I have recently played the new Madden quite extensively. I can admit that I love the Madden games, although I discourage perceptions derived from Madden.
For instance, one writer on B/R once wrote that interceptions in the real game are circumstantial because the Madden defender will intercept a pass that looked like it was over his hands.
By the same idea, the receivers often make catches that a real player would not make.
Yet, many know about the Madden curse of being the player on the cover.
I caution against deriving too much from Madden, but I cannot deny the fact that Madden has become an integral part of the culture around the NFL.
Musings and Mutterings:
I've been able to slice and dice defenses with the Raiders by effectively using audibles, despite the fact that Madden rates the Raiders at a platy 71 overall.
I do so much so that Darrius Heyward-Bey once caught 230 yards and two touchdowns, while Chaz Schilens, Louis Murphy, and Zach Miller have always been money, so long as the pass protection holds up.
And I'm not talking about just lousy teams like the Browns and Rams. I'm talking the big boys like the Steelers, Cowboys, and Saints. One of my favorites is to audible to a deep pass and then audible back to a running play and hand the ball to Darren McFadden. Effective use of the audibles can mislead the coverage, and thus create gaping holes.
If using audibles can cause misdirection and confusion by the defense, I can only imagine what you could do if you knew the defensive play in advance.
This lead to a leap of intuition.
Since I have been able to deceive the A.I. of the game, I remembered that every Super Bowl winner has been predicted by the Madden game when the two teams are pitted against each other...except once.
Can you guess which one?
That's right, folks. The 2001 New England Patriots that were outed for stealing signals in 2007. The Patriots of 2001 are the only team to win the Super Bowl, after losing the Madden match-up before the game.
Gee, I wonder why?
If we are to believe the fanboys at ESPN, everyone cheats and that stealing signals doesn't matter, anyway. Which begs the question, if it doesn't matter, why would everyone do it?
I have, of course, written repeatedly that it does not make sense to believe that the Patriots would steal signals on the road against Pittsburgh and St. Louis in January of 2002, but would not do so at home against the Oakland Raiders in the same postseason.
The same people, however, will be more than happy to label the Raiders as cheaters, even though the Raiders *technically* never broke the rules, while the Patriots did officially break the rules. Maybe we should have Madden decide the "real" outcome of the 1980 AFC Championship game in a "rematch" between the Raiders and Chargers.
But, I digress.
All that I have really learnt from Madden is that the Raiders need Schilens to be healthy and that Darren McFadden can torch defenses that don't commit to the gaps, but even that might be saying too much.
However, I do find it quite amusing that a game named after Raiders Hall of Fame coach John Madden could in fact suggest and prove the importance of cheating by stealing signals.
How I love irony!