Nfl Tagged Articles RSS Feed | Nfl RSS Feed on en Launch Media Network 7 Mistakes EA is Making with Madden 18's Longshot Story Mode Mon, 19 Jun 2017 18:04:06 -0400 Craig Snyder

During the recent EA Play and E3, a lot of information was dropped on Madden 18 -- and much of that revolved around their new story mode, Longshot. Longshot sounds like the Madden equivalent of the NBA 2K series' MyCareer mode, and it's already getting a lot of mixed feedback from dedicated Madden fans.

As a big Madden player myself, I took away more negatives than positives from the trailer and reveal information. Madden, and sports games in general, are shifting further and further away from rich and fluid gameplay to cater more towards visuals. Is that what us sports fans play for? I personally don't, I think EA is making a mistake with Longshot.

It's advertised as "a movie you can play."

If I want a movie, I watch a movie. If I want an engaging gameplay experience, I play a video game. The sports genre of video games is similar to first-person shooters in the way that the core elements of it are always going to be the same, and it provides infinite replayability.

As consoles get more beefy, we're able to push out visuals so realistic that developers really want to push their limits and show off that processing power with cinematics. You can do that without creating an entire story mode where the gameplay comes secondary. There are dozens of great football movies out there. I play Madden to play a football game -- and if I wanted a great sports movie then I'd go rewatch Remember the Titans.

You never play a single NFL game.

Devin Wade, the main protagonist, never gets into a single NFL game in this campaign mode. You play through high school, Pop Warner, and college football...but never the NFL.

It's almost like an appetizer. But isn't Madden 18 an NFL game?

Even worse, some of the games you do play at these levels of non-professional football are segmented or cut short. It sounds like these are going to play out as brief pauses between cinematics and decision prompts. That doesn't sound like much fun to me.

The storyline is boring, predictable, and cliché.

Devin is a former NFL prospect who gave up on his football dream long ago but has rediscovered it. He goes through conflicts with his friends and family. Devin is an African American, so they weave in how it'll be tough for him to make the NFL (as he's a quarterback, and only five of 32 NFL teams are starting a black quarterback). He's got a lot of emotional baggage, etc.

It's literally the exact same storyline as I remember from NBA 2K17's MyCareer mode. Nothing is new or interesting here. You can predict what's going to come next. There's a set path with a few forks in the road. It's not a fresh experience for people who've played other campaign modes or watched basically any sports movie ever.

There's no replayabilty.

I touched on this a little earlier in the article, but you don't get to create your own character in this game mode. Once you play through it a single time, you're done. There are decisions that the player can make along the way, but it's going to change such a small fraction of what happens in the story that it's not worth investing the hours to play through it again just to see what happens.

I'm not even the type to watch the same movie twice, so maybe my opinion is a bit biased. But EA seems to have invested a lot of time into something that's going to provide the end user only a few hours of enjoyment at best.

Other sports games are doing story modes better.

FIFA 17's The Journey story mode was praised by fans of the game. Developers at EA are claiming that Longshot is similar the The Journey, just more cinematic. That being said, anyone who's played The Journey knows exactly what to expect. FIFA did it first, so why isn't Madden innovating?

MLB 17's Road to the Show game mode also did it much better than what EA has presented to us. It really focuses in on developing your character and controlling the progression of your career. It does come with cinematics and narration, but doesn't play like a movie. You might create a shortstop, and by the end of this campaign mode you'll be playing an entirely different position. It's almost like a sports RPG. I wish Madden had gone in this direction.

More focus on a story mode means less focus on their core gameplay.

I'm all for this Longshot mode if it was the cherry on top, being that I'm not forced to play it, but I really hope that EA has fixed and improved upon their gaffs from Madden '17.

Can we play the Pro Bowl now? Is there league expansion? Can we import draft classes? Do we have a draft board? Is it easier to put backups in? There are so many things that Madden could be improving on for this year's game, but I feel like Longshot is the focal point based on how they've pitched it. I care about the NFL gameplay experience.

EA has already stated the "door is open" for a sequel in Madden '19.

Please no.

"[For it to continue in future years] we have to have success, and the fans have to say they want it. Imagine this is the pilot. If the fans love it, I would love nothing more than to continue these characters. That being said, it was written in a way that this feels like a complete journey, like how Rocky 1 could have been a one-and-done movie. But I do believe Devin and Colt have more stories in them, and I’ve been working on that just in case. You never know."

Let's never compare a Madden campaign mode to the Rocky series again. It's up to us as players to give EA the proper feedback about this game mode. Maybe it'll be playable and a few hours of fun, but we've got to keep them on track with bettering the true Madden experience.


How do you feel about the direction that the Madden series is going with their new story mode? Do you think it's going to take away from the gameplay experience we all know and love? Leave me a comment below and let me know!

Tom Brady Makes Madden NFL 18 Cover Fri, 12 May 2017 11:02:37 -0400 Jonathan Moore

Madden 18 has finally revealed its cover athlete. 

A veritable god among men, there's not much Tom Brady hasn't accomplished in his illustrious NFL career. Going in the 6th round of the 2000 NFL draft to the New England Patriots, Brady has led the team to five Super Bowl wins and 14 AFC East division titles. On top of that, the signal caller has broken numerous regular season and Super Bowl records. Now, Brady adds one more accolade to add his resume: Madden 18 cover athlete. 

In February, just following the Patriots' comeback win over the Atlanta Falcons in Super Bowl LI, we wrote about our 5 early frontrunners for the cover of Madden NFL 18 -- and Brady was our top choice. Over 16 seasons in the NFL, Brady has been to seven Super Bowls and 12 Pro Bowls. He has also been named Super Bowl MVP four times regular season MVP twice. 

Of course, the perennial Madden curse looms large over the Partiots' quarterback, as just last year his teammate and go-to wide receiver Rob Gronkowski was sidelined with multiple injuries throughout the regular and post seasons. However, Brady said the Madden curse isn't going to hold him back in his 17th NFL season: 

"The Madden NFL 18 cover is a great honor for me. Especially since I have been playing the game since growing up next to EA headquarters in the Bay Area. I'm not one to believe in curses, so I'm ready to take the challenge head on like always! It doesn't stand a chance!"

On top of announcing Madden 18's cover athlete, developer Electronic Arts said there are a bevy of new modes and ways to play coming to the game when it launches this August. Fans and players will be able to learn more about these modes and tweaks to Madden's core gameplay at the EA Play event on June 10. 

Fans will also be able to choose between two pre-order bonuses for Madden NFL 18. The standard edition will provide those who pre-order with a single elite player for their Madden NFL 18 Ultimate Team, alongside five squad packs that they will be able to redeem once the game launches.

Providing even more bonuses, the Greatest of All Time (G.O.A.T.) Edition will include all of the standard edition's bonuses, plus one of five predetermined G.O.A.T. (or legendary) players, as well as other currently undisclosed bonuses. On top of that, those players who opt for the Greatest of All Time Edition will also be able to play Madden NFL 18 three days ahead of launch, beginning on August 22.

EA Access members will be able to play a 10-hour demo of the game beginning August 17. 

Madden NFL 18 launches worldwide on August 25. Stay tuned to GameSkinny for more news and information on the NFL video game series. 

Five Early Frontrunners for the Cover of Madden NFL 18 Sat, 11 Feb 2017 14:25:18 -0500 Jonathan Moore

With Super Bowl LI behind us, and a historic comeback that forever etched the New England Patriots into the stones of the NFL pantheon, it’s time to look ahead to next season. And with only a few weeks left until the start of free agency and even fewer until the combine, it’s time to start our pre-pre-pre-season predictions for who is going to grace the cover of Madden NFL 18 when it launches later this August.

Each of these players had breakout or historic runs during the 2016-17 season, from becoming the all-time leader in Super Bowl wins and winning Rookie of the Year to being athletic monsters and team MVPs.

That’s why we think they’re perfect candidates for the lauded cover of Madden NFL 18. Here’s to hoping they shake the cover’s legendary curse if they get the nod.

Tom Brady (QB) – The New England Patriots

What can we say about this legendary 6th-round draft pick? Over his vaunted career as a signal caller for the New England Patriots, Tom Brady has taken the team to seven Super Bowls in 16 seasons (winning five of those), been named Super Bowl MVP four times (including in Super Bowl LI), been to 12 Pro Bowls, and holds numerous NFL records.

