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Video Game / Madden NFL

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The best strategy in winning this game is to score more points than the opposing team.

The definitive football franchise. The game that brought video football into the 21st century.

Developed by Electronic Arts, John Madden Football, later shortened to simply Madden NFL, is the namesake of coaching legend John Madden, an American Football game based on the National Football League that has, since 1988, been released annually, and always falls among the top sellers of gaming each year. It's praised for its realistic level of play, to the point where the latest edition is frequently used to predict the outcome of big games up to and including the Super Bowl.

Still, the franchise has some detractors (mainly because, by this point, they've run out of things to add, so the latest sequels are more like roster updates). The most notable incident happened in 2005, when it was announced that the Madden games would be the only football games allowed to use current NFL players and teams for (at least) the next few years. While many people blamed EA for buying out the license because they couldn't handle competition, the truth is that the NFL was going to give one franchise or the other exclusivity; the venerable Madden franchise simply won the bidding war.


Also of note is the Madden Curse, which has felled some of the great football players of the last decade, and was famous enough to have its own page on this wiki before it was decided to be cut. Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Maholmes, who appeared on the cover of Madden NFL 20, eventually broke the "curse" when he would go on to win Super Bowl LIV, as well as the game's MVP award, on February 2, 2020.

Madden NFL 18 introduces a full story mode, named Longshot, which focuses on two fictional players - childhood friends Devin Wade, quarterback, and Colton "Colt" Cruise, wide receiver - from the town of Mathis, Texas (though the town's appearance in-game is largely In Name Only) and their struggles involved with trying to play for the NFL. This mode received a sequel, Longshot: Homecoming in Madden NFL 19, which separates the two characters into different plots.


The series in general contains examples of:

  • After-Action Report: Very common with the series. Some are simple, taking the form of faux-newspaper reports or blog entries following a team's season as if it were real, reporting on performances, injuries, off-season moves, and the like. Others take on more of a narrative element, with highly unrealistic and outright impossible scenarios unfolding.
  • A.I. Breaker:
    • Quite a few offensive plays can be used infinitely and the AI will never catch on. Exactly which plays vary from year to year as the AI is tweaked, but there has yet to be an iteration of the game which doesn't include at least a few of these.
    • For several iterations in the mid-2000s, it was possible to take manual control of defensive linemen before the snap and align/stack them in ways which break the offense's blocking AI, creating unblockable blitzes. Madden 08 nerfed this by moving these players back to their original position once you switch manual control away from them.
    • In the iterations in the late-2000s through 11, the Wildcat formation included numerous easily abusable "Option" plays. For example, the RB could be motioned out wide, leaving only the "QB" in the backfield. However, if the play called was an option, that "QB" could pitch it to the RB out wide as if he were in the backfield with the QB, turning the play into a lightning-fast, unerringly accurate screen pass for easy yardage. These plays were removed starting with 12.
    • Madden 18 took this to the next level with the Gun Monster playbook. This set of plays involves lining up only three offensive linemen in the center with the tackles lined up next to the wide receivers. The problem? The AI responds to this play by spreading out its front seven to cover the groups of three, resulting in an easy run up the middle every single time. (In real life, as the tackles aren't eligible receivers, the defense won't bother to cover them.) EA eventually nerfed this playbook in response.
  • Announcer Chatter: Well, it is named for one. The commentary teams have changed over the years, with Madden 17 taking a new route - two commentators who live near the studio and come in weekly during the season to update the commentary to match what is happening in the real NFL.
  • Annual Title: Though the original John Madden Football came out in 1988, the second wouldn't come until 1990. Since then, it has been an annual title without pause. They started adding the year into the title in 1994 with Madden 95.
  • Artifact Title: John Madden no longer appears on the cover since the 01 edition, nor does he do the in-game commentary since the 09 edition. In 13, however, he returns as an Ink-Suit Actor as the coach of the Canton Greats all-star team and in 20, he received his own team in Superstar KO mode.
  • Artificial Stupidity: There's been good amount over the history of the franchise. A few particular examples:
    • The QB Kneel (the "Victory Formation") has two running backs stand next to the QB so that in the event he fumbles, they can quickly dive on the ball and retain possession. However, the AI gives these guys blocking assignments, so that when the ball is snapped, they quickly run to the sides to block edge rushers. That's right: On a play where their entire role is to stand still, the AI still goofs it up.
    • In the PS2/Xbox era (roughly 01 to 06), AI controlled teams in Franchise Mode would hold on to players like they were made of diamond-encrusted gold, and free agency would mean slim pickings all around. They apparently overcompensated in the next generation because, starting with 07's Franchise Mode, there exists a phenomenon that can only be called "Roster Musical Chairs".
    • Signing free agents in Franchise Mode is chock full of AI stupidity as well. For example, you are given the option to re-sign soon-to-be free agents from your own team before they hit full fledged free agency. One option for keeping them is to use the "Franchise Tag," which prevents the player from reaching free agency by forcing a 1-year, fully guaranteed contract onto him (which is equal to the average salary of the top 5 players at that position or 120% of the player's previous years salary, whichever is higher.) It is actually possible to get the player to agree to a 1 year contract for significantly less money than the Franchise Tag would be worth, something a player worth tagging in real life would NEVER agree to. (They would much rather have the fully guaranteed franchise tag contract or the massive amount of guaranteed money they'd get for signing a long-term deal with a new team.)
    • The newspaper feature present from 05 to 08 had predictions for the next game. However, who is picked to win seemed to be pretty much random. It would usually be the home team, no matter who they were playing. It would occasionally make hilarious claims like describing a team that is still undefeated 3/4 of the way through the season as being "in shambles".
    • The in-game NFL Draft has historically only allowed limited (and often impractical) means of evaluating potential draftees. As such, the player can ask the AI for advice on which players to draft. Occasionally, the advice can result in a gem, but most of the time, the AI will recommend a punter or kicker. Even in the first round, and even if the team already has the best punter and kicker in the league. (The reason for this seems to be that the computer advises you to take the highest rated player available, regardless of position. Since kicker and punter prospects with ratings in the 80+ range last longer in the draft that similarly rated players at other positions, the odds are good that unless you're picking in the top 5-10 picks of the first round, a kicker/punter will be the highest rated player available.)
