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written by Drewmanster


Bill Walsh. A name that should bring forth thoughts of the “finesse-ass 49ers” of the 1980s and 1990s. A highly innovative football mind, Bill Walsh brought the misnomered West Coast Offense philosophy to the forefront of the National Football League; its principles still dictate the flow of the game to this day.

However, the opposite has been true for the Tecmo Bowl Draft League. Every team he has been drafted to, struggles have followed. Generally considered an upper-half playbook on the original game, the San Francisco playbook has been highly underwhelming throughout league history for reasons unclear. 

Season 1 - With the 37th draft selection, Los Angeles owner Lord of the End took the San Francisco playbook to pair with 1st overall selection Joe Montana. This led to an 0-7 campaign with a mere 6 points per game scored. However, this could simply be chalked up to a misunderstanding - Lord had initially thought he was joining a Tecmo Super Bowl league. He was inexperienced to the game and joined a league that was incredibly talent-dense with 6 founding members - half the amount of the teams on the original game. 

Season 2 - This is the only year that the playbook went undrafted. With 7 members at this point, just over half of the playbooks in the game would be drafted. 

Season 3 - With the 14th overall selection, the highest overall selection of a playbook by a longshot, Seattle owner F1DL5TYX drafted the San Francisco playbook. 

The result was a 5-5 record and playoff miss, with a slightly above average offense but below average defense due mostly in part to turnovers and poor field position from sacks. This remains the only playoff miss in Seattle history.

When recently interviewed as to why the playbook was selected so high, F1DL5TYX had this to say: 

“Dude I had the Washington WRs! I had visions of 30 yard gains every other play. But I got playpicked a lot, got nothing on the ground from Dorsett, and had a terrible defense. Panicked and turned the ball over a lot. I was under a lot of pressure in those early seasons and made mistakes.”

Was part of the reason you selected it so high that you wanted to practice with it for OG play?

“Yeah I think that was it too. And honestly I'm pretty solid with San Fran now. So maybe it was worthwhile? That season was miserable though”

Do you think you’ll ever pick a playbook that high again? It was at spot 12 

“No need. After the indy[sic] and Washington playbooks I believe I can win games with anything. Not enthused about the Minnesota playbook though. Cleveland but worse and I'm not good with Cleveland”

Season 4 - With the 39th overall selection, Bill Walsh was off to Chicago. In the newly formed NTFC West, Chicago was the third team of three to go 6-4 and due to tiebreakers was given homefield in a play-in game with division rival Minnesota, netting a 6-0 win before losing to the division winner San Francisco. This marks the most successful San Francisco season to date. 

Season 5 - New York selected the playbook with pick 42. They were to finish 3-7, scoring 8.9 points per game.

Season 6 - With pick 37, soon-to-be-retired Minnesota owner hankthetank selected the playbook. Despite having an immensely talented team and competent owner (6-4 in his first year), the squad finished 0-10 and scored an abysmal 23 points all season, for an average of 2.3 - the 2nd worst of all time. It’s unclear why the team imploded so, though the common theory is that hank had simply given up… did Bill Walsh’s inane X’s and O’s drive him to insanity?!?!

Season 7 - Now we’re back to the present. Longtime Dallas owner richesmith, coming off of his best season to date and first playoff appearance, selected the playbook. Richie would finish 0-9, posting 59 points of offense in the regular season and a historically bad defense giving up 200, the 3rd worst in league history. The team was blown out by the worst in league history not once, but twice - a game 5 loss to Seattle, 38-0, and another 38-0 loss to Washington in game 8.

Quarterback Dave Krieg threw around a dozen picks in these two games, 7 confirmed in the latter, with 2 pick sixes. 

Is the San Francisco playbook cursed? When two of the best players in league history have what can only be considered “middling” seasons with it, and the rest of the league has only been met with tragedy, it very well might be.


San Francisco Playbook Overall Statistics:

All-Time Record - 14-42
Playoff Appearances - 1
Playoff Record - 1-1
Winless Seasons - 3
Points Per Game - 8.9

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