Good Player, Bad Team – Andre Rison

I hope you found your Creedence tape, Dude, ’cause we’ve got a bad moon Rison. As in Atlanta’s ubiquitous 1990’s wide out, Andre Rison.

Last time, we extolled the pure awesome of Seattle DE Jacob Green. Outside the Pacific Northwest, though, you’d find more familiarity with Tom Green than Jacob. Our man Andre “Bad Moon” Rison, on the other hand, reached Zubaz-level popularity in the 90’s. Maybe it was his four straight pro bowl appearances from 1990-1993. Maybe it was his tempestuous (dare we say… “fiery?”) relationship with pop-star Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. Whatever the reason, anyone who remembers football in the 90’s remembers Andre Rison.

Drafted 22nd overall by the Indianapolis Colts in the 1989 NFL draft, Rison averaged an impressive 15 yards per catch during his rookie campaign. Indy, however, desperate for a QB, traded a package including Rison to Atlanta for the 1990 draft’s overall No. 1. Indy used the No. 1 on Captain Underwhelming, Jeff George[1]. The trade paid Atlanta instant dividends: Rison torched defenses in 1990, earning him the first of five All-Pro honors.

Andre Rison TSB Stats

Two things stand out here: impressive speed and ridiculous hands. Rison’s 63 Max Speed puts Andre behind only Jerry Rice (TSB’s overall #1 receiver), Barry Sanders, and Mr. Tecmo himself, Bo Jackson. Not bad company to keep. Even better, Andre Rison’s  44 Rushing Speed mans he hits that top gear in the blink of an eye[2].

Andre’s real asset, though, vital when trying to snag the wounded ducks thrown by ATL QB1 Chris Miller[3], is his 75 Receptions score. Some called Andre, “Spider Man.” Rison’s hands were like Peter Parker on stickum. To put it another way, Tecmo Andre Rison is a machine that eats garbage throws and craps out beautiful, JJ catches.

Andre Rison was Defying Gravity since before Elphaba made it cool.
Andre Rison was Defying Gravity since before Elphaba made it cool.

The problem with Andre Rison, more so than we had with Seattle’s Jacob Green, is that he is the only weapon on ATL’s offense. Atlanta finished the 1989 season 2-14, worst in the NFL. 1990 saw only marginal improvement, to 5-11. Tecmo Rison is shoehorned into an absolutely putrid team. ATL’s best RB is the unspectacular Mike Rozier. Their QBs, as stated, lob harder than a drunk playing slow-pitch softball. The Falcons’ next best WR, Shawn Collins, is above average but not any sort of threat.

So the problem with Andre Rison isn’t Andre Rison at all[4], but his sun-warmed dog pile of a team. The obvious answer is to swap Rison into ATL’s RB1 and then feed him the rock on literally every down. However, most all Tecmo Super Bowl tournaments prohibit the WR/RB swap. If you’re stuck with the Falcons during, say, this Summer’s Midwest Tecmo Tournament in Ohio, a little creativity is needed to maximize a beast like Andre Rison.

Coach Jerry Glanville’s Atlanta Falcons operated a modified Run ‘n’ Shoot offense. Therefore, the TSB Falcons use only one starting RB. However, a number of their passes employ a T backfield. Swapping Andre Rison to the first WR slot puts him beside the QB on these T formation passes. The play “T Play Action D,” for example, run fakes to Rison then parks him just behind the linebackers. Running Rison on a short route to the middle of the field forces your opponent to make a choice: cover the deep man or spy Andre near the line of scrimmage. Either choice gives ATL a decent shot at positive yardage, even with Chris Miller hucking the ball.

Rison Play Action Pass

Other plays in the book would see Rison running a hard slant to the bottom sideline. Even on a full-rush, the chances aren’t terrible that “Spider Man” catches the desperation lob. You could also move Andre into another WR slot, seeking the opponent’s worst defender.

It’s not ideal, but, hey, it’s something. And if you’re saddled with ATL’s putrid offense, Andre Rison is all the “something” you’ve got.

[1]Coincindentally, Indy would unload George to Atlanta for some paltry draft picks three years later, meaning Atlanta acquired Rison (and All-Pro OL Chris Hinton) for practically nothing.
[2]Andre is actually better off the line than Jackson and Sanders
[3]Just a year later Atlanta would draft Brett Favre. Coach Jerry Glanville, however, detested the pick and only let The Gunslinger attempt four passes before shipping the Hall-of-Famer to Green Bay for chump change. But “What If?” Brett Favre shooting bullets to Andre Rison and Dion Sanders? Oh man, that’s almost too much 1990s for me to handle.
[4]Actually, Andre’s 50 Ball Control score is a bit whelming. There’s nothing wrong with 50 BC, but there’s nothing particularly exciting about it, either. The lion’s share of Tecmo WRs have 50 BC. Jerry Rice, for comparison scores an 81, fumbling with all the frequency of Hailey’s Comet.


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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