NFL games have been around for decades, and they’re one of the highest-grossing sports games to ever exist. They place you into the games of your favorite NFL players, and you get to become a player with them. For a moment, you’re a great NFL player following the rules of the game. Then came the emergence of street football.

What makes football games “street,” exactly? Well, they’re incredibly energetic and fast-paced games. The focus is not necessarily scoring, but how you score, and you have to do it in style. Spins, jukes and hard hits are common. There are no rules or penalties, and teams usually consist of seven or eight instead of the standard 11. This makes it appealing when choosing teams since the same people are on both offense and defense. Moves are often exaggerated and inflated. It’s just good, sometimes violent, fun.

There have been several NFL street games over the past few decades, especially after NBA street games became popular. So which ones are the best? Look no further. This list narrows down the top five best street football games of all time.

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REVIEWING PROCESS

34 Games Like NFL Street Top Best Alternatives

This list is the result of hours of research. Both critic and consumer reviews have been taken into consideration, but this list focuses mostly on the opinions and thoughts of actual gamers in order to provide a true, accurate and unbiased list of games for consumers.

COMPARISON TABLE

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NFL Street 3 is the last installment of EA’s NFL Street series. It features new modes not available on previous games. It also adds different moves you can perform in the air to out-maneuver your opponent and gain some extra yards.

NFL Street 2 came out just 11 months after the first one. EA obviously didn’t want to wait to build on its momentum. It adds in a new gamebreaker, aptly named “gamebreaker 2.

This is one of the most controversial sports games ever made. It’s ridiculous. It’s completely over the top. It’s highly unrealistic. It’s one of the few sports games with a Mature rating.

NFL Street is a fantastic, fast-paced and highly energetic game. The best of the three, this original in EA’s NFL Street series is sure to satisfy any arcade football fan. Not to mention,

Just as Midway introduced its exciting, over-the-top NBA Jam in 1993, it took on the NFL in its 1997 release of NFL Blitz. Rules and penalties are thrown out the window.

TOP 5 NFL STREET GAMES

Here are the top five best NFL street games of all time.

NFL Street 3 - PlayStation 2
  • Dramatic all-new GameBreakers - Launch off lead blockers, linebackers throw defensive backs over the line & more
  • Add more style to your game by making no-look, one-handed grabs, dive tackles, button-mash ball strips -- plus new...
  • Rub it in - Celebrate that winning score with one hand as you make a mid-air snatch with the other

OVERVIEW

NFL Street 3 is the last installment of EA’s NFL Street series. It features new modes not available on previous games. It also adds different moves you can perform in the air to out-maneuver your opponent and gain some extra yards.

The biggest change in Street 3 and its greatest feature is the new gamebreaker. Gamebreakers and similar aspects are common in the street games of various types of sports. The concept is to rack up points by performing moves and scoring. Once enough points are accumulated, you can perform one amazing, out-of-this-world play that both puts your opponent to shame and is exciting to watch. In previous versions, NFL Street’s gamebreakers were not controlled by the player and were a guaranteed success. However, in this third volume, the user actually gets to control the gamebreaker instead of simply watching a fun cutscene. This allows you to participate in an amazing play you would otherwise be forced to watch. Also, though the gamebreaker adds a boost to all of your attributes, it is not guaranteed like in Street 1 and 2. While it’s harder to stop a gamebreaking play, it isn’t impossible.

Other than the new gamebreaker mode, there isn’t much difference between Street 3 and the previous game in regard to gameplay, which is disappointing. The soundtrack is also not the greatest. Another upsetting fact is that the legendary players seem to have disappeared in this game. One of the greatest characteristics of any sports game is the ability to play with and against your favorite players, including the legends. For some reason, EA decided to limit NFL legends in this game, and that is its greatest downfall.

PROS

  • New gamebreaker feature
  • Added moves and plays

CONS

  • Poor soundtrack
  • Repetitive and unchanging gameplay
  • Limited NFL legend options

WHERE TO BUY

Available on Amazon for PS2 and PSP. You can also check GameStop’s preowned section.

