Omnipresent brothers, Travis and Jason Kelce (who are NFL players, commercial stars, SNL hosts, podcasters, and members of Taylor Swift’s inner circle) are looking to add a game development feather to their caps—specifically, they want to reboot ‘90s classics Backyard Football and Backyard Baseball. Whether or not you’re a member of the Kansas City Chiefs Kingdom, a birds (Philadelphia Eagles) loyalist, or a Swiftie, you can’t deny that this is a great idea.
On the January 31 episode of their New Heights podcast, Travis asked his brother Jason if he remembered Backyard Football, which debuted two years after the first game in the Humongous Entertainment-developed (and Atari published) franchise, Backyard Baseball. The premise is simple: neighborhood kids get together and create teams to play pick-up versions of baseball, football, and soccer. Players take on the role of manager, selecting the teams and making in-game decisions in either quick play matches or an entire season’s worth of games. For many of us, it was a seminal part of our childhood gaming experiences—for me specifically, I still spout off some of the sayings squawked by the in-game baseball announcer, Vinnie the Gooch.
Jason Kelce also fondly remembers Backyard Football—so much so he wants to reboot the damn thing. “I don’t even know if I want to mention this, I’ve secretly been looking into seeing if anybody holds the rights to Backyard Football and Backyard Baseball, ‘cause I want to buy it and get this going again—that was the best game ever.” Kelce then suggests that the game would be perfect on mobile, and he’s not wrong—it certainly didn’t require all that much processing power.
The Kelce brothers are certified geniuses if they reboot the Backyard franchise—and it’s not just because those games are awesome and tons of people would be on-board for the nostalgia alone. Specifically, the genius behind rebooting the franchise lies in later versions of the games: both Backyard Baseball 2011 and Backyard Football 2002 (and Backyard Soccer: MLS Edition, which I loved), added professional athletes to the neighborhood kid mix, animated to fit the art style of the games. That meant you got to play alongside a big-headed Derek Jeter or Brett Favre, who rubbed elbows with schoolyard icons like Pablo Sanchez and the Weber twins.
Imagine a modern version of that, with a little cartoon Travis Kelce doing the swag surf? I’m so down. As spotted by IGN and corroborated by Kotaku, American legal information site Justia states that the Backyard Sports trademark is owned by Day 6 Sports Group, who developed the last games in the franchise back in 2015. The Day 6 Sports Group website link is a dead-end, and its Twitter account hasn’t been active since May 4, 2015.
Kelce bros, get to work.