-<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>- __ __ _ _ _ _ _____ _ | \/ | __ _ __| | __| | ___ _ __ | \ | | ___| | | |\/| |/ _` |/ _` |/ _` |/ _ \ '_ \ | \| | |_ | | | | | | (_| | (_| | (_| | __/ | | | | |\ | _| | |___ |_| |_|\__,_|\__,_|\__,_|\___|_| |_| |_| \_|_| |_____| _|_| _| _| _| _| _| _| _| _| _| _| _| _| _| _| _| _| _| _|_|_|_| _| _| _| _| _| _| _|_|_|_| _| _| _| FAQ/Strategy Guide >>==<<==>>==<<==>>==<<==>>==<<==>>==<<==>>==<<==>>==<<==>>==<<==>>== For Microsoft X-BOX Version Final By Chris Zawada User: antseezee E-mail: antseezee@epix.net Created: 11/01/03 Last Update: 07/14/04 Copyright 2003-2004 Chris Zawada -<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>- Author's Note ---------------------------- I'd just like to say that this is one of my first "major" FAQs ever, so please bear with me. This FAQ/Strategy Guide is a general way of helping you understand how Madden 2004 works. It is not some in-depth guide full of roster names, or historic teams. This basically tells you how to successfully operate the game to full efficiency. Just like to say thanks for reading it, and hope that you gain the missing knowledge you were looking for in Madden 2004. Contributing/Feedback ---------------------------- If you have any contributions, feedback, or strategies you'd like to have added to the guide, contact me via e-mail or on GameFAQs. I'll be more than content to add your segment of information, and will also provide credit. If you have any questions you'd like added to the Common Questions section, ask. I simply don't have the time to sit around thinking of questions. Provide me with what you want to know! Updates ---------------------------- =07/14/04= v.Final ***FINAL VERSION*** This is the last update for this FAQ/Strategy Guide. For the most part, about 70% of the people enjoyed it, which is nice to know. I'm sorry it wasn't more about the game. I really designed this guide to help those who wanted to increase their Madden playing skills, and understanding football to a more "strategic" level. Thanks for your e-mails, and I'm sorry if I never responded. This was my first guide after all, and it won a FotM which was very surprising. Regardless, enjoy next year's Madden, and hopefully your skills as an avid football player have increased. =01/08/04= v1.1 ***NEW VERSION*** Finished the Rookie Scouting section mainly thanks to JLawson's Rookie Scouting FAQ (check the credits section for more info). Also added a few more questions/answers to the Common Questions section (Chapter 8). More information is added about holdouts, how to fix them, and all (if not most) of the custom teams in Madden 2004 - [SPECIAL*^*thanks to Joel Glenn on this tip]. =11/04/03= v1.0 Finished most of the guide. It's not actually 100% complete, but really only a few key elements are missing (Rookie Scouting Tests). Most of these will be finished in the next update. Enjoy the official first version. =11/01/03= v1.0 Started the basic outline of the FAQ. Main goal is to provide a more general understanding of Madden to the beginning, and advanced player. ============================ - Table of Contents - ============================ 1) Introduction 2) Controls 3) Game Modes > Description of each with partial strategies 4) Offense > Formations/Ratings 5) Defense > Formations/Ratings 6) Key Strategies > Passing > Rushing > Defense > Special Teams 7) Franchise Details > New Additions > How to manage 8) Common Questions 9) Special Features > Madden Cards, EA Sports Bio, Custom Soundtracks, Sliders 10) Copyright/Distribution/Reproduction Guidelines 11) Proper Credits -<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>- ============================ - 1) Introduction - ============================ Madden NFL 2004 is one of the most popular football video games ever, revived for yet another year in action. Originating back in the early 90s, Madden has continued to dominate mainly for its realistic gameplay, and mass amount of options available to the player. The entire game takes place in the NFL, where you can control up to 32 different teams, and hopefully lead them to the Superbowl. However, Madden 2004 is more than a simple football game. It's a masterpiece of strategy and management. Players are given the ability to take control of a franchise, literally signing players to extensive contracts, firing/hiring coaches, and ultimately building the great dynasty. -<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>- ============================ - 2) Controls - ============================ Thankfully, this year's Madden fits perfectly to the X-BOX controller. Unlike last year's scheme, players have quick and easy access to pump fakes, spins, and the stiff arm which can be used for heavy gains. Also, please note that the control pad is the flat, 4-way button on the X-BOX controller. The left and right joysticks are the prongs that stick