NFL Blitz is a football themed video game by Midway featuring the teams of the National Football League.
In the original Blitz
games (beginning in 1997), all NFL teams appeared, but there were several differences in the rules to make Blitz
different from standard football games. After the commercial failure of Blitz Pro
, Midway did not release a Blitz
in 2004 for the first time since the series began. Blitz Pro
was thought to be the last NFL Blitz game, then Blitz: The League
came out. A familiar phrase, frequently used by one of the announcers is "Oh, the carnage." This phrase is used after a big hit, which occurs frequently in the game.
In late 2007, a tournament open to the world was held in Champaign, Illinois. The finals pinned the top-ranked defensive skill set of Dan Shah up against the inconsistent Wes Gotschall who, as of the later part of the year, managed to string together a set of close but highly variable victories. In a game of stern determination by both parties, Dan Shah pulled ahead to a 35-0 lead over the frustrated and seemingly vulnerable Gotschall. The second quarter brought hope to Gotschall as Shah threw his first interception of the year on a Da Bomb before halftime. The half closed to a score of 35-14. Shah then put on the highly touted and Grammy award-winning Pirates of the Caribbean soundtrack and beat Gotschall 72-14 retaining the title he obtained in 2006.
In 1997, seven players took the field per side (as opposed to eleven). Not only were there fewer players, but positions were flexible at best. Wide receivers
could be known to run the ball and sometimes pass, and defensive players
were all crosses between pass rushers and defensive backs. 2002 saw an increase to eight players and NFL Blitz Pro
(released in 2003) increased to eleven.
Unlike the NFL, pass interference is allowed, as are late hits, showboating and excessive celebrations.
There are no timeouts, but the clock stops after every play, and extra points after touchdowns are claimed to be automatic, unless it is chosen to go for two points. However, although rare, choosing an automatic extra point can sometimes result in the extra point being missed. Very few people have ever kicked a failed extra point in the Blitz series.
Quarters have been shortened to two minutes (default setting) with a faster running timer than real time. For most releases, a first down would mean you would have to go 30 yards, instead of ten.
Unlike standard football sims, Blitz
played fast and furious. The only kicking in the game (punts and extra points) came automatically and, like Midway's NBA Jam
series, players were able to pull off fantastic moves. Plays such as "Da Bomb" allowed for a quarterback
to accurately throw the ball most of the length of the field at will and receivers could make impossible catches. On the other side, defensive players were able to leap up and swat (if not intercept) balls no other game could allow for or dive incredible lengths to make a stop.
From the beginning, one of the key changes in Blitz was the animations. Where other games had to keep normal tackling and stops, Blitz players were able to stop a play in a variety of interesting ways. One of the most common was for a defensive player to grab his opponent and spin him around and fling him to the ground, sometimes giving them extra yards in the process. This violent and theatrical style allows the players to execute textbook professional wrestling moves such as the German suplex, elbow drop, and leg drop - even after a tackle has been completed and the whistle blown. This concept was likely inspired by the significant popularity of professional wrestling in the late '90s.
The NFL, however, made Midway tame most of the more violent or insane aspects of the game as the license progressed. Subsequent releases stripped down "excessive celebrations" and late hits until the game was almost one of the sims to which it was originally opposed. However, the game still retained its over-the-top aspects including censored profanity done in a comical manner.
|| Release date
|| Console(s) |
| NFL Blitz
|| 1997, 1998
|| Arcade, Game Boy Color, Nintendo 64, Windows, PlayStation
| NFL Blitz '99
|| Arcade, Game Boy Color
| NFL Blitz 2000
|| Arcade, Dreamcast, Game Boy Color, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Windows
| NFL Blitz 2001
|| Dreamcast, Game Boy Color, Nintendo 64, PlayStation, Windows
| NFL Blitz Special Edition
|| Nintendo 64
| NFL Blitz 20-02
|| Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox
| NFL Blitz 20-03
|| Game Boy Advance, GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox
| NFL Blitz Pro
|| GameCube, PlayStation 2, Xbox
Midway brought back the Blitz
style play by launching in 2005 Blitz: The League
. The celebrations and the violent aspects were back and have been ramped up to levels that the NFL never allowed. In place of real NFL teams are fictional teams such as the New York Nightmare and the Minnesota Reapers. One team roster even has a speedy quarterback named "Mike Mexico," which is similar to the "Ron Mexico" alias allegedly used by Michael Vick
. Another notable feature of the game is that, when a player gets injured, what the game terms as "juicing" him with what seems to be the equivalent of a cortisone
shot is a choice.
Blitz: The League was created with the help of one of the writers from ESPN's Playmakers. Notorious former linebacker Lawrence Taylor was recruited to promote the game as well as add voice talents as linebacker Quentin Sands, one of the game's main characters.
Other notable celebrity promotion for the game include Blaze from American Gladiators saying in an interview in the April 2002 issue of Men's Health that every time he gets sacked in NFL Blitz he does 100 push-ups and 100 squat-thrusts.
Critical reception for Blitz: The League was mostly positive. Gamerankings.com gives the Playstation 2 release a score of 75% and the Xbox release a score of 77%. Gamespot.com gave both PS2 and Xbox versions an 8.6/10.