The Origins of the Tecmo Legacy League (TLL)

The Tecmo Legacy League (TLL), named in passing by an original founder, and former constituent, coach Clayton Maring (alias: landryshat,1976-78), was officially established on January 14, 2012. The theme of the league is “Fewer Coaches/More Teams”, with the motivation being to capture and ride the enthusiasm of a small select band of coaches, while leaving no team unattended, nor offered to the computer.

In the mid to late nineties, using Tecmo Super Bowl III (TSBIII), Matt Bird (deadfaulkner), landryshat, and Steve Yahn (cheapcatch), headed an in person league of the same format that featured anywhere from 4-6 coaches over the course of two seasons. The league was finally abandoned, not for a lack of Tecmo heart, but due to constituents moving off to college, simply moving away from our hometown, or beginning a family. For approximately seven years our second season was left in abeyance. We had proceeded nearly through Week 16, and on one occasion in 2006 we attempted to finish the final weeks and playoffs, at a time when we were all in town for the holidays. However, that venture would not come to fully bear, as a former member, who some may now deem a Tecmo turncoat of sorts, committed an egregious act that sunk the collective hearts of the Tecmo faithful who had waited so long to complete “Season 2”. While the initial act itself is unequivocally reprehensible in Tecmo terms it was the culprit’s overall demeanor that ran most afoul. The culprit had stomped near the Super Nintendo causing the machine to reset, leaving the beautifully landscaped fields of Tecmo football a repetitive blinking mess. When approached by the mob of Tecmo faithful, the culprit showed no signs of remorse. A once formidable and respectable Tecmo foe was now a foe to Tecmo itself. This occurred around six years prior to the conception of the TLL; a time where it was thought that “Season 2”, and the days of Tecmo camaraderie, had reached an end of a joyful era.

In the fall of 2007, cheapcatch had discovered an online Tecmo community, and was as much in disbelief at the prospect of rekindling a Tecmo Super Bowl III league, as he was wrapped with delight that such a vibrant and dedicated Tecmo enclave even existed. Immediately cheapcatch began scouring the forums, amazed at the tenacity and detail individuals were pouring into the best football game to ever grace any video game system. Over time cheapcatch learned the ways of modifying ROMs, and came across a 2007 version of TSB III, partially attributed to the hand of one slimstud7 (a future member of the TLL, and the man behind the curtain constructing and operating the league website). Once that modified ROM was discovered, cheapcatch took it upon himself to update the ROM each NFL season, even if there was no one to play against except the computer.

After five years of playing against the computer with the developed ROMs, and a series of infrequent off and on discussions with deadfaulkner and landryshat, cheapcatch would, with his fellow former Tecmo mates, embark on the daunting task (to us at the time it was) of figuring out how to play online Tecmo. For nearly four years attempts were met mostly with frustration and failure, and it was thought, once again, starkly, that the dream of reviving old Tecmo rivalries, and new ones to come, had been vanquished. However, in the summer of 2011, cheapcatch decided to immerse himself in the Tecmo online community rather than stand at the sidelines imbibing the wealth of knowledge that was there for the taking. After speaking with several members, cheapcatch, along with once again faulkner and landryshat, were able to grasp more effectively the ways of online Tecmo. What was once a labyrinthine mystery was becoming routine, as the trio were able to hook up and play online pickup games. This in and of itself was surreal, and a long lost dream come true. However, the “Tecmo Fever” (a condition common amongst Tecmo players) experienced by Faulkner, landryshat, and cheapcatch was unsatiated by mere preseason games, and radiated toward the promise of an established league.

Shortly after the initial successes of connecting online to play TSBIII, cheapcatch posted a thread entitled “TSBIII League: Why the Lack of Interest?” This was posted August 30, 2011, nearly four months prior to the inception of the TLL. Many members of the Tecmo online community came out to explain the status of TSBIII, also guiding cheapcatch as to what moves to take next. Specifically tecmoturd lead cheapcatch to a newly minted Tecmo Super Bowl III online league, the SNFL; the only one of its kind. The league was being run by the aforementioned slimstud7 aka Jon Hellinga. With dispatch, cheapcatch presented faulkner with the freshly acquired information, and no sooner did they join the league. As the sparks of what would be TLL were being conceived, the SNFL was nearing the end of its inaugural regular season, with the playoffs looming just ahead.

For various reasons the SNFL folded after just one season, but one could say the resurrection of that old league concept, developed mainly by cheapcatch and deadfaulker in the mid to late 1990s, rose from the ashes of the SNFL. For on the wings of this renewed and vibrant Tecmo enthusiasm for TSBIII, that most importantly was now able to be gripped as a reality rather than as a daydream, faulkner and cheapcatch embarked on a project that attempted to seize the momentum. With minimal interest in the Tecmo online community for TSBIII, establishing a fledgling league by relative unknowns at would be a tricky proposition to pull off. With cheapcatch, deadfaulker, and landryshat already in the chamber, the trio relied on their old, trusted league format “Fewer Coaches/More Teams” to try and capture that latent spark. As in the past, with various in-person neighborhood leagues, a present problem would be coordinating people and keeping motivation afloat enough to sustain a league- the plague of many a dead league. The origins of the “fewer coaches” mantra has always been as much about the excitement of having various teams at one’s disposal as it was a matter of necessity in terms of maintaining a long term league. There was no guarantee that anyone would bite at this proposition, but cheapcatch, deadfaulkner, and landryshat knew that if they could secure two more members, the makings of a TSBIII league were a viable prospect.

Once the windows of the SNFL had been boarded up and the doors nailed shut, cheapcatch approached SNFL founder, slim, to gauge his interest in joining a TSBIII league of a format not otherwise present in the Tecmo online community. Without hesitation slim agreed to join the league. There was one member left to secure, before the development of a league could commence, and cheapcatch felt at the time that there was only one viable prospect left in the pool to fill this void. It was another member of the SNFL that cheapcatch had interacted with quite a bit, and who had displayed great dedication toward the SNFL. Known as seriousatari, cheapcatch attempted to seal the deal by acquiring this inexperienced but talented player. In improbable fashion both slim and seriousatari, without a second thought, joined the original force that would become the Tecmo Legacy League.

The TLL began with the 1976 season, the inaugural year of the Tampa Bay Bucs and the Seattle Seahawks, and the season that established a long held 28 team format of the National Football League. Through peaks and valleys the TLL still exists (as of October 17, 2014), almost three years, and five seasons later. The purpose of this longwinded recount is to usher in our ever-expanding exuberance for TSBIII that began on the streets of Jamestown, NY, and which improbably continues. It is to announce excitedly from the precipice, with promising horizons settled in the backdrop, that the Tecmo Legacy League is a continuation of the dream that was once thought dead. Amidst the trials that arrive with participating in and directing any community affair, it can only he hoped that we, the TLL, can every now and again gain perspective that this league once was not, and someday it will once again be not, as a relic of the past.

The Tecmo Legacy League has lived long, evolving many times over- through the addition of new members, playing styles, and takes on the game itself; and may it continue to prosper as long as momentum may carry it.