If that’s not enough, with his win in Super Bowl LI, Brady surpassed Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw in most Super Bowl wins by a quarterback.

That’s not to mention this beast essentially carried the New England Patriots to a Super Bowl win after the arguably devastating loss of tight end Rob Gronkowski to back surgery just before the playoffs in the 2016-17 season.

During the playoffs, Brady had his fifth-best playoff completion percentage at 65.5%; his fourth-highest playoff QB rating at 97.7%; and his highest number of completed passing yards in the playoffs at 1,137 yards – or roughly an entire third of his total passing yards for the whole 2016 regular season. 

And all of that is even more impressive when you consider the fact that Brady is set to turn 40 this year and start his 17th NFL season. 

Tom Brady’s Full 2016-17 Stat Line: Source: Wikipedia

Matt Ryan (QB) – The Atlanta Falcons

While Tom Brady may have been the MVP for Super Bowl LI, Atlanta’s Matt Ryan was the undisputed regular season MVP. Nabbing the honor for the first time, Matt Ryan led the Atlanta Falcons to only their second Super Bowl appearance in the team’s 50-year history.

The number three overall pick in the 2008 NFL draft, Ryan hasn’t had the same playoff success as Brady, but his career regular season stats are nothing to balk at. Ryan ranks seventh in total passing yards among active NFL QBs, and has only thrown 114 picks in 5,064 pass attempts.

What’s more, his 2016 regular season stats were off the charts, helping him win the NFL’s top regular-season honor. A quick look shows that Ryan had his best regular season in completion percentage, passing yards, yards per attempt, yards per game, total touchdowns, and passer rating (at 117.1).

Ryan also took care of the pigskin. In the regular season, Matty Ice only threw seven interceptions (the fewest he’s ever thrown). In contrast, he threw 38 touchdown passes, second only to Aaron Rodgers, who threw 40.

Since joining the Falcons in 2008, Ryan has been relatively consistent, too, and he’s secured for the team a combined 85 regular-season wins and an NFC Championship. He’s gone to the Pro Bowl four times and holds the NFL record for most consecutive games with 200-plus passing yards at 45.

Sure, Ryan’s struggled in the postseason, but so have other NFL greats like Peyton Manning, Warren Moon, Dan Fouts, and Dan Marino, just to name a few.

Matt Ryan’s Full 2016-17 Stat Line:

Source: Wikipedia

Julio Jones (WR) – The Atlanta Falcons

Julio Jones is hands-down one the best receivers in the NFL today. For all intents and purposes, Jones is undeniably an alien living among us making circus catch after circus catch just for shits and giggles.

Part of the Saban Football Dynasty, Jones was forged in the fires of college football legend – and he’s taken what he learned playing for the Alabama Crimson Tide and translated it into a winning formula for the Atlanta Falcons.

A four-time Pro Bowl selection, Jones averaged 100.6 yards per game in the 2016 season, bringing in just over 1,400 yards on 83 total receptions. That’s about 400 yards short of his monster 2015 season, where he set a receiving yard record of 1,871 yards, surpassing the legendary Jerry Rice to claim the second overall position in NFL regular season receiving yards by a wide receiver – second only to the now-retired Calvin Johnson.

Jones also took care of the ball in 2016, fumbling zero times, something he hasn’t done since 2012. But what really pushes Jones above the rest of the wide-out pack are his intangibles, such as strength, agility, and awareness. Just reference his ungodly athletic catch in Super Bowl LI if you need proof – not to mention the other “routine” receptions he gets game in and game out.

Throw in Jones’ ridiculous 2016 post-season stats and plays where he was arguably even deadlier, and he’s a great contender for the next Madden NFL cover.

Dak Prescott (QB) – The Dallas Cowboys

Sure, Dak Prescott only just finished his first NFL season, but it was a breakout season for the young rookie from Mississippi State. Not only did he win rookie of the year, but he filled in for the much maligned Tony Romo, winning the NFC East, getting a first-round bye, and taking the Dallas Cowboys to the NFC Divisional Playoff round.

Although the Cowboys ultimately lost that game to the Green Bay Packers, where Prescott arguably had the worst first half of his nascent NFL career, the young rookie had a monster regular season through the air and on the ground.

A dual threat quarterback haunting the nightmares of secondaries around the league, Prescott not only threw for a whopping 3,667 yards, with 23 touchdowns to only four interceptions (a 67.8% completion percentage), he also ran for 282 yards on 57 attempts, scoring six touchdowns. What’s more, Prescott was selected to his first Pro Bowl in his first year as an NFL QB. 

Let’s take a quick look at how Prescott compares to other notable QBs in their rookie seasons:

Peyton Manning (Indianapolis Colts):

  • 16 games played
  • 56.7% completion percentage
  • 3,739 passing yards
  • 26 touchdowns
  • 28 interceptions
  • 15 carries
  • 62 rushing yards

Dan Marino (Miami Dolphins):

  • 11 games played
  • 58.4% completion percentage
  • 2,210 passing yards
  • 20 touchdowns
  • 6 interceptions
  • 28 carries
  • 45 rushing yards
  • 2 rushing touchdowns

Cam Newton (Carolina Panthers):

  • 16 games played
  • 60.0% completion percentage
  • 4,051 passing yards
  • 21 touchdowns
  • 17 interceptions
  • 126 carries
  • 706 rushing yards
  • 14 rushing touchdowns

Russell Wilson (Seattle Seahawks):

  • 16 games played
  • 64.1% completion percentage
  • 3,118 passing yards
  • 26 touchdowns
  • 10 interceptions
  • 94 carries
  • 489 rushing yards
  • 4 rushing touchdowns

Ben Roethlisberger (Pittsburgh Steelers):

  • 14 games played
  • 66.4% completion percentage
  • 2,621 passing yards
  • 17 touchdowns
  • 11 interceptions
  • 56 carries
  • 144 rushing yards
  • 1 rushing touchdowns

As we venture into the offseason, it appears more and more that Jerry Jones and the Cowboys are looking to keep Prescott as the team’s starter and are set to release or trade long-time quarterback Tony Romo. That means that Prescott will only see more snaps in the season to come and become even more proficient in an offense he’s proven he can run with extreme efficiency.

Dak Prescott’s Full 2016-17 Stat Line:

 Source: Wikipedia

Ezekiel Elliott (RB) – The Dallas Cowboys

A veritable football and athletic maven, Ezekiel Elliott was the wind to Prescott’s sails in a nearly unstoppable Dallas Cowboys offense. Also in his rookie year, Elliot was the NFL’s best running back of the 2016 season.

With crazy stupid stats like 1,631 yards rushing on 322 attempts, 5.1 yards per carry, a whopping 108.7 yards per game, and 363 yards receiving on 40 targets, Elliott cemented his position as one of the best rookie running backs of all time.

Let’s take a quick look at some of the best rookie RB performances for comparison:

Earl Campbell (Houston Oilers):

  • 302 carries
  • 1,450 rushing yards
  • 8 yards per carry
  • 13 rushing touchdowns
  • 12 receptions
  • 48 receiving yards

Eric Dickerson (Los Angeles Rams):

  • 390 carries
  • 1,808 rushing yards
  • 6 yards per carry
  • 18 rushing touchdowns
  • 51 receptions
  • 404 receiving yards
  • 2 touchdown receptions

Barry Sanders (Detroit Lions):

  • 280 carries
  • 1,470 rushing yards
  • 14 rushing touchdowns
  • 3 yards per attempt
  • 24 receptions
  • 282 receiving yards

Adrian Peterson (Minnesota Vikings):

  • 238 carries
  • 1,341 rushing yards
  • 6 yards per carry
  • 12 rushing touchdowns
  • 19 receptions
  • 268 receiving yards
  • 1 touchdown reception

From the looks of it, Elliott is in amazing company, and he’s set to grow exponentially in his second season with a Cowboys offense led by (another) rookie phenom in Dak Prescott. With the stats he put up during the 2016 season, as well as being selected to his first Pro Bowl, being named First-Team All-Pro, being named the NFL’s 2016 leading rusher, and being chosen as the PFWA NFL Rookie of the Year, it’s hard to argue against Elliot being on the cover of Madden 18.

Bonus: Derek Carr (QB) – The Oakland Raiders

Could it be? Are the Oakland Raiders relevant again? With third-year quarterback Derek Carr at the helm of a burgeoning offensive juggernaut, the potentially soon-to-be Las Vegas Raiders are poised for a huge and momentous 2017.