NFL Street 2
  • Create your player, master new skills, and hit the streets
  • Ten new fields and two bonus environments
  • Take on 4 new game modes

OVERVIEW

NFL Street 2 came out just 11 months after the first one. EA obviously didn’t want to wait to build on its momentum. It adds in a new gamebreaker, aptly named “gamebreaker 2.” It allows you to, in a sense, double your gamebreaker, and the reward is an amusing cutscene.

There are added hotspots in various locations of the playing field, and performing a move in one, both defense and offense, gives you style points to rank up your gamebreaker bar. Another fun addition is the ability to perform moves against walls. You can jump off of walls and do spins and jukes to get around your opponent. Is it practical? No. Is it entertaining and stylish? Most definitely.

While it seems like an enjoyable feature, it actually makes getting points too easy. The idea of a gamebreaker is to work hard for one so when it comes, it’s exciting and rare. With all the style points Street 2 offers, you can have multiple gamebreakers in one game, which takes away from the value of them.

It has online play for PS2 and Xbox, which is a plus. Street games are the most fun when playing with others, so the added online play was much needed. The single-player modes are frustrating. There are two of them, and it would have been better off with one.

Another disappointment is the lack of change from the previous version. Apart from some additional moves and the updated gamebreaker, this game is basically the same as NFL Street. Even the graphics haven’t changed. Overall, though, NFL Street 2 is still a fun game to play, even if it does seem reprocessed from the original.

PROS

  • Online play
  • New moves and modes

CONS

  • Scoring is too easy
  • Too much left unchanged

WHERE TO BUY

Available on PS2, Xbox, GameCube and PSP. Check GameStop and Amazon.

Blitz: The League - Xbox 360
  • Gruesome on-field injuries/animations - Bones snapping, skulls crushing and modest amounts of blood resulting
  • Blitz - The League explores the on-field fury, off-field problems, and front office politics permeating professional...
  • Gget in the zone real-time -- on-field action slows and the players can pull off amazing and game-changing moves

OVERVIEW

This is one of the most controversial sports games ever made. It’s ridiculous. It’s completely over the top. It’s highly unrealistic. It’s one of the few sports games with a Mature rating. And it’s all of these things that make it one of the best NFL street games, even though it isn’t technically NFL. Midway had its NFL license stripped away in order for EA to continue to promote the Madden series. However, that didn’t stop them from coming up with a competitor to the NFL Street series.

The game follows a fake football league, simply called “The League.” You create your own team and complete the rags-to-riches campaign mode to become the champion. Midway pretty much imitates as much of the NFL as possible without crossing legal boundaries. Because there was no NFL legal team breathing down the necks of the creators, they were able to make Blitz exactly into what they wanted, and even satirically mock several issues with the NFL and its players.

So why does this sports game have a Mature rating? First, it’s incredibly violent. Like bone-cracking, bloody, beating-a-guy-with-his-own-helmet violent. Second, you can take steroids (simply called “juicing” in the game), which can have negative side effects. Third, affairs with cheerleaders are implied, and you can even send prostitutes to your opponents’ hotel rooms to ensure their lack of preparation for the game the next day. Though all of this may seem absurd and silly, Blitz: The League uses these features to take jabs at real-life issues prominent among NFL players that big names refuse to address, such as gambling, steroids, addiction and affairs with cheerleaders.

This game is just downright fun and exciting. Your adrenaline pumps as you flip players over and knock them out. You stand to your feet as you out-juke your opponent for a touchdown. This isn’t a game for staunch rule-followers. The gameplay is hilarious and engaging, even if the story line is a little weak.

PROS

  • Compelling, interesting, comical
  • Great graphics and animations
  • Online play

CONS

  • Weak storyline
  • A little imbalanced AI

WHERE TO BUY

GameStop and Amazon. Available on PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, and PSP.

NFL Street - Gamecube
  • Fast-moving 7-on-7 arcade gameplay challenges
  • 200 unique challenges
  • More than 300 current NFL stars and legends

OVERVIEW

NFL Street is a fantastic, fast-paced and highly energetic game. The best of the three, this original in EA’s NFL Street series is sure to satisfy any arcade football fan. Not to mention, NFL Street has the best soundtrack of all three of them.

