Tecmo Super Bowl

Moby ID: 8139
Note: We may earn an affiliate commission on purchases made via eBay or Amazon links (prices updated 4/9 7:29 PM )
See Also


Tecmo Super Bowl is the follow-up to the NES football arcade/simulation Tecmo Bowl. While the basic gameplay of the original is intact, a host of new features and improvements have been added.

Features include: 28 real NFL teams/mascots with real NFL players (circa 1991), 11 players on the field per team, player substitutions, fumbles, improved control over kicks and punts, eight plays to choose from during games, customizable playbooks, arcade/coach/computer simulation options for one or two players, pre-season/regular season/Pro-Bowl games, regular season team standings and rankings, regular season player statistics and rankings, end-of-game boxscores, and a 12-team playoff following the NFL format.

Groups +


Credits (NES version)

18 People (16 developers, 2 thanks)

Visual Director
Assistant Director
Graphic Designer
Music Composer
Editorial Designer
Special Thanks
Presented by
  • Tecmo



Average score: 93% (based on 9 ratings)


Average score: 3.9 out of 5 (based on 25 ratings with 3 reviews)

Endzone to Endzone

The Good
While I've heard the masses sing the praises of Tecmo Super Bowl until my ears bled, I must say I'm a tad disenchanted. Reviewers go on and on about control schemes, and elementary playbooks, and how easy the game is to pick up and enjoy, etc. But what seems to get missed by everyone is the monumental breakthrough by which T.S.B. was known in my college apartment: the 100 yard pass! Somehow, some say, Tecmo found away to manipulate conventional game engines and program into the throwing arm of every Quarterback super-human strength as if it were conventional, professional football. Now, in the early 90's, Joe Montana was a demi-god, and it's only fitting that his video game likeness throw a football the entire length of the field, he was a modern-day legend. But Jack Trudeau? Steve DeBerg? Dave FREIKING Krieg? These were crappier football players than I was; and I was nine. And they're chucking the rock ninety yards? Who could forget scrambling Jim Harbaugh 40 yards back to his own endzone, hurling a desperation shot with time running out, only to watch the ball spiral out of frame, zip the entire length of the gridiron, landing, almost pillow-like, into the welcoming hands of a stationary, wide-open Tom Waddle? That, my friend, is what video football is all about. The distortion of reality. That's why the Madden series remains the unstoppable power house it is today, because people want to emulate through their system what can't be done in real life. I've seen some amazing catches in my time as an NFL fan; I've seen Marvin Harrison spit in Isaac Newton's face as he contorts his body to somehow catch a football, stay in bounds, and break the plain of the endzone; I've seen these plays clear as day, from twenty different replay angles; but, I've yet to see a more amazing catch, than the ones I can throw, controlling two indistinguishable 8-bit dots, from one endzone to the other.

The Bad
The Indianapolis Colts; Tampa fans, you know what I'm talking about. The greatest football video game ever, and your team absolutely sucks.

The Bottom Line
A classic gaming experience with an untested, modern challenge.

NES · by Jeff Clawson (6) · 2003

Madden Predecessor? Yeah, I'd say so.

The Good
Tecmo Super Bowl's (T.S.B. for short) great gameplay and controls are easy to grasp, you have a selection of 8 plays (4 Running, 4 Passing) and are also able to punt and kick a field goal. T.S.B. stays true to the NFL and the feel of it. So true, that the game was licenced to the N.F.L.P.A. (National Football League Players Association) in order to give the game true-to-season rosters, which at the time, was unheard of in a sports game. It also had the 1991 Pro Bowl rosters, and if you felt like it, you were able to shake the rosters up! (Don't like Jim Kelly at the A.F.C. QB position? put in Warren Moon instead!)

The stats of the individual players were deadly accurate, from Dan Marino's laser like passing speed, to Lawrence Taylor's unorthodox speed and hitting power, they remained completely accurate.

Injuries were also outfitted into the game, so the player would have to adjust if a star player on his team got himself hurt.

