Secret Tecmo Teams pt. 1

Tecmo Bowl is a dirty liar.

The hype train chugging toward Tecmo Bowl’s 1989 NES release whistled the same three letters over and over: “NFL! NFL! NFL!” Nintendo Power’s preview boasted, “Choose [your] favorite NFL players,” and control “Teams from 12 NFL cities.” For the love of (Rodney) Peete, the box art even boasted its “Pro teams” and bore the words “National Football League.”

What Tecmo and the game magazines creatively avoided mentioning was Tecmo’s gained license from the NFL Players Union, not the NFL. Come February of 1989, a legion of NFL/NES superfans powered up their decks, waited for the opening crawl… and quoted the Janitor from Scrubs.


Is…is this a narwhal? It’s a narwhal, isn’t it? If it had a dorsal fin, we could argue it’s a swordfish as drawn by a two-year-old. It could also be a dolphin with a spitting problem, but… c’mon, it’s a friggin’ narwhal. Why narwhals? Because narwhals are effing cool, that’s why.

OFFICIAL TEAM NAME: The Indianapolis Fightin’ Narwhals.


This looks like some sort of wild cat? If the the teeth weren’t so short, Miami’s logo could go full Power Rangers and morph into to saber-toothed tiger! Our kitty’s Long teeth and large ears resemble the African Serval, but  the discerning Tecmo Bowler will notice Miami’s M obscures what looks to be a tuft or beard. Tufted wild cat with long teeth and ears? Call the WNBA’s lawyers, because Miami’s logo is a Lynx.



Like Indy, this one is pretty obvious. Leathery skin? Sharp fangs? Forked tongue? It’s Art Modell a snake! The way the bottom of the logo widens, we either have a snake ready to strike, or it’s chest day and the snake is super-swole[1]. Could also be snake-man like a Sleestak or the Goombas From the Super Mario Brothers Movie. We can only assume TB‘s programmers perfected time travel, shot forward to 1996, saw what Art Modell did to Cleveland football and decided to make Cleveland’s Tecmo Bowl counterpart resemble Mr. Modell.

OFFICIAL NAME: The Cleveland (Dirty) Vipers.


Seriously. What the…? I literally can’t even. Denver gives us a weird elf-thing with a horn and a mirror. Is this Stuart Smalley giving himself a daily affirmation? Is it a unicorn centaur? The best possible explanation is that TB‘s programmers went back to Greek myth, that the horn thing is a sword, and our logo is supposed to be an ancient Greek hunter with a love of mirrors.

OFFICIAL NAME: The Denver Narcissuses


Seattle offers the coolest of Tecmo Bowl logos. We clearly have a knight with a sweet wing on it’s helmet. Also, the S letterform at the lower right curls down like a pennant. For their misstepps *cough cough Denver cough* TB gave Seattle a logo better than most World Football League teams.

OFFICAL NAME: The Seattle Knights



We close out part one of our Tecmo logo-palooza with Los Angeles. I can only imagine Tecmo Bowl‘s programmers throwing their hands in the air at this point and saying, “ah, hell, just make their logo an LA.” This gives us Carte Blance to name Tecmo’s LA franchise. Or rather, it gives you the power to name the franchise. Because this is ‘Murica, land of Football AND Democracy, we’ll put it to a vote:

It’s up to you, Tecmo Bowlers! Name LA’s TB Franchise


[1] You Even Tecmo, bro?


Keith Good

Keith Good is a future Pulitzer Prize-winning novelist and 8-bit game geek. A perpetual optimist, he convinces himself every September that this could finally be the Cleveland Browns' year. He was once told to eff off by one of the Tecmo Browns. You can check out his other work at www.keithisgood.com and follow him on twitter @keithisgood.

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