"MADDEN 1015" A new class of Madden knowledge Version 1.0 beta by: Iceman firstname.lastname@example.org ***Table of Contents*** I. Introduction II. Offense A. Basic Philosophies 1. "Smash Mouth" 2. Run-N-Shoot 3. West Coast" 4. No-Huddle 5. Using Audibles B. Running 1. Sweeps/Tosses 2. Dives/Draws 3. Counters/Cutbacks C. Passing D. Formations III. Defense A. Stuffing the run B. Pass Coverage 1. Zone coverage 2. Man-to-Man 3. Blitzing IV. The Teams V. Top 5's VI. Credits *** I. Introduction *** This FAQ is property of the author. It may not be used, or printed without permission by the author. This guide is meant for the free use of those Madden fans who are browsing this website, hoping to find something to make their game better. If you wish to use this FAQ for a website, or anything else, please e-mail me at the address above. This guide is for the diehard fan of John Madden football. For now, I didn't bother putting up a move list, because the instructions and the game's case list most of the moves for offense and defense. Many moves I will refer to in this guide. Why should you listen to me? Because I have played many games of Madden 2000 against some very good human competition, winning more often than I lose. I am NOT unbeatable, but I do understand the game and know a few tricks that can be helpful to most players. I hope you enjoy this guide and learn at least a little something by reading it. Now no more BS, let's get to the football! *** II. Offense *** A. BASIC PHILOSOPHIES --- It helps to have a basic gameplan when you are playing. There is no need to get too involved with it; you'll rarely be able to stick 100% to your plan. But it helps to know what you want to accomplish, what you want to keep your opponent from doing. 1. "Smash Mouth" --- This is a term I first heard watching John Madden while he was commentating a game on TV. What I mean by "Smash Mouth" football is simply taking the ball and smashing it down the other teams throat. This style of offense is where one team simply runs the ball straight at the defense using dive, off tackle, counter, and sometimes even toss and sweep plays. Smash Mouth teams pass the ball only when necessary, usually only throwing short routes to pick up first downs. This offense is built around ball control, keeping possession for as long as possible, thus keeping the opponent's offense off of the field for as long as possible. This approach tires the defense, physically (Madden 2000 isn't very realistic on fatigue. The only player who gets subbed for fatigue is a running back if you use him over and over again.) and mentally. By being successful, you dictate the tempo of the game and can mess up your opponent's gameplan. 2. Run-and-Shoot --- Now a dead offense in the NFL, the run-and- shoot was made famous by the Houston Oilers and Atlanta Falcons of the late '80s and early '90s. The run-and-shoot offense uses 4 wide receivers, 1 running back and no tight ends instead of the conventional 2 backs, 2 WRs and one TE. This offense is simple, throw the ball often. To run this offense, it helps to have a running back who has decent hands, blocks well, and can run without the help of a tight end or blocking back (fullback). A strong offensive line is also a necessity. This offense also needs an accurate QB, with 4 good receivers to throw to. At least 1 or 2 of these receivers need to be able to make big plays for you offense. This kind of offense can put up the points quick. 3. "West Coast" --- The most common offense in the NFL today. This offense is mainly used in good San Fran and Green Bay teams of the 1990s. This is an offense based around short precise passing. What you'll need to have is an accurate QB, RBs with good hands, and a solid TE. Basically, your goal here is to make quick 3, 4, 5, 6 yard passes all the way down the field. This can really piss off your opponent cause if he'll try so hard to stop it, to no avail. Use quick flare passes to your RBs to gain 3-5 yards a pop. If your TE is good, you can own the middle of the field, forcing the defense to ease up their coverage on the outside. Use the running game to keep the defense honest. Once you foe is trying TOO hard to stop the short game, set him up with a deep ball to your big play wide receiver. 