    • In 13, a bug in the AI's play selection leads to teams making brainlock decisions in crunch time. More than one AI team has driven down the field in the final seconds, only to run the ball up the middle on the final play rather than kick the game-winning field goal or throw the Hail Mary. This also happens with the Mobile game. If the AI calls a QB kneel down, the player can respond by calling a field goal block. The AI will then (often, but not always) call an audible to a PASS PLAY. This can backfire on them if the receiver drops the ball, or catches it out of bounds. If this happens, the player will save a timeout or a chunk of time that would have otherwise been wasted, since an incomplete pass stops the clock. Be careful, though, since if the AI's receiver catches the pass they will likely score a touchdown. Worth trying if the AI can run out the clock or you are losing by only 1 point (since a touchdown would put the AI up by 8, which is still one possession.)
  • Artistic License – Sports:
    • Averted initially by John Madden himself. He refused to put his name on the game (then a protoype featuring 6-9 players on the field due to technical limitations) until game hardware advanced enough to have the correct number of players on the field per team (11).
    • Given that the game is licensed by the NFL and intended in every way to be a simulation of real-life football, it generally does a good job of avoiding this trope, at least for the football games themselves. Franchise mode, however, deviates significantly from real-life NFL rules. Listing every example would require its own page, but some particularly notable ones include: a 53-man roster limit at all times (NFL teams have a 90 man roster limit in the offseason), no practice squads (a 10 man group of players who can practice with the team but is barred from participating in the games unless called up to the active roster first), no customization of player or coach contracts (all contracts are back-loaded, guaranteed money is evenly spread throughout, there are no incentives, etc.), the coaching staff is generally limited to the head coach and coordinators only, etc. etc.
    • Crossing over with Artistic License – Statistics, players are typically unrealistically productive. Since Madden is meant to be played with 5-7 minute quarters (rather than 15 as in real-life), this means that gamers are running between 50-70% as many plays as a real NFL contest. Yet many expect to produce as many points or exciting moments, while somehow maintaining realistic results on a per-play basis. This is mathematically impossible. EA chooses the former, heavily slanting the game in favor of the offense.
    • If two teams are tied for a playoff berth at the end of the season, Madden can on occasion screw up the tiebreaker rules and award the playoff berth to the wrong team. It's right a vast majority of the time, but more than one player has Rage Quit their online franchise when they got screwed this way. To a degree, this is forgivable as it is a rare scenario and the NFL rules for breaking ties are complicated, with no fewer than 12 criteria for doing so. (#2 on the Conference tiebreak side is where Madden usually screws up.) However, it isn't completely consistent between different iterations of Madden either, so you never know what will happen if your team ends the season tied with another team.
    • Madden has never implemented the Fair Catch Kick rule, which allows a team that makes a fair catch to attempt an uncontested field goal from that spot. Admittedly, it's a rarely invoked rule but it 'is' a rule.
  • Ascended Glitch: After a video that showed a glitch that featured Cleveland Browns linebacker Christian Kirksey reduced to 1'2" in size went viral, and said linebacker tweeted it, EA made him part of an Ultimate Team Weekly Challenge.
  • Ascended Meme:
    • 12 includes an achievement called "Put Da Team On My Back" for scoring a 99 yard touchdown with Greg Jennings. Broken leg optional.
    • Gus Johnson's commentary track also includes his (in)famous line "He's got gettin' away from the cops speed!"
    • Several fans like to use image editing programs to replace the cover with their own creation, spotlighting their favorite player. When Brett Favre un-retired and returned to the Jets in the year he was the cover athlete, EA released their own Photoshop job of Favre in a Jets jersey for players to use instead.
  • Awesome, but Impractical: Many plays in the playbook take too long to develop or rely on trickery that doesn't fool the AI, so they never get used. Examples include reverses, double reverses, reverse passes...basically anything more "tricky" than a play-action or a draw.
  • Black Comedy: Detailed under Worst Aid below, but in the older versions, the ambulance drivers have...Skewed Priorities at best.
  • Bowdlerise: Madden's soundtrack usually consists of rap and heavy-rock songs, most of which usually contain a lot of profanity that cannot be used in an E-rated game. Thus, some songs are heavily edited with many deleted lines, leaving a lot of awkward pauses, most notably in 09's use of Hollywood Undead's "Undead".
  • Brand X: Not Madden itself, but it caused this to occur with any other pro football video games after EA landed the NFL's exclusive license. Madden's various competitors, especially the 2K series, were left scrambling to make up new leagues, new teams, and fill them with players. 2K's last gasp came with All-Pro Football 2K8 as a Spiritual Successor, featuring the fictional "All-Pro League" (or APL). Since EA's exclusivity deal only covered active players, Visual Concepts instead secured the rights to over 240 retired football players to fill its rosters with. However, it still wasn't enough to compete with the Madden juggernaut.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall:
    • Lampshaded Trope. In 13 and onward, there are fake Twitter feeds from real ESPN analysts in career mode. If a player has a truly absurd performance, one of them may tweet something about it being "straight out of a video game" and hashtag it #fourthwall.
    • After a successful field goal, the stadium jumbotrons will show an animation incorporating the video game's kicking meter.
  • Bribing Your Way to Victory: A couple of ways:
    • Madden Ultimate Team mode essentially turns team creation into a collectible card game, with all the pros and cons that entails.
    • Several editions of the game allow the player to unlock various "tokens" (for various achievements) which - if used strategically and correctly - could virtually ensure victory for a player before the first snap. Most of these were rather routine (e.g., disabling a pass-receiver's abilities, giving the team a generous spot when near a first down, holding teams to three downs per series, etc.), but a few of the more inventive have included such things as unlimited challenges, which could then be used in combination with another token that would allow favorable verdicts each time.
    • The Xbox 360 version of 13 has an achievement for calling an audible with the Kinect add-on, which is of course a separate purchase.
    • Coach Glass was an add-on app available for the Xbox One which gave you a great deal of information about your opponent's tendencies mid-game, but it required a tablet to use.
  • Cameo: In 11, the Super Bowl-winning team will be shown presenting their jersey to Barack Obama. Amusingly, this cutscene plays no matter how many years you play your franchise for.
  • Capcom Sequel Stagnation: A common criticism of the series. Most iterations change very little from the previous, save for updating the rosters. The developers do try to add new modes and features, but ultimately, a game emulating a real life sport can only add so much while still being faithful.
  • Character Customization:
    • Prior to starting up Franchise Mode, you are free to edit the existing players and rosters to your liking.
    • Ever since 95, you can create your own custom players or add your favorite players that were left out of the game for one reason or another while editing their name, appearance, ratings, and college.