Before going down to with a broken fibula in Week 16 at home against the Indianapolis Colts, Carr was in the driver’s seat of a Raiders post season appearance, perhaps with even a first-round bye and home-field advantage. That’s right, the Raider’s season was looking that good. But with Carr down for the count, Oakland’s finest fizzled out and quickly found themselves on the sidelines.

Statistically, it’s difficult to say that the 2016 season was Carr’s best: he’s been on a steady (and reliable) trajectory since being drafted in round two by the Raiders in the 2014 NFL draft. In those three years, he’s passed for 11,194 total yards on 1,055 completions, scoring 81 total touchdowns. 2016 did see his highest completion rate at 63.8%, his fewest amount of interceptions at 6, and his highest QBR at 96.7%. And that was through 15 games.

With the Raider’s upper management making stupid smart moves in the draft to sure up their offensive line, a freakish DE/OLB in Khalil Mack, and a well-seasoned and competent head coach in Jack Del Rio, Carr and the Raiders look poised to make another run at the Super Bowl in 2017.

Derek Carr's Full 2016-17 Stat Line:

Source: Wikipedia


Every year, it’s really a toss-up as to who’s chosen to grace the cover of the latest Madden game. And there are always worthy players who never make the cover, no matter their stat lines or accomplishments. It’s also highly probable that greats like Aaron Rodgers, Le’Veon Bell, Joey Bosa, LeGarrette Blount, Jarvis Landry, Khalil Mack, David Johnson, and Antonio Brown could grace this year’s cover. Only time (and voting) will tell.

Who do you think should be on the cover of Madden NFL 18? Sound off in the comments below!

Madden 17 Online: 5 Things to Think About on Defense Wed, 24 Aug 2016 11:13:47 -0400 Eric Adams

Well football fans, its Madden season. Time to wrap our brains around the best of the best the NFL has to offer. For those who haven’t played a Madden before, get ready for competition -- because these games are described with one word and one word only, intense. For those who have played, back to war.

Unlike my offense-based article about Madden 17, my Defense article is not as complex. Simply put, defense is a little easier to play than offense because you are mostly just reacting to the opposing players’ play calling. With all of that said, here are the 5 things you need to keep in mind when playing defense in Madden 17. 

1. Know the team you are using AND the team you are playing

There is a reason this is in both of the articles. Regardless of what side of the ball you are on, you still need to be aware of who you have and who you are playing. If the opposing team includes an impressive set of receivers and you don’t have the strongest secondary, maybe do more zone coverage. If you have a stout front 7, then you should be able to get pressure on the QB.

Knowing the strengths and weaknesses of the team you are using AND the team you are playing will go a long way in giving you the mental edge in a game.

2. Check the opposing personnel BEFORE picking a play

Before you pick a play, make sure you check who the opposing player has on the field for the next play. If they have 2 TEs, 2 HBs and 1 WR, then the play will likely be run plays -- so don’t choose a play with too many cornerbacks. If they choose a play that includes 3 or 4 wide receivers, then make sure you have enough secondary help to cover. You don’t want to choose a play that causes a linebacker to cover a halfback.

Know who is on the field and you will know what play to pick.

3. Choose the player you will control and know your assignment

Unlike offense, where you must control the player with the ball, on defense you control one of your 11 defenders. The first piece of helpful information is simple: don’t control anybody in the secondary. You will screw the play up royally and give up a TD 9 times out of 10 so just don’t even bother. Choose either a linebacker or a defensive lineman.

If you choose a defensive lineman, then you will likely be asked to rush the QB, in which you will just have to get off your block and pass rush. If you choose a linebacker, then make sure you know your assignment. If you blow your assignment of covering over the middle then you put your defense in danger of giving up big yards or even a score.

4. Know the plays to do on 3rd and long AND 3rd and short

 Make sure you know the down and distance. If it is 3rd and 20, then make sure you choose a play that will give up 15-18 at the most. 3rd and longs are much easier to deal with than 3rd and shorts. If you do happen to be in a 3rd and short situation, then pinch your defensive line. It closes up any holes and will give your defensive line a chance to clog up the running back's running lanes.

This brings me to my next point, knowing how to dictate coverage and the defensive line.

5. Know how to shift the D-line and how to dictate coverage

The pre-snap commands are the most important commands for a defense. Pre-snap commands (click the right analog stick) allow you to pinch your d-line, shift your linebackers or turn your coverage from a soft coverage to press coverage. Most players just pick a play and don’t even bother with pre-snap commands, but sometimes they can make or break a play.

Knowing when to pinch the line or press your corners is a critical component to playing defense. If your opponent looks like he is about to run, then pinch your line. If you don’t like how far off your cornerbacks are playing, then press them. The pre-snap commands menu is critical when it comes to making plays on D.

Now you're ready! 

There you have it, the 5 things you need to know when playing defense in Madden 17. After two articles on what to do on offense and defense, you begin to see that a lot of the Madden battle comes down to your mentality. Having a good head on your shoulders and knowing what to do (i.e. being prepared) will help you go a long way towards becoming a Madden champion.

If you haven’t already, please check out my 10 things to keep in mind on offense in Madden 17 article and be sure to comment below. If you need extra help in Madden -- like finding the best money plays -- then GameSkinny has you covered!

Madden 17 is out now for PS4, PS3, Xbox 360 and Xbox One.

Madden 17 Online: 10 Things to Think About on Offense Wed, 24 Aug 2016 09:39:13 -0400 Eric Adams

Well football fans, its Madden season. Time to rack our brains around the best of the best the NFL has to offer. For those who haven’t played Madden before, get ready for competition -- because games are described with one word and one word only, intense. For those who have played, back to war.

Playing a game of Madden is a grueling process and a true mental test. The thrill ride of playing in a head-to-head game is unlike any other Sports game. Since the games take quite a while, a multitude of different things will happen where you will find yourself needing to read and react. With that said, here are 10 things you will need to keep in mind when playing offense in Madden 17

1. Know the team you are using AND the team you are playing.

There are 11 players on the offensive side of the ball and 11 players on the defensive side of the ball at all times. In order to have an edge in Madden, you need to know who these players are. Shocker, you need to know about NFL players to play an NFL game.

 If you know you have a good HB (halfback) along with a good O-Line (Offensive Line), then run the ball. If you have a potent passing game that includes a dominant TE (Tight End) and an elite QB (Quarterback) then throw the ball. Know the offense you are using and the defense you are facing and you will then figure out how to attack from there. 


2. Tight End is usually the QBs best friend.

In the non-gaming world of professional football, the running game is QBs best friend. In the gaming world, that is still partly true. However, the tight end is actually more important than the running game when it comes to Madden. The TE is usually the bail out when you try to run pass plays. Whether he runs an out route, curl route or just running straight up the seam, the TE is the safety valve that almost all players of Madden look towards.

This works both ways because if the other player on defense sees you targeting the TE (or anyone on offense with regularity) then they may try and cover that player themselves. Be wary of the player being controlled on defense.

3. Utilize the short yardage plays

So many Madden players just want to sling the ball or break off a big run right off the bat. Unfortunately, Madden doesn’t work like that most of the time. It is important to have plays where you tell yourself ‘this play can get me 3 yards if I need it'. Short yardage plays are extremely important when trying to convert 3rd and short. Plays like the FB (full back) run and 01 Trap are extremely effective. In fact, 01 Trap is probably the most effective run play in the game due to the Guard pulling and the Center pushing, which then creates a huge hole for the HB to run through.

These plays are also quite effective in 1st and long situations because your opponent is usually not expecting them. They can be drive starters, extenders and finishers. Know how and when to use them.

4. If a play works and you like it, know how to get to the recent plays menu.

Say you use a play and it works to perfection -- a nice play-action pass for a touchdown, for example. You want to pull it out again later in the game but can’t find the exact formation it’s under. This is when you need to locate the recent plays menu. The recent plays menu includes all of the plays you have used so far and it is critical to saving a few seconds on the clock when trying to find a play.

 Once you locate the recent plays menu, then you will be able to come back to a play you were successful on earlier and it will save you precious seconds. A few seconds here and there may not seem too important, but that really couldn’t be farther from the truth.