4. No-Huddle --- This offense seems to anger people fairly quickly. The Buffalo Bills of the early 90s used this offense to make 4 straight Super Bowls (though they lost them all, lol). This offense is based on making your opponent panic by using audibles to call your plays, trying to catch them in a mismatch, then burning them. To use the No-Huddle, simply press and hold "X" (on playstation, for PC, whatever button, or key, does speed burst for ball carriers, and switches men on defense) after a play that ended on a run or completed pass where the ball carrier was brought down in bounds. You will NOT be able to run the No-Huddle after an incomplete pass, or if the ball carrier is forced out of bounds. I personally advise using the No- Huddle as a pass based offense, with 3 WR/1 TE or 4WR out of single back or a Shotgun. Though I have seen some good No-Huddles using "base" formations (I-form, Pro Form, Near, etc.). The Rams are my favorite team to run No-Huddle with because of their speedy WRs, and Marshall Faulk. More on the No-Huddle in the section on "Using Audibles" (below) 5. Using Audibles --- An audible is when you call one play, then change the play at the line of scrimmage. You are allowed to set 6 audibles for offense and defense. On offense, you want to use your audibles for one of 2 reasons. 1) You call a play, but you believe your opponent has called a good defense for it, so you want to change your play to something that will favor you. Or 2) You are running the No-Huddle and don't want to use the same play every time down the field. If you intend on using the No-Huddle, I advise you set up plays that come out of similar formations, so your opponent doesn't catch on to what formation leads to what play. This is also a good idea if you are only using audibles for the first reason. *** III. Defense *** Now we're talking. If offense is an art, then defense is a science. As you'll see I'm very biased towards defense. Defense wins your games. You can score all day, but you'd better be able stop your opponent from scoring too. Of course, you can't win games with great defense alone (sorry Tampa Bay), against good competition you'd better be able to put some points on the board yourself. Good defense puts you in good field position, and you'll find that if you win the battle of field position (where you start your offensive drives from). A. Stuffing the Run --- This is the basis of defense. If you stop your opponent from running the ball, than they only can only have a one dimensional offense. A solid defensive line is key for stopping the running game. If your line stuffs the run up the middle, than you can concentrate your linebackers and DBs on stopping the outside runs. When you select your play, pay close attention to which direction your linemen move. There will be holes somewhere; it's your job to make sure you compensate for them. Some good plays to stop inside runs are 4-3 Pinch, Whip Man, Base, and 3-4 Inside Blitz. Outside running plays are more dangerous. These plays can be stopped for big losses, but if not contained, they will go for 15+ yards easily. 4-3 Thunder and Safe work well against the tosses and sweeps, though they provide somewhat limited protection versus the deep ball. B. Pass Defense --- Since most players are pass happy, this is what you'll have to learn to stop. I think the pass is a little too strong in Madden 2000. 3rd and 16 can be easily picked up, very unrealistic I know, but unfortunately it's true. So you have to deal with it. Be sure you match up appropriately with your opponent's offense. If the offense sets up with 3 or 4 WR, you will need to call a Nickel or Dime package to match up. If you are caught in a mismatch (goal line vs. shotgun 5WR for example), AUDIBLE TO A ZONE OR CALL A TIMEOUT. Burn a time out if you must, it's better than giving up 6 points, isn't it?? 1. Zone Coverage --- A zone is when your defensive players cover a specific area, "zone", of the field. These are good bend but don't break coverages. The only serious weakness of a zone is if a pass is thrown into the seams (area between two players' coverage) of the zone. Zones can produce INTs if the opposing QB makes a poor throw. 