Blow in the cartridge. Insert the Rumble Pak. Dial up Da Bomb.
It's 2019 schedule release, NFL Blitz style! ? pic.twitter.com/JrHU8PiUeX
— New York Jets (@nyjets) April 18, 2019
The New York Jets opted for nostalgia in their 2019 schedule reveal, emulating the popular football video game “NFL Blitz.”
The New York Jets have unveiled new uniforms and brought in new players this offseason. Yet, they proved on Wednesday that, sometimes, that sometimes the older things can be the most fun.
In unveiling their 2019 regular season schedule, the Jets emulated the style of NFL Blitz, a video game series popularized in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Each of the Jets’ 16 games is revealed through a typical introduction screen for a game of Blitz, using the 1999 version of the game as a template. As the two teams’ helmets appeared on screen, an announcer would boisterously announce who would be partaking.
Some matchups are accompanied by in-game footage of the Jets against that opponent, featuring popular players from the Blitz-era. Among the players making virtual cameos include Vinny Testaverde, Keyshawn Johnson, Wayne Chrebet and Mo Lewis.
The Blitz games began in 1997, published and developed by Midway Games. Rather than presenting a realistic football simulation (a la the Madden or NFL 2K franchises), Midway’s series was an exaggerated, almost cartoonish, take on NFL football.
The game’s over-the-top violence became a trademark, as late hits, pass interference, and excessive celebrations were all encouraged. Other animated aspects including players literally catching fire, brought upon by positive plays. The game was available on major consoles and likewise came in arcade and portable versions.
As its popularity surged, however, the NFL asked Midway to tone done the deviance, particularly the outlandish hits. By the time the final version, NFL Blitz Pro, was released in 2003, the game strongly resembled one of the simulations it viewed as competition.
The NFL Blitz franchise ceased when EA Sports earned exclusive NFL rights. It lived on through Blitz: The League, which amplified the violent aspects and injuries. Retired NFL stars Lawrence Taylor and Bill Romanowski lent voices and likenesses to the game.
The NFL version returned in 2012 as a downloadable game through EA, which acquired the property through Midway’s liquidation. This version left out late hits, per the NFL’s wishes, but mostly retained the original Blitz style.
NFL teams have amplified the fun of schedule release day with themed videos often connecting to other popular culture staples. For example, the Detroit Lions unveiled their opponents using clips from the American version of The Office.
The Pittsburgh Steelers used elements from children’s television program Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood in their release, while the Atlanta Falcons parodied the iconic intro sequence from the HBO series Game of Thrones.
For more on the Jets’ schedule, check out ESNY’s in-depth analysis here.