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Ranking the best NFL video game series

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Getting together on Sunday or Monday night to watch some of the best NFL action is one of the most fun ways to socialize. On occasion, people will throw on their NFL jerseys and toss the pigskin around at park, pretending that they’re as versatile as Christian McCaffrey or as explosive as Stefon Diggs. While that type of get-together is certainly exciting, the primary way fans simulate the action is through the best NFL video games.

The top American football games allow fans to play as their favorite team, see through the eyes of a created player, and take their stab at running a franchise for decades in the virtual realm.

Best NFL video games ranked

As we continue our march towards training camp and real games again, video games can be a nice placeholder to remind of the thrills that take place on the gridiron. Here are a few of the top all-time NFL video games ranked.

  1. Tecmo Bowl

Certainly the pro-genitor of games on this list, Tecmo Bowl filled a need for fans they didn’t even knew existed.


Staring into a screen with its primitive graphics may not have been the best thing for your long term vision, but being able to simulate NFL football in any way in 1987 was a huge victory for fans.

There weren’t too many options in the way of playcalling, and not every NFL team was featured in the game. But the limited strategic options were not a hindrance to the basic appeal of the game. Being able to pretend you were Joe Montana, Bo Jackson or Dan Marino marching an offense down the field was pure bliss for people of the generation.

  1. NFL Blitz

NBA Jam gets a lot of fanfare and popularity with its unique style of game-play on the basketball side, and NFL Blitz is similar in a lot of ways.

Blitz accentuated the hard hitting ways of the league by bulking up the torsos of every player on the field. There was no such thing as unnecessary roughness in this game, and the more thunderous the tackle, the more enjoyable the game became.


Blitz also included some additional special effects like fire around players to make them seem superhuman. It definitely wasn’t the most realistic representation of the product on the field, but it gave players a baseline of reality and a dose of the visual experience they were used to in other adventure games.

  1. Madden

Without further ado, we get to the gold standard of not just NFL video games, but sports video games in general.

There is no more popular NFL game in existence than the Madden franchise, which was named after former Raiders coach and broadcaster John Madden.

With regards to realistic game play, ease of control, and enjoyable side features like G.O.A.T. and superstar mode, it continues to be the pre-eminent option for players around the world. There are televised tournaments devoted to highlighting the very best players, and winning these contests can be a very big deal.

Electronic Arts, which creates the Madden games, has an exclusive rights deal with the league, so we will not see a competitor to their throne for at least several years.

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