Tecmo Bowl No Offense Challenge

Tecmo Bowl

I've enjoyed playing the legendary game Tecmo Super Bowl for literally decades. After about 20 years off, I recently purchased a refurbished system along with a cleaned cartridge of the game. During the pandemic, I heard somewhere about a new, interesting way to play the iconic Nintendo NES title.

Rules: No offensive plays at all except punt and field goals
Scoring: Interceptions, field goals, defensive safety and kick and punt returns

I wondered if it was indeed possible to win games against the computer in this style of play, and after some practice with various teams, I found that I could often win against bad teams that love to pass. However, making the playoffs—and then after that—having any success at all in the postseason against teams like the 49ers with Montana, or the Bills with Thurman Thomas, seemed highly unlikely.

Enter the Steelers, and my amazing run to the Super Bowl! Pittsburgh's defense was stout overall, even if Hardy Nickerson (playing at the position I like most on defense, attempting to generate sacks and safeties) was mediocre at best. Anderson is a Top-5 kicker in the game, and the defense in general seemed quite adept at forcing and recovering fumbles. Lastly, Merrill Hoge at both kickoff and punt returner garnered lots of productive returns (and several TDs at important times) to near mid-field for field goals of epic length. He stayed healthy for most of the year. Stone was a decent stand-in while he missed an odd game or two.

Enjoy some key screenshots from my epic season below, and then watch the video to see if the Steelers and I actually pulled off the win in the Super Bowl—all without playing a single down with the standard offense plays and roster. Hope you like the results!

Early Win

Probably the most epic beatdown of the regular season. It was a series of safeties and fumble recoveries, followed by field goals, at a pace that would boggle the mind. The Browns managed a hapless 22 total yards for the game!

Early Win 2

Another dominating win during the regular season worth noting, due to the point total and a menacing defensive effort by the Steelers. 

Season Standings

The AFC Central was a punishing division, but my Steelers found their way into the playoffs even with a third place finish.


A grand total of 0 yards gained during the entire regular season!


Gary Anderson had himself quite the year, leading the league in scoring running away.


Hardy Nickerson managed 59 sacks during the regular season, and at least a dozen more in the playoffs, but I considered it only a moderate effort. I've had 99+ with similar players in full seasons in the past. But, he came up big when called upon! 

Steelers Hoge

Hoge was a solid returner for the Steelers, able to put us in position to kick long field goals quite often, and even ran a few back for 6.

Steelers AFC Champions

Steelers Tecmo Playoffs

The Steelers stunned three straight quality opponents in the AFC playoffs and earned an unfathomable trip to the Super Bowl!