Gridiron Wars is a straight forward, statistical simulation / replay game, with a little scope for tactical play but it's minimal. This means it is best suited to solo gaming, although a game can take a long time to play out if you are keeping a detailed statistical record. Each team has individually rated skills position players, e.g. Tom Brady is an F QB on a scale of A-Z, with an I1 and S1 rating (hard to intercept and sack). Each defense is rated to modify these ratings, for example the Giants are -1 against the rush and pass (which signifies an above average defense). Dice are rolled, charts are consulted, plays are made. The game could do with individual play call charts for each team based on down and distance (game situation would be nice too!), but these are not provided so I am using the generic defense chart that comes with the game, and an expanded down and distance chart that I downloaded from the Tabletop Sports website.
Here is Super Bowl 42, the Giants vs the Patriots.
The Giants won the toss and elected to receive, Omar Bradshaw took the kick at the 4 and shirked a tackle or two on his way up to the 35 where he was shoved out of bounds. A good start for the underdogs, they were going to need every player to perform at his best to give the undefeated Patriots a game. The Patriots were looking for the run early on, but Brandon Jacobs picked up 25 yards on his first three carries, moving the ball effectively and pushing into Patriots territory. The Giants persisted with the run, and Derrick Ward picked up a first down on his first carry. The Patriots held up the Giants at the 30, and Manning fumbled the snap on 3rd and 10, only for a slice of luck for New York, the play was nullified for offsetting penalties. Given a second chance, Manning threw under pressure into double coverage and the pass was batted away, but Jarvis Green failed to hold up and barreled into Eli, drawing a roughing the passer penalty and setting up the Giants at the 15. The Patriots bring the blitz and Eli is under pressure again, throwing the ball up for grabs. Rosevelt Colvin is in a great position at the goal line and makes the pick! He brings it back 26 yards, he takes a jarring hit but holds on to the football.
The Patriots struggle initially, with Brady scampering out of bounds under severe pressure to bring up 3rd and 8, but on 3rd down he finds a wide open Stallworth for 20 yards to bail himself out. The Giants respond by blitzing and burying Brady in a hurry, Kawika Mitchell responsible for the sack. Brady finds Stallworth again for 15 yards, setting up a 3rd down in Giants territory. Brady finds Jabar Gaffney for a 19 yard completion to keep the ball moving into the red zone. A few plays later, the Patriots have 3rd and 7 at the Giants 9. Calling for a pass, he dinks a screen pass to Maroney who casually saunters into the end zone un-accosted. Add on the PAT and it's 7-0. A gritty drive, Brady completed 5 of 5 for 74 yards, which will worry the Giants.
Bradshaw received the kick again and the Giants start from the 25. Things don't improve for the Giants as Manning throws 3 straight incompletions, barely troubling the Patriots secondary. Jeff Feagles unspectacular 36 yard punt doesn't help matters either.
After moving back past midfield, the Patriots misfire with an illegal block and a sack pegging them back on 2nd and 30. No heroics from Brady this time, and the Patriots are left to punt. Hanson sends a weak one 36 yards, and McQuarters looks good, jinking back for 13 before being blindsided. The ball bounces around and the Patriots pick it up, moving it back 6 yards before another crushing hit causes another fumble! But the ball bounces loose and out of bounds. Pats ball, 1st and 10 at the Giants 30 with time ticking down in the first quarter. On the first play, Brady hits Welker for 24 to move his streak to 8 straight completions. The next play and the Pats go up 13-0, with a 6 yard pass to Welker. The PAT is added on and the Giants are in trouble.
Ward snaps off a 14 yard rumble to open the second period, before a 10 yard sack for Jarvis Green and a 7 yard sack for Teddy Bruschi sets them back again, the drives stalls and the Giants punt again. The Patriots work well behind Brady and Welker, although Brady throws his first incompletion. A 26 yard catch by Welker moves the Pats to the Giants 12, and the very next play is a 12 yard pass to Welker for the TD. The PAT makes it 21-0 and the rout is on. And there is worse to come. Manning is drilled and fumbles on the Giants possession, coughing the ball up to Jarvis Green again, giving NE the ball at the Giants 30. The Patriots get the ball down to the 3 but the Giants defense finally shows up, forcing a Brady throw incomplete with a blitz on 3rd down. They kick a field goal for 24-0.
