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Barry Laminack: My Top 5 video game franchises of all time

Back when Tiger Woods could still play, his video game was a must. Andrew Redington/Getty Images

Well it's officially the slow time of the year now that the Rockets have been bounced from the playoffs. Don't get me wrong I love baseball, it's actually my favorite sport, but when it comes to writing articles you can only write so much and so often about baseball.

One thing I turn to in the slow season of sports is sports video games, so I thought I would touch on my 5 favorite sports video game franchises of all time. Now  I know some of your going to disagree with this and that's fine, but this is what I like to play in the order that I like to play them, so as the kids say, “save the drama for your mama.”

No. 5 -- Fight Night (EA Sports)

It only lasted a few years (like 5), and the last release was 2011, but as far as boxing games goes it was the champ (I’m sorry, pun intended). My love for the games kind of went away as my love for boxing grew sour and I turned to MMA for my combat sports fix. In case you’re wondering, I’ve owned one “UFC” game and I hated it.

No. 4  Tiger Woods PGA Tour (EA Sports)

The series was originally titled “PGA Tour Golf” and started all the way back in 1990 for MS DOS computers (look it up kid, I don’t have time to explain it). They changed the name to “Tiger Woods PGA Tour” in 1998 and that lasted until 2013. For some reason they didn’t make the game in 2014, but then in 2015 it came back as Rory Mcllroy PGA Tour. That lasted a year.

It has always been the best golf game out, and whenever I felt like playing some golf (but not actually getting off the couch) this was the franchise I turned to.

You got to play all the most famous courses (and holes) in the world with some of the best golfers in the world.

No. 3 Madden NFL (EA Sports)

I know this is going to rustle some jimmies that it’s not number 1 on my list, but as I stated in the opening, it's my list and my opinion, but I get why your jimmy would be rusteld.

Here’s the deal...I never really got into Madden like I did EA’s college football game (more on that in a bit). For me the game play always felt a little clunky. Franchise/Career mode could hold my attention for a bit, but I always wanted to play with my favorite team as built that year.

For me, part of what I hate about Madden is the AI. I once punched my fridge because I lost on a fumble returned 99 yard for a TD. That’s when I decided that I also want to win when I play video games.

So suck it Madden, you’re No. 3, deal with it.

No. 2 MLB The show (Sony)

I don’t know why, but I’ve always loved playing baseball video games (probably because of my love for the sport itself), so you could really put any baseball game/franchise here, but at the time of this writing I’m playing MLB The Show 18 and loving it. My love of baseball as a video games dates back to the late 80’s/early 90’s, with RBI Baseball being the first title that I can recall in my head that I enjoyed playing.

No. 1 NCAA Football (EA Sports)

It was a sad day when EA Sports stopped making NCAA football (I blame “greedy” players for wanting to get paid for the use of their likeness...ugh). It was my absolute favorite game to play. I love everything about it, especially recruiting. I got a huge rush out of getting a great recruit to sign with a team like Rice Or U of H, and then using that recruit to win more games, get more recruits and eventually get a national tile.

The game was just the right mix of fun and strategy, oh nad I LOVED being able to run the option. I always feel like the controls and the gameplay were way better than with Madden, and even though they were similar they were still different enough to me to keep playing NCAA and avoiding Madden if I could.

It will always be the greatest football game ever hopefully one day they can bring it back but I'm sure it'll never be the same.

Honorable Mention NHL ‘94 (EA Sports)

I’m not a big hockey fan, in fact the only way I learned anything about the sport was playing NHL ‘94 on Sega. It was a lot of fun, and the fact that there was fighting in the game was a huge plus.



 

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How about the Texans land Sean Payton and keep their 1st round picks this year? Photo by Jed Jacobsohn/Getty Images.

Former New Orleans Saints head coach Sean Payton caught the attention of a lot of Houston Texans fans on Monday with comments he made on The Herd with Colin Cowherd.

Payton said he is absolutely considering the Texans’ gig citing the team’s draft capital, the AFC South and casual relationships with owner Cal McNair and general manager Nick Caserio as reasons for it, which cast a different light on the Houston job.

Whether Payton and the Texans ultimately wind up together, only time will tell, but if both sides were to agree that they are the right fit for each other, what would it take to land Payton in Houston?

Payton’s situation is a bit unique in that the Saints still hold his contractual rights because he signed a five-year extension with the team in 2019 before he retired in 2022. In order for the Texans, or any other team, to land Payton, they will likely have to give up a significant draft choice. Payton alluded to it during his conversation on The Herd.

New Orleans is likely looking for a mid-to-late first-round pick. A hefty price to pay in the NFL, but is there a way for the Texans to get a trade to work if they were to become convinced he is the right man for the job?

Like Payton said, Houston has put itself in a position where it owns a lot of draft picks, and a good portion of them come from the Cleveland Browns courtesy of the Deshaun Watson deal.

For 2023, the Texans have two first-round picks — the No. 2 overall pick and No. 12 from Cleveland. In 2024, Houston has two first-round picks as well, its own and that of the Cleveland Browns.

Looking at other teams across the league that are also reportedly interested in Payton, the Texans clearly have the edge over them. The Denver Broncos have only one first-round draft pick in this year’s draft, and it comes from the San Francisco 49ers, meaning it will be a late draft pick.

The Arizona Cardinals have the third overall pick in 2023. It's their only first-round draft pick this season. It would not make sense for them to part ways with that pick. The Carolina Panthers have the ninth overall pick in the 2023 draft. Similar to Arizona, it's their only pick in the first round and it would not make sense for them to part ways with it for Payton.

The Los Angeles Chargers are an intriguing team following the collapse in the Wild Card round last weekend against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

LA has the 21st overall pick in the 2023 draft. With Justin Herbert and various weapons across both sides of the ball, the Chargers are one team that could afford to trade its first-round pick in exchange for a head coach that could take them over the top. At the moment, it does seem like Brandon Staley will stay for at least one more season.

Lastly, come the Dallas Cowboys. Head coach Mike McCarthy’s seat cooled off tremendously following the team’s stellar performance against Tampa Bay in the Wild Card, but an abysmal performance against San Francisco this weekend could heat it up in a heartbeat.

The Cowboys will have a late first-round draft pick regardless of how they perform against the 49ers. No price will be too big to pay for Jerry Jones if he believes Payton is the final piece to a championship puzzle.

When it comes down to the Texans, outside of the Chargers and Cowboys, whom both appear to be long shots for Payton, there is no incentive to trade a first-round pick this year for Payton if both sides agree to work together.

For a team that has holes across various positions, trading away the No. 12 pick is not a wise move, even if it does land the most qualified candidate on the market. Houston could offer next year’s Cleveland first-round pick, which with a full year of Watson will likely be a later first-round pick.

Could adding a fourth-round pick this season on top of next year’s first be enough for the Saints? The thing about this scenario, which favors the Texans, is that in the event both sides agree they are the right fit for each other, there is not really much leverage New Orleans can use to increase the price.

Saints general manager Mickey Loomis wouldn’t send Payton, the 15-year leader of the organization, to a team he does not want to coach for just because they are offering a greater draft pick, or a first-round selection this year.

At the end of the day, it comes down to Payton and what he wants. If Houston is his landing spot, then there is a good chance the Texans could get him for a lesser price than this year’s 12th overall pick.

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