    • 05 introduces "Superstar Mode", devoted specifically to that custom player's career.
  • Cold Open: Possibly the first ever for a Sports Game franchise - Upon first launching Madden 15, the player will be dropped into the NFC Championship game as Cam Newton and the Panthers, with one last chance to score a TD on the Seattle Seahawks and go to the Super Bowl. When a similar scenario happened in the real NFL that year (Cam Newton's Panthers played in Seattle in the Divisional round), the Madden team included a reference to it in the loading screens. This was continued in Madden 16 and onward, with a different scenario each year.
  • Competitive Multiplayer: Naturally. Being able to play against your friends (initially on the same console with two controllers and later online) is one of the big selling points of the game.
  • The Computer Is a Cheating Bastard:
    • The AI players will often react to things they shouldn't be able to see, meaning many plays which rely on that deception don't work in the game they way they should in real life.
    • In an Inversion, the player, by default, gets to see things from 20 or 30 feet above the action, allowing a much wider field of view than what a player at field level gets to see. Some players, as a form of Self-Imposed Challenge, will switch to a first-person view of the player they are manually controlling, similar to how it would be in real life. It is notably much more challenging.
    • This YouTuber has several examples in which the AI cheats in Madden 2010 - to varying degrees (from "mind reading" AI to "magic trick" ball recovery).
    • On the higher difficulty levels, the computer will have almost always have called a play that is specifically designed to counter whatever you just called.
    • Players don't suffer many injuries in played games, but if you decide that there are a few games on the schedule that you don't want to bother with and let the computer simulate them, your roster will start to look like a hospital ward. It is possible to invert the trope, however, if you play out all your own team's games.
    • If the AI challenges a play, they will win 9 times out of 10. If the player challenges a play, they will lose 9 times out of 10. The latter half of this could theoretically be attributed to terrible camera angles when they are reviewing the plays. Sometimes you are watching the play happen from 50 yards away. Of course, this doesn't really explain anything because it's a video game. This is especially evident when you go back and watch the instant replays after-the-fact, and they can clearly show that the player was NOT down before the fumble occurred.
  • Creator Provincialism: The game is developed by the EA subsidiary Tiburon, which is based in Florida. There have been complaints dating back decades that the players for the Florida-based NFL teams receive higher ratings than their performances suggest. (This was even more evident in the now-defuct NCAA Football sister series regarding Florida's major universities.)
  • Crutch Character: Usually, there will be a few players who, for whatever reason (age, injury concerns, off-the-field concerns,) were not signed by a team in Real Life but are available in Madden as free agents in franchise mode. Usually these players still have relatively high overalls (80+) compared to those you can typically find as free agents in-season in franchise mode, so signing them will give your team an extra boost. However, if the player is older he may retire after only 1 season or, if not, will see his physical stats deteriorate as he ages. If he is oft-injured, he may not play many games for you before getting hurt. This was much more common in the late-90s/early 2000s Madden games as they lacked the ability to receive roster updates via the internet. More recent games (from 06 onward) will receive roster updates throughout the year to clear out players like this, but it still happens occasionally.
    • Disc-One Nuke: When one of these "crutch characters" is a particularly good player. After Steve Young's and Barry Sanders' relatively surprising retirements, EA left them in the game but simply added them to the free agent pool, available for any team to sign. There's nothing like adding Hall of Fame players with ratings in the 90s to nuke the competition. In more recent games with online roster updates available, these types of players are usually removed, but instances still occur. (Like Brett Favre in 2008 "retiring" from the Packers, only to then sign with the Jets. As that year's Madden games had already shipped, Favre, who was on the cover of the game, was made available as a free agent until the first roster update.)
  • Daddy System: Was released for at least one in every iteration through Madden 17.
  • Damn You, Muscle Memory!: Changes to the functions of certain buttons are common year-to-year.
    • A particularly prominent example happened when going from 05 to 06 on the PS2. R1 was "juke right" and L1 was "juke left" in 05, but these were moved to the right stick for 06. Come 07, this change stuck and even removed the option of reassigning the function in the settings, forcing players to adapt.
    • The controls for audibles and hot routes have been reassigned somewhat throughout the years. This is particularly painful, as players may need to hustle through several of them prior to the snap.
  • Dark Horse Victory:
    • Naturally, it is possible for a skilled player to guide a team with no realistic chance of winning the Super Bowl in real life to the title in-game.
    • In a meta example, EA and ESPN hosted a tournament to see which NFL player would grace the Madden 2012 cover. The best player from each team was chosen for the bracket, and the fans voted each round. Such big names as Aaron Rodgers, Adrian Peterson, Hines Ward, and Drew Brees fell by the wayside. The controversial Michael Vick made the finals, but he lost to... Peyton Hillis of the Cleveland Browns. Making him only the second Madden cover boy from a team that didn't make the playoffs the previous year. (The first? Vince Young, who had just won Rookie of the Year the previous year.) To be fair, many fans admitted to voting for players they didn't like, so that their guy would avoid the Madden Curse.
  • Death by Ambulance: The infamous "ambulance" feature for injured players in the 90s iterations. Any players in its path would be run over and pushed offscreen.
  • Dedication: Madden 25 is dedicated to Pat Summerall, John Madden's long-time broadcasting partner.
  • Department of Redundancy Department: In the newspaper feature, there will occasionally be an article with the title of something like "Giants at 6-2" and the entire article will be a single sentence restating this information.
  • Developers' Foresight: While the Cold Open of Madden 16 puts you in control of the Steelers at 1st and goal needing a touchdown to secure victory (and heavily encouraging the player to throw to WR Antonio Brown), it is completely possible to fail to score, and the game's ending will change to reflect that.
  • Do Well, but Not Perfect:
    • The in-game officials are programmed to make mistakes on occasion to allow for coach's challenges.
    • In Franchise Mode, if your team wins three Super Bowls in a row (unprecedented in reality), your head coach will retire and you'll be forced to promote an assistant coach or hire a free agent, both options likely resulting in a lesser coach in terms of ratings. The only other reason a coach will retire is due to age (with the odds increasing the older he gets and a RNG roll at the start of the offseason determining it), but a Super Bowl three-peat will ensure this.
    • In Madden 2004, a single player cannot accumulate more than 1023 rushing yards (more than three times the actual NFL record) in a single game; any more would wrap around to -1024 due to an overflow error. With a good team, a good playbook, and a good working knowledge of AI behavior, the player might need to cut a run short and make a substitution to avoid wrecking his star running back's statistics.
