Mike Ditka's Big Play Football/Quarterback Scramble (partially found build of cancelled US localization of NES football game; 1990)

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Quaterback scramble proto title.png

Title screen

Mike Ditka's Big Play Football: Lost
Quarterback Scramble: Found

Date found: 6 Jun 2019/1 Jan 2022 (Quarterback Scramble)

Found by: MrNorbert1994, Video Game History Foundation (Quarterback Scramble)

Mike Ditka's Big Play Football was an NES football game developed by Natsume and planned for release by Accolade in 1990. The game was also a localized version of the American Football Game: Quater Back Scramble, released in Japan in 1989 by Pony Canyon, and it was also planned that another version would be released by FCI under the title Quarterback Scramble.

According to Accolade's press release for this game[1], the game was scheduled for release in the fourth quarter of 1990. Accolade had exclusive rights to publish and distribute the software product, which included his likeness and his knowledge of playing and coaching football, through a contract with Mike Ditka. This game was to be the first game to be released under that agreement, but it was never released.

Accolade then released Mike Ditka Ultimate Football for DOS and Sega Genesis in 1991.


As for differences between the versions, compared to the original version released in Japan, the title screen of Quarterback Scramble from FCI has the "American Football Game" in the title logo struck out in a straight gold line, the text at the bottom is gray, and the FCI and Nintendo of America copyrights have been added. Another version of Mike Ditka's Big Play Football has a completely different title logo and no FCI copyright. Additionally, the bunny girl has ears removed to touch Playboy's rights. Incidentally, the bunny girl are still intact in Quarterback Scramble.


NintendoAge.com and RetroUSB.com collaborated to create a custom prototype of the Quarterback Scramble (labelled Mike Ditka's Big Play Football), which was sold exclusively at the 2008 Age of Gamers Expo[2]. However, as mentioned above, the title screen and other aspects of the game had been changed since it was a custom prototype. Therefore, people still could not play the original prototype.

The first online surfacing of prototype Quarterback Scramble was included in an NES ROM set uploaded on his website by NSF ripper MrNorbert1994. The file name was "Mike Ditka Big Play Football" and was updated on June 6th, 2019[3]. Then on January 1st, 2022, when Hidden Palace celebrated the New Year by making available prototypes of many unreleased and released games, a prototype of Quarterback Scramble was provided by the Video Game History Foundation[4].

No prototype of Mike Ditka's Big Play Football is currently surfacing online. Two owners of the prototype have been identified, one being Steven Seventyeight[5] and the other Jironosuke[6]. Note that the prototype carts owned by these two individuals are similar in appearance.