Feature Article
Top 25 Most Dominant Teams in Sports Gaming History (Part I)

Mid-January is not really an ideal time to be a sports gamer -- especially when you live in Michigan. You would think that the colder-than-normal temperatures and frequent snow showers would be the perfect reason to spend hours upon hours cooped up in your gaming cave, but that is not the case. The reality of the situation is that the slowdown of new sports-gaming releases, coupled with the fall gaming releases reaching their saturation point, leads to some hardcore sports-gamer doldrums. With these doldrums comes a delirium much like Jack Nicholson in The Shining, or Homer Simpson in The Shinning if you prefer.

"Cold weather and no sports gaming makes Christian an angry boy."

So what is one to do if he wants to retain his sanity in such adverse conditions? How about get together with an old friend and have an in-depth discussion on the top 25 video game sports teams of all time? Well, that is exactly what I did last week with my best friend Matt (aka Super Nintendo Chalmers), and not only was there plenty of healthy debate over which teams deserved a spot in this exclusive list, but also some great memories were rekindled.

In order to be considered for this list, a team had to meet one simple criterion: The team had to be one that was so good that under no circumstances would you ever allow a friend to choose that squad in a two-player game. These are the teams that were officially outlawed from any and all multiplayer games.


#25 Minnesota Vikings (NFL 2K)

This Vikings team was an absolute menace to play against in NFL 2K on the Dreamcast. Not only did the Vikes have two of the best receivers in the game, Randy Moss and Cris Carter, but the squad also had the ever-dangerous Randall Cunningham behind center. Add to this aerial assault Robert Smith and Leroy Hoard, and you had one of the greatest video game football offenses ever.

This team gave me fits back in college, and anyone who used them was instantly branded as a cheeser.

#24 Philadelphia 76ers (NBA 2K2)

Remember when Allen Iverson was not a washed up shell of his former self playing for the Pistons? I do, and I also remember Matt Geiger being an absolute beast in NBA 2K2. Raja Bell, Eric Snow, Dikembe Mutombo and Derrick Coleman rounded out a pretty tough six-man rotation for the 76ers in 2K2.

This team was rock solid in the game. I remember having 2K2 tournaments in college, and whoever picked the 76ers would somehow win the whole thing -- no matter what the skill level of the player was.

Simply put, Iverson could not be stopped, and Geiger, Mutombo and Coleman were virtually unstoppable in the paint. There was no other team in 2K2 that could deal with the Sixers.


#23 New York Mets (MLB 2K7)

Have you ever played as a team in a baseball game and hit 22 consecutive home runs against an online opponent? How about playing against a team in a baseball game that hit 17 consecutive home runs against you? Have you seen this scenario play itself out multiple times?

I have, and it always involved the New York Mets and MLB 2K7.

For some reason, 2K Sports gave the 2K7 Mets some sort of magic potion that allowed the players to hit moonshots every time they came to the plate. It did not really matter who the hitter was either, everyone on the 2K7 Mets was able to hit home runs like Hank Aaron -- even Pedro Martinez.

#22 Detroit Lions (Tecmo Super Bowl)

Before Detroit was the 0-16 laughing stock of the NFL, the virtual Lions were surprisingly good in the early '90s.

The Tecmo Super Bowl Lions were led by Mel Gray and Barry Sanders. These two players alone could carry your offense and decimate almost every defense in the game. For some reason, Barry could not be tackled, and to make matters worse, Mel would run pretty much every kickoff/punt back for a touchdown.

These two players alone make the Tecmo Super Bowl Lions worthy of a list that is not associated with losing.

#21 Los Angeles (Blades of Steel)

I am not quite sure why this team was so good in Blades of Steel, but for some reason, Los Angeles was almost unbeatable in the game.

It may have had something to do with the awesome yellow and purple blinking jerseys, but I am more inclined to believe that it was because LA had fake Wayne Gretzky on skates and Kelly Hrudey in net.

Whatever the reason, playing against a buddy who selected Los Angeles was an exercise in frustration. It also took a lot of willpower to not punch your buddy in the arm (or face) for choosing LA.

#20 Cleveland Indians (Major League Baseball Featuring Ken Griffey Jr.)

How would you feel about pitching to Manny Ramirez, Jim Thome, the Alomar Brothers, David Justice, Kenny Lofton, Richie Sexson and Omar Vizquel? Did I happen to mention that most of these players were in their prime when this game was released?