  • Dynamic Difficulty: The game adjusts the computer's skill of certain mechanics (running, passing, etc.) after every game, depending on how well or poorly the player performed in those areas. Particularly apparent in 09 and 12, though it has gotten smoother as the series has progressed.
  • Early Installment Weirdness:
    • The series did not obtain the NFL license until Madden NFL '94. The NFLPA didn't sign on until Madden '95 (no real players were featured before then), and no coaches' names other than Madden himself were featured until Madden 2001, when EA obtained the NFL Coaches' Association license.
    • John Madden himself appeared on the covers, usually alone, until 01. Since then, players have been featured exclusively.
  • An Entrepreneur Is You: Franchise mode includes aspects of running an NFL franchise outside of the football games themselves, including roster building, signing coaches and a training staff, setting vendor prices at your stadium, and possibly even relocating the team.
  • Fake Balance: Special teams has long been an area where the series has struggled to find the right balance of realism and fun. One year, it might be so laughably easy to return kickoffs for touchdowns that it happens at least once per game. The very next, you might go entire seasons without returning a single one. The inability to block kicks was also an issue for the first several decades of the game's existence. It wouldn't be until Madden 17 that a mechanic to aid in this process was finally added. (And it didn't take long for some players to abuse it to the point of blocking nearly every kick...) The quest for special teams balance goes on.
  • Frothy Mugs of Water: In owner mode, the user can set concession prices for every product a stadium sells, excepting beer.
  • Gambler's Fallacy: Common when it comes to each game's opening coin flip of all things. It isn't unusual to see posts in enthusiast forums boasting of lengthy coin flip winning streaks or complaining about long coin flip losing streaks, especially when it comes to online games (and thus, against other people). Oddly enough, it has been proven that Madden coin tosses are indeed deterministic.
  • Game-Breaking Bug:
    • In the games from the mid-2000s at least through 08 for the PC version, players would sometimes start to disappear from rosters mid-season without explanation. The more seasons you went into Franchise Mode, the more likely it was to occur. Enthusiast forums encouraged making a separate save file at the start of every season and, if you encountered the bug, to go back to that file. It was unfortunate to lose a season, but it was better than losing the entire franchise.
    • Madden 06 in particular had a nasty bug which would break Franchise Mode and even corrupt players' saved data.
    • Madden 07 for PC has an absurd bug involving clock management. In between plays, you can zoom out to see more of the field. This is often done after long passes, to see if the players are back to the line of scrimmage. However, when the camera is zoomed out, the clock will stop. So if you're down late in a game, you can attempt long passes over and over again, and if you can't get out of bounds, all you have to do is zoom out the camera, and not need to use up a timeout or spike the ball.
    • Madden 16 shipped with major glitches in franchise mode that caused some players ratings to plummet during the season, while others started exploding, even going over 100 in some cases. The bug was so prominent that the game developers were going to enthusiast forums to tell people not to start those game modes until they were patched.
    • In individual career mode for Madden 20, the game would sometimes begin assigning the player goals that did not correspond to the position they played (i.e. passing touchdowns for a defensive player). They player would naturally fail these goals week after week until they were cut from their team.
    • An unknown bug in the EA Servers caused Madden 20 online franchise mode to be inaccessible for several days, in the middle of the NFL season.
  • Game Mod:
    • For the PC version, which was discontinued for 10 years after Madden 08. A team of dedicated modders continues to release reasonably accurate roster updates, complete with player portraits and coaching staff changes, every year so that they and their PC-playing brethren can continue to enjoy the game. They've even released mods to keep the game up-to-date with NFL rule changes, like moving kickoffs to the 35 yard line and extra point attempts to the 15 yard line.
    • Madden 19 has brought the game back to PC and, like previous versions, has quickly formed a dedicated modding community which offers everything from minor gameplay tweaks to graphics improvements to full blown overhauls (such as converting the game into an updated version of EA's discontinued NCAA Football series).
  • God Modders: Extremely common in tournament and online play.
  • Guide Dang It!:
    • The game manual frequently leaves out very useful information. For example, did you know you can audible to an onside kick on kickoffs? Don't worry if not, because it isn't mentioned anywhere in the manual.
    • The manual (prior to 06) also doesn't say how to scramble anywhere, instead phrasing the ability as "toggle on/off WR icons". When written in that way, it sounds like they just mean turn off the icons underneath your receivers.
    • "Playmaker" controls were introduced to great fanfare in 04, allowing a player on offense to essentially control two players at once. However, there has been minimal or no mention of them in any official documentation, even though they remain in the game.
    • Coaches have attributes just like players. These are only visible during the brief period between seasons in Franchise mode when you can fire/hire coaches. Exactly how these attributes impact the team remains unknown, though there is plenty of speculation. Does a head coach with a 95 rating in "Offense" make his team's offense perform better than a head coach with a 75 rating? Does it merely impact progression of players on that side of the ball? What about even more nebulous attributes like "Knowledge" or "Work Ethic"? Players have been left scratching their heads for years regarding the meaning and impact of these attributes. The only easily observable impact they seem to have is that, the higher they are across the board, the more expensive the coach is to re-sign.
    • Ratings will sometimes be added or altered from year to year without a clear explanation of what they do, or how they affect other ratings. For example, "Awareness" vs. "Play Recognition," "Route Running" vs. "Agility," or any of the **five** run-blocking attributes: "Run Block Rating," "Impact Blocking," "Run Block Power," "Run Block Footwork," or "Lead Blocking."
  • Harder Than Hard: The "All-Madden" difficulty. Not only will the opposing AI suddenly become dangerously competent, but your own players will suddenly become much more incompetent. Try not to Rage Quit when your franchise QB is intercepted by a poorly-rated defender making a borderline physically impossible grab or when your elite tackling-machine linebacker gets trucked by a 3rd string running back.
  • Heartbeat Soundtrack: Used during game-winning field goal attempts to amplify the drama of the moment.
  • Hello, [Insert Name Here]:
    • In the iterations that allow for creating a new team or relocating one while changing the name, you are free to enter any name you wish. However, the announcers will not say the name of the team, referring to them generically as "the home team" or "the visiting team". Averted in a few cases where they recorded commentary for a selection of fictional team nicknames (such as "Sharks" or "Rhinos"), which would then be called as appropriate should you name your created team accordingly. The stock logos you could select from do hint at what names might be recognized.