Punts are traded, before the Giants get their first big play of the game. After Manning throws incomplete for the 7th time in a row, Derrick Ward is handed the ball and he rips off a stunning 53 yard dash, giving him 77 yards on just 3 carries. The Giants are back in Patriots territory at last. But here comes Manning, trying to magic something up, taking too long to throw and fumbling again. This time he falls on the ball for a 9 yard loss as we hit the two minute warning. The very next play the Patriots coverage causes another sack, for that man Green again. 3rd and 27. Manning drops back again on the next play and finally finds an open man, Burress hauls it in for 21 yards, setting up 4th and 3 at the 25. The Giants elect to kick and Tynes makes the 42 yard FG. 24-3. And that's the score at the half. A very one sided half, but at least the Giants are on the board finally.
A poor kick and a good return puts the Patriots at their own 41 to start the 2nd half. Behind the irrepressible arm of Brady they wind up with 7 more, this time on a pass to Stallworth. 31-3. The third quarter winds on without much event, punts go back and forth and the Patriots grind the clock, Brady is still metronomically accurate and Maroney puts solid yardage up on the ground. They got into scoring range, but after a sack they settled for a field goal to go up 34-3.
The Giants then put together their best drive of the game, behind the running of Jacobs. Ward bashes the ball into the end-zone from 4 yards out to cut the gap to 34-10. The Giants shut down the Pats on their next drive but Hanson booms a monster punt out of bands at the Giants 7, with about 8 minutes to play. Not a moment to soon, Manning starts finding his arm, completing passes to Shockey and Burress to chew up yardage and moving into Patriots territory. At this point Manning is a horrendous 5 of 20 for 77 yards and an interception. Jacobs then rumbles for 21 yards and sets up a 6 yard TD pass to Shockey from Manning. After the kick it's now 34-18 as the Giants go for 2 and Jacobs leaps over the line to get the points.
The Giants elect to go for an onside kick, but it's a mediocre effort and the Patriots recover. But there is a flag down, the Patriots have been called for moving before the ball was kicked. The Giants will get another shot. Tynes nudges the ball towards the sideline, the Giants hands team converges on the ball but it slips through Toomer's fingers and is recovered by the Patriots at the 48. Maroney is stuffed on first down, but the Patriots run again, and Maroney breaks free, haring down the sideline for 35 yards before being bumped out at the 15. The Giants come up big though, and limit the Patriots to another field goal, making it 37-18, with 3 minutes 40 seconds to go.
The Patriots squib kick sees the Giants get the ball at the 45, not ideal but weighed against a potential TD on a return it's not the end of the world. The Giants need 3 scores, so are surely out of it. Manning fails to generate anything, getting sacked on second down by Adalius Thomas for a loss of two, bringing up the two minute warning.
On 3rd and 12 Manning surveys the field and then picks out running back Ward due to his other options being covered, Ward meanders and then pulls along his would be tackler, picking up 14 yards and the first down. Time out. Manning gathers his wits, drops back again and passes... straight to James Sanders of the Patriots who is off to the races, taking the ball back 56 yards to the Giants 25, the Patriots will be Super Bowl champions, once again.
So, not a great game, the Patriots were dominant and Tom Brady's impeccable accuracy earned him MVP honours. Manning never really got into gear and his poor performance let the Patriots race to a big lead early on, and despite briefly entertaining thoughts of comeback, it is unlikely that the Giants would have got back into it properly.
New England 37
New York 18
Eli Manning: 10 of 27 for 140 yards, 1 TD, 2 interceptions, 4 sacks
Tom Brady: 23 of 27 for 270 yards, 4 TD, 0 inteceptions, 2 sacks
Brandon Jacobs: 12 carries, 91 yards
Derrick Ward: 5 carries, 88 yards, 1 TD
Laurence Maroney: 19 carries, 89 yards
Jeremy Shockey: 5 catches, 55 yards
Donte Stallworth: 5 catches, 78 yards
Wes Welker: 8 catches, 93 yards
Is Shockey going to be playing on Sunday?