As if playing defense was not tough enough against this team, on offense you would have to face Mr. Charles Nagy, the only pitcher in the game who had all four of his pitches maxed out in the effectiveness category.

This team was a nightmare, no further explanation is needed.

#19 Buffy’s Gym (Sammy Sosa’s Softball Slam)

If you were one of the 10 people who played this game on the original Playstation, you know exactly why Buffy’s Gym has secured a top-20 spot on this list.

Not only did this team have the most power when hitting, it also was the fastest when running the bases. Sure, the squad had the weakest fielders in the game, but that did not really matter because the team could score 21 runs per inning.

Simply put, Buffy's Gym was an offensive juggernaut and proof that defense does not win championships.


#18 LA Lakers (Bulls vs. Lakers)

It is not really a surprise when a team that has its name in the game title is dominant right?

This Lakers team was about as dominant as any team in the 16-bit era. Magic, Worthy, A.C. Green, Sam Perkins and a pre-Taco Bell-endorsing Vlade Divac made this team one of the all-time greats.

Growing up as a Pistons fan in the early '90s, I will never forget spending hours trying to beat the Lakers with Isiah, Dumars and the rest of the Bad Boys. Tragically, the Lakers handed me my 10-year-old butt time and time again.

#17 Pittsburgh Penguins (NHLPA Hockey '93)

Tom Barrasso is the only name you really need to know when it comes to the NHLPA Hockey Penguins. Sure, the Pens had Super Mario, Ron Francis and Jagr on the team, but Tom Barrasso was a brick wall between the pipes.

I still sometimes have bad dreams about NHLPA tourneys conducted in my parents' basement; I would always run into the neighborhood jerk who would pick the Pens and Barrasso.

Time after time I had to watch my team attempt to score somehow on the Barrasso wall, and time after time I watched one of three available save animations as Barrasso turned my shots away.

This Penguins team was also one of the first teams that I officially outlawed in the neighborhood. There is no doubt about it, the NHLPA Pens were as cheap as they come -- they are outlawed to this day whenever my Genesis comes out of the basement for some retro gaming.

#16 Chicago Bulls (Tecmo NBA Basketball)

Do you really have to explain why a video-game representation of the '90s Bulls -- including a rare appearance by Michael Jordan -- could be outlawed? When Jordan and Pippen were not canning every one of their shots, it was Will Perdue who proved to be the team's X-factor in the game. Perdue was able to somehow find a way to dominate the paint and appear in some pretty cool cut-scenes. Jordan, Pippen and Perdue were an unstoppable force.

It did not really matter which team you picked in Tecmo NBA Basketball, you could not beat the Bulls. I will give Tecmo a free pass on this in-game dominance, however, as the real-life Bulls terrorized the league for the next six years.

Check in next week for #15-6, and the week of Feb 2 for #5-1. As always, post your own personal experiences in the comments section.

Member Comments
# 1 Eski33 @ 01/21/09 04:40 PM
Nice list. Here are some of the top teams from the games I played growing up (in no specific order):

Phoenix Suns (Lakers vs Celtics -- Genesis): Tom Chambers triple-pump dunk from the three-point line was unstoppable. Add Jeff Hornacek, Thunder Dan Majerle and KJ, this team was unreal...

Team USA Basketball (USA -- Genesis): This game used the Lakers vs Celtics engine and no team could hang with the US. Although, no matter who you played they typically scored in the 70s but with Team USA, I was dropping 150.

Oakland Raiders (Tecmo Bowl -- Nintendo): One player -- Bo Jackson. Anyone who has played this game knows why. If not, visit YouTube.

Boston (Double Dribble -- Nintendo): I am not sure if this team had attributes to reflect the Boston Celtics but hitting three-pointers with this team was too easy.

Hartford Whalers (NHL Hockey -- Genesis): Not that the Whale were that good but I was a fan and hated to see this team move.

'85 Bears (Madden 93 -- Genesis): This is one team I cannot believe didn't make the list. I played in a Madden tournament in college when this game was new. The '85 Bears were banned. Why? This team was fast.