    • Played Straight for created players, who will be referred to by their number. However, if the created player has the same last name as an existing player for whom commentary has been recorded, they may be referred to as such depending on the iteration of the game. (For example, if you create a player named "John Brady", the announcers may actually say "Brady" since they have commentary recorded for Tom Brady.)
  • Holiday Mode:
    • The game will update throughout the year with appropriate decorations. October gives you breast cancer month ribbons and pink-wearing crowds, the holidays puts Christmas lights on the scoreboard, etc. It can get a little outlandish during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, where a user-created coach will be shown wearing an all-pink business suit.
    • More directly, both this game and NCAA Football at one point had a partnership with the Weather Channel wherein the game would simulate the actual current weather at each stadium.
  • Homing Boulders: It was common in the early generations of the series for passes, kicks, or even tacklers to travel in unusual, possibly unnatural ways to ensure the calculated result. Naturally, this has improved over the years with improvements in technology, but it is still possible to see examples where, for example, a tackle initated from the side of the ball carrier inexplicably drives the ball carrier backwards by several yards.
  • Impossibly Tacky Clothes: Madden allows players to mix-and-match a team's uniform elements. Considering some teams have radically changed their colors over franchise history, this can lead to some horrendously ugly combinations. Madden 25 even includes columnist/blogger Paul Lukas to mock you if you do this.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: A somewhat unusual case with John Madden himself. Madden did much more than simply lend his name to the series, in fact, the game was not initially conceived as a realistic football simulation at all. Madden refused to put his name on it until this became the case. The franchise as it exists is very much his concept instead of the original developers', so it's fitting that it's named after him.
  • Informed Flaw: Seattle linebacker Shaquem Griffin was born with a birth defect that eventually required amputating his left hand. While his visual model reflects this, in gameplay he behaves as if he still has it.
  • Ink-Suit Actor: The players and coaches, obviously. 13 adds polygon versions of CBS announcers Jim Nantz and Phil Simms, along with John Madden himself. 20 introduces Superstar KO, including as coaches celebrities like Lil' Yachty and DJ Khaled, as well as Jennifer Welters, the first female coaching intern in NFL history.
  • Joke Character: Long Snappers in general. In the real NFL, long-snapping (for field goals and punts) is considered so specialized that there are many players who spend their entire careers doing nothing else. In Madden, every snap is the same regardless, and long snappers are generally so bad in every other stat that they are immediately cut by the vast majority of teams, and nearly all will be out of the league by season 2 or 3.
  • Lethal Joke Character:
    • Brian Finneran from 04 was coming off his only noteworthy season, but happened to share the roster with Michael Vick, that year's cover athlete who was nearly unstoppable in-game. Throwing unerringly accurate laser beam passes from Vick to Finneran in that year's edition was so easy that Finneran has come to be considered a Madden legend, and he appears in the Madden 25 and16 "Ultimate Team" mode with a completely absurd 95 OVR rating.
    • Superstar KO mode includes numerous celebrities as extremely good players. For example, Snoop Dogg is a wide receiver with elite speed and agility.
  • Loading Screen: The various iterations of the game have treated this differently over the years. Some include extra tidbits of information and/or reminders of the controls on the loading screen. Some just show images of different players. 10 includes outright advertisements in their loading screens, particularly for Snickers.
  • Logic Bomb: Proven possible by's "Breaking Madden" series which uses player creation settings (5'0" 400 lb. QB "BEEFTANK"), roster settings (a team of all Tom Bradys) and unusual play calling (only punts and fake punts) to get the CPU "clearly so fed up with [the] silly adjustments that it stopped trying to create a realistic simulation". The results: lopsided scores and hilarious GIFs of players hit in the head by balls, giving piggy back rides, leaving for Gatorade mid play, and even having their head spin (vertically).
  • Luck-Based Mission: The "Madden Moments" feature in various iterations (and its spiritual successor in Ultimate Team solos) challenges you to replicate some of the greatest feats in football history. Of course, the reason they were memorable in the first place is because they were so ridiculously improbable. Some of the more notable examples:
    • One of the most infamous is 02's recreation of the Heidi Game from 1968, which is pretty much impossible. You control the Oakland Raiders, down by ten points to the New York Jets - the team that would go on to win that year's Super Bowl - with only 1:05 left on the clock. note  Fortunately, you have all three timeouts. Still, you have 65 seconds to score twice and grab an onside kick. Nintendo Hard doesn't even come close to describing it.
    • Also impossible is the final game in the Great Games series, which featured the Atlanta Falcons' 30 - 27 overtime win in the 1998 NFC Championship game against the Minnesota Vikings. You have to stop future Hall of Fame kicker Morten Andersen from making a rather routine 38-yard field goal. Good luck blocking it - even lowering the AI's ability to kick field goals doesn't help.
    • Another is bringing the Indianapolis Colts back from a 31 - 17 deficit against the New Orleans Saints in 11 in a recreation of the final minutes of Super Bowl XLIV. You have the ball, 4th and goal from the 5 yard line, two timeouts and 50 seconds to work with. Have fun. (Unlike the two above entries, the Colts failed to do this in real life, making it all the more impressive if you are able to pull it off.)
    • EA lost the ability to re-create historic teams due to a lawsuit, which means that these scenarios are now often run against the current version of the team, rather than the historic one. In situations where the real-life team has significantly declined, this actually makes it easier.
  • Mad Libs Dialogue: The in-game commentary. It was painfully obvious in the earlier generations of the game, where drastic changes in tone and inflection were common, for example: "The GIANTS have the ball First and TEN from the TWENTY yard-line." As the years have gone on and technology has progressed (allowing storage of more recorded lines), this has become much more seamless. The commentary huge array of options and can handle not only unrealistic scenarios, but also provide team- and player-specific storylines over the course of a season. (Examples include historical tidbits about the '72 Dolphins or '07 Patriots if a team is undefeated deep into the regular season or they may mention the real-life holder of a record if a player is close to breaking it.) They will even condemn overly violent tackles and string together enough clichés that it's now a remarkable simulation of the real thing.
  • Made of Plasticine:
    • Poor, poor Bob Sanders. After several years of season-ending injuries in Real Life, the Colts safety and former Defensive Player of the Year was given a "Durability" rating in the 40's. When he appeared in the Madden 11 demo, it was rare for him to finish the game even with quarters shortened to two minutes.
    • This can be the case for the randomly generated players in the in-game draft classes. Unfortunately, unlike real life where NFL teams get full injury histories on incoming college players, this rating is hidden in many iterations of the game. As such, the college stud you think you just drafted may be massively injury prone.