5. Work the clock

Tick, tock, tick, tock. It may seem like the clock never moves, but it does. All Madden players must be aware of the great and powerful clock. It controls the game and it can control who wins or loses. Show respect to the clock and treat your valuable seconds of controlling it with care. Controlling the clock is called working the clock.

Whenever you have the ability to shave seconds off or slow time down, you must be aware of what you are doing and how it will impact the game. Know when the 2-minute warning is and know how many timeouts your opponent has. You can win a game by winning the TOP (time of possession) battle.

 He who controls the clock, controls the game. You must have a sense of the importance of time in this long contest.

6. Know when and how to throw the ball away

Holding onto the ball too long is one of the most prominent problems when it comes to people who play Madden. I’m sure there are surprising amounts of people who play Madden and don’t even know that you can throw the ball away. Knowing when and how to throw the ball away can be the difference between 3rd and 10 or 3rd and 30.

Clicking the right analog stick will throw the ball away. This does not mean you can just sit in the pocket and yell ‘abort’ then chuck the ball three rows deep. That would be intentional grounding and you will get a penalty. Make sure you are OUT OF THE POCKET before you throw it away.

You’re welcome.

7. Know how to Audible

The Audible, it is God’s gift to QBs everywhere and it allows us to completely change the play in Madden. Say you don’t like the looks of a play and wish to switch to another? Hit the Audible button and you will have the options of 4 new plays. Usually it will be a run play and 3 pass plays, but that depends on the formation.

If you don’t like the way the defenders are showing blitz, switch to a pass. You see a whole on the defensive line? Switch to a run and shoot the gap. The Audible is a critical component when playing offense. You MUST know how to audible because sometimes the play you choose won’t look as good when it is up against the play being shown by your opponent.

8. Know how to utilize the Hot Route

Just as important as the Audible, the Hot Route completely changes the route of the receiver, TE or HB you choose. When you click the hot route button, you will be able to change the specific route a player on offense runs. Say you see the cornerback backing off in coverage and you want your receiver to run a curl instead of a post. This is when you use a hot route and switch from a post to a curl route.

 This is, along with the Audible, the most important feature in Madden when playing offense. Know how to utilize the hot route.

9. Points matter

Duh? For those who are clearly lacking in the brains department, you need to score in order to win a football game. So, next time you have a 4th and 8 at the opponents’ 30-yard line, do yourself a favor and kick the field goal. Too many times have I seen an opposing player lose a game because he decided to go for it at the wrong time instead of just taking the 3 points.

Points = victories and victories = bragging rights. Bragging rights are what people play Madden for.

10. Don’t try to do what you know you can’t do

If you haven’t been able to run the entire first half, then don’t run unless you see an advantageous opportunity. If you have been picked twice trying to go deep, then don’t throw deep anymore. Whenever someone tries to do what they can’t in Madden, they lose. It’s not an ignorant claim; it’s a fact that has been tested throughout time. Don’t reinvent the wheel here, just do what you know you can do and do it well.

Are you ready?

There you have it, 10 things to keep in mind when playing Offense in Madden 17. I know it seems like a lot but once you hone in on these 10 things, you will officially acquire a mental edge over your opponent. However, in order to have the full mental edge, then you will need to know how to play defense as well. Be sure to check out my 5 things to keep in mind while playing Defense in Madden 17 article as well.

If you have other things to keep in mind, leave me a comment in the section below. Madden 17 is out now for PS4, PS3, Xbox One and Xbox 360.

Madden 17: Finally Some Real Improvements Tue, 23 Aug 2016 04:00:01 -0400 Stephen_1992

It’s that time of year again, and it’s time for a new edition of Madden. Specifically, Madden 17 by EA Sports. Madden 17 is available on Xbox One, Xbox 360, Playstation 4, and PlayStation 3. I am basing this review off of core gameplay while playing Madden 17 on Xbox One. I’m not going to cover franchise, ultimate team, or draft champions mode, as we will have those articles coming out later. Let’s get right to the field and review Madden 17.

New Mechanics

There are lots of new mechanics in Madden 17. Some are simple, some are complex. For instance, the ratings actually affect a player’s ability and you can actually block kicks now, but let’s start with the running game. You can now hurdle, spin and juke more easily. Your player doesn’t slow down all the way to make a cut, resulting in the lane not being open because he took so long to slow down. Also if you play on pro or rookie difficulty, it will tell you when to juke, or it will just perform the juke for you. You can turn this feature off if you don’t like it.

Something that I find helps with the running game more than the passing game, is the player direction indicator. It helps you find holes in the line that would be a loss of yards in Madden 16. In Madden 17 you can point your player perfectly in between those small gaps for positive yards using a visual indicator.

The jukes are also much easier to perform. In earlier Madden games you had to do crazy complicated button patterns to juke someone. Now you press Y/Triangle and your player will perform a hurdle, or press B/Circle for a spin move. In Madden 16 I didn’t bother to learn how to do those moves because it would take too long.

On top of that, player ratings will affect how well a player can do certain jukes. Eddie Lacy is going to trick someone better than Lesean Mccoy, but Lesean Mccoy will juke better than Eddie Lacy.

The kick mechanic is also much easier. You press A/Cross three times, once to start it, once for kick power, and once for accuracy -- basically, it’s like Tiger Woods golf. However, even if merely kicking the ball is easier, aiming the kick is much harder. You have to move the kick ark to the right spot as you did with Madden 16, but unlike in Madden 16 the kick ark doesn't stay in place, you have to hold it in place then press A/Cross -- once you press A/Cross the kick ark will stay where it is.

Also you can finally block kicks much more easily. As an example, you put three players on one side that have the ability to block the kick. It still is hard to do, but two of those defenders have to make a choice on who to block, leaving one man open to possibly block the kick. Even with all of this, it still makes a difference how quickly you can get onto the ball.

Realism Updates

In Madden 16 I always listened to music while I played, so I didn’t have to listen to commentators Phil Simms and his partner drone on and say the same things over and over. Well, I am very happy to announce that the in game commentary has been greatly improved. First of all, the commentary is more realistic and feels more like you are watching a professional game instead of just playing a video game. Mostly, the commentary improvement comes from more diversity and a bit more modern references. For example, the commentators reference fantasy football, which they sometimes do in real life.

The in-game player introductions are more energetic. In previous games, the player intros were just a player picture of them smiling, or making a serious face, and it was always just something I never paid attention to. Now, I want to see them because I don’t know what they will do next time. I’m hoping that Rob Gronkowski pretends to spike a ball. The graphics are outstanding, and the player movements and animations are so realistic -- which allows these introductions to happen. The movement shows how excited they are for the game to start as they mimic shooting arrows into the sky or flex for the camera. The players' audio has become more realistic as well because you can hear them grunt when they make a juke, or get tackled, and you can hear them breathing hard when they make a long play down the field.

They have also added more celebrations. While playing as the Packers vs the Chiefs, I got a sack as Julius Peppers -- who then did the whip and naenae. These little details makes the game feel more down to Earth, as the players do those celebrations in real life.

If you are looking for a Madden with a great soundtrack, though, then go back to Madden 10 or 16. This Madden missed the mark on the music. The other Maddens that I mentioned had a good mix of genres. In Madden 17 it is all crappy rap and hip-hop music. If you are that person saying “rap isn’t that bad” you haven’t heard the terrible rap in Madden 17 -- there is much better music out there.

Interface Updates

The menu is vastly improved, the colors are better, and everything is clearer. They kept the overall layout of the menu screen, but the backgrounds of some of the other screens just look better. It’s not some monumental change but it still makes using the menus a much better experience.

Also, as a quality of life improvement for the players of the game, there is a better skip feature during games. You can now skip timeouts and some other elements, like challenge reviews, that just tend ruin the momentum of the game. Again not a massive change but it helps the overall feel of the game.


Madden 17 is easily a 9/10. The new running mechanics make it more approachable to the casual player, but it keeps the intensity up for the hardcore player. The added realism makes the game that much more immersive. It is better than any other Madden, but then again I did give it a 9/10, so it’s not perfect and so there are things to dislike.

Yes, it’s the best Madden there is, but it is also just an improvement over Madden 16, which was an improvement of Madden 15 and so on. The new Maddens are all just improved versions of the last ones. So, even if the running directional indicators, among other things, puts the Madden 17 improvements on top, the soundtrack still sucks.

Note: GameSkinny was provided a copy for review by Electronic Arts.

