At Least Marco Rubio Is Good At Tecmo Bowl (And Talking Shit)

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While Marco Rubio was a consistent loser on the 2016 campaign trail, he can hold his head high remembering that there are two things on this Earth that he’s apparently very good at: Tecmo Bowl and talking trash.


A profile on Salon, focusing on Rubio’s time as a football player at Tarkio College, reveals that he wasn’t that great at football. Or making friends. Indeed, he was only there because the school was such a hot mess:

A few years before Rubio entered, the school was desperate to stave off a financial collapse brought on by declining enrollment numbers. The board brought on a shady school administrator named Dennis C. Spellman who set up illegitimate off-campus programs, enrolled ill-prepared (and often homeless or drug-addled) students for them and collecting federal grants and loans in the process. The school was later described by one administrator as little more than “a front.” The student loan default rate was 79 percent, more than 10 times the national average.

While Rubio’s time there as a football player amounted to nothing—“I know he showed up to play football, and I remember him suiting up for the team picture, but that is about it” recalls one teammate—at least he got to spend some time on the NES.

The group and the rest of the dorm engaged in epic games of Tecmo Bowl, a rudimentary video game in which pro football teams would square off against each other. To a person, everyone contacted for this article recalls Rubio being far more successful at the 8-bit version of football than the real one, squirreling away for hours in his dorm room.

“He was far more competitive about that than he was about real football,” recalled Tim Kirkpatrick, a wide receiver on the team.

Dorm-mates recall Rubio developing elaborate theories about how the game worked and how to execute trick plays with the controls. And, they recall, he was a ferocious trash talker.

My, how ever did this man end up as a politician.


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So why are we celebrating AlphaGo’s recent achievements as a big development in AI if we had a robot capable of playing Tecmo Bowl 15 years ago?