out. Just don't get confused with either. ______________ /Menu Controls/ ---------------------------- Up/Down Pad - highlights items Left/Right Pad - changes items A or start - selects B or back - cancels X - help menu X + L/R trigger - changes to next music track Playcalling ---------------------------- Start - pauses game Back - calls timeout Control pad - cycles formations A, X, or B - selects designated play Y - cancels the formation or play selected Kicking/Punting ---------------------------- A - starts and stops kicking meter Control pad - allows for change in the path of the ball *Hit A once to start the kicking meter. Hit it again as far up as possible (for more power). The bar will then reset downward. Hit it a third time to stop it for accuracy. The more red you hit in the power, and yellow in accuracy, your kick will hit dead on. Please note that wind, weather conditions, and muffled snaps can affect where it goes. By changing the path of the ball, you can cause for lower, farther kicks. Also pushing a punt upward will cause it to have more hangtime. *The meter gets faster on each difficulty, and the bar moves extremely fast if you hit the button in heavy red. Kick/Punt Returning ---------------------------- A - highlights control of the returner closest to the ball Y - calls for fair catch (while ball is in air) *After the ball is caught, all rushing buttons take effect of the returner. Use them accordingly. ________ /Offense/ ---------------------------- A - Snaps the ball B - calls a fake snap (useful for pulling defense offsides) X - calls an audible (press another button afterwards to change the play) Y - calls a hot route (allows you to select a receiver, and press a direction to change his receiving route) Right Joystick - move it left or right to make use of the playmaker feature Control Pad - Press up or down to cycle between eligible players in motion, press left or right to move that receiver in the designated direction White button - Coach's cam Black button - Coach's cam w/ routes *Fake snaps can cause for both false starts and offsides, so be weary of its use. The use of the right joystick (before a play) allows you to change the play without calling an audible. For example, on a run, if the play is designated to run left, you can press the joystick to the right. This will cause the run to go to the right, allowing you to avoid a blitz, or something of the sort. *When using a hot route, press Y once. Next, select the button of one of your receivers. Press a direction of how you want to change his receiving route. If the receiver is going to make a curl back to the line, you can hot route him, and press up so he'll go for the deep bomb. *The coach's cam is basically a super zoomed out view which shows all your personnel on field. It gives you a general overview of the defense, and is perfect for anticipating what the opponent is going to do. Passing ---------------------------- Left Joystick/Control Pad - moves QB A - toggles the passing icons on the screen (allows you to pass to a receiver) A, B, X, L/R triggers - passes the ball to that designated receiver White button - throws the ball away (out of bounds) Black Button - pump fakes Y - disables passing icons (after enabled), allows for QB to rush *The passing mode must be set to NORMAL for passing icons to work. If the mode is set to QUICK, your receiver icons will pop up immediately after the snap. Thus, make sure you don't accidently throw the ball to receiver A, when you actually mean to speed burst. *All buttons are pressure sensitive. Lightly tapping a passing icon will cause for a deep bomb, rather than a speeding bullet. Press according to how you want the ball thrown. Rushing ---------------------------- Left Joystick/Control Pad - moves player A - speed bursts X - dives (press lightly to slide with QB) B - spins Y - hurdle/jump R trigger + left or right - juke steps left or right L trigger - stiff arm *Pressing the R trigger to a greater degree will cause your player to side step to a greater extent. Speed bursts restrict your movement for a limited amount of seconds. You basically cannot turn while speed bursting. Receiving ---------------------------- A - take control of intended receiver X - dives B - sprints Y - catch/leap for pass *Dive can be very useless, especially on catching drills. It has to be timed precisely, and also be in range of the jump. There's also an extremely slow recovery time after you dive. It's almost essential that you press Y to catch the ball (unless you let the CPU do it for you). ________ /Defense/ ---------------------------- A, B - cycles through your defenders Control Pad/Joystick - allows you to move players L trigger + direction - defensive line shift L trigger + white button - resets D-line shift R trigger + direction - linebacker shift R trigger + white button - resets LB shift X + another assigned button - calls an audible Y + direction - calls a coverage audible X + white button - resets to original play White button - Coach's cam Black Button - Coach's cam w/ schemes *Defensive shifts allow your personnel to get a better angle on the defensive side of the ball. Shifting the linebacker core the left, when you're fairly sure a run is going to the left side increases your chance of stopping the run. It also allows for better coverage on receivers, giving the linebackers a head start. *Coverable audibles are similar to bump-n-run, and hail mary coverage. You can basically move certain people to the left and right to double up, down to jam the receivers, or up to play the deep pass. After the Snap ---------------------------- A - takes control of player closest to ball Left Joystick/Control Pad - moves player X - dives, or dive tackle B - sprint Y - leap Black button - strips the ball (causes fumbles) L trigger - spin move (to get rid of a blocker) R trigger - swim move (to also get rid of a blocker) *Any defensive player who comes in contact with an offensive player that has the ball will automatically attempt a tackle. It's not necessary to dive at every player you want to tackle. The strip move attempts to cause a fumble in the carryers' hands. Unfortunately, it can also catch the face mask every once in a while, leaving for a face masking penalty. The spin move is similar to a defensive player spinning around a slower offensive linemen. If you're caught off balance, you will get pancaked on a spin move. A rip will try to catch a blocker off guard, but can also get you jammed up for a few seconds. __________ /Playmaker/ ---------------------------- New in this year's version of Madden 2004 is the Playmaker feature. It makes use of the right joystick (on the X-BOX controller). When pressed in a certain direction (before and after the snap), it will cause certain effects. Offense (Before the Snap) - changes left/right direction of play, hot routes receiver onto a different route Offense (After the Snap) - control the nearest blocker to you, direct the closest receiver on a passing play Defense (Before the Snap) - edge the secondary towards one side of the field Defense (After the Snap) - cheats towards the run, or the deep pass *The right joystick must be pressed up or down immediately after the snap for the run/pass effect to work. Basically, when pressed down after the snap, it will cause your linebackers to blitz for the run. When pressed up for the pass, it will cause your safeties to drop back into deep coverage. Unfortunately, if you get caught in a play fake, you will give up a big play. Use on an occasional basis. -<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>- ============================ - 3) Game Modes - ============================ _________ /Play Now/ ---------------------------- =Let's you play an exhibition game between 2 teams.= - Play Now is your typical exhibition mode. It let's you play a game that doesn't count (although it can be added to your profile). Away/Home teams can be set, created teams can be imported, even stadium conditions can be set. Pressing the L or R trigger will let you navigate the vast list of "historic" teams that EA Sports added in on the side. Even the kickoff time can be set thanks to this trusty little feature. Up to four people can play. __________ /Franchise/ ---------------------------- =Take control of any professional team for over 30 years, and lead them to the Superbowl.= - Franchise is Madden's premiere gaming mode. It allows the player to control every aspect of a professional team. Player salaries, coaching contracts, playing the actual games, and owner methods must all be managed by the player alone. Rather than simply playing a simple season, the gamer is given a chance to actually manage a team both financially, and respectively. For a more in- depth analysis of franchise mode, please check out Chapter 7. ___________ /Tournament/ ---------------------------- =Create a special bracket in which various teams can compete for the ultimate leadership.= - Tournament is similar to many of the gaming competitions around the world. The entire mode is designed to have various teams go head-to-head until one defined team is left over. This is great for finding out who the best Madden player is out of a group of friends, or simply for the sheer fact of challenge. Types: - Single Elimination <-> Double Elimination - Round Robin <-> Double Round Robin Besides the type of elimination, the player can choose the number of teams in the tournament, who plays who, and if a fantasy draft is to be initiated. Certainly one of the more entertaining modes among a group of friends. __________ /Mini-Camp/ ---------------------------- =Compete in various drills in order to earn tokens, unlock game situations, and fine-tune your skills.