Imagine if this season Madden wouldn't be released until playoff time, and when you opened the package Brandon Weeden was the Browns' quarterback and Trent Richardson was your running back. Sounds crazy right? Believe it or not it wouldn't be unprecedented.
Many older sports fans remember the original Nintendo Entertainment System's classic football game Tecmo Super Bowl. However few people realize that when the game was released during the playoffs of the 1991 season, that the game was already horribly outdated. The game literally featured the rosters from the 1990 season. To put the tardiness of the rosters into perspective the video game's most legendary player Bo Jackson (or Tecmo Bo) had literally been gone from football for almost a year at the time of release due to a career ending injury.
How times have changed, thanks to aspiring programmers Tecmo Super Bowl didn't fade into retro gaming obscurity. Instead Tecmo Super Bowl has become a favorite of game modders who have continued to faithfully recycle the game into updated versions much better than even the original programmers of the game. If you are interested in these versions visit tecmobowl.org
However I thought it might be fun to take an updated version of the game for a spin. The version I selected was a modded version created by a modder called QBVikings. His version has relatively updated rosters that didn't seem to favor any particular team. The player ratings seemed fair and true to their real life counterparts. So I figured why not let the computer predict the upcoming season?
Before I show the results I want to make it clear that I did not intervene in any of the games, I simply let the computer determine the outcomes. Since this version included Josh Gordon on the Browns roster I relegated him to the bench and ensured that he would not get to play. However I also decided that the result of this experiment would also count as my official Browns prediction for the season. So how are we going to do this year? Let's find out...
|Even the retro video game version of Josh Gordon was suspended.|
While in the opener vs the Stoolers it looked more like Norv Turner running the offense again, somebody executed, and that somebody was Jordan Cameron. He made some huge plays to help the Browns move to 1-0 and win their season opener.
Week Two: vs Saints
Suddenly the rear view mirror got reattached at the Browns lost a stinker in their home opener vs the Saints. The Browns dropped to 1-1 and Twitter exploded.
Week Three: vs Ravens
The Browns showed some toughness as a defense that was getting torched seemed to find big plays at the right time. And why did Ben Tate only have 97 yards in this one? Simple, the end zone kept getting in his way. 2-1 going into the bye, hmmm.
Week Five: @Titans
As the virtual fanbase worried about losing momentum on the bye week, there were rumbles since the playbook was simplified to 8 plays that Johnny should start week 5 despite the 2-1 start. This game dashed those rumbles as the Browns routed the Titans at home. Although Kendall Wright was awesome around garbage time. The Browns were 3-1 and even ESPN was on board with Johnny studying under Hoyer.
Week Six: vs Steelers
Billy Cundiff hit the game winner in a surprisingly stout defensive battle to complete the sweep. Cleveland exploded because we were 4-1 with Jacksonville coming up.
Week Seven: @Jaguars
Ben Tate was injured at the end of a 20 yard boost to begin the game. And although the Jags added some late drama, the Browns won in surprisingly smooth fashion to open some eyes at 5-1
Week Eight: vs Raiders
Even the most ardent pessimist was starting to come around, and with the struggling Raiders coming to town it seemed like there was a very winnable game facing the Browns. Unfortunately the Raiders simply outplayed the Browns on this day dropping the record to 5-2.
Week Nine: vs Buccaneers
While the Browns offense struggled for the second straight week, Brian Hoyer found a way to pull this one out in the end. At the half way point the Browns lead the division at 6-2.
Week Ten: @Bengals
At this point Kyle Shanahan was hearing it for being a little too much like Norv Turner, but in this game it only got worse. However Brian Hoyer responded and the Browns opened up some distance in the division moving to 7-2.
Week Eleven: @Texans
At this point panicked fans had no clue how to react as the Browns moved to an AFC best 8-2.
Week Twelve: @Falcons
In an absolute wild, and sloppy game the Browns found a way to pull this one out behind Hoyer's career day. But don't let the stats fool you Ben Tate had two of the TD's in this one. Browns improve to 9-2.
Week Thirteen: @Bills
Hoyer's hot streak continued though the next week as the Browns literally found a way to improve their draft status and still win. This one looked closer than it actually was as the Browns win a fairly drama free game and move to 10-2 with an almost insurmountable lead in the AFC North.
Week Fourteen: vs Colts
"Win and we're in" was the mantra of the week, and guess what we did? Went to 11-2 and did something we have never done...
Week Fifteen: vs Bengals
Now as home field advantage for the playoffs became the goal of course we were going to dink and dunk all over the field and blow the game against Cincy. The Browns drop to 11-3.
Week Sixteen: @Panthers
It was quickly becoming evident that the Browns weren't playing their best football since clinching the division. The Panthers played a very tough game, but in the end the Browns squeaked out the victory, but didn't clinch home field advantage as the Broncos kept pace. 12-3 going into the final week.
Week Seventeen: @Ravens
Some people wanted to see Johnny Manziel for the regular season finale. However with a win giving the Browns home field advantage and a guaranteed bye already, the coaches let Hoyer finish the season. And alarmingly the Browns came out and looked very flat against a Ravens team that was in a must win game for a playoff spot. This loss gave the Browns a 12-4 record to end the season.
Divisional Round: vs Chargers
Fans that were terrified that the Browns closed the season so poorly almost met their worst nightmares in this game. The Browns barely hung on to tie the game in the late moments in the 4th quarter then won on a Billy Cundiff FG in overtime to win it.
AFC Championship: vs Chiefs
The Cheifs looked scary, they had decimated both the Patriots and the Broncos to set up the unlikeliest AFC Championship game in recent memory. Brian Hoyer went off, but the Chiefs hung tough, forcing the 2nd straight overtime game winner for new Cleveland hero Billy Cundiff. With the win the Browns would face off against a surging Packers team that just redeemed their opening day loss against the Seahawks in the NFC championship.
Super Bowl: vs Packers
The Browns defense smothered the Packers throughout the first half. However the Browns offense sputtered throughout the entire 2nd half. Brian Hoyer threw two key interceptions late in the game to allow the Packers to come back and claim the NFL's World Championship.
And even after Brian Hoyer's 12-4 season and making it to the Super Bowl guess who the media asked for after the game...