The HOF (Baseball Stars -- Nintendo): It took me some time to build my team's attributes before I could hang with the likes of Henry Aaron and Babe Ruth. This team in Baseball Stars was the virtual version of Murderer's Row.
# 2 Eski33 @ 01/21/09 04:46 PM
Let me add a couple more:

Stars (GBA Basketball -- Commodore 64 (OLD SCHOOL): This game was a two-on-two basketball game with fictional players with attributes that matched NBA legends. The Stars was a team that my neighbor and I had issues dealing with. When we finally beat this team, we popped open a bottle of Coke and celebrated....

1986 Boston Celtics (NBA: The Pro Game by Lance Haffner -- C64): This game was a text based sim and played out with crazy accuracy. Playing the 86 Celts, especially in The Garden, was damn tough. In The Garden, it was near impossible to win. I hated the Celts but ended up using them for one season. My record -- 67 wins and 15 losses. 41 wins and 1 loss at The Garden.
# 3 Cryolemon @ 01/21/09 06:47 PM
Lincoln City in Championship Manager '03/'04. I got them to the Premier League in 4 seasons lol.
# 4 USF11 @ 01/21/09 08:44 PM
Madden 2001 Rams
# 5 allstar3970 @ 01/21/09 11:12 PM
Some I haven't seen mentioned yet.....
madden 64 - Broncos (just trust me)
NBA live '95 - Warriors (Webber-spree-mullin-hardaway i KILLED with this team)
Ken Griffey Baseball (SNES) - Atlanta Braves - remember not real names, but 1993 representations of maddux, glavine, smoltz on the pitching staff, with mcgriff, justice and ron gant in the middle of the lineup.
NHL 94 - Blackhawks
Madden 2003 - Rams

Eski AGREED on Boston in Double Dribble...i was thinking the same thing but thought i was the only one since its not like the game had attributes or anything.
# 6 dubbduces @ 01/22/09 12:19 AM
The pg was Nash on 2k and he was a BEAST i remember making a roomate break a control because of that team! Madden 04- Atlanta Falcons, Vick + cheese = instant anger,
# 7 DC @ 01/22/09 08:43 AM
#24 Philadelphia 76ers (NBA 2K2)

No reason in hell that team should be on this list.
# 8 boomhauertjs @ 01/22/09 08:50 AM
Originally Posted by Eski33
1986 Boston Celtics (NBA: The Pro Game by Lance Haffner -- C64): This game was a text based sim and played out with crazy accuracy. Playing the 86 Celts, especially in The Garden, was damn tough. In The Garden, it was near impossible to win. I hated the Celts but ended up using them for one season. My record -- 67 wins and 15 losses. 41 wins and 1 loss at The Garden.
I loved the Lance Haffner basketball and baseball games. Glad someone else out there played them!
# 9 DC @ 01/22/09 08:56 AM
The Mavericks on 2K2 were probably the best 3PT Shooting team in the Non Roster Editing Era

Van Exel
Walt Williams
# 10 Real2KInsider @ 01/22/09 09:05 AM
The NBA 2K4 Kings & Lakers

Kings with a simply unstoppable Peja and other shooters (Bibby, Christie) along with solid post options (Webber & Divac).

Lakers had four hall of famers (Shaq, Kobe, Payton, Malone) and their ratings weren't exactly up to date (GP was 2nd best PG).
# 11 Bumble14 @ 01/22/09 09:23 AM
Originally Posted by DCAllAmerican
#24 Philadelphia 76ers (NBA 2K2)

No reason in hell that team should be on this list.
I disagree, hence why I put them at #24. The team had quick guards, Iverson was unstoppable, and if you played Geiger, Mutumbo and DC in your frontcourt, you would dominate any team you played.

Keep in mind guys- this is only #25-16, there are 15 more teams on the list ;-)
# 12 Joey @ 01/22/09 11:08 AM
I agree with the Celtics in Double Dribble. They had hot spots where you literally could not miss 3 pointers. In fact, my coworker and I were playing it on an emulator a couple weeks ago and I picked the Celts (of course). After I was up by 20+ points I finally let him in on the secret.
# 13 jjc92787 @ 01/22/09 11:27 AM
Who would have ever thought the Lions would make a list of dominant teams?

Too bad the real 2007 Mets couldn't play like that!

I played Bulls vs Lakers a lot as a kid and I agree about the Lakers. The Bulls and Celtics were also very good in that game.

Some other suggestions: -NBA Live 2002: Dallas Mavericks. Whenever I played as this team I would get well over 100 points everytime while my opponent got about 20-30 less at least. They were an offensive juggernaut.