The 6 Worst NFL Teams According to Madden 17 Tue, 09 Aug 2016 10:25:01 -0400 RobotsFightingDinosaurs


Cleveland Browns -- OVR 73


Nobody's surprised that the Browns are the worst team in Madden 17, but it bears mentioning specifically how bad they are. They're going to be starting a completely washed-up Robert Griffin III at quarterback, and surrounding him with a group of random-seeming weapons in Isaiah Crowell, Josh Gordon, and Gary Barnidge.


There is really nothing at all to look forward to this season for the Browns, and the Madden rankings bear that out. Consider the Browns as a "project team", a team to take into franchise mode with the singular goal of fixing them over the course of a few seasons. Hell, that's the goal in Cleveland, so why shouldn't it be yours?


Do you think EA Sports got the rankings right? Let us know in the comments and stay tuned in the coming weeks for more Madden 17 coverage!


Chicago Bears -- OVR 74


This one hits a little close to home, but as a Chicagoan and a Bears fan, I can tell you that Chicago deserves its spot as the second worst NFL team in Madden 17. From an anemic, aging defense, to the loss of their #1 rushing threat, to a notoriously mediocre quarterback, there's not that many bright spots to find on this team with the possible exception of the receiving duo of a healthy Kevin White and Alshon Jeffery. This season isn't going to be pretty.


San Francisco 49ers -- OVR 75


Last year, the 49ers had the worst points-per-game average across all NFL teams, and ranked second-worst in total offense. There's no reason to believe things will improve this year with the loss of stars like Vernon Davis and Frank Gore.


There are so many questions with the 49ers that it's unsurprising that they are the third worst team in Madden 17. Is Chip Kelly fit to coach in the NFL? Is Colin Kaepernick still a threatening quarterback? Can Carlos Hyde stay healthy? Expect the team's rating to change, either for better or worse, as the season starts and some of these questions are answered.


New York Jets -- OVR 77


The reason the the New York Jets are the fourth worst team in Madden 17 can be neatly summarized by taking a look at their quarterback situation: the 33-year-old Ryan Fitzpatrick being backed up by Geno Smith, one of the most disappointing Jets QBs in history. And that's no small feat. Their receiving corps is solid, led by Brandon Marshall and Eric Decker, and Matt Forte is a huge threat at running back, but a porous offensive line can render all of that moot.


The Jets are very close to being a great team -- but in Madden, quarterbacks are paramount, and the Jets just don't have a good one.


Miami Dolphins -- OVR 77


The Dolphins are tied with the next team down in terms of overall rating, but get the benefit of the doubt with the addition of rookie Laremy Tunsil. But that's about the only thing this Dolphins team has going for it -- they truly are among the worst teams Madden 17 has to offer.


Though real-world front office drama doesn't really affect Madden that much, it did have an effect on the Dolphins' roster. This offseason, they revamped their defense with a bunch of overpriced and over-the-hill additions like Ndamukong Suh, and did the same thing on offense by signing the always-injured Arian Foster. If this were 2012, the Dolphins would be the team to beat. Unfortunately, it's 2016. 


Jacksonville Jaguars -- OVR 78


The 6th worst team in Madden 17 shares an overall rating with the Los Angeles Rams and the Indianapolis Colts, but any NFL fan knows not to pick the Jags over either of those alternatives.


Though the Jaguars feature a serviceable young quarterback in Blake Bortles and a few truly scary receiving threats, their offensive line is full of holes, and their pass rush is laughably weak. Playing as the Jaguars will result in a catch-22: what good is a decent quarterback and strong receiving corps when you can't keep your QB upright long enough to get a pass attempt off?


Madden 17 is just around the corner. And as is the yearly tradition, they have released a full list of player and team rankings so that sports fans can argue about how underrated their team is. Unfortunately for some fans, though, the worst 6 NFL teams in Madden this year really and truly deserve their spots. Let's take a look at them together, shall we?

Madden 17 Play First trial date announced for EA Access Tue, 12 Jul 2016 05:23:20 -0400 Eric Adams

Xbox One users who own an EA Access membership will be the first to test out the new Madden NFL 17 video game. EA has announced that Madden 17 will have a Play First trial on August 18th. Those who have an EA Access membership will be able to fully play the new football simulation in all of its glory.

New to the game this year are brand new announcers and a brand new ball-carrier gameplay mechanic that promises to make the game more balanced than ever before. So Xbox players have some fresh features to explore.

Unfortunately for PC and PS4 owners who would also like to try the new Madden, EA Access is only available for Xbox One. Not to worry, however, as Madden 17 will release just 5 days after the Play First trial. There's no word yet on whether or not there will be a demo so that others without an Xbox One can try the game.

 Madden NFL 17 will release on August 23rd, 2016. The EA Access Play First trial will be playable throughout the day on August 18th, 5 days before release.

5 Quick tips that will greatly improve your Madden NFL 2016 game Fri, 08 Jan 2016 12:49:43 -0500 Coyle.Edmondson

Madden NFL 2016 can be an intimidating game to get into when it comes to online play. The care-free mindless repetition of smashing an A.I. opponent are replaced with heart-pumping adrenaline when facing another player. I've spent well over a decade playing this game. The highest rank I achieved was top 50 (38) in 2009.  After this stint, I rarely played competitively (less than 20 games a year) and would only play on occasion with friends.  

One thing I noticed is that I would consistently gain the edge over many of my friends, regardless of how many more hours of play they'd put into the game. This was simply from having a high "football IQ"  or a strategical understanding of the game.  I've compiled this into some quick tips that will immensely improve your play against opponents both online and offline:

1. From the moment of kickoff, mentally abuse and intimidate your opponent into submission

Run the play clock down to 00:01 every single play, seriously. I don't care if you just got a 20 yard gain or a 20-yard loss, milk that clock. This is mentally exhaustive to your opponent. The longer they don't have the ability to score, the more eager they'll be to stop you. This leads to the defense being over aggressive, which gives you options.

2. Do not open your first drive with all of your "money plays"

It's good that you have a few plays that you can consistently score with, save them for when you really need it. Good opponents will adapt to your play-calling, great opponents will try to force your hand early, keep them guessing.

3. Punt on 4th down

4. Kick field goals on 4th down.

I've beat dozens of top 25 players 9-0, 12-0, 15-0 only because they continually tried to turn every drive into a touchdown drive.  

5. Don't make drastic adjustments to your game-plan.

Did he just complete a huge pass over the middle? Roll a safety down into the hook-zone coverage, flip the coverage, or substitute 1 extra defensive back. Do not come out in quarters (7 defensive backs, 1 linebacker, 3 linemen). The key to becoming great on defense is to be able to tinker and make subtle adjustments throughout the game.    

Seem simple enough?

The difference between the good and great players are the ones that are disciplined enough to follow simple strategic choices during the heat of the moment. Try implementing these philosophies into your core gameplay, and watch your win percentage skyrocket! 

NFL player Travis Kelce cops Donkey Kong's Giant Punch Sun, 20 Sep 2015 05:47:25 -0400 Khadija Dukes

Now dubbed the "Fist of Zeus," Kansas City Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, admits that he borrowed his famous celebratory move from Donkey Kong

Following a major touchdown in a game against the Denver Broncos, 25-year-old Kelce imitated Donkey Kong's Giant Punch, a move used by the ape in Super Smash Bros.

In an interview with NFL Total Access, Kelci said the move was inspired by the in-game attack, which is essentially a wind-up punch attack that deals a large amount of damage.

Donkey Kong uses a similar attack at the end of Donkey Kong Country Returns.

Donkey Kong apears in all of the Super Smash Bros. games, and the Giant Punch has remained a staple move for the ape.

I must say that It is nice to know that this football player plays games other than Madden.

What do you think of Kelce's Fist of Zeus? Do you think other NFL players are gamer geeks, too? Let me know in the comments!

Madden 15 100% Accurately Predicted the 2015 Super Bowl Score Mon, 02 Feb 2015 11:57:00 -0500 Ryan Mayle

There might be some magic in the air at EA Sports as a commercial for Madden 15 was released January 26, which accurately predicted the final score for the 2015 Super Bowl.

Over the past 12 years, EA Sports has been running a simulation a few days in advance of the Super Bowl in order to predict the future winners. If you look at the data, you can see that they have been accurate more often than not about who will win the game as there have been only two years where the simulation was wrong. Those two 'missing years' where for the 2008 Patriots vs. Giants game and the 2011 Steelers vs. Packers game.

