NBA 2K11 made it close, but NCAA Football 06 is the best sports game of the last decade. I got it for Christmas the year it came out, and I quickly became addicted to playing it. It was the introduction of Race for the Heisman, and the dynasty mode improved quite a bit.
In 2006, almost every major sports franchise came out with variations of "My Player," and NCAA was no different. The Race for the Heisman was the original—at least it felt that way.
You had your trophy case, your weekly letter, the depth charts and, most importantly, the picture of your girlfriend constantly changing with the increase of your Heisman hype.
You do a simple drill at the beginning to determine which schools you can attend, and from there you start immediately and jump right into college culture. As soon as your four years are up, you can import your player into Madden to start your Superstar, which made it feel much more worthwhile.
NCAA 06 brought the dynasty mode in NCAA to a whole new level and made it much more fun to play. NCAA 06 also introduced the impact player and cleaned up the gameplay.
By the time NCAA Football 07 came out, I was too obsessed with 06 to buy it. I rented it and decided I would just go with 06 for another year. Or two.
The thing that really pushes that game over the top is its soundtrack. No other game can come close to competing with that soundtrack. Every time a new song comes on, I say to myself, "I forgot how much I love this song!" Every time. My favorite from the soundtrack has to be "Teenage FBI" by Guided By Voices.
No other NCAA game has had a soundtrack before or since. My guess is that they realized their next soundtrack could not possibly live up to expectations, so they decided to not have one at all. There is no debate among any of my friends about which sports game has the best soundtrack—no other game can touch NCAA 06.
This was the most enjoyable game of all time. I've logged more hours than I'd care to admit playing NCAA Football 06, and after much deliberation, I, along with Joe and Eli, decided NCAA 06 is the greatest sports game of the last decade.
In the best year ever for sports games, this one was the best. The best game in the best year takes the title.
Make sure to check out the Bleacher Report profiles of Eli Wade and Joe Blair, and Follow me on Twitter @MaxMinsker.