It features seven-on-seven gameplay and is the most stylistic football game you will ever play. It may lack practicality, but it will never lack flair. There are frequent turnovers, heavy hits and outlandish moves, just what any gamer wants in street football. The best part, of course, is playing with and against your favorite NFL players, even if they are dressed in ridiculous jerseys and oversized t-shirts. That’s half the fun of it. You can toss the ball to anyone on your team at any time. Rules? None. Penalties? Zero. Inflated gameplay? Always.

Like Street 2 and 3, NFL Street lacks a real challenge. In its main mode, you compete to become the best, but after a few games, it becomes repetitive and effortless, even on the hardest difficulty setting. Nevertheless, NFL Street packs punches where it counts and provides gamers with a balanced, no-rules football experience.

NFL Street Member Update #12 5/14/2005 IGN Boards

PROS

  • Engaging and lively
  • Energetic pace
  • Panache

CONS

  • Frustrating single-player
  • Too straightforward at times

WHERE TO BUY

GameStop or Amazon for PS2, GameCube and Xbox.

HONORABLE MENTION: BACKYARD FOOTBALL

Since the incredibly mature Blitz: The League is on the list, it only seemed appropriate to mention this fun, kid-friendly street game. It’s a series of games from 1999 to 2010 and features NFL favorites playing football as kids. It also throws in some quirky moves and has five-on-five gameplay.

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NFL Blitz
  • Cartridge only. Cartidge may shows signs of heavy wear but is guaranteed to work.

OVERVIEW

Just as Midway introduced its exciting, over-the-top NBA Jam in 1993, it took on the NFL in its 1997 release of NFL Blitz. Rules and penalties are thrown out the window. It features seven-on-seven gameplay and aggressive hitting that would be banned in the real-life NFL. It’s jam-packed with hilarious grunts and screams, speech, commentary, music and other sound effects.

Like many other 90s arcade games, one of the best parts is the ludicrous commentary and music. You find yourself humming along as you tackle the quarterback long after he throws the ball away. The screams and sound effects are hysterical.

Making The Best NFL Street Team With Current NFL Ros

It’s really one of the first true street football games ever made. You can slam into another player long before he ever catches the ball. When he gets up, you can slam him back down again. NFL Blitz seeks to stray away from the rigid rules of the game and provide a high-paced, entertaining gaming experience. This game is the NFL Street of its day, a game that likely wouldn’t have even been thought of without NFL Blitz to pave the way.

One of the things Midway has always been true to is presenting different codes and unlockables. You want players with oversized heads? Check. You want to play with a huge, inflatable football? Done. You want to become invisible on the field? Not a problem. You want to shrink your players and have tiny little people running around on the field? Say no more. Why would you want to play football with miniature players? The real question is, why wouldn’t you?

First released as an arcade game, it was also released in 1998 on PC, Nintendo 64 and PlayStation, and rereleased on Xbox and Xbox 360 in 2012. It does tend to play a little differently depending on which platform you play it on, which is normal. It’s a highly addictive classic, and if you haven’t played it, stop what you’re doing and go buy it now.

PROS

  • High-paced and entertaining
  • Great sound effects
  • Inspired many other street games

CONS

  • Plays differently on different platforms

WHERE TO BUY

Take a look on Amazon, GameStop or eBay.

THE VERDICT

NFL Street 2 Plugged Games  SuperStreet Magazine

EA’s NFL Street series is great for any avid arcade football gamer. For completely preposterous, laughable and slightly mature fun, Blitz: The League is bound to keep you entertained for hours on end. Midway’s NFL Blitz, though, is the nostalgic classic that started it all. Proper procedures? Throw them out the window. Regulations? You won’t need them. All you need is a little flexibility. So step away from the structure of real-life NFL games for a while, relax and have some fun playing with unnecessarily big-headed football players. Your rule-following game isn’t going anywhere.

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