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The Worst NFL Video Games Ever Created

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Perhaps it comes as no surprise that American Football is a tough sport to base a video game on, with the discipline’s various rules, regulations, time outs and massive squads making it hard to create an intuitive gaming experience.

Despite this, the NFL’s popularity has meant that plenty of games developers have felt it necessary to try. Here are some that really should not have bothered.

Super High Impact

This one is really a question of taste, with the sport’s ardent fans probably hating its lack of authenticity, but arcade buffs loving it for exactly that reason. The gameplay and premise of the game mirrored nothing you would ever think to place an NFL bet on. As its name suggests, the focus here was to inflict as much physical damage as possible rather than trying to score touchdowns and field goals.

Perhaps unsurprisingly the NFL never acknowledged the game’s existence. This was a game that in many ways was good precisely because it was so bad.

Jerry Glanville’s Pigskin Footbrawl

If Super High Impact was a game whose flaws made it loveable, then Jerry Glanville’s Pigskin Footbrawl was an exercise in being plain detestable.

Again, the focus was more on destruction than the creation of well executed plays, but even that was made tough with the introduction of nonsensical obstacles like hedges and fallen trees. Pick the most boring NFL contest in history and we assure you this will top it on the boredom meter.


Caption: This player just could not believe how bad some of these games were

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ESPN NFL Primetime 2K2

Imagine being tasked with creating a game based on a sport whose rules you know next to nothing about and you get a game like ESPN NFL Primetime 2K2, which was Konami’s ill-fated attempt at branching into the NFL gaming market.

Playability was terrible, the AI of CPU players was atrocious and with only three game modes to tinker with, anyone who splashed cash for this back in the day must have been disappointed after just a few minutes.


Any NFL game will always struggle to compete with the Madden series of games, which for decades have owned exclusive rights to the names of NFL teams and players.

With the odds already stacked against you making something that will be seen as credible by the fans, what you really don’t want to do is then compound your problems by creating a dud such as Backbreaker. From the moment the game kicks off you become disorientated by bizarre camera angles which, despite being a nice idea, left players unsure of what was happening and which direction they should be running.