  • Male Gaze: Recent additions include TV-style bumpers for halftime and the quarter breaks. These include the traditional cheesecake shots of the cheerleaders.
  • Miracle Rally: Naturally, given that the game is a simulation of a real life sport in which these happen all the time. The game even tracks "4th Quarter Comebacks" as a stat for quarterbacks and "Game Winning Kicks" as a stat for kickers in relation to this trope. Crosses over (sometimes painfully so) with Rubber-Band A.I. when computer opponents suddenly become unstoppable juggernauts in order to make one of these happen against you.
  • Mission-Pack Sequel: The criticism that each new year is "just a roster update" essentially boils down to this. The developers actually do try to add new modes and gameplay features each year; how this criticism is received is inversely related to how well that year's new features were received.
  • Motion Capture: Brought into the series with Madden 1994 and used ever since, getting more advanced over time.
  • Multi-Platform: One of the biggest multi-platform sellers of the 21st century. From 2001 to 17, it was multi-generation as well, as every Madden in that span was released for both the current consoles and at least one Daddy System.
  • Multiple Endings: 16 has a Cold Open which introduces some of the new gameplay elements for that iteration in a scenario with Arizona and Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl. This one includes a branching storyline.
  • Muscles Are Meaningless: To the great chagrin of the hardcore community, height and weight matter very little with regard to how well players block or shed blocks - only the ratings matter. This was shown when one player shrank an entire offensive line to 5'6, 150 lbsnote  and they still blocked as effectively as before.
  • My Rules Are Not Your Rules: The AI can do things the player is prevented from doing. Most notably, they can audible in the Wildcat formation.
  • Nerf: There are almost always some from year to year that try to correct imbalance issues from the previous years. To note a few prominent examples:
    • The Wildcat formation was nerfed in 12 by removing the easily-abusable option plays from it.
    • The QB Vision Cone, added for 06, was an attempt at at a nerf, but backfired spectacularly. The tiny vision cone for Quarterbacks with a low "Awareness" could actually be used to "look off" defenders, causing them to adjust their coverage to the wrong receiver. Elite Quarterbacks with high Awareness, such as Peyton Manning and Tom Brady, aren't be able to do this. (The cone was removed for the seventh-generation release of Madden 09.)
    • A number of near-game breaker level plays have gone from abused to impractical over the years. One example were the nigh-unstoppable "play action" plays in the early-mid 2000s. Safeties, even those with maxed out awareness, would almost always bite on the play fake. This left the receiver one-on-one with the cornerback deep down the field. Racking up NFL records in points and passing yards, even on higher difficulty settings, was not unheard of when abusing this play. The effectiveness of these plays has been significantly toned down over the years, while those identified as still game-breaking frequently get nerfed via in-season patches.
    • Starting with 08, to stop players from manually breaking the AI to create unblockable blitzes, defenders will automatically return to their designated spot in the formation if the player moves them and then switches control to another defender pre-snap.
    • Quarterbacks are deliberately slowed down behind the line of scrimmage (below what their ratings would otherwise allow for) to improve the effectiveness of pass rushers, and to avoid unrealistically productive scrambling. In Madden 20, this is negated by specific superstar abilities.
  • No Celebrities Were Harmed: Madden draft classes are usually randomly generated, but from 10 to Madden 25, they were specifically created. This leads some to notice similarities between the athletes you can draft and real college players whose names they cannot legally use. A few of these are also Shout Outs to the NFL Head Coach series some of the programmers worked on as well.
  • No Indoor Voice: Gus Johnson in the iterations he announced, just like real life.
  • Obvious Beta: Many, many glitches abound. Some of them are alarmingly obvious. For example, in Madden 10, the clock doesn't stop when a tackle animation begins in bounds but ends out of bounds, despite the fact that 09 correctly implemented the clock stopping on such plays. Many of these elements can be attributed to the franchise's production schedule. They come out with a new version every year, and the title must be released by when the start of the real NFL season. This means there is only a fixed window in which bugs can be fixed and features iterated, and the vagarious possibilities in any software development mean that some things get lain by the wayside to make the ship date. Their testers have to crunch hard, but they only have so-much time to find bugs and have the development team correct them, so some inevitably fall through the cracks.
  • Oddly Named Sequel 2: Electric Boogaloo: Downplayed but extant. The series started in 1988 as simply John Madden Football. John Madden Football II then came out in 1990. Starting in 1991, the game instead added the upcoming year to the title, so John Madden Football 1992. In 1993, the title was changed to Madden NFL 94, dropping the "19" from the title. 1997 saw the release of two titles - the standard Madden NFL 97 as well as Madden Football 64, which was released on the N64. Madden NFL 2000 started added the first two numbers of the year back in, which would continue until they were dropped again for Madden NFL 06. In 2013, the game was released as Madden NFL 25 instead, celebrating the series 25th anniversary. (Which begs the question of what the 2024 version of the game will be called.)
  • Old Save Bonus:
    • Most versions (prior to 13, which removed the feature due to legal issues, but interestingly including the seventh-generation release of 25) allow you to import rookies from the corresponding NCAA Football title.
    • Madden 09 let you import plays from that year's NFL Head Coach title.
    • Having a Madden 06 save file on PS2/Xbox would allow one to unlock the "Madden Challenge Bus" in Burnout Revenge. (The 360 version simply makes you watch a Madden 06 trailer.)
  • One Stat to Rule Them All: Although it varies by just how much it rules in the game from year to year, Speed has been the most important stat throughout the history of the series. It is common for speedy but otherwise mediocre players in real life to become elite superstars in the game itself due to the emphasis placed on speed. There are a few reasons for this: First, these "speed merchants" often block, tackle, and/or break tackles far better than their real life counterparts which eliminates their greatest weaknesses. Second, because passes are usually targeted to hit a player in the chest, it can be surprisingly difficult to run one of the most common plays in football - throw it high to the slow-but-tall receiver or tight end and let him use his size/reach to out-jump the defender to catch the pass.
  • Popularity Power:
    • Related to Creator Provincialism, more popular players are often given a ratings boost regardless of whether it was deserved. In reality, Marshawn Lynch retired after an ineffectual 2018 season with the Oakland Raiders. When he signed with the Seattle Seahawks in December 2019 to much fanfare, he was added to Madden 20 with a higher rating than he had in Madden 19, despite an increase in the ratings spread and his nearly full year off. Further, aging superstars do not nearly regress as much year over year despite evidence of real-life physical decline.
