Best tight end in football right now?
Is it Antonio Gates? Rob Gronkowski? Jimmy Graham?
One thing is clear, the tight end position enjoyed by those three and many others would not have been as specialized if it wasn’t for Mark Bavaro.
The guy was a stud and was really one of the true pass-catching tight ends who proved to be a dangerous threat.
How do I remember that Bavaro was a stud? Tecmo Bowl, of course.
Aside from Bo Jackson, who is the greatest player in video game history, Bavaro and the New York Giants were the best overall team. Not only was the defense legit, but Bavaro was always good for 10 or so yards on Pass 2, where he ran an out and it was easy pickings.
The reason that Bavaro was so good in Tecmo Bowl was the fact that he was – at least in my mind – a groundbreaking tight end. And he just seemed like the tough football player you wanted on your team. Look at this, where he drags Ronnie Lott at least 10 yards after a hit:
Bavaro changed the game. Sure there were other tight ends who were revolutoinary, but a big, physical tight end like him who could catch and wasn’t afraid to go over the middle became the prototype for the guys who you want on your fantasy team right now.
He also seemed like a bad-ass. His nickname was “Rambo” partially for his resemblance to Sylvester Stallone, but also because he was a beast. If Bavaro had played during the Twitter era, we might have hashtagged him as #beastmode. He may have even been the first to be hashtagged as such.
Back when Bavaro played it was hand it off to a bruising back and pass to one of your two wide receivers. The passing game had not been revolutionized as it has been now (along with some handy rules in place to aid passing offenses) but Bavaro was on the cutting edge.
Like Al Pedrique, Bavaro was better-known in a video game. Unlike Pedrique, Bavaro was well-known for his ability to be a great playmaker and difference-maker in a video game.