Even the scores of the games have been close, usually having similar spreads. However, this time around the score hit the nail on the head: 28 to 24. Not only would they predict the score, but also that the Patriots would be behind the Seahawks in the first half of the game.

I doubt that the simulation predicted the great plays that happened in the last minute of the game but still being this accurate is quite impressive. I look forward to seeing how accurate Madden is about the Super Bowl next year and might even need to start putting money on the game.

What Game Genre Would Super Bowl XLIX Players Be A Part Of? Thu, 29 Jan 2015 09:20:11 -0500 WesleyG


Rob Gronkowski Is The Final Boss of a Fighting Game


Genre Examples: Street Fighter IV, Tekken, Soul Calibur 2


You have finally conquered the 31 other fighters through strategy and determination and the only thing standing between you and the end credits is...Rob Gronkowski. Is it too late to lower the difficulty?


Yes, the New England tight end known as “Gronk” frustrates defenses the same way Shao Khan has frustrated Mortal Kombat players for years. Built like a lighthouse at 6’ 6” and 265 lbs, he can still catch passes as well as any wide receiver in the league. If this guy gets the ball, prepare for cheapness not seen since Seth in Street Fighter IV.


First of all, he has no stun animations so don’t even bother with weak attacks. He also has an insane speed for a guy his size, so don’t think you can lock him down either. He even has a one-hit kill move!


If the Patriots have their way at Super Bowl XLIX, don’t be shocked to see the Seattle fans (aka the 12th man) sending letters to the league office asking them to nerf Gronk. He’s obviously overpowered, but don't expect a patch anytime soon.


Russell Wilson Plays Like He's In A Shoot 'em up


Genre Examples: Batsugun, Ikaruga, Jamestown: Legend of the Lost Colony


Shoot 'em ups (especially so-called “Bullet Hell” games) are all about patience, precision dodging, and firing bullets right back. Seahawks QB Russell Wilson executes all three with mastery beyond his years. Like trying to dodge the insane amount of bullets in Ikaruga, Russell Wilson has been dodging linemen his entire career. His ability to get out of trouble and find receivers downfield have made him one of the most dynamic players in the NFL.


What makes Wilson so special, though, is how smart he plays. He very rarely puts his body at any risk, choosing to run only when no other options are available to him. Even when he does take off, he will step out of bounds before any defender can touch him. If the game gets to a point that requires it, however, Wilson is not afraid to get physical with defenders to get crucial yards and extend the drive.


It’s a lot like playing Raiden Fighters where you have to judge the right time to press forward and collect power-ups, usually while attempting to find the gaps between enemy bullets. Sometimes you have to put yourself at more risk, but you know that power-up can mean the difference between life and death against the boss.


If you need any more convincing, just play this video of Wilson scrambling with your Shoot 'em up song of choice.


Marshawn Lynch Plays Like He's In A Beat'em Up


Genre Examples: Final Fight, Streets of Rage, Battletoads


Marshawn Lynch and Mike Haggar are kindred spirits. Both are ridiculously strong and are fully capable of tearing through any fool that steps in their way. In fact, the only way to stop either man seems to be swarming them with guys until they finally fall to the ground.


Great, now I can’t decide if I want to see Haggar play halfback for the Seahawks or see Marshawn take on the Mad Gear Gang. I mean, Beast Quake sounds like such an awesome screen clearing special move.


Just like Marshawn, though, I’m going to keep this one brief. He is all about that action boss, you know.


Tom Brady Plays Like A Real Time Tactics General


Genre Examples: Total War series, Syndicate, Valkyria Chronicles


Tom Brady is one of the most efficient field generals in the entire NFL, making him a prime candidate for the Real Time Tactics sub-genre of strategy games.


Brady’s ability to recognize defenses and counter accordingly are legendary. It’s like when you’re setting up your units before a Total War battle. You see the enemy units suspiciously stacked on one side of the field, and you realize that they’re probably hiding some cavalry that’ll come charging in from your flank. You set up your spearmen in preparation for it. The cavalry charge is dead before it ever began.


In Total War, you get unlimited time to set your troops up. Tom Brady does all this in 40 seconds between each and every play.


Tom Brady also boasts an impressive 95.9 passer rating, ranking him fifth all-time. Combine that with six Super Bowl appearances, and you've got an experienced general who is looking to lay siege on the Seahawks secondary this Sunday.


Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman Play Like An NES Action Platformer 


Genre Examples: Ninja Gaiden, Mega Man, Ghosts N’ Goblins


You remember those old platformer games back on the NES where you couldn't make any progress because an enemy would guard the edge of a platform? No matter how many different ways you try to attack him or avoid him, he still manages to hit you and knock you into the bottomless pit below. That’s the easiest way to describe opposing quarterbacks going up against Darrelle Revis and Richard Sherman.


Though they play on different teams, the Patriots’ Revis and the Seahawks’ Sherman are among the best in the game in denying any progress to NFL offenses. Though their stats with things like interceptions are impressive, what makes them scary is how often QBs will refuse to throw the ball to their side of the field.


Heck, Green Bay Packers QB Aaron Rodgers didn't throw the ball Sherman’s way in Week 1. Not even once. That’s the football equivalent of playing Ghosts N’ Goblins without Arthur’s armor. It didn't end well for Rodgers.


After 17 weeks and three rounds of thrilling playoff action, we are finally less than a week away from Super Bowl XLIX. On Sunday, the Seattle Seahawks take on the New England Patriots to see who will prove themselves the best team in the NFL and take home the Lombardi Trophy.


Before all that happens though is the NFL Media Day, a big event where all the Super Bowl players are made available to the press. This event is where the press gets all the quotes and pictures it needs to begin hyping the Super Bowl proper. GameSkinny wasn’t invited to attend (the nerve!), but we don’t need direct access to the superstars of the gridiron to answer the tough questions.


Questions like “If you were in a video game, what genre would it be in?”


I delved into the record sheets and watched hours of game film in order to bring you the definitive list of what genres key players in Super Bowl XLIX would fit. In the words of’s Dave Dameshek, “LET IT BEGIIIIIIIIIIIIN!”

Breaking Madden: SUPER BOWL XLIX Conclusion Tue, 27 Jan 2015 10:44:34 -0500 Left Foot

The epic conclusion to the Breaking Madden season you've all been waiting for. It's pretty much what you would expect if you had one team of baby humans and another team of 400 pound giants.  The crazy physics and goofy A.I. make it pretty entertaining.

If you like the music you should check out Beach House.  

(Tip) Choosing Madden Defenses for Casual Gamers Part 2: Coverage Wed, 29 Oct 2014 20:28:25 -0400 Chris_Lemus

This year’s Madden expanded how players experience football when they do not have the ball. While Madden 15 makes the effort to educate gamers on the basics of playing against defenses, little is done about selecting the proper scheme when trying to stop the offense.

Like in part one, it is important to match these “toppings” to their appropriate “pastas.” You may like a certain type of pasta or ingredient, but it is not ideal for every trip to the restaurant.

The basic difference between the man and zone coverage is the pairing of defensive players to eligible offensive receivers. There are different type of zones, such as the flat zone, that help against a recent wave scramble quarterbacks in the NFL, but this guide only covers simple schemes.

Man coverage

This type of defense can exist by itself or in other coverages, but the concept is the same. This type of coverage assigns one defensive player to an offensive opponent, following them around until the play ends. Defensive players who are playing man coverage are not as concerned with anticipating the quarterback reading the field than they are with denying the receiver a pass.

Teams with fast secondaries to keep up with good receivers can successfully run this play. Another advantage to having the defense focus on applying pressure to their assigned offensive player is to run a more effective blitz. This type of play sends five or more defenders to tackle the quarterback.

If there are no deep secondaries playing zone, this type of defense is very fragile if the receiver beats the defensive player covering him if he suddenly changes directions before his opponent could react.

Pairs well with: 3-4, 4-3

Cover 2

Unlike a strict man coverage, every other defense throughout this guide focuses on zone coverage. This means that defensive players are assigned a portion of the field to defend. They focus on where the quarterback is looking instead of pressuring the receivers.

Zone coverage is a better option for teams with reliable defensive lineman to tackle the quarterback or slower secondary players, since other zones would pick up the faster recovers.

In relation to a Cover 2, the coverage features two deep secondary players defending one half of the field. The other defenders in front of them are either playing zone or man. With a bigger amount of players located closer to the ball, the offense will have a hard time executing short passes and even running plays.

