No matter how young or old you are, it’s almost guaranteed that there’s at least one game you’ve played that you could easily say is the worst thing you ever touched.
It may have been because there were no modes worth investing in. Or maybe the gameplay itself was just that bad. Either way, there was just something about a particular title that had you regretting every penny spent and second wasted on the game. This rings especially true when talking about football games.
While there have been a number of touchdowns like NFL 2K5 and Tecmo Super Bowl, there are quite a few attempts that were blown up at the line of scrimmage.
I’m Mike from Sports Gamers Online, and these are the 10 worst football games ever made.
10. NCAA Football 2002
The first NCAA Football game to be released on the PlayStation 2, NCAA Football 2002 looked as great as any football game had ever looked. Unfortunately, the game took some major hits in the transition from Sony’s first console to its second.
There was no way to create your own schools or leagues, a staple of the prior installments of the series. It wasn’t deal breaking, per say, but it did stop NCAA 2002 from being the game fans wanted and expected it to be.
9. Madden 64
Foxboro against Phoenix; Nashville against Charlotte. Those were the types of matchups you had at your disposal in the first EA Sports football game on the Nintendo 64.
The first fully 3D Madden Football game, Madden 64 was able to license NFL players, but failed to lock down the official NFL license. No teams or official jerseys were available to use which isn’t the way you want to make your debut on a new console.
The game wasn’t bad, but not being able to play as your favorite teams in a game with the Madden name isn’t something to be overlooked.
8. Blitz II: The League
Now, I’m not on the “Hate everything Blitz: The League” bandwagon like so many others. In fact, I actually had some fun with the first installment of the game when it came out in 2005. That said, the series’ second release three years later in 2008 wasn’t a game worth defending.
Not only were the gameplay and visuals pretty stale for the time, but it felt like the game was going more the shock jock route to get people talking rather than provide any sort of actual entertainment for the players.
Parodying awful things like Mike Vick’s dog fighting ring just has no place in a video game. I get some may say I’m being too sensitive, but I just don’t get how including it makes your game a better product.
7. ESPN NFL Primetime 2002
In 2001, Konami — yes, that Konami — learned the hard way that just bringing in the World-Wide Leader won’t make your game good.
NFL Primetime 2002 was a terrible product from nearly top to bottom. The game had just three modes, but, luckily, one of those modes was a Franchise mode to give some replay value to the title. That is, if you wanted to even play it that long.
On the field, the gameplay just never felt right. It seemed impossible to break tackles while being far too easy to make tackles while on defense. Receivers rarely ran the right routes, and instead just roamed the field after going a few yards. And if they did run the right routes, the QBs could rarely get the ball to them if there were any defenders in the area.
6. Madden 06 (Xbox 360 Version)
With a fun franchise mode and brand new superstar mode, Madden 06 was a really good installment. However, that was on the Generation Six (Xbox, PS2, etc.) consoles. The Xbox 360 version was as barebones as it comes.
There was bland and generic commentary, no minicamp, no practice, no minigames, no create-a-player, and no superstar mode. Even the game’s franchise mode was stripped down with things like rookie scouting and no real off-field stories that became commonplace in the Gen. 6 versions of the game.
5. NFL Tour
Released in 2008, NFL Tour tried to capture the glory that the classic NFL Street series once had by bringing into the new generation of systems. What EA quickly found out was that you can’t just release a game that claims to be like a beloved title, and expect people to gravitate to it.
NFL Tour featured one really bad and boring game mode in Tour Mode, and lackluster visuals for the most powerful consoles on the market at the time. There was no purpose to really play the game as everything that made the NFL Street series enjoyable like creating a squad of players, individual player progression, and on-field tricks were all missing from this game.
It would’ve been great as an arcade game, but that’s not the era we live in any more.
4. Canadian Football 2017
Whenever you include a game like this on a list like this, it kind of feels like a cheap shot.
Canadian Football 2017 was a game that was developed by one of the smallest indie teams with an even smaller budget. Still, it was a game that shouldn’t have been released when it was.
The gameplay was clunky, the AI seemed clueless, and it came with just one mode at launch to make it feel more like a demo than a final product. Even the player models, which weren’t the worst-looking graphics on this list, looked like plastic dolls with no real range of motion.
Luckily, the game’s sequel — Maximum Football 2018 — made a step in the right direction on a number of fronts for the series from Canuck Play.
3. Kurt Warner’s Arena Football Unleashed
Arena Football is fun. It’s fast-paced, high scoring, and hard hitting. Kurt Warner’s Arena Football Unleashed, on the other hand, is none of that.
With the same engine as NFL Blitz, Midway thought it would be simple to put out a fun Arena game. What players got was a game that still felt like it was running on a semi-finished engine with bugs galore. AI ran in random directions, controls felt unresponsive, and the game looked like it was intentionally distorted before it was released.
This was a game that should’ve been caged up forever rather than unleashed on paying customers.
2. LJN’s NFL (NES)
It was the early stages of sports games on consoles, but that doesn’t give this game an excuse for being the poorly executed game it was.
With Tecmo Bowl already out on the market, LJN saw what football could be on consoles at the time. They had the rights to publish the first NFL-licensed game since 1979’s NFL Football on Intellivision, giving them all the motivation to make a great product. Instead, they put out one of the slowest and clunkiest football games ever released. Plays took nearly 10-15 seconds to call, and running the plays always felt like playing in molasses.
You could try and play a full game, but with how long it would take to complete, you’d be better off doing anything else with your time. And if you think that’s bad, just wait until you see number one on this list.
1. Jerry Glanville’s Pigskin Footbrawl
Where do we even begin with this one. This abomination of a game took only one aspect of the game of football, and managed to ruin it.
Nothing about Jerry Glanville’s Pigskin Footbrawl even resembles the sport that Glanville is “known for”. From the skeletons that cause fumbles to the ability to conceal weapons to attack opponents, there’s just nothing appealing to it. Other obstacles included bushes and trees that made it feel like you were playing in a forest rather than on a field. To make it even worse, the game punishes players — who tolerate more than thirty seconds of it — who get good at it. It really is that bad of a game.
What do you think is the worst football game ever made? Let us know in the comment section below, and join the discussion!
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