Top 5 non-Madden Football games


Another year has passed and another year of football is upon us with the official start to the NFL season rapidly approaching. While most football fans will  occupy their time with the most recent Madden release, they may forget that Madden isn’t the only way to get their football fix. There was a time when Madden didn’t control the NFL video game market. Flashback a decade or two and you will remember some gems that were captivating football fans’ hearts of all ages.

nfl blitz

NFL Blitz

Suplexes, late hits, and clotheslines were just a few of the over-the-top insult to injury hits that made NFL Blitz stand out from the crowd. For one of the first times in a football video game, you were able to unleash all the might of every 200+ pound player without suffering any consequences or penalties. That’s the thing about Blitz, it takes the core of football and flips it on its head, allowing you almost full freedom while you play.

Now there is a method to the game’s madness. Developers placed an invisible wall on the line of scrimmage, preventing either team from just running to the other team’s side before the ball is hiked. They also implemented an on-fire system like NBA Jam did back in the day. An all around stat bonus is granted if the defending team can get multiple sacks on the quarterback in a row, or if their quarterback completes multiple passes to his receivers. Speaking of mechanics borrowed from NBA Jam, before every match you have 3 slot wheels you control and can utilize to activate some useful cheats during the game for your team, such as infinite turbo or unlimited throw distance.  Blitz was a great way to get even your non-football friends to sit down and play, since it was made for easy pick up and play and the removal of the rules of football took away the need to teach them anything other than the object of the game.



Many may not have heard of Bloodbowl, but imagine just about every fantasy creature you can think of competing, instead in a game of football. It takes the fast-paced action of actual football and replaces normal human players with Orcs, Half-lings, Elves and every other fantasy race you can think as they battle in a turn-based game of football. There is a lot more depth than can be explained in a short paragraph, but the combination of RPG elements with the game of football is a fun take on the sport.

nfl street

NFL Street

Ever wondered what it would be like to square off head to head with your favorite football player, or catch a pass from your favorite quarterback in your own backyard? Well this is where NFL Street comes into play. NFL Street swapped out everything professional including the arenas, crowds, and uniforms for parking lots, alleys, and unofficial gear. It also focused more on style than traditional play style including flashy moves like wall runs and flips to dodge tackles. The tackles were also larger than life at times and definitely evoked that feel of playing tackle football in the park with friends.

nfl 2k5


Back before EA purchased the exclusive rights to the teams in the NFL for their Madden games, they were challenged by another great franchise known by a little name of ESPN NFL 2k5. This game is still touted as one of the best football games ever created, and you will often have even the most hardcore of Madden fans defend this games title as such. Between the amount of features, excellent camera system and overall impeccable gameplay, it made it a force to be reckoned with. Sadly 2K games has been unable to replicate this lightning in a bottle since EA bought the exclusive NFL rights. Part of the glamour behind playing football games is being able to play as your favorite team and and without that, they lost a huge portion of their following regardless of their level of quality in their past games.

super tecmo bowl

Tecmo Super Bowl

In case you weren’t around or just plain missed it, a little game of Tecmo Bowl took the world by storm back in the ’80s and ’90s, finally giving fans of football a chance to play in the digital Gridiron. Super Tecmo Bowl allowed friends to compete with their favorite team and show each other who was better in all of the 16-bit glory that was possible. While the play selection was limited back in the day, you still had enough options to keep things interesting.

Super Tecmo Bowl also gave us this great gem of a video showing off one of NFL’s greatest players doing what only he can do in Super Tecmo Bowl.

This list definitely doesn’t include all of the great non-Madden football games, but these are my personal favorite five. An honorable mention goes to Mutant League Football, which I know was a big hit for many fans. So remember that while Madden is great and undeniably the current juggernaut, it is also not your only option.

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Jada Griffin
Jada Griffin 334 posts

Legends tell of a princess captured and raised by Ninjas to be their future leader. Jada was trained from an early age to max the luck stat, always strike first and to never surrender.