With this coverage guarding plays near the line of scrimmage, and the middle section between the two deep secondaries a weak point, deep passes down the middle are a vulnerable spot for this defense.

Pairs well with: 3-4, 4-3

Cover 3

If the defense needs extra protection against the deep pass, the cover three adds a third secondary player in the backfield to defend a long distance areal assault.

In addition to defending the long ball, the Cover 3 also adds an extra eighth player in the box. This increase in personnel can be used to defend against a running play.

In most situations, Cover 3 has a distinct look. If the quarterback can read the three deep defenders before the play starts, he may make an adjustment (aka audible) to throw a shorter pass that can create a longer play.

Pairs well with: nickel, dime, quarter

Cover 4

Just like with the previous zone defenses, Cover 4 how many deep secondary players stand prepared against the long pass. One of the most familiar defensive plays to run with this coverage is prevent, typically selected when the offense runs a hail marry.

With a handful of secondary players far from the line of scrimmage, this coverage is vulnerable to run plays. It is unlikely, though, the offense will give the ball to their running back if they need to pass it downfield. Instead, short passes in front of the deep secondaries are used to create long plays.

Pairs well with: nickel, dime, quarter

Cover 6

This coverage breaks the rule about it’s number describing the amount of deep secondary defenders. Thus, it is a tricky coverage to read. Cover 6 is a mathematical combination of the Cover 2 and Cover 4, both of which are featured in this defense.

The elaborate description of this defense is that Cover 6 has one half of the field with two deep secondaries, while the other has just one. In Layman’s terms, one side has deeper coverage than the other. Ultimately, this type of coverage is intended for deeper passes, but leaves some room to cover shorter routes.

It is unlikely the offense will run the ball during this situation, but they could decide to turn a shorter route on the side with deeper coverage into an opportunity for a first down.

Zone Blitz

The zone blitz is typically ran when the defense wants to apply pressure on the quarterback, but is unsure of the play or whether the ball thrower will tuck it and run instead.

The blitz could come from anywhere, it just depends on where the run is likely to occur or where the weakest spot is on the field.

With an extra player leaving their intended assignment, the zone blitz opens an entire portion of the field open for the receiver to catch the ball if the quarterback is fast enough to find him.

Pairs well with: 3-4, 4-3

Now that each part of the defensive play calling process has been explained, the “dinner” can be properly enjoyed and experienced. Satisfy the hunger for victory, and win the night with defense.

(Tip) Madden Defenses for Casual Gamers Part 1: Forms Mon, 27 Oct 2014 21:13:57 -0400 Chris_Lemus

The sports quote-turned-cliché is true, defense truly does win championships. The quote, credited to legendary Alabama coach Paul “Bear” Bryant, has been constantly proved decades his six national championships with the Crimson Tide. It is exciting to break a 50-yard touchdown run in an online Madden match, but the game could come down to what happens when you do not have the ball.

Picking a defensive scheme in football is like building pasta at an italian restaurant. The formations are the base, or in this analogy, pasta. Ingredients, or coverages, must accompany the pasta. Many combinations of pasta and ingredients are possible, but the dish is not good for any occasion. Angel hair and garlic tomato sauce is not ideal for a date, and fettuccine Alfredo should not be ordered when your mother made it earlier in the week.

Part one of this tip series will cover five formations available during the game. Keep in mind the numbers in the forms are read from the players closest to the line of scrimmage to the backfield (or secondary).


Considered a classic formation, the 3-4 features three defensive linemen and four linebackers. While it looks like there are five lineman on the field, the two outside players are actually linebackers. With those linebackers up front, the other two line up about five yards behind the linemen.

This formation can be used when trying to establish a sense of what the opponent may do, especially in a game like Madden where scouting is difficult. It also keeps the offense guessing, as the only constant presented is the threat of pressure near the ball. The presence of five players on the line is enough for the offense to consider the potential challenges.

A lot of different converges are possible with this form, but the overall success depends on several key factors. The defense has to have at least one great player at almost every position (lineman, linebacker, and the secondary). The play caller must also anticipate the offensive play. Despite the 3-4’s versatility, this type of defense is vulnerable to passes towards the sidelines and down the middle.


This type of defense looks exactly like it reads, four defensive lineman take their position on the line of scrimmage while three linebackers line up behind them.

Because an extra lineman stands behind the linebackers, the strength of this formation revolves around the effectiveness of this position. Having a third linebacker defends against running backs who charge up the middle (aka the A Gap) and against short pass offenses (aka west coast offenses) to receivers in the middle of the field.

Madden players typically use a custom playbook, but if they use an opponent uses a team's default settings, organizations such as the Green Bay Packers and Baltimore Ravens utilize the west coast offense. Those teams are ideal to run this defense against.

The middle linebacker also becomes a sign for the offense to figure out the form. If the quarterback makes the correct read, they will understand the middle of the field (aka the box) is off limits, and will adjust the play accordingly.

Nickel (2-4-5, 4-2-5, and 3-3-5)

The nickel package is named after the value of the U.S. currency coin to describe how many players are in the secondary. Joining the five secondary members are a combination of players that appear on the field just like the play reads. The only exception is the 2-4-5, when the two lineman are joined by two linebackers.

This formation is made specifically to defend the pass by putting an extra secondary player. With the extra secondary member specializing in defending the pass, it is effective against teams like the Denver Broncos and New England Patriots. Both teams feature quarterbacks who help lead their offense downfield through the air.

Because the defense has subsituted a player from the box with an extra secondary player to focus on the receivers, it leaves this formation vulnerable to run plays with less size near the line of scrimmage.


The dime package is similar to the nickel, except with six secondary players on the field. Adding yet another secondary player sacrifices size in the box, so this formation should only be called with a high certainty that the pass will happen.


The only reason this formation should be selected is to defend against the deep pass when the offense is trying to make a comeback late in the fourth quarter. This package adds a secondary player against an opponent trying to gain the most amount of yards in the least amount of time. Typically, the three deep variation of this form is the call against a hail marry.

These formations are just the bases to pick a defense. The coverages that accompany them will be examined in part two.

Madden 15 Glitch Throws Players like Footballs Wed, 27 Aug 2014 10:27:24 -0400 Chris_Lemus

Pigskins are flying through virtual gridirons for the first time this season with the release of Madden 15, but at least one gamer quickly discovered a minor glitch with noticeable physics-altering abilities.

“Why does that guy fly through the air?” Grant Tucker, who goes by SCKNOWS online, said on his Vine video.

The video features a game where he is controlling the St. Louis Rams. After the quarterback snaps the ball and drops back, a defensive lineman from the opposing Minnesota Vikings team is catapulted into the air after being knocked down from a tackle. The stocky athlete does cartwheels before landing 20 yards from where he originally fell.

As of Wednesday afternoon, the video was looped 1.8 million times and shared 16,000 times between Twitter and Facebook.

Surprisingly enough, the play ended with Tucker’s quarterback getting sacked from the other side of where the glitch happened.  Tucker eventually wrote on Twitter the glitch occurred four more times consecutively with similar results.

It is currently unknown how widespread this glitch is, and EA Sports has not made any comment on the matter.

NFL App for Xbox One Serves All of Your Draft Day Needs Tue, 06 May 2014 12:31:52 -0400 Dwketchie

With the NFL draft coming in a couple of days, there is a new source for those who plan on watching or try to keep up with which teams will be picking the next superstar. Any Xbox Live Gold member can stream the draft from the NFL app on the Xbox One.

Being able to watch the draft live on Xbox One is pretty cool, but what really makes it stand out is the snappable draft tracker.

The draft tracker lists the teams in order of who drafts next and gives information about the type of players that teams will be looking for. If you want to take a break from the draft, watch a movie or play some games, then the tracker that is snapped to the screen will update instantly when a player is drafted, and even allows the user to watch highlights and analysis of each player.

Image from Xbox Wire

“Our NFL experience currently features a large volume of NFL Draft videos and analysis, with new video content arriving daily,” - David Jurenka, executive producer of Sports at Xbox

The NFL app covers all three days of the draft and lets users get recaps on who was drafted. The app covers more than just the draft and regular season. It provides useful information that is updated for the weeks leading up to the regular season.

