Bowl Bound and Paydirt: Two football board games to rule the December gaming world

With the kickoff of today’s Pinstripe Bowl from New York City between the Pitt Panthers (8-4) of the ACC and the Northwestern Wildcats (6-6) of the Big Ten having just occurred, I cannot help but want to watch some college football. My competitive juices also have me wanting to play a little football, too.

Thankfully for me, the good folks of Time Inc. came up with a board game in cooperation with Sports Illustrated Magazine to create a game that simulated the play of football using real college teams through history called Bowl Bound. The professional football equivalent of that game with NFL teams was first called Sports Illustrated Pro Football, and later Paydirt. Both started as Sports Illustrated games that were later published by the Baltimore area company Avalon Hill.

The original Bowl Bound game included 32 select NCAA I-A teams from 1960 to 1970. Two additional team sets of 20 teams apiece, dating between 1940 through 1978 and 1979 through 1987 respectively, were sold before the rise of computerized sports led to the game’s discontinuation. Much of that history can be found on the Wikipedia page, whose objectively correct description of this game I corroborate.

Bowl Bound Wikipedia Link:

Paydirt and Sports Illustrated Professional Football games published charts for most National Football League seasons from roughly 1970 through 1993, though some seasons did encounter contractual questions that prevented release. While following NFL rules rather than college rules for gameplay, the concept of gameplay between the games is the same.

Paydirt Wikipedia Link:

When Hasbro acquired Avalon Hill later, the board games and chart-making rights for Paydirt mostly passed to Data-Driven Football ( Data-Driven Football is the modern day equivalent to this game. It is compatible with the old charts. A computerized version of Paydirt is available at the Data-Driven Football website.

The chart-making rights for Bowl Bound passed to Mays Football ( Some charts for Paydirt are available through as well.

Matt – Wednesday, December 28, 2016


Author: Matt and Lynn Digital Blog

Matt and Lynn are a couple living in the Midwest of the United States.

3 thoughts on “Bowl Bound and Paydirt: Two football board games to rule the December gaming world”

  1. The chart making rights did not pass to Mays football. The formula was given by Dr. Thomas Nicely to Matt Floray, founder of Odd Man Games. They have the only version of the formula. Ed Mays does not have this. However, Ed Mays is a great guy and his customer service is second to none. Unfortunately, he can make teams using only his own proprietary formula.


  2. I forgot to mention that the same applies to Data Driven football on the Pay Dirt side. Ron uses his own formula for Data Driven Football, one that he is very proud of. However, Odd Man Games has the original formula for Pay Dirt as well as Bowl Bound.


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