2. Man-to-Man Coverage --- This is when your players match up "man- to-man" (I know...DUH!!). If you are not careful this coverage can burn you. Speed is the key here. If your opponent is faster than your defense, than you will need to rely on zone. Dallas, Oakland and New England are the best at man coverage. The advantages to man coverage are the lack of seems in zones and the possibility to pick off passes. The main disadvantage is the fact you can be burnt by the opponent's speed. Slants, crosses, and "zig-zags" (example: Strong I - WR MD Drag, the right side WR) can kill man coverages. 3. Blitzes --- Here's that dirty word, Blitz. The blitz is your best friend, and your worst enemy. If you make it to the QB in time, you will be able to swing the momentum in your favor. Beware though, if you blitz, you are gambling. You can get burnt if the QB gets the pass away. Don't blitz every play. Be careful and time your blitzes when your opponent least expects them. A good time to blitz is on 3rd and long. If you blitz a few men, and have players back at the first down marker, allowing anything short of the first down, than the offense will be under pressure to make a play, and you may be able to get a turnover out of it. *** IV. The Teams *** (Note: This section is written based upon DEFAULT rosters. PC updates drastically change the ratings and will effect how you need to play a team. Possibly in the future I'll create an update dedicated to using current rosters.) Yes, it is more the man using the team than the actual team themselves. But let's face, if 2 players are of equal skill, which is going to win, Philly, or Green Bay?? I'd say the Packers. Pick a team cause, a) You like the team (not necessary, I play with the Jags and 49ers all the time), b) They are your playing style. Example, if you like to run and gun, go with Jacksonville, Minnesota, or St. Louis. Don't use the Giants or Saints. I'm will review most of the teams in the game, discussing their offense and defense. Most teams have Key Substitutions that can be made. Making these subs can greatly increase your team's performance. AFC WEST DENVER BRONCOSÃ³-I'm a Bronco fan, so I'm going to start with them. Offense: This offense is awesome. Terrell Davis is the best RB on the game. Shannon Sharpe is the best TE on the game. You have enough firepower to keep up with anybody. This O has one major weakness...QB. Bubby Brister is horrible. Chris Miller is a little bit better. Like with other poor QBs, it helps to get them (either one of them) into a rhythm, and then they will play better for the rest of the game. Griffith is a great FB, and McCaffery and Smith are as good a 1-2 punch as you'll find. Powered by a great offensive line, this offensive unit is scary. Defense: A good defense, which complements the offense. The Bronco D- line is able to get pressure on the QB. The secondary may be their weakness. Dale Carter leads this group. The backbone of this defense is the LB crew. These guys are great. Romanowski and Mobley are the leaders here. Key Subs: N. Smith to LE. D. Johnson to FS. C. Miller to QB. KANSAS CITY CHIEFS---These guys are built on ball control and field position. Nothing fancy, just moving the chains one play at a time. They play excellent defense as well. Offense: This is not the most spectacular offense you'll see. They are made to play conservative, power football. Get Elvis Grbac in a rhythm early. This will help, cause he does have some good targets to throw to. Tony Gonzalez is a great TE. He's big, has decent hands, and can jump well. Use him to your advantage. The WRs, led by Derrick Alexander, are quick. They each have the ability to break a big play. Bam Morris is not quick, or fast. He just pounds the ball behind a damn good offensive line. Anders has great hands out of the backfield. Defense: The bread and butter for the Chiefs. The secondary is very good. Hasty leads these guys. Derrick Thomas anchors the LBs. The Outside LBs, along with the Chiefs' strong D-line will give the opponent's QB nightmares. Key Subs: L. O'Neil to RE. JACKSONVILLE JAGUARS---Watch out for this high-powered offense. These guys are a threat thanks to a well-balanced offense. Offense: Best offense on the East Coast. Fred Taylor is one for 4 HBs to have an overall rating of 90 or greater. He is what gives the Jags balance. Mark Brunell has many good receivers to throw too. Don't forget about Brady, the TE. Use him to keep defenses honest. Alvis Whitted is dangerous. He has a 97 rating in speed, but poor