NHL 2K6- Detroit Red Wings. They could score at any point whether you were playing online or against the computer.

All Star Baseball 2003- Texas Rangers. This team scored at a rapid rate whenever I played against them.

NFL Blitz 97- Jacksonville Jaguars. I would gulp everytime this team was chosen as my opponent because their defense was a monster. I was lucky to get a pass off most of the time.

MVP Baseball 2005- Arizona Diamondbacks. Odd choice I know, but this was the one team that always gave me fits in dynasties.
# 14 Keohane15 @ 01/22/09 11:42 AM
The Chicago Bears from Tecmo Bowl have to be on this list. Walter Payton made me cry when I was 5.
# 15 UNOTREDE @ 01/22/09 11:57 AM

i forget which madden exactly but the madden after their superbowl win the RAVENS WERE RIDICULOUS!!!!!!!!!!!!

Honorable Mentions:

Patriots - Madden 2002( the year after that first Brady win. i may have gotten the year wrong)

Patriots - Madden 2008 (That offense was outrageous!!!)

Celtics and/or Lakers - NBA 2K8 (both teams have officially been deemed ILLEGAL) I wrote my congressman about them and he agreed!!!!

as of this writing: Orlando Magic/Cleveland Cavaliers/Los Angeles Lakers - NBA2K9 - with live updates these teams are Championship ready today. tomorrow may be different.

also...it may just be me but: Oakland Raiders Madden 09 - I just CANNOT lose with this team. They have all the right people. I lost many games to them so "if you cant beat'em join'em". I have destroyed teams all year with the Raiders including Cowboys, Chargers, Patriots,Colts, Steelers. I beat the best teams repeatedly and BADLY. I even try to use those teams against Raiders and it is really not recommended.

In real life they are trash but they are a Madden Monster.
# 16 UNOTREDE @ 01/22/09 12:07 PM

MIKE TYSON - Fight Night Round 4- I just know he is gonna have Flash Knockouts like every other hit. With his first entry into the FN series I know he will be hooked up with attributes since they are using the Tyson in his prime and not the ear biting face tattooed one that lost his last 5 or 6 fights in a row. I am glad Mike is in the game and I will definitely use him but I have already braced myself for the inevitable Tyson vs. Tyson matchups that will be fought in every other ring across virtual arenas aound the world.
# 17 jtkelly78 @ 01/22/09 12:15 PM
Tecmo Bowl:


And i maybe mistaken but Wayne Haddix? on the Bucs in Techmo Super Bowl was a freak of ridiculous nature.
# 18 UNOTREDE @ 01/22/09 12:15 PM
i just love this thread so much. I have one last honorable mention and I will stop:

Dallas Cowboys - Madden 09(straight out of the box NO roster updates)

That team was not going to be beaten by ANYONE!!!! I'm sorry. they were Super Bowl ready right out of the box. That was a much different team than the one we see now WITH roster upates. Thank god for technology!!! If this was a few generations ago we would still have to deal with jerks picking the Super Bowl ready Cowboys even though they didnt even make the playoffs.
# 19 UNOTREDE @ 01/22/09 12:23 PM
this is really my last comment:

I love all of the teams mentioned in this thread and it brought back alot of controller throwing, punching, biting(yes i bit my NES controller at moments of murderous rage) memories.

I feel that the worst thing about these teams was NOT the fact that the players had crazy attributes or completed impossible shots, catches, saves, or goals. The worst part wan't always the fact that you LOST to these teams. The worst thing about all of these teams was that the person using them HONESTLY THOUGHT THEY WERE ACTUALLY GOOD AT THE GAME AND THE TEAM HAD NOTHING TO DO WITH IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I have great memories of that same jerk using a non-illegal team and getting scraped up, dominated and ran out of the gym or off the field when i handed down my own brand of virtual JUSTICE to these cheaters!!!
# 20 DC @ 01/22/09 12:47 PM
Originally Posted by Bumble14
I disagree, hence why I put them at #24. The team had quick guards, Iverson was unstoppable, and if you played Geiger, Mutumbo and DC in your frontcourt, you would dominate any team you played.

Keep in mind guys- this is only #25-16, there are 15 more teams on the list ;-)
But they weren't even one of the top 5 teams ON PAPER in the NBA that year. This is a favoritism nomination

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