We've all been there.
The balance between girlfriend and Madden.
It's a touchy subject for many of us, one that has led to countless arguments and existential breakthroughs. Ever since us sports fans have picked up a controller, we've played Madden, whether it was John Madden Football in 1988 or this year's spectacular version, Madden 12.
The back-and-forth between Madden and girlfriend can be compared to a tug-of-war. There's give and take, but the hope is that you continue to at least stay connected, and someone doesn't all of a sudden let go of the rope and their significant other ends up on their back.
The complicated issue of Madden and girlfriend seems like it traces back to the dawn of the caveman. We grunt at our girlfriends while playing Madden much like the cavemen of yore.
Of course, the difference today is we're held to much higher standards than pure grunting (some of us detest this fact of life).
That is why this list may be bigger than a video game, bigger than the game of football.
Yes, this list is about life as we know it.
So, without further ado, I give you 10 ways to get your girlfriend to play Madden.
Perhaps one of the biggest pet peeves for the opposite sex, is that by spending countless hours on Madden, we revert back to the days of our ancestors when people didn't shower.
When spending countless hours on Madden, it's easy to forget about activity or the outdoors—or simply that there is life beyond the TV screen.
Most women like a man who takes care of himself (or so I've been told). If your girlfriend wakes up every morning at 5:00 a.m. to the sound of Gus Johnson's voice, while that would be an alarm clock for most of us men, it can get under women's skin pretty fast.
Especially when you smell and haven't made her coffee yet.
This is meant in two respects: give her a chance in the video game to win and give her a chance with you in real life.
Now, if you are the dapper, confident, on-top-of-the-world young man that I'm sure all you Madden gamers are, she will realize that not playing Madden isn't worth losing you.
Sure, it's not the healthiest way to continue a relationship, but women tend to like the thrill of chasing a man too—just make sure she's not always chasing your favorite running back in the video game.
It's hard not to completely blow someone out of the water in Madden, but the one-fourth rule is pretty effective: Play a good game for one-fourth of the time—but make sure you space it out.
If you rack up 21 points in one quarter, she'll know something's up and will accuse you of not giving her enough respect by lolly-gagging the rest of the game.
Yep, it's that one word that gives men the shivers, "housework."
It's enough to drive a man crazy.
But I actually know male human beings who will promise to do half an hour of housework for each hour of game-play. It's actually a very effective method to get your significant other to sit down with the controller.
As for me, that ratio is about 15 minutes per hour, but it's getting dangerously close to becoming half an hour.
Still, not a bad bargain.
All of us manly men have been burdened at times with your girlfriend having to go to the bathroom or something and asking you to hold her purse for just a minute.
A minute can turn into minutes, and minutes seem like hours when you are holding a purse in a bar.
But ensuring her you won't gripe about the burden when she comes back is a big step, and it takes a better man to keep his mouth shut.
Of course, we aren't going to do this for nothing: We need a reason not to gripe.
Nothing like a good old-fashioned shunning.
If worse comes to worse, the threat of a shunning can go a long way.
"Honey, can you pick up some milk on your way home from work?"
"Well, I would, but John Madden would have something to say about that."
A little harsh, but if it means more Madden game-play with your significant other, most of us would agree it's well worth it.
This is a bit tricky because it's hard to make your girlfriend believe Madden is more than a video game, but part of life as we know it.
One tactic is to mention how many people play Madden nationwide.
"Just think, babe, if people didn't have Madden to wind down after a hard day's work, how stressed out would this world be? Ray Lewis once said there would be more crime on the streets if there was an extended NFL lockout. Same goes for an extended Madden lockout. Just think of it that way, c'mon...now, kick the ball off using the 'A' button."
You could also mention that John Madden originally thought of the game as a means for coaches to teach young players different coverage schemes.
"Think of the children, hon," you could say. "Don't you care about the children?"
Denver Broncos quarterback and former Florida Gators star Tim Tebow is one of the most popular players in the NFL.
Men respect his play at Florida. Women respect his dashing looks.
Unfortunately, in real life, Tebow's not a very good quarterback, nor is he even the backup to starter Kyle Orton in Denver.
But Madden can fix that. The temptation of playing as Tebow is enough to make any girlfriend change their stance.
Not only is New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady just as popular among the lady folk as Tebow is, but Brady's also been given a rating of 100 in throwing accuracy in Madden 12. He also has a great team surrounding him.
Playing as Brady will not only amuse your girlfriend, but she should also enjoy the game more when all she has to do is throw the ball to Chad Ochocinco, then press up on the control stick to score a touchdown.
And if worse comes to worse, you can always add the flowing mane Brady had last season. Chicks dig the flowing mane.
Nothing like a guilt trip.
We all do it every once in a while.
Just look at her with sad eyes and lament, "Don't you love me? If you loved me you would play Madden with me."
Simple, yet effective.
If you can convince your significant other that it's a life-or-death situation, you have it in the bag.
The only problem is, it's hard to prove such a thing. Sometimes simply saying, "Honey, it's a life-or-death situation," may work.
But sometimes you have to get a little creative.
Like, "Honey, if you don't play Madden with me, I will get sad. If I get sad, I will get depressed. If I get depressed, I won't go to work. If I don't go to work, I'll get fired. If I get fired, I'll be unemployed. If I'm unemployed, you'll see me playing Madden more than you could ever imagine."
Focus on the "snowball effect." When her eyes have widened to the size of saucers, you know you've got her right where you want her.