hands. Try to hit him on the run for a deep ball, since he will out run almost anybody. The O-line has two of the best OTs (tackles) in the game, but they are soft in the middle. Defense: Good D-line. They will be the strength of this D. The outside LBs are good, but the inside ones are weak. The CBs are susceptible to the deep ball. Try not to leave them in 1-on-1 coverage too often. C. Lake is a great DB. He his versatile as a FS, yet he can play CB as well. Key Subs: E. Curry to #2 DT. TENNESSEE TITANS---A team I've liked through the years. These guys play power offense with an aggressive defense. Offense: Run, run, run!! Eddie George is a beast!! He can break several tackles, then run away from the rest of the defense. Wycheck is a good pass catching FB, who can be rotated with Harris at TE and/or Neil at FB. C. Sanders supplies speed to the WRs. Dyson and Thighpen are not bad either. Defense: This defense can win games for you. They are strong at all positions. The good LBs and Safeties are the strength of this unit. Be aggressive with these guys. Try to put pressure on the QB, because these guys will usually make it to the QB. AFC EAST BUFFALO BILLSÃ³This is a team that I love to use. They play a strong defense based on 3-4. A lot of people don't like these guys, but I love to use them Offense: Eat your Flutie Flakes! You have pretty good WRs. Reed is consistent, Moulds is the big play man, and Williams has great speed. Gash is the second best fullback in the game. A. Smith is not an amazing HB, but if you follow your big O-line and Gash's blocks he can go for 100+ yds on and given day. Don't forget to use the Tight End, Reimersma. Defense: These guys are very versatile. They can run any formation as well as the others, be it 3-4, 4-3, Nickel or Dime. The great D-line is responsible for this unit's versatility and dominance. Bruce Smith leads this line. K. Schultz heads a good secondary. Key Subs: A. Winfield to #1 LCB MIAMI DOLPHINS-These guys win with their defense and what plays Marino can make. They lack at the offensive skill positions. Offense: This is a liability. Now I've seen this offense ran well, but I don't think it's one of the best. O.J. McDuffie and T. Martin are pretty good WRs. RB No. 34 (Cecil Collins) is not the best HB you'll find. Drayton and Pritchett are solid, not spectacular. Now the O- Line is the strength of the offense. Marino will have all day to throw and the backs will have a WALL to run behind. Defense: These guys are Awesome!! The Dolphins' D is arguable the best in the game. The secondary is quick. The Linebackers are great. And the Line is one of the best. Zack Thomas, Sam Madison and Jason Taylor are the superstars on this defense. Key Subs: P. Surtain to #2 RCB. Make sure D. Rogers and D. Edwards are your #1 ROLB and RILB. Whichever one is your preference. NEW ENGLAND PATRIOTS-Another solid Defense coming out of the AFC East. These guys are a threat on both sides of the ball. Offense: The Patriots are a pass-based offense. Kevin Faulk has good speed, but he can't break a tackle from a 12 year old. Drew Bledsoe has all kinds of good targets to throw too. Ben Coats is the #2 TE on the game, USE HIM!! Jefferson and Glenn are a good 1-2 receiving punch. T. Simmons gives great speed from the #4 WR. Look at this offense as Denver's...with twice the quarterback and half the running back. Defense: A strong defense. There is no real weakness to this defense. The secondary is extremely quick and skilled. These good DBs allow for gambling, like 1-on-1 coverage and blitzes. The linebackers play well, and with the Pat's good D-line, you can expect pressure on the opponent's QB. Key Subs: T. Bruschi to #1 LE. C. Carter to #2 SS. M. Moore to #1 RILB. NEW YORK JETS-This is one of my favorite teams on Madden 2000. They are a very balanced squad that can light up the scoreboard, or win a 10-6 defensive struggle. Offense: Good balance. Keyshawn Johnson is the #2 WR on the game. Curtis Martin provides a solid running game. In your rush to hit Johnson for a bomb, don't forget you have 3 other solid targets. Wayne Chrebet has great hands. Dedric Ward has the speed, and Eric Green is a big TE who is a good pass receiver. Opponents often forget about Green, so it is your duty to remind them. Defense: These guys have a sub-par D-line. They make up for it with