Madison Tecmo Super Bowl Tournament History
The tournament’s origin dates to a 2006 email exchange between two brothers, each bored with their white-collar jobs on a typically cold February day in Wisconsin:
From: Chet To: Josh Date: Friday, February 10, 2006 at 10:04 AM What do you think of organizing a city-wide Tecmo Super Bowl tourney for the NES? From: Josh To: Chet Date: Fri, Feb 10, 2006 at 10:09 AM I think you have too much time on your hands - but I'd definitely be down!
Although Josh may have been correct, neither brother knew that what began as email banter would morph into the nation’s largest Tecmo tournament.
Soon after the email exchange, preparations began for Tecmo I held at the Plaza Tavern in Madison, Wisconsin on February 25, 2006. Twenty-two guys participated in the first tournament. The tournament was set abuzz after a boyish looking young man with an afro-esque haircut destroyed his first opponent 42-0. His unorthodox style was a blend of reckless abandon on offense and conservative defense. His name was Peter K, and he, along with two of his buddies originally from Neenah, Wisconsin (“Skunkerofbestinword,” “the Rickster”), are largely responsible for developing the abundance of Tecmo talent in the Madison area. “Best in World” also played a prominent role, as mentioned below.
The first tournament was an instant success. It was so successful, in fact, that demand necessitated a second installment just three months later, on May 27, 2006. Enter “Best in World.”
The Legend of “Best in World”
Tecmo II changed everything. Check that—a man known amongst the Madison crew as “Best in World” changed everything. Approximately 40 minutes after Tecmo II began, a man walked in and requested a spot in the tournament. Because the double-elimination event had already started, tournament organizers were unable to accommodate his request. Having driven more than 4 hours for the event, the man grew upset and proclaimed “well, I’m probably the best in the world at this game.” A crowd member announced “well, Mr. Best in World, you should have been here 40 minutes ago.” Everyone had a good laugh at the man’s expense, and from that moment on, he was known only as “Best in World.”
Neither amused nor deterred, “Best in World” had the last laugh. He purchased a spot in the field from one of the organizers’ friends and went on to win Tecmo II. “Best in World,” better known as “Kingsoby” in the online community, had forever altered the tournament’s course. He advised the organizers that, incredibly, there was an entire online community dedicated to Tecmo Super Bowl. He further introduced the entire tournament field to new plays and new techniques. You might say he “peeled back the curtain” and revealed the tournament’s true potential. “Best in World” also demonstrated that, despite initial appearances, he was a classy gentleman and deserving champion.
Increasing Popularity: Tecmo III-V
The tournament’s popularity seemingly on the rise, two tournaments per year was simply too much work for the organizers. They consequently elected to have one large tournament per year in either February, March, or April. Tecmo III-V saw the number of participants rise from 48 to 64. A number of well-known online players participated, including Sconnieale, Edisaurusrex, Jeid, Bigmv54, Vogtcd11, and Jeid. “Best in World” also continued to attend.
Tecmo III was the first Madison Tournament to do away with double-elimination in favor of the World Cup format. Credit for the idea goes to longtime tournament participant Joe J. The World Cup format consists of group play followed by a single-elimination tournament amongst those who advance from group play. Pre-tournament, the organizers divide everyone into groups of four. Only the top two participants from each group earn a spot in the single-elimination field. Because group play is a round-robin, each participant is guaranteed a minimum of three games. The organizers have found this format ideal for large fields. Neither single nor double-elimination works particularly well with fields of more than 32 persons. The World Cup style has consequently remained a tournament staple.
Team selection varied from Tecmo III-V. In the initial tournaments, almost all games featured high-powered teams like Giants-Bills, Eagles-Bills, etc (49ers were outlawed from Tecmo IV-V). Beginning in Tecmo IV, therefore, the organizers instituted a tier system. Under the tier system, one player selected a team and his opponent was forced to select a team from the same tier or a lower tier. This facilitated a wider range of matchups and was used in both Tecmo IV and V. In Tecmo VI, and as discussed below, an even better system was created.
Following Tecmo V, it was clear a new venue was needed. The Plaza Tavern, while both charming and endearing to local Madison competitors, simply was not meant to accommodate so much testosterone and Tecmo love.
Tecmo Ryder Cup
Between Tecmo V and VI, a Tecmo Ryder Cup was staged in Wisconsin Dells on July 11, 2009. Like golf’s version of the Ryder Cup, 1 point was at stake in each individual Match (i.e. a game) and it took a certain amount of overall team points to capture the Cup. Also like the real Ryder Cup, there were several doubles sessions followed by a singles session. The goal was to determine regional Tecmo supremacy.
