These are what we call the 'YMMV items.' Things that some people find in this work. We call them 'your mileage might vary' because not everyone sees these things in the same way. This starts discussions in the trope lists, a thing we don't want. Please use the discussion page if you'd like to discuss any of these items.
Don't forget about Madden 95 and 96 actually having the NFL on Fox theme music!
Complacent Gaming Syndrome: In every iteration, there is usually one team that is considered the best and attracts the majority of players. Commonly, this is a team with an elite defense and at least one dominant receiver. In Madden NFL 13, San Francisco fits that bill.
Dork Age: During the PS2/XBOX/GC era, Madden was not only one of the best-selling series in gaming, but also one of its best regarded in terms of quality. However, that quality took a dip with the jump to the next generation, as EA Sports, by their own admission, had issues bringing their games up to snuff with the new technology and consoles for several years. Although some iterations have reviewed and sold relatively well in the PS3/360 generation, others have not (Madden 25 had a 40% drop in year-to-year launch sales over the previous iteration) and the sales and scores have not yet hit the peaks of its heyday in the early-to-mid-2000s, while the brand has become a punching bag among gamers on the Internet. Despite improved gameplay, long-persistant problems such as canned animation and lax defensive-back AI still remain due to the weaker foundation the game engine was built on, and fans have been outspoken over features and details — such as field degradation and Owner Mode — mysteriously disappearing and re-appearing year-to-year.
Fun for Some: Some players don't bother playing the games themselves, and prefer to play Franchise Mode like a "management sim" instead. They'll build teams, hire coaches, and generally run the franchise while merely simulating the games. There exist numerous editing programs for Madden 08 (the last Madden released for PC) which give players control over nearly every aspect of this style of play.
Game Breaker: Some plays will always work, no matter what defense is called, because they exploit holes in the AI. There has been an enormous Internet argument raging for years over whether this is appropriate play or not.
Some teams are so insanely good that it is nearly impossible to beat an experienced player who decides to use them against you. The Falcons in Madden 2004 are the most infamous of them, but any Colts team that includes Peyton Manning is going to be this from year to year. This seems to have followed Manning to the Broncos as well.
The Hall of Fame edition of Madden NFL 12 also comes with some of the most infamous game breakers in series history included as a special bonus.
Depending on whether you're using them or being victimized. A short list includes Rocket Catching (the wide receiver gets a speed burst to catch the ball), Jetpacking (the WR jumps several feet in the air, higher than their ratings deserve), or the WR snap glitch (The center snaps the ball directly sideways to a wide receiver).
The infamous "Aaron Brooks glitch," where the QB would sometimes, inexplicably, launch the ball in the complete opposite direction. (Named for former Saints QB Aaron Brooks, who once did something similar in an actual game.)
In one roster update, the developers mistakenly listed one player as 6 inches tall instead of feet. He was still able to interact with the rest of the players as if he was full-sized, which led to some hilarious animations.
This happened again at launch for Madden 15. Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey was mistakenly listed at 1'2" rather than 6'2", and was incorrectly depicted as a member of the Tennessee Titans. One video of the glitch that showed him picking up a fumble with the ball twice his size was particularly hilarious.
The ambulance in John Madden Football '92, which can end up inadvertently running over other players while tending to the injured player.
The memetic Darren Sharper Madden videos put up by Demetry James on YouTube ("HARDEST HITTING SAFETY IN THE LEEEEEAAAAGUUUUEEEE!!!"); Sharper was arrested in 2014 and charged with, and eventually pleaded guilty to, several counts of rape and sexual assault over the years, with each victim claiming they were drugged via laced drinks by Sharper beforehand.
One of the announcer's lines in Madden NFL 15 is "A Baltimore Raven who will beat you in many ways is Ray Rice." Rice became the center of the NFL's domestic violence scandal that season.
Released in August 2014, Madden NFL 15 has a Cold Open tutorial that has you in a playoff game between the Carolina Panthers and Seattle Seahawks, in which you guide the Panthers to a last-second victory. The teams would meet in that season's playoffs, and the Panthers wouldn't even come close to winning.
Hype Aversion: Madden is undoubtedly the single most popular multi-platform franchise, but there are some people who will refuse to play it precisely because of that popularity.
It's the Same, Now It Sucks: Just about every game that has only token gameplay changes over the last installment. The game has essentially fallen into Broken Base territory, with many people complaining that the game is too similar. But since people have been playing virtually the same game for ten years, there would be a significant backlash if it changed. Furthermore, some Madden veterans hold that this is complaining about games you don't play, since those seemingly "token" changes can have significant effects on the Metagame, much like in fighting games where hit boxes and special-move priority are undiscovered by non-hardcore fans but are vital to high-level play. And, of course, there are only so many changes that can be made to something based on a real-life game with a concrete set of rules and play.
Just Here for Godzilla: This game is so popular that there are a not-insignificant number of people who buy game systems just to play it, and never play anything else.
On the flip side, the pre-order bonus for the $100 Madden 25 Anniversary edition was a yearlong subscription for NFL Sunday Ticket. Which usually costs $300 + a Direc TV subscription on its own. Many people bought it just for Sunday Ticket and promptly sold the game itself.
Misblamed: 2K supporters tend to blame EA for buying out the NFL license as a way to kill 2K's series. In reality, the NFL put up the license exclusively for sale as part of a movement to solidify all their merchandise under one individual company per medium, and it wasn't like EA was going to lowball an offer for their most lucrative franchise...
Scrappy Mechanic: Virtually every front office mechanic. Users cannot design their own contracts, and Madden assumes you want all deals to be backloaded. Teams can only sign their players to extensions during the last year of their contract, and not every player is even available to speak to until just before free agency (where you have one shot to sign them or they get dumped in the FA pool). There are no collective scouting events such as college "pro days" or the NFL combine, forcing users to scout every attribute of every player they are interested in drafting. Users cannot create a draft board, forcing them to find the player they want to draft and compare him to other players on the fly while under the 2 minute clock. And so on and so on.
Scrub: A long-running debate among fans of the series is how much players are expected to hew to real-life football strategy (punt on 4th down, no unnecessary 2-point conversions, etc). Some versions of the game actually have an optional toggle that bans these types of strategies.
Suspiciously Similar Song: In the real NFL, many stadiums play the "Final Jeopardy" music while the refs perform reviews. In Madden, they play a version that is close, but not quite. A knock off of Zombie Nation's "Kernkraft 400" can also be heard as well.
In Madden NFL 11, they actually did license out the classic Jeopardy! music.
To change a multi-platform game for the Wii and/or PS2 is actually more common than you think; the Wii and PS2 have less processing power than the other consoles do, so they come up with similar version that can have different features, and often less complex graphics. Take Ghostbusters: The Video Game for instance. There was a version out for the PS3, Xbox 360 and PC. These versions had more realistic graphics and a longer story mode. The version for the Wii and PS2 had more stylised, "cartoony" graphics, a couple of different weapons, and a different story mode.
Similarly, some features have an annoying tendency to disappear between iterations, leading some to suggest that they are being deliberately held back.
They Just Didn't Care: The only explanation for the continued injured reserve bug (where a player could be placed on injured reserve but would still take up an active roster spot) is laziness or apathy. Apparently fixed temporarily in Madden NFL 12, only to be broken again in 13 — though hackers found a workaround for earlier versions.
Similarly, Madden NFL 15 on the Xbox 360 and PS3 included a lot of carry-over glitches and art that were fixed in the eighth-gen consoles. Most obviously, they didn't update the Super Bowl graphics or commentary to reflect that the New York Super Bowl has already been played.