the best linebackers on the game. So, be ready to run the 3-4. The secondary is hard hitting and will make some plays. Key Subs: J. Sowell to #1 FB. F. Baxter to #2 TE. D. Boose to #1 LE. R. Mickens replacing O. Smith at #1 RCB (depending on who your opponent has. Make sure Mickens is guarding the faster WR). NFC WEST ATLANTA FALCONS-The Dirty Bird isn't dead yet. Armed with Jamal Anderson, the Birds still have a chance to win any title. Offense: I've got two words for ya...Jamal Anderson!!! You MUST run to win with these guys. Use all of your base offense. T. Dwight and T. Mathis are your speed WRs. Santiago is a solid TE, and a BIG target to throw to. Defense: The Falcons' D is led by an amazing D-line. They are a good all-around defense. They have a good secondary, led by Ray Buchanan, who can usually take away the opponents top WR. Key Subs: T. Dwight to #3 WR. C. Sauer to #1 RILB SAN FRANCISCO 49ERS-It's almost the end of the line for the 49ers. These guys are getting up there in age, but they still have enough talent to play with anyone. Offense: These guys are virtually unstoppable. G. Hearst is a top rate RB. One of the differences between the Playstation and PC versions is that Hearst is the starter on the Playstation, and not on the PC. Make sure he is starting for you. Rice, Owens and Stokes are the best 1-2-3 WRs connection west of Minnesota. Defense: The CBs suck. The D-line is great though. M. Hanks can rack up INTs for the 49ers D. The LBs are solid, led by Ken Norton Jr. Not a lot you can say for these guys, except score some points for them! Key Subs: Hearst to #1 HB (PC version) SAINT LOUIS RAMS-The surprise story of the NFL, the Rams are all about offense. Don't be fooled though, these guy have a legitimate defense as well. Offense: You are running on diesel power, Faulk Diesel that is. These guys are loaded with big play ammunition. Faulk, Bruce, Holt and Hakeem have ridiculously crazy speed. Phroel is a solid #3 WR. Light up the scoreboard, cause you'll probably need it. The O-line is not great, but not the worst. You will probably need to get Trent Green warmed up (he's better than Warner in here, trust me. It is still default rosters). Defense: The secondary and D-line are strong. The LBs are the obvious weak point. T. Collins is you one great LB. The DBs will usually make plays for you. K. Carter and D. Farr are great linemen who will play both the pass and the run. Key Subs: E. Conwell to FB. D. Harris to TE. DB No 29 (Dre? Bly) to #2 RCB. T. Allen to #2 SS. NFC CENTRAL GREEN BAY PACKERS-Supposedly the best team on the game. They at least have the best numbers. Well, they are pretty damn close. Offense: Watch out for these guys. O-line is a little bit of a weakness. The base starters are awesome. Freeman is your main target! If you are playing these guys...stop Freeman! Chamura and Levens are excellent receivers as well. Farve is the second best (rating wise) QB on the game. He'll make some amazing throws. Defense: A good D-line. Don't run at these guys, run around them! The linebackers are pretty good. The CBs suck. Leroy Butler (SS) is the key to this defense. His play can make or break the defense. Key Subs: Desmond Howard to #3 WR. MINNESOTA VIKINGS-Light up the scoreboard. These guys have ammo at all positions. Defense is questionable at times. Offense: The BEST! If there is a weakness to these guys, it's at FB. The Viks have the best Receivers in the game. The O-line is great, and will provide solid pass protection, and running lanes for Smith. Be sure to take advantage of Smith's speed. And when all else fails, just chuck it up for Moss. Defense: The CBs are susceptible to the deep pass. John Randle and crew need to get to the QB to take pressure off of the cornerbacks. The Safeties are good though. The linebackers are a solid group as well. Key Subs: Hoard to FB? (If you want to sacrifice run blocking for rushing ability). Moss to Punt Returner. TAMPA BAY BUCCANEERS-I love this team! These guys play hard-nosed football. Mixing a strong defense with a balanced running game. The Bucs are a threat. Offense: Run, run, and run some more. Dilfer sucks. Get him into a rhythm to have a chance at a passing game. Tampa has 3 WRs over with over 90 in speed. This is something to remember when facing weaker secondaries. The key is the Warrick Dunn/Mike