Six-man teams from Minnesota, Madison, and Milwaukee competed (Wisconsin had too many players for only one team). Holding off a hard-charging Madison squad, Team Minnesota captured the Cup late in the final singles session. Madison finished second. In a cruel twist of fate, the Child of Destiny (COD) dealt several crippling blows to Team Madison’s chances (along with Team Minnesota’s Flo). Although the COD was from Madison, his status as a Milwaukee native placed him on Team Milwaukee. The COD was instrumental in swiping critical points from Team Madison in the doubles’ sessions, points that Team Madison sorely needed to overcome Team Minnesota’s fine play.
Numerous people have expressed interest in another Ryder Cup for Summer 2011. Stay tuned.
The Tournament Meets Tecmo’s Godfather
The Madison Tecmo Tournament officially went “mainstream” in 2010. Tecmo VI: He Went to Jerry was held at Badger Bowl just minutes from downtown. The additional space was indeed necessary, as the field expanded from 64 to 88 persons in just one year. The 88-man uber-competitive field was comprised of Tecmo fanatics from 11 different states. Clay Travis, a national columnist for AOL Fanhouse, covered the event and wrote two flattering columns on the tournament.
Perhaps more importantly, Tecmo’s Godfather, the “knobbe” from “knobbe.org,” attended. He arrived at the organizers’ apartment wearing, predictably, a Rod Woodson jersey. Almost immediately, he cracked a beer and provided those not fortunate enough to attend the event a glimpse of that which is the annual Madison Tecmo Tournament. From pre-tournament Tecmo action at the organizers’ apartment to antics at local watering holes the night before the tournament, the Godfather captured much of it on film. He additionally recorded numerous tournament games, including the Championship.
Tecmo VI also featured what organizers believe is the fairest team selection method. Peter K, in the midst of some drunken and heated Tecmo in the organizers’ apartment, and clearly frustrated with the tier system’s rigidity, proposed the following: Why doesn’t one guy just call the matchup (say Dallas-Jets) and the other guy can pick his team first? It was so simple…and so perfect. In addition to ensuring equally talented teams, it promoted an even wider array of matchups than the tier system. Incredibly, Peter K’s inspiration for this ingenious team selection method was “Saved by the Bell,” an early 1990’s sitcom. The “one guy picks the matchup while the other picks his team” method worked nicely in Tecmo VI. It will likely remain in place for Tecmo VII and beyond.
Tecmo VII: The Tournament Goes National
Tecmo VII, “The Hoss Whisperer,” featured 144 competitors from 20 different states. Including spectators, more than 200 people caught a live glimpse of that which has become the National Tecmo Super Bowl Tournament. Additional people followed the Final 4 games online, thanks to streaming and excellent live commentary furnished by The Godfather, QB_Browns, and Toolie. Because 18 functioning Nintendos were necessary to smoothly operate the event, we truly pushed the venue’s limits, despite its sizable nature. Future tournaments will likely be capped at 128 competitors.
The tournament’s 7th installment also saw its first repeat champion. Behind some masterful play-calling in the Final 4, Tecmo IV winner Jimmy B captured his second crown in four years. In sum, an absolutely epic event for any Tecmo enthusiast.
Tecmo Ryder Cup II
The second Tecmo Ryder Cup was contested in Minneapolis, Minnesota in August 2011. The event featured 4-man squads from Madison, Minnesota, North Dakota, and Neenah (really a second Madison team comprised of individuals originally from Neenah, Wisconsin). In an absolute nail-biter that was not decided until the very last match, Team Neenah held on to capture the Cup, narrowly beating Team Madison 15 to 14½.
For those that dig the team atmosphere, it does not get any better than the Tecmo Ryder Cup. Every game counts, and because you are playing not only for yourself, but for your entire team, the pressure is intense. A third Ryder Cup will take place in summer 2012. Possible host cities include Madison and Chicago. Start forming your 4-man regional squads now!
The Tournament earns some NFL Love
The Madison Tecmo Tournament--the national Tecmo Super Bowl tournament-- finally hit the big time with Tecmo VIII, “Muster’s Last Stand.” The buzz surrounding this tournament started in early December when NFL Films decided to move forward with a documentary about Tecmo Super Bowl culminating in the Madison Tecmo Tournament. Due to this unprecedented development, the Madison tournament organizers feverishly worked to expand and accommodate all the Tecmo fans hoping for a shot at greatness. The tournament featured 176 competitors from 26 states pushing the limits of the venue. Anyone who considered themselves hard-core Tecmo players arrived, some after a long absence from competition.
Including spectators, over 250 people watched the action live. Another 1400 people watched the action throughout the day via another live stream from The Godfather with commentary during the Final Four from Toolie, QB_Browns, The Godfather, and special guest eodell42. All of this excitement was captured by NFL Films, who came through in style with microphones, cameras, interviews, and other little touches that are sure to make the forthcoming documentary special.
The tournament featured a champion who waited a long time for his title. After a slow start to the day, Chet Holzbauer managed to find a good rhythm and earned his long awaited first Madison Tecmo Tournament title.