Thursday, April 29, 2010

"Getting Old" or "I Learned Everything I Need To Know From Jeff Feagles"

If I was ever pressed to give my pick for greatest video game of all time, it would take little thought to come to my conclusion: Tecmo Super Bowl, the 1991 release for the NES.

I think it says something that a low-budget football video game coming up on it's 20 anniversary still inspires countless fan sites and a major yearly tournament. But even more than this, it seems no matter where I go, I'll always be able to find at least a dozen guys who have an old Nintendo in their basement with Tecmo at the ready. It's like a default game -- the ownership of a Nintendo implies the ownership of Tecmo.

And I can't even begin to catalogue the thousands of hours I've spent on the 8-bit gridiron, listening to a hypnotic midi soundtrack one note at a time. And sure, it could be slightly unrealistic -- kickoffs spend well over a half minute in the air, a defensive lineman could go from nearly sacking the quarterback to chasing down the team's fastest wide receiver, and my single game rushing record with Barry Sanders is somewhere in the 800 range (though I feel like Barry in his prime might have been able to pull that off).

But even though Tecmo lives on, it's players do not. Several notable players (Derrick Thomas comes to mind) who ruled Tecmo have already passed away, and countless others are already enshrined in Canton.

Yet some stuck around...until today. Jeff Feagles, the NFL's oldest player, looks set to announce his retirement this Friday. Now normally the retirement of an old journeymen punter doesn't cause me to pause and reflect on my life, but this is different. If I'm not mistaken, Mr. Feagles was the last Tecmo player to still be playing in the NFL.

And sure, it's amazing (even for a punter) that his career has lasted 20 seasons. And I knew this day was coming eventually. But still, I can't help but feel like part of my childhood died with that announcement. You can't really feel old when the players from a video game you played as a small child were still there on the t.v. every weekend. But now, I might as well be hoping Sode Popinski makes a dramatic return to the world of international prize fighting or accept that I'm getting older...

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Feagles just didn't want to learn to punt in the new meadowlands. He didn't want to lose his rep as the man who mastered punting in the swirling winds

Just kidding. Given how much punting he has done in the last 7 seasons, Giants fans will really miss his steady legs.