Alstott 1-2 punch. Dunn supplies good speed and receiving, while Alstott is a good blocker, and a punishing runner. Defense: The heart and soul of the Bucs is its defense. It is arguably the best in the game. Sapp is a QBs worst nightmare. Lynch is an INT waiting to happen. Use the Bucs defense to make the offenses job easier. The LBs are quick, and the defense is a very fast unit in general. Key Subs: B. Kelly to #2 RCB NFC EAST DALLAS COWBOYS-America's Team my ass. Well, so there are a lot of Cowboys fans bashing me now. Ok, I'll admit, I love to use these guys. Not because I'm a Cowboy fan (or Cowboy bandwagon), but because they are the junk!! Use them and you'll see what I mean. Offense: This is the meaning of high-powered offense. Aikman is one of the better quarterbacks on the game, and he has talent around him. 2 good RBs (E. Smith and D. Johnson), 2 good TEs (D. LaFleur and E. Bjornson), and 4 good WRs (M. Irvin, R. Ismail, J. McKnight, and E. Mills). You can run many styles of offense with the 'Boys. Emmitt and Rocket's speed command respect. Defense: As solid as the offense. The secondary is pretty good. Deion Sanders is the reason this secondary is tough. The D-line is good. The LBs are pretty good, but they are the weak link in this defensive unit. If you are facing the 'Boys, don't be TOO scared of Deion. He can be beat; it's just hard to do. Key Subs: L. Lett and C. Hennings to #1 and #2 DTs. D. Sanders to #3 or #4 WR?? NEW YORK GIANTS-These guys are about as defensive oriented as they get. You don't want to get into a shootout when using the Giants. They may not score much, but most teams will have a difficult time scoring on them. Offense: One word...UGLY. QB is the main weakness. Take your pick on which to use, they all suck. Gary Brown is an average HB, at best. Way is a great FB, so follow his blocks and use his hands. The Giants have average WRs. Hilliard is your best target. B. Alford can provide unexpected 4WR speed. H. Cross is a good TE, get him the ball. The O- line is average also. Pretty much, an average offense, at best. Defense: One word...great. The defense will keep the Giants in most games. Sehorn leads a strong secondary. The LBs and D-line do a good job versus the run. J. Armstead is the top LB for the Giants. And Strahan anchors the D-line. Key Subs: S. Galyon to #1 RILB. C. Hamilton to #2 RCB Nickel. P. Ellsworth to FS. *** V. Top 5's *** This section is dedicated to me telling you who the top 5 players and teams are in the game. I will also give you my opinion of which teams I like best. I'll start with the top 5 players at each position. I'm listing players by where they "should" play. Example: Terrell Davis is a halfback, he may have a 100 rating at fullback, but he is NOT a fullback. As for ties, I didn't bother trying to break a tie. I just listed all of the players who tied. Quarterback: Halfback: Fullback: B. Farve (GB) 96 B. Sanders (DET) 99 M. Alstott (TB) 100 S. Young (SF) 93 T. Davis (DEN) 97 S. Gash (BUF) 92 D. Marino (Mia) 90 J. Anderson (ATL) 96 C. Way (NYG) 92 J. Plummer (ARI) 89 F. Taylor (JAX) 90 W. Henderson (GB) 89 M. Brunell (JAX) 87 M. Faulk (STL) 89 J. Whitman (PIT) 89 P. Manning (IND) 87 E. George (TEN) 89 E. Smith (DAL) 89 Wide Receiver: Tight End: Offensive Tackle: R. Moss (MIN) 97 S. Sharpe (DEN) 98 T. Boselli (JAX) 98 A. Freeman (GB) 95 B. Coats (NE) 91 W. Roaf (NO) 97 K. Johnson (NYJ) 94 M. Chamura (GB) 87 L. Searcy (JAX) 95 J. Smith (JAX) 94 E. Green (NYJ) 84 B. Armstrong (NE) 94 J. Galloway (SEA) 94 K. Brady (JAX) 83 T. Steussie (MIN) 92 K. Dilger (IND) 83 Offensive Guard: Center: Kicker: R. McDaniel (MIN) 96 D. Dawson (PIT) 99 G. Anderson (MIN) 98 L. Allen (DAL) 95 J. Christy (MIN) 94 J. Elam (DEN) 96 S. Wisniewski (OAK) 92 K. Nawae (NYJ) 94 M. Andersen (ATL) 96 D. Szott (KC) 91 T. Nalen (DEN) 90 J. Carney (SD) 93 R. Brown (BUF) 90 B. Matthews (TEN) 85 J. Hanson (DET) 91 T. Peterson (SEA) 91 Defensive End: Defensive Tackle: Outside Linebacker: B. Smith (BUF) 98 W. Sapp (TB) 98 J. Seau (SD) 96 M. Strahan (NYG) 94 E. Swann (ARI) 98 M. Lewis (NYJ) 94 M. McCrary (BAL) 93 B. Young (SF) 97 B. Romanowski (DEN) 93 A. Wadsworth (ARI) 93 J. Randle (MIN) 95 P. Boulware (BAL) 92 M. Sinclair (SEA) 90 D. Russell (OAK) 94 J. Armstead (NYG) 91 B. Smith (ATL) 90 Inside Linebacker: Cornerback: Free Safety: Z. Thomas (MIA) 