Steve Grogan: Tecmo’s Worst Player


Steve Grogan was one hell of an NFL quarterback. From 1975-1990 Grogan guided the New England Patriots to three playoff appearances. In 1979, he led the league with 28 TDs. He served as backup QB for the Pats’ trip to Super Bowl XX[1]. From 1975-80, Grogan started 78 consecutive games, despite cracked fibulas, tibias, separated shoulders, and multiple concussions. He played with a neck brace under his shoulder pads after rupturing two discs. When he broke his left hand, Grogan played on, handing off with his right instead. As far as NFL quarterbacks go, Steve Grogan is a certified BAMF.

Steve Grogan is, however, the absolute worst Tecmo Super Bowl player. His stats are hot steaming garbage in all categories save one. Savvy Tecmo tournament players immediately bench him in favor of NE’s slightly less crapulent QB2, Marc Wilson.

Steve Grogan Stats
Less bars than my Verizon cell phone service.

Grogan’s maximum speed is 6. For comparison, QB Eagles’ maximum speed is 56, almost 10 times faster. Most TSB QBs have 13 max speed. This means that Grogan isn’t even half as fast as legendary speedsters Stan Humphries and Bubby Brister. Aged 37 and nursing a twice-broken leg, Grogan is lucky to have a positive integer for max speed. His 10 yard run, illustrated below, can only be accurately measured via radiocarbon dating.


It takes Grogan 17 seconds to reach the 20 yard line. It’s also fitting that Seattle’s Good Player, Bad Team,” Jacob Green, scooped this fumble.


QB Eagles, for comparison, hits the 20 yard line in about 10 seconds. By 17 seconds, he’s nearing midfield!

Steve Grogan’s three-toed sloth footspeed is matched by only a select few, including Jeff George and Dan Mario. The difference between Grogan, George, Marino, and pretty much every other TSB QB, though, is Grogan’s arm. Steve Grogan throws a painfully slow, wildly inaccurate ball. His passing speed is 18. His passing accuracy is 25. For comparison, Tecmo QBs average 44 passing speed and 38 passing accuracy. Steve Grogan isn’t just bad. He’s downright turrible.

Many dropbacks see Steve Grogan unleashing the Kraken on cheerleaders and fans:

I’d call it a duck of a pass, but that would be an offense to mallards everywhere.

The only stat where Grogan doesn’t lag is Avoid Pass Block. He owns an above-average 44 rating. Why would Tecmo programmers give Grogan the worst stats in every category except avoiding pass blocks? The answer lies in history’s mist, in a time before Seinfeld and The Simpsons, in a time thick with MC Hammer Pants and Birdhouses in our Souls: 1990 .

Steve Grogan played for the historically bad 1990 New England Patriots. The Pats finished the 1990 season with 15 losses. They finished dead last in scoring and second to last in team defense. With the ’76 Buccaneers, the ’80 Saints, the ’82 Colts and the 2008 Lions, Grogan’s Pats stand as one of the NFL’s worst-ever teams[2].

Like Dante in Clerks, the 37-year-old Grogan wasn’t even supposed to be there. The Pats drafted LSU QB Tom Hodson in the 3rd round of the ’90 NFL Draft. They expected QB Marc Wilson to lead the team until Hodson could take the reins. Grogan, entering what would be the final year of his career, came to camp as a safety valve.

To everyone’s surprise, including Grogan himself, Steve won New England’s starting QB job. He led the team to it’s only victory, a 16-14 win over Buffalo in Week 2. Following their win, several Patriots players exposed themselves to a female reporter named Lisa Olsen in the locker room. After Pats management refused to reprimand the players, Olsen filed sexual harassment charges. A circus ensued. Many say the Pats’ players simply quit after that. Grogan battled injury throughout the 1990 season, losing, then re-gaining, then losing his starting job for good. The Pats didn’t win another game.

So of course Grogan gets a 44 rating in avoiding pass block. He needed a truckload of grit and shiftiness to avoid getting decapitated every week. A journeyman in his final year, he made the most of his swan song and managed to start 4 games. He led the team to its only win. And for all his good work, the capstone to a remarkable 16-year career[3], what does he get? He gets crapped on by a group of Japanese video game programmers.

There had to be a worst Tecmo Super Bowl team. There had to be a worst player. It’s just unfortunate that worst player had to be NFL great, Steve Grogan.

[1] After Tony Eason started SB XX 0-for-6, Grogan came in and played the rest of the way. He finished a respectable 17-for-30, completing the only TD pass scored against the Chicago Bears in the 1985 Playoffs.
[2] A number of pre-merger teams finished winless seasons, but these are mostly owed to player scarcity during World War II.
[3] The average NFL career, by comparison, lasts 3 years.


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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