Online Football Game 'Quick Hit' Relaunches With Official NFL License

TechCrunch-reading football fans may remember a nifty, free online game we wrote about last year called Quick Hit that puts you at the helm of a virtual football team. The game doesn’t involve the twitchy gameplay of gaming goliath Madden, but is instead built around strategy and play calling (though it does feature rich, 3D graphics to keep things interesting). You may also notice that the game’s logo looks a little different from last year’s: it now sports the official emblem of the NFL. And that’s a big deal.

You see, when Quick Hit launched last year it didn’t have the NFL license. That meant it didn’t have any of the official NFL teams, so you’d have to coach generic squads that don’t actually exist. Which, to put it lightly, is a big buzzkill when you’re trying to pretend you’re Bill Walsh and are reigning over the fictitious San Francisco Tigers. But now Quick Hit has forged a deal with the NFL that gives it rights to all of the real teams, uniforms, and stadiums. And today it’s launching a totally overhauled version of the game, including a premium edition that includes an improved 3D graphics engine.

The game itself is best described as a football RPG. First you choose a team and build out a roster of players. Gameplay revolves around deciding which plays to run — after picking a play, you take a step back as the computer acts it out (remember, this isn’t Madden, so you aren’t going to be mashing buttons as you try to steer your players down the field). This might not appeal much to hardcore console gamers, but Quick Hit is betting that there’s a much larger market for more casual gamers (like the millions who play fantasy football).

As you continue through the game you earn various upgrades and special plays which you can use to improve your players. You can also pay real money to purchase these upgrades, which is one of the game’s revenue channels.

The year’s version offers a premium upgrade, available for a one-time $15 fee or as part of the game’s monthly subscription option, to convert its 2D sprites into 3D using the Unity browser plugin (the screenshots are of the 3D version). The result is pretty impressive for a browser-based game and the engine also allows players on the 2D version to play an opponent running the 3D version without any issues.

In addition to the rights to use NFL teams in the game, Quick Hit is also going to be promoted on, which should lead to a major boost in distribution. QuickHit CEO Jeffrey Anderson wouldn’t talk about the terms of the deal, but given how much exposure the NFL is giving the game, there’s a chance that the league now has a stake in the Quick Hit.

Unfortunately it isn’t all roses. Quick Hit has the rights to the NFL, but it doesn’t have a deal with the Players Association or Coaches Association, which means you won’t be commanding a roster of your favorite stars. Quick Hit has signed deals with some individual players like Donovan McNabb, but the majority of names in the game are fictitious. Still, having the actual uniforms and logos throughout the game is a big step forward, as is the distribution deal — expect Quick Hit’s popularity this season to be a big gain over last year’s.

If you want to try the game for yourself, be sure to use the promo code TCKICKOFF, which will earn TechCrunch readers an extra 2000 coaching points.