97 D. Sanders (DAL) 100 C. Lake (JAX) 91 L. Kirkland (PIT) 97 A. Williams (ARI) 97 S. Atwater (NYJ) 89 R. Lewis (BAL) 92 J. Sehorn (NYG) 95 B. Marion (MIA) 89 H. Nickerson (TB) 90 C. Woodson (OAK) 94 K. Lyle (STL) 89 M. Jones (NYJ) 90 D. Carter (DEN) 94 M. Robinson (TEN) 89 T. Johnson (NE) 90 D. Perry (SD) 89 B. Harris (GB) 90 Strong Safety: Punter: L. Butler (GB) 98 M. Turk (WAS) 99 R. Harrison (SD) 96 C. Hentrich (TEN) 96 D. Woodson (DAL) 94 C. Gardocki (CLE) 93 R. Griffith (MIN) 92 D. Bennett (SD) 91 L. Milloy (NE) 91 B. Maynard (NYG) 90 H. Jones (BUF) 90 NOW FOR THE TEAMS... Overall: Offense: Defense: Green Bay (94) Denver (97) Miami (96) Denver (93) Minnesota (96) New England (95) Minnesota (91) Green Bay (96) Tampa Bay (93) Dallas (91) Jacksonville (94) Green Bay (93) Miami (91) Dallas (93) Buffalo (92) Oakland (92) Denver (92) Special Teams: Quarterbacks: Runningbacks: Atlanta (97) Green Bay (95) Denver (93) Buffalo (97) San Francisco (92) Atlanta (92) Minnesota (96) Miami (89) Detroit (88) Kansas City (94) Arizona (88) Pittsburgh (87) NY Jets (94) Jacksonville (87) Dallas (87) Indianapolis (87) Receivers (WR/TE): Offensive Line: Minnesota (87) Minnesota (87) Denver (84) Miami (81) New England (84) Dallas (79) Green Bay (82) Jacksonville (78) San Francisco (82) Denver (78) Kansas City (78) Defensive Line: Linebackers: Defensive Backs: Arizona (89) NY Jets (87) Dallas (87) Buffalo (86) Pittsburgh (84) San Diego (86) Tampa Bay (86) Green Bay (81) Miami (86) New Orleans (85) Baltimore (80) Oakland (86) Atlanta (85) Tampa Bay (80) New England (85) Denver (80) My Picks: These are 5 of my favorite teams to use (no "real" order) 1. New York Jets--I love to use these guys. They run a killer 3-4 defense and can light up the scoreboard with anybody. Look for Dedric Ward or Keyshawn Johnson to beat their coverage, or use Eric Green or Wayne Chrebet on mid-short routes. They also have my favorite defensive player, Steve Atwater. I almost cried when Denver cut him. 2. Buffalo Bills--Another 3-4 defensive scheme (see a pattern?). These guys lack the offensive firepower of some teams. Eric Moulds and Kevin Williams are the speed boys. You also have a good TE and A. Reed to throw at. The defense is awesome!! The line is stout, and K. Shultz gets interceptions all the time. A. Smith is overlooked as a rusher. Stick to dives and off tackles, and make sure you follow Sam Gash's blocks! If you want a smash-mouth running attack, the Bills are a team worth trying out. 3. Denver Broncos--My Boys. I have been a Bronco fan since, well, since they were getting whipped by the 49ers 55-10 in Super Bowl XXIV (I think it was 24, not sure exactly). The biggest problem with the Broncos is the quarterback. I like to sub Chris Miller in for Brister. Use Sharpe!! People are so concerned with getting the ball down the field and stopping the deep ball, they often forget to cover the middle of the field. This is where Sharpe can dominate. As for the defense, attack, attack, attack!! Be aggressive with these boys. They will usually make plays for you. You will need to score points to allow you defense more freedom to play aggressive and gamble. 4. Minnesota Vikings--Randy Moss. I've been a Moss fan since he lit it up at Marshall (I live 2 1/2 hours from Marshall). The guys have the most dangerous offense in the game. Keep it balanced, and the defense won't have a clue on how to stop you. You can run inside behind your top ranked line, outside with Smith's speed, throw for possession with Cris Carter, or just chuck it up deep to Randy Moss. The defense is not the strongest. The cornerbacks can be beat deep. Try not to leave them in 1-on-1 coverage very often. Rush the passer; if they don't have enough time to throw it deep, then your corners can't get burnt deep. 5. Tampa Bay Buccaneers--Now we're talking defense!! This is the BEST damn defense in the NFL. I would go as far as to say they could stop, or at least contain, the Vikings. The problem is...their offense is weak. Much like the Broncos, the Bucs have problems with the quarterback. Dilfer is horrible. Don't rely on him to save you. He doesn't exactly have the best receivers to throw to either. Emanuel, Anthony, and Green are all fast, but they drop passes easily. You key to offensive success?? The running game. Warrick Dunn is fast enough to take