    • On the flip side, unpopular players can be held back, Inverting the trope. Tyreek Hill never received any special abilities in Madden 20 due to his involvement in ugly domestic abuse incidents, while Myles Garrett had his removed after a violent on-field fight.
  • Product Placement: An enormous amount, which seems to grow by the year. To note some prominent examples:
    • "Patrick Chewing" is available as a draftable rookie in Madden 10; basketball player Patrick Ewing appears in Snickers commercials with that name, and Snickers is a major advertiser in the 10 edition. 11 takes it even further by having product placement in their achievements.
    • Leon Sandcastle was Deion Sanders' alter ego in a Super Bowl Special ad for the 2013 Super Bowl. Within a month, he had been added to Ultimate Team as a playable character.
    • Owner mode takes this further. Instead of setting the price of "hats" at the stadium gift shop, the user sets the price of "New Era 59Fifty Fitted hats." Instead of "T-Shirts", they are "Nike Dri-Fit T-Shirts" and so on.
  • Rage Quit:
    • So you picked the game up with only a cursory knowledge of football? I hope you like seeing the other team merrily intercept your passes and carry them for touchdowns with no help from the game on how to stop them.
    • You may want to pick up a few extra controllers if you plan to play on the All-Madden difficulty, where Rubber-Band A.I. is in full effect. Have fun as poorly rated defenders intercept your elite franchise QB and 3rd string running backs bowl over your elite linebacker who has a maxed out "Tackle" rating.
  • Revenue-Enhancing Devices: Starting with Madden 2010, the series has begun selling things like One-Time Stat Boosts and vintage uniforms that used to be free rewards for in-game success.
  • Rubber-Band A.I.: One of the more shining examples in modern gaming. Bill Simmons of ESPN coined the term "No F***ing Way game" for the times when the computer makes an unbelievable Miracle Rally while your own players become inept clods. It is often accused of featuring an "AI catch-up mode", in which opposing teams inexplicably become drastically more potent in the final minutes of a close game, often to the point where preventing them from completing long bombs and scoring touchdowns seems like an impossible task (sometimes called "Robo QB"), even when the AI controlled team showed absolutely nothing in the earlier portions of the game to indicate that they were capable of this. In most cases, the AI level of rubberbanding is directly related to the difficulty level. On the easiest difficulty level, the AI doesn't rubberband at all: the same tactics, the same plays, over and over. As difficulty level goes up, so does the degree of rubberbanding: on the highest difficulty level, as soon as the player reaches anything approaching a lead, the AI responds aggressively - players for the human-controlled team become utterly inept, well below what their rating would justify, while players for the computer controlled team become unstoppable juggernauts far beyond what their ratings would justify. Furthermore, the rubberbanding does not work in the opposite direction, however. The AI just goes back to the normal difficulty.
  • Run, Don't Walk: Players run as fast as their Speed rating allows by default, with a button press option of a short-area, temporary speed burst on top of it. This can actually be detrimental as there is no easy method for slowing down while maintaining a straight path, such as in situation where your ball carrier is waiting for blockers to open up a hole to run through.
  • Script Breaking: One writer has a weekly series called "Breaking Madden," wherein he creates wildly unrealistic scenarios to see how the AI handles it. Often times, the game doesn't know what to do with the absurdly overpowered humans he creates, including one scenario where punter Pat McAfee was made so absurdly strong that he would have booted the opening kickoff out of the stadium if he hadn't hit the invisible sky wall.
  • Serious Business: Every year when the Madden ratings are released, expect at least one real NFL player to publicly gripe about their ratings. This was even mocked in old commercials. Sometimes it can get downright insulting. Take DeMarcus Ware, who showed up in Madden 08 with a single-digit "Intelligence" rating on a 0-99 scale. On the flip side, when a player is awarded a 99 Overall Rating, EA Sports presents them a "99 Club" plaque in person.
  • Shout-Out:
    • One of the sponsors you can get for your team in Franchise Mode is the "Michael Scarn Paper Company", Michael Scarn being Michael Scott's "Marty Stu" character.
    • The "Midway Monster" Achievement in 09 is a reference to Mutant League Football.
    • After years upon years of complaints that it was nearly impossible to block field goals, 17 includes a mechanic to help you do this. Accomplishing it gives the achievement "The White Whale."
  • Simulation Game: The series goes to great lengths to be as realistic as possible. In fact, with a decently high degree of accuracy, the game is used to predict final records, playoff appearances, and even the result of the Super Bowl each year.
  • Skill Gate Characters: Every iteration of the game usually has at least one team which beginner players can use to defeat AI competition rather easily. This team usually has a skilled QB, at least one stud WR, and a speedy defense. (Any Colts or Broncos team under Peyton Manning frequently fit the bill.) However, skilled players could usually easily defeat the unskilled players using these superior teams quite easily, even when using far less talented teams themselves thanks to their superior knowledge of the game.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: In franchise mode, "Ego" is a hidden stat which will affect the way a player behaves, such as taking a hit to his morale if he's not getting a lot of playing time or holding out for more money in the offseason. A high Ego for big name but hard-to-handle players like Terrell Owens or Chad Johnson made sense. It makes less sense, however, for a low-rated CPU generated player you drafted in the 7th round to have a hugely inflated Ego, to the point where it hurts the morale of the entire team if the lousy backup center isn't getting the playing time he wants.
  • So Last Season: Happens in Real Life because of this franchise. The used games market value for Madden titles runs like clockwork as people rush to trade in last-year's release in anticipation of the new year's release. The quantity of old titles drives their price down very consistently, and a store which does not carefully police the number of titles they take in will find their shelves crowded with almost unsellable old Madden games.
  • So Long, and Thanks for All the Gear: Starting with Madden 25, players would earn XP each week you sent them into practice mode. That XP could be used on traits which would provide an immediate bonus, or to invest in a player long-term by using extremely expensive development upgrades. This, of course, deferred their on-field improvement until later. However, the game also included a mechanic whereby players could become so "insulted" by your contract offer (even if it was exactly what they asked for!) that they flatly refuse to sign with you and take all your expensive development to another team.
  • Sports Game: One of the most popular and best-selling in the history of video games.
  • Super Title 64 Advance: The first N64 edition of the game was called Madden Football 64.