Why An NFL Star Bought eSports Team Rise Nation Gaming Wed, 09 Apr 2014 09:20:08 -0400 John Gaudiosi

LOS ANGELES -- St. Louis Rams offensive lineman Rodger Saffold attended the Major League Gaming (MLG) Anaheim eSports competition in 2013. The gamer liked what he saw so much that he invested in Rise Nation Gaming. That eSports team emerged as one of the best Call of Duty Ghosts teams in the world this year, competing at the Call of Duty Championship in Los Angeles.

Saffold, who was the 33rd overall pick in the 2010 NFL Draft, was in LA to coach and encourage his team to victory. The NFL star, who just signed a five-year, $31.7 million contract extension with the Rams, talks about his love of eSports and why these pro gamers are similar to athletes in this exclusive interview.

What it is about eSports that got you interested?

Saffold: "I’ve always been a big Call of Duty fan and I was really excited about eSports. I got on the Twitch and I started watching the events. Then after that I had my own Twitch and that’s how I pretty much got involved."

When it comes to owning a team, what kind of step was that for you?

Saffold: "Oh, it was a big step. We did a lot of planning before. The idea was pretty easy to come up with, but actually getting everything together, getting the players, getting the sponsors, that was the tougher part."

What do you think of eSports and these players being cyber athletes, being a professional athlete yourself?

Saffold: "Hey, we’ve got all types of professionals out there. We got a lot of professionals that are professionals in their mind, and this is definitely a mind game. I don’t know how they deal with the stress. I deal with anticipation myself and everybody just can’t wait to get going in a competition."

How does your sports background help when it comes to stepping in and mentoring these guys?

Saffold: "It just helps basically with building and managing the team. I’m able to manage their personalities pretty well. I do a couple of incentives to try to help them play better and things like that. It just makes everybody closer. I’m able to do that just from my own experience with playing football."

Do you have a sense talking with other NFL players that eSports is on people’s radar today?

Saffold: "I have a million people wishing that they were joining me right now. The only thing that I told them is if you’re going to be committed to this, you’re going to have to be committed to it. I’ve had great help from the co-owner of my team, Rise Bomber. He’s been helping me out a bunch with all of this, especially with everything else going on like free agency."

As someone who plays Call of Duty what are your thoughts about this as a real sport?

Saffold: "Oh, I think it’s great, man. It’s a lot of excitement. The gaming community is just growing exponentially and I’ve received so much support.  Who wouldn’t want to be a part of this?"

Staples Center was sold out with League of Legends last year and now soccer stadiums are hosting Dota 2 and eSports events. What are your thoughts about eSports moving into real sports arenas?

Saffold: "That’s great as well, and I hope that Rise Gaming can continue to expand."

When it comes to other video games are you looking at League of Legends, Dota 2 and StarCraft II?

Saffold: "There’s been a little spark here and there that have gotten me really interested.  We have the resources to do what we need to do as far as that goes, but we need to do a little bit more research before we venture out any further."

What are your thoughts about the teamwork that’s required for a game like Call of Duty Ghosts?

Saffold: "Oh, man, communication is key. Everybody knows that, and basically your reaction from that, that’s basically trusting your teammate. Communication  and trust are the two biggest keys I feel in playing this game."

When it comes to your own experience playing video games, how does that help when it comes to mentoring these guys?  

Saffold: "I just understand it more. When they tell me things are going on I can understand, which is why I want to do a little bit more research with other games before I decide to enter those."

A million dollars was up for grabs in the Call of Duty Championship. What impact do you feel these big purses will have in pushing eSports to the next level and getting more mainstream acceptance?

Saffold: "I think that it’s already doing that as is. The money is just basically for these kids. These guys are going out here, they’re practicing their work and they’re doing what they’ve got to do. They’re on the big stage and now we’re going to see who comes for the money. I just enjoy the ride."

What are your thoughts about the fact that eSports actually exists as a career today for kids?

Saffold: "It’s crazy. I didn’t even know about it, but I just enjoy playing so much. I was always online. I love the bragging rights. And now here I am. I finally see everything for the first time from a first-person view instead of on a computer screen. It’s all good for these kids. It shows that video games can bring you some money now. It’s not always a waste of time."

And it’s not only just playing at tournaments but livestreaming on Twitch and MLG.

Saffold: "Exactly. I’ve seen new games that I thought I would never look at through Twitch. Sometimes when you’re bored you can just browse around and find something that you might end up falling in love with. I like how everything is so interconnected."

What do you like to play for fun outside of Call of Duty?

Saffold: "Outside of Call of Duty, man there’s not much. I’ve played Halo a bunch. I’ve played some of the adventure games with some of my friends, but all in all, man we play Call of Duty. That’s what we do. That’s our job."

What are you looking forward to with the Call of Duty DLC?

Saffold: "Oh, man, I can’t wait. Right now I’m still on Titanfall, but other than that man I don’t really have any other plans than jumping on with my friends and continuing to slay players and then talk trash."

Do you see a Titanfall potential for esports in the future?

Saffold: "I’m not sure. It’s a little bit more complicated, but I think that anything has a potential. You’ve seen League of Legends. That’s out of control. It’s crazy."

And League of Legends is not an easy game to play either.

Saffold: "Not at all. I’ve tried. I’m one and done."

The Breaking Madden Super Bowl is the Most Surreal Thing You'll See This Year Fri, 31 Jan 2014 19:19:43 -0500 Amanda Wallace

The field is set. The snow is falling. The fans are waiting. Seahawks vs. Broncos. 

But this is not the Super Bowl--at least not the one you're thinking of. 

For a season now, writer Jon Bois has been hacking Madden NFL 25. For a non-sports fan like myself, viewing the videos without context has been a strangely enlightening experience. In one, Tom Brady passes to himself. In another, the ball carrier runs around the field in circles, his feet ever juking away from other players. 

But Breaking Madden: Super Bowl XLVIII is where it gets really weird. 

Bois has done a write-up on the process, from picking the teams to getting fans of the series to donate $3-5K to worthwhile charities for a chance to name one of the players. He sums up his intent: 

For this, the season finale of Breaking Madden, there will be bitter cold and heavy snowfall. There will also be, Lord willing, the most one-sided result in the history of sports. In the greatest American football rout of historical record, Georgia Tech beat Cumberland College, 222-0. I want to multiply that. I want a thousand points in one game. 

For this game, Bois wants a clear winner. The Superbowl has become toothless, no ass-whooping had in years. But this game is different. By manipulating the in-game stats, Bois creates two teams that are as opposed as possible. He creates a blood-bath. 

The battle is fought between tank-like sport geniuses against the kid who got picked last in high school dodgeball. It's brutal. There is no hope. With a voice methodically explaining to you how the machine has bled to death, you watch as the Broncos are punished. Destroyed. Crushed. 

It's delirious and bizarre. For a moment, you catch sight of a slender figure in the Bronco's jersey. The words across the back? Mom. Mom is being charged by 400 pounds of cyber-tank, and it isn't going to end well. Bois's actual mother chipped in, and got to name the quarterback for the game. 

If you have the time, Bois's complete article is well worth the read. In it, he details the brutality of the game, the thought behind his process, the cruelty that he inflicted to the players in his game of Madden NFL 25.  

You can get the full read at Jon Bois's Breaking Madden Super Bowl article.

Xbox One Gets All the Fun: No NFL Sunday Ticket on PS3 Wed, 14 Aug 2013 00:01:05 -0400 Brian Armstrong

If you've come to rely on whiling away your Sundays by watching as much football as humanly possible on the NFL Sunday Ticket app on PlayStation 3 over the past two seasons, this may come as a shock: Sunday Ticket will not be available on your PS3 this season.

Without much explanation, PlayStation confirmed to IGN that the pricey app would not be available this season on Sony's current console. As announced at the Xbox One unveiling in May, Microsoft and the NFL have a tight partnership in place that will allow people to access NFL Sunday Ticket, and Sony has apparently been left out in the cold. 

NFL Sunday Ticket has been available over the PlayStation Network each of the last two seasons, but this news means PlayStation 3 owners will have to look elsewhere for their football fix this year. And don't expect that special pre-order of the Madden NFL 25th Anniversary  Edition to get you back door access to the app on your PS3—the special offer that includes NFL Sunday Ticket with the purchase of the $100 game never specifically mentioned Sony's console as one of the supported formats.

Is this a slap in the face by the NFL to PlayStation owners? Is it simply another example of businesses following the money? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.