Granted, this was a special modified version of the NES classic, with updated rosters and a few other additions to make it play more like today’s NFL, but it still uses the original game’s code at its core. These modifications were done by Tecmo Super Bowl’s extremely dedicated cult community, who regard the game as the greatest American football sim of all time.

I recently picked up this year’s edition, loaded it into my NES console, and set the computer to control the New England Patriots and the New York Giants in a pixelated matchup for the ages. Which team will reign supreme?

According to Tecmo, the Patriots will come alive early in the game offensively, and the defense will back them up despite some great passes by the Giants’ Eli Manning. Both team’s quarterbacks will put up a pass completion rate of 50 percent in the first half, but some costly fumbles will put the Patriots well ahead.

The Patriots will hold them down well into the second half as well. The Giants offense will attempt a comeback in the forth quarter with some superior running plays, but a botched onside kick will give the Patriots a great field advantage, allowing Ben Jarvus Green-Ellis to score the game winning touchdown. Final Score: Patriots 35, Giants 24.

Now there’s no telling if this is exactly how the game will be played. This is just one simulation, and it could easily be run again and again producing different results. If this were a truly scientific study, the match up would be run thousands of times, and the average score of both teams would be used to predict the winner. Then again, there’s no telling if that would be how the game would go either.

We really won’t know until it happens. It’s just fun to speculate and see how it all might play out, and if the real game matches up to the simulation, that’s even cooler. But one thing’s for sure, the game will be exciting. These are two of the greatest teams in the league, and hundreds of millions will tune in to watch them battle for the glory of the championship. And simulation technology from today and in the past will only enhance the experience.

avatar Posted by Blane Singletary on Jan 26th, 2012 and filed under Columns. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.  - This post has been viewed 15774 times.

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