the ball outside, and Alstott is a beast to tackle. When in doubt, just take it up the gut with Mike "you're in good hands with" Alstott. The defense is led by Warren Sapp. (On a side note, go to www.big99.com/flash7.swf to see one of the coolest sites dedicated to an athlete.) He will get to the QB; it's only a matter of time. The defense he has around him is great too. John Lynch is one of the hardest hitting DBs in the game, and is always a threat to make an interception. Have fun with these boys. I advise mixing up man and zone coverages. These guys can run both well, so keep your opponent off balance. *** VI. Credits *** EA Sports: for making the best Playstation/PC football game known to man. John Madden: for being the best football commentator on TV, and the mind behind the best game out there. Jerzey, PACKATTK, oLdScHooL, and Mr. Clint. Mr. Clint is the one who introduced me to the world of Internet Madden. PACKATTK was my first opponent at Crushem, and I learned quickly the competition was fierce. Thanks to PACK, Jerzey and O-ScHooL for adding new dimensions to my game. Crushem: For being the best Internet Madden league on the planet. Ellie, a.k.a "Sweets": for buying me the PC version of Madden2K, and putting up with me talking all about the friggin' game. Mom: for buying me my Playstation, my computer, most of my video games, etc. Oh yeah, and for letting the boys play in the house too. The VA Avenue Crew--these are the guys I play with all the time. Here's where I've learned how to hold my own in football games. Want to learn some lessons in football (and trash talk) come to 2038 VA Ave. Jay (a.k.a. the Disco Inferno, or Fred Flintstone): I know these people couldn't care less about what a good friend you've been (and yes, sometimes...even a role model), and how you've always been there for Mom and me. So I won't, I'll just tell them what a kickass Madden player you are. This is the man I play against almost everyday that I'm home. One thing though...the 4-3 is NOT perfect!!! Linebackers can NOT cover WRs like Dedric Ward and Jacquez Green. You would think after beating you on Super Bowl Sunday with Jacquez Green and about 3 plays you'd get the point. By the way, maybe one day we'll see that Dallas-Denver Super Bowl. Dwayne, D, D-ball, Shorty, the Best 5'7 Defensive End there ever was, Little B**T**D, Big Nose, etc.: The Guru of Defense. The Grand Pooh- Bah of the blitz. This is the man who endowed me with all of my (as we call it) "Defensive Technology." He taught me how to run killer defense back in Madden 98. Want to learn defense, just ask Uncle D. This dude breaks it down on the screen, or on paper. He can talk X's and O's, or just show you what great defense looks like. When his offensive strategy is working, he is almost unbeatable. Maybe one day we'll see a...he11 no!! The Eagles are not getting anywhere close to a Super Bowl. Sorry D. Ronnie (Casper): If you ever get a grasp on the concept of football, watch out!! You'll be unbeatable. You got some good tricks goin', you just have to learn how to put it all together, the offense, defense, and special teams. Another one of the boys I play with. Give him some strategy, and he's a force. Bucky: If you could play football 1/2 as well as you talk trash, you'd be the man! LOL, this guy will talk a good game, and sometimes he'll give you a good game to back it up. He loves 4-6 yard darts to the Tight Ends, or mid-short crosses to his Wide Outs. If he had an ounce of defense, he'd be a strong opponent for anyone. You: for reading the FAQ and hopefully making my work worthwhile. If you want to e-mail me with responses questions, or comments, my e- mail is at the top of this FAQ (it's email@example.com if you don't feel like scrolling back up). Look for me in Crushem, my name is Iceman. I play in the SML2000 and George's Cable Madden2K league (I'm Baltimore). *** Revisions *** One e-mail revealed to me that I had made a huge mistake. My team ratings were based on the default rosters. Not updated rosters as I originally said. I corrected that error. I added Jacksonville, Denver, Tennessee, and Kansas City to the Teams section. *** Future Updates *** I hope to finish my outline at some point. I have plans for two more FAQs, one being and "inside the playbook" and another being a team guide with the updated rosters.