  • Sweet Polly Oliver: Madden 12 includes some of the staffers as Joke Characters, including women. In-gameplay, the women are completely indistinguishable from the men, unlike fellow EA franchise NHL Hockey
  • Take That!:
    • Used frequently by Achievements. The Madden 2010 Achievements mostly involve abusing a real player, and the titles of them are usually at that player's expense. For example, the Achievement for forcing a fumble from former-stockboy Kurt Warner is "Go Bag Some Groceries."
    • They also included a Take That! to themselves in Madden 2011. In 10, if you scored an unbelievable amount of points, you would receive a message saying to stop scoring before you 'break' the game. The achievement unlocked for beating another team by at least 59 points in Madden 2011 is named "Did I Break It?" note 
    • Another Take That! is against the Pro Bowl, the NFL's utterly meaningless All-Star game. You get an achievement called "Thanks for Coming" just for playing it.
    • In Madden 25, they introduced the concept of a "Legacy Score," which would track your character's success as a player, coach, or owner. Achieving a score of 2, which basically requires failing so hard that they boot you off the team as a rookie, earns you the "Blaine Gabbert Legacy Award."
    • Following several viral videos where Tom Brady was seen searching for a high-five that he did not get, Madden 20 included a cutscene for Brady (and only Brady) where he is left hanging by a teammate after a touchdown. Brady himself responded, claiming that Madden was upset because he supposedly broke their curse as the Madden 18 cover athlete.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Any player who was initially rated poorly (usually because they were a rookie) who is then bumped up due to dominant real life play. Some of the more prominent specific examples are below:
    • Richard Sherman who went from being the worst rated player in Madden 12 to being the highest rated (and cover athlete) in Madden 15.
    • This can even happen over the course of a single season, as it did with Alvin Kamara. He went from a 76 rating in Madden 18 to an 88 in Madden 19 after a Rookie of the Year campaign.
    • Another single-season example is Lamar Jackson. He went from a 76 rating at the launch of Madden 20 to an 93 by the playoffs, complete with the designation "Superstar X-Factor" after playing well enough to win MVPnote .
  • Unperson:
    • Occasionally when an athlete has found himself in legal trouble, he'll get totally removed from the game until he's reinstated. This most notably happened to Michael Vicknote  and Ray Ricenote . In Madden 20, Tyreek Hillnote  has not been given a superstar ability despite the ratings justifying it, for the same reason.
    • Starting with 15, the free agent listing only shows you the top 30 or so free agents at a position by rating, or the top 100 overall at any position. If a player below that threshold gets cut, they are effectively lost because no means exist to locate them and sign them.
  • Unwinnable by Mistake: In Ultimate Team mode, if you play exceptionally poorly or quit a lot of games, you can run out of players (who are limited to a certain number of games) and be unable to replace them with fresh ones. It is possible to spend real money to get out of this situation.
  • Up to Eleven: For years the highest player rating was 99, but in Madden 08 they handed out a single 100 ratingnote . This has not been repeated (outside of Ultimate Team) due to the general reaction from the fans.
  • Vaporware: The PS1 port of Madden 96 was heavily hyped and was supposed to be the franchise's first foray in the 32-bit arena. It was canceled, however, with EA stating that it wasn't up to the "quality of publishing standards" for the company.
  • Victory Pose: Various iterations have included certain the signature poses and dances of certain players, which they perform after scoring, getting a sack, picking up a first down, etc.
  • Video Game Cruelty Potential: Averted if you make a dive at a CPU player who's crossing the goal line, the CPU player turns invincible and your player just bounces off of him, the intent being to stop people from invoking this trope by trying to hit players as revenge for the touchdown.
  • Video Game Delegation Penalty:
    • This is especially prominent when playing defense. On offense, under most circumstances, you control whichever player has the ball. The other players will run their routes or block as designed, with their attributes (especially "Awareness") playing into how well they do these things. On defense, however, you can take control of any player. The ones you aren't controlling can almost certainly be expected to perform worse than they would under your control. One of the most prominent examples occurs when the opposing QB rolls out out of the pocket. Pursuing defenders have the option of either going for the QB (at which point the QB will try to pass the ball), or dropping back in coverage (at which point the QB will try to run with the ball). This is a desirable situation in real life for the offense, as it forces the defenders to choose and should leave one of the options open. However, in the game, if you are not controlling the closest pursuing defender, expect to see him get indecisive and hover in between, leaving both the pass and the run wide open. This can even happen with defenders who have maxed out Awareness.
    • In Franchise Mode, you may choose to skip over offseason events such as the free agent signing period and the draft. Do so at your own risk, as the AI may decide to, for example, sign multiple expensive free agents at one position leaving you without enough cap space to fill other needs. It may draft players at positions where you already have excellent players and good depth, meaning those players won't even see the field while leaving gaping holes at other positions on your roster. It may allow a young stud to leave via free agency while re-signing an aging player with decreasing stats to a multi-year extension.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Trading or releasing an "NFL Icon" or a "Locker Room Leader" will cause team morale to drop dramatically and can negatively impact fan attendance. Players are not above asking for their own ways out; some will even call you out in the paper for it.
  • Worst Aid:
    • In the older versions, when a player was severely injured, an ambulance would come out onto the field to help them and in doing so it would clobber all the players in its path.
    • In the more recent games, injured players will get up and hobble off the field regardless of the injury suffered. This includes knee, hip, and back injuries so severe they end the player's career.

Longshot and Longshot: Homecoming in Madden 18/19 feature examples of:

  • The Cameo: Key players, like Tom Brady, DeShaun Watson, and Antonio Brown (in Homecoming) get minor speaking parts. The cast of Good Morning Football appears on some scripted segments about the mode's characters.
  • Medium Blending: The mode features motion-capture for the cutscenes, but any screen footage (TV shows, including the fictional segments of the real-world Good Morning Football talk show recorded for the game, and some characters' cell phones in video call) are shot fully in live action.
  • Save Our Team: A major subplot in Homecoming, as a result of the town being devastated by Hurricane Harvey. Because of the hurricane, the team and its infrastructure had been left in a dilapidated state thanks to poor funding. Amidst this, members of the city council are actively proposing a merger with a rival school, believing they could acquire more resources doing so.
  • "Where Are They Now?" Epilogue: At the end of Homecoming. Devin continues to play for the Texans, and Colt happily continues coaching for the Bullfrogs. Even the minor characters get in on this: for example, coach Earl Cotes decides to move to Mathis to help out the Bullfrogs, and Guzman starts a fund to aid others incorporate their business

Alternative Title(s): John Madden Football


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