The Bad
The music in the game gets just a bit repetitive. Now, when I heard the tracks the first time, I thought they were very catchy and set the mood for the game you were in, the music is different for every possession of the game (Playoffs, Pre-season, Pro Bowl), but after a while, you'll be kinda over it.

The Bottom Line
Tecmo Super Bowl is a now legendary 2 player NFL football sports simulator. Everyone who has an NES emulator and is a fan of the NFL or football in general, has T.S.B. in their collection. T.S.B. has been the center of hack makers, who take the game and rearrange the rosters, adding current NFL players such as Peyton Manning and Adrian Peterson.

T.S.B. however, in my opinion, is best enjoyed by playing the unaltered classic. Jim Kelly, Joe Montana, Barry Sanders, Lawrence Taylor, Deion Sanders, all the great players from the early 90's are in this fantastic game. Get out your NES, if you have it, and pop this baby in.

But of course, there are emulators as well, I highly suggest you download this one!!

NES · by Crazy Horse (10) · 2009

The best of its time, with a little something for everybody.

The Good
I seriously doubt that anyone could have predicted in the mid-1980s that the best American football video game series would come from a company otherwise famous for Ninja Gaiden and Mighty Bomb Jack. But that is, as they say, why they play the games. Yes, Tecmo set the 8-bit standard with its first installment, Tecmo Bowl, for the NES in 1989. Like a true champion, Tecmo went back out on the field in 1991 and topped itself with an incredible followup: the decidedly super Tecmo Super Bowl.

Of all of the American football games I have played over the years, both on personal computers and game consoles, none has surpassed Tecmo Super Bowl (TSB) for all-around enjoyment. All football games before TSB pretty much fell into one of two camps: unrealistic-but-fun arcade games and realistic, stats-heavy simulations. (Naturally, the joystick-and-gamepad consoles favored the arcade versions, and the keyboard-oriented PCs leaned toward the sims.) TSB broke through the wall of separation and gave both crowds what they wanted: fun and realism.

Super Bowl was a significant improvement over the excellent Tecmo Bowl in almost every way. The player sprites were a made a bit smaller, but this was the price to pay for putting the full 22 players on the field. The graphics still looked good, though—especially the Ninja Gaiden-esque cut scenes that would pop up from time to time. The sound and music were equally impressive. The pulsating soundtrack varied whether you played regular season or playoff games, and both tunes were very catchy and memorable.

This game was a definite college dorm hit because of the over-the-top action. Not over-the-top like NFL Blitz, of course; no dirty plays allowed on the old NES! No, TSB was all about the long bomb. Every play could be a hail mary pass, because it always had a chance to score. This wasn’t realistic, but it didn’t matter, because it was just so darn much fun, and besides, there was plenty of realism elsewhere in the game.

Everywhere, in fact. Things that should have been possible in other football games (including ones made after TSB) were made possible in this game. Running the ball consistently, for example. Two-deep offensive player rosters with variable player conditions, including injuries, to give another example. An eight-play offensive playbook with a robust edit mode: exhibit number three.

You can play a preseason warm-up match, but the heart of the game is the full regular season mode. With full team and individual stats-tracking and battery backup, what gridiron fan could resist? The coach mode has always had a special place in my heart, since it combines the graphical appeal of a console game with the cerebral quality of old text-based PC games like Lance Haffner’s 3-in-1 Football. It was certainly the most challenging mode—and still well worth playing, more than 15 years after TSB’s release.

The Bad
It pains me to admit TSB isn't perfect, but it's true. When you play a game to death for over a decade, the flaws eventually reveal themselves. There are a host of minor glitches, quirks, and omissions that wouldn't be so bad were TSB not so good.

Occasionally the programmers seem not to know the rules of American football. When a kickoff returner doesn't make it out of the endzone, it's scored as a safety for the other team instead of a touchback. Lame! Even more bizarrely, punts taken in the endzone are automatically ruled as touchbacks—so it's not like Tecmo had never heard of the touchback rule before.

