1. Barry Sanders – Tecmo Super Bowl
Football video games, for me and many others, began with Tecmo Bowl. The limited choice of teams and rosters left players in Detroit without the ability to play as their hometown team. That all changed with Tecmo Super Bowl. The Lions went from not being included in the original game to a go-to choice for gamers because of one player: Barry Sanders.
Run wide to the top when on the bottom hash or run wide to the bottom when on the top hash then zig-zag your way across the field all the way to the end zone. Barry was one of the rare running backs that featured the speed necessary to take it to the house even when the defense picked the correct play.
Putting up a season’s worth of yards in a matter of games never got old since Barry was, and is, one of my favorites. I also got a kick out of the fancy NES cut-scenes would occasionally show “Barry” spiking the ball since it was something he would never do in a real game.
The conversation of best video game Lions begins and ends with Barry Sanders in Tecmo Super Bowl. I have heard of house rules that would forbid the use of the Lions just because Barry was that good.
An argument could certainly be made that this top five list could be filled with Sanders in various iterations of football video games, but Tecmo Super Bowl was where he was most dominant.