There are no penalties of any kind. Perhaps that concession was necessary to speed up gameplay. This was obviously a priority, since there's no other good justification for having five-minute quarters. The kicking game seems strangely underdeveloped, too. Whereas Tecmo Bowl featured distance-only kicking, TSB features directional-only kicking. Even football video games before Madden had direction and distance meters, right?

The full-season mode can be spoiled if a playoff berth comes down to a tiebreaker with another team. In the real NFL, this tiebreaker has always gone to the head-to-head matchup winner, or to the team with the best division or conference record. In TSB, the tiebreaker goes to the team with the best scoring differential, period. So yes, TSB does encourage running up the score.

The postgame box scores are nice, but the information presented is incomplete. How come I get to know how many interceptions my QB threw, but not touchdown passes?

The whole statistical model for the game seems a bit off at times, depending upon how you prefer to play. If you play in arcade mode, then season stats are fairly realistic and in-line with other teams. However, if you play in coach mode like I usually do, your offensive and defensive numbers are all going to come in on the low side. (I've played full seasons with Dan Marino's Miami Dolphins where I called passes on every single play of every single game, and I still just barely led the league in passing yards). It's a very minor point, but as I said, it's the little things that keep a classic like TSB from being a PERFECT classic.

Of course, you don't play to be perfect, you play to be #1, and TSB achieved that mark easily. If you like console/computer football games, then you should at least grab the ROM and emulate this one. Trust me— it's better than a lot of the football games that will come out this year.

The Bottom Line
Not designed solely for the hardcore simulation freaks or the arcade junkies, Tecmo Super Bowl threw both of them just enough red meat to satisfy their pigskin lust. Highly recommended for retro-gaming football fans of all stripes.

Last Update: 9-13-2009
Review Hardware: NES Top-Loader (USA-NTSC)
Star Rating: ****+ (out of five)

NES · by PCGamer77 (3158) · 2009


1001 Video Games

The NES version of Tecmo Super Bowl appears in the book 1001 Video Games You Must Play Before You Die by General Editor Tony Mott.

Cover art

Interestingly enough Tecmo actually reused the photograph of this game's cover for the flyer of the Japanese arcade release of Midway's Super High Impact. This flyer also uses artwork from the flyer of an earlier Tecmo arcade game, All American Football.


In May 2010, the last active player from the game's 1991 roster, Jeff Feagles (a punter for the New York Giants), retired at the age of 44. Prior to Feagles retiring, the previous 2009 NFL season began with three Tecmo Super Bowl players still active on an NFL roster: Feagles, John Carney of the New Orleans Saints, and linebacker Junior Seau of the New England Patriots.


  • Electronic Gaming Monthly
    • November 1997 (Issue 100) - ranked #65 (Best 100 Games of All Time)


MobyPro Early Access

Upgrade to MobyPro to view research rankings!

Related Games

Tecmo Bowl
Released 1989 on NES, Game Boy, 2007 on Wii...
Tecmo Bowl
Released 1990 on Dedicated handheld
Tecmo Bowl Throwback
Released 2010 on Xbox 360, PlayStation 3
Tecmo Bowl Kickoff
Released 2008 on Nintendo DS
Tecmo Super Bowl III: Final Edition
Released 1994 on Genesis, SNES
Tecmo Super Bowl II: Special Edition
Released 1994 on SNES, Genesis
Super Bowl
Released 1986 on Commodore 64, ZX Spectrum, Amstrad CPC
Super Bowl Sunday
Released 1985 on Commodore 64, PC Booter, 1987 on Apple II
Tecmo Super Hockey
Released 1994 on Genesis

Identifiers +

  • MobyGames ID: 8139
  • [ Please login / register to view all identifiers ]


Are you familiar with this game? Help document and preserve this entry in video game history! If your contribution is approved, you will earn points and be credited as a contributor.

Contributors to this Entry

Game added by PCGamer77.

Additional contributors: Alaka, CaptainCanuck, Lance Boyle, FatherJack.

Game added January 15, 2003. Last modified September 8, 2023.