= - Mini Camp is similar to Training Camp (new in 2004), in which players test their skills via several training drills. Each area of football is split into individual tests, such as passing, rushing, tackling, and kicking. Players must score a minimum amount of points to earn a trophy, which in part allows them to test the next difficulty. Each drill is split into four difficulties (Rookie, Pro, All Pro, All Madden), with each getting harder as you progress. Precision Passing ---------------------------- The goal of precision passing is to hit ring targets placed across the field while being able to hit receivers in stride. Rings are colored according to value (bronze, silver, gold), and bonuses are rewarded if the ball is caught as well. Rings will get smaller as the difficulty rises, meaning you have to time and put the right amount of pressure to pierce the ring in the middle. Basically, there are a few key tips to get down. The release of the ball is the most essential part in succeeding. On out routes, you want to send a speeding bullet right when the receiver makes the break to the outside. On curl backs, wait till the receiver starts to edge back, then bullet pass it. For deep passes, wait until the receiver is about halfway down the route, then lob it. If you happen to go past the ring (vertically), hold the passing button down longer for a more speedy throw. On slants, wait till the receiver gets two steps off the diagnoal break, then pierce it in. Here's a little graph to help: ^ ^ | / | ___ / |. ^| | / . ______^ | . . | / . |. | . . | | . . X . . | X . . | | . . | | . . | --------O---X--- ---------O----X--- *The dotted projectories is when you should throw the ball on each specific route. For example, on the deep straight route, just loft the ball when the receiver is halfway down his route. By timing it halfway, the ball should arrive at the ^ arrow that's pointing up (represents a ring). The same goes with the curl, slant, and out routes. Just use the trajectory of the dots to time it. Pocket Presence ---------------------------- In Pocket Presence, you must manage the pressure of the oncoming defensive line, while being able to throw passes to the correct icon targets. It's not as hard as it seems though. Points are awarded for completing a pass, and a multiplier will increase your points by completing consecutive passes, not getting sacked, and hitting the correct receivers. Simply enough, tennis balls are shot out of stationed guns at the quarterback. You must avoid the tennis balls, and then pass the ball to a receiver whose icon lights up. Unfortunately, there is a small circle in which you are not suppose to go out of. If you stay out of the circle for an allotted time of five seconds, the drill will end. Thus, you must stay in the pocket, avoid tennis balls, and fire to the correct receiver. My best strategy for this drill is to stare at the northernmost gun. Don't look directly at the receivers, or all the way down at your QB. Position your eyes right in the middle, so that you can get a small amount of peripheral vision on both the guns and receivers. One of the most important elements is to memorize which color is associated with the button on the controller. B is for red, A for green, and X for blue. If you can remember these key colors, then this drill should be easy. Here's a little picture to show you what you should be concentrating on. |A| |L| |R| |X| |B| ^ <----- stare at this one ^ ____ ^ / \ ^ \ Qb / ^ \__/ <------ pocket zone *As the difficulty rises, the rate of tennis balls show and amount will increase. Thus, you have to keep some vision on what's coming at your quarterback, and which icons are lighting up. After a pass is completed, note that the passing icons are RESET. Do not memorize each position. Just associate the color with the button, and when it lights up, fire away. Remember though, stare at the middle gun to keep a balance of view. Clutch Kicking ---------------------------- One of the easier drills in 2004, Clutch Kicking is basically an accuracy contest for kickers. Players must be accurate in kicks (the goal post is split into three colored zones). More points are awarded for kicks that split the uprights, with lesser points designated for slightly-off-the-middle kicks. No points are awarded for missing a kick. You're given 60 seconds to obtain as many points as possible. All you have to do is press A to start the kicking meter, (press A again) to stop it in the red, and press it once more when it reaches the middle of the yellow zone. Since this is a timed event, be quick in your actions. Don't dilly dally around like you have a 30 second play clock. Just check the wind meter once, and aim all your kicks in the same way. *As the difficulty rises, the wind, distance, and kicking meter becomes more difficult to manage. The wind always stays the same for all 60 seconds, so just check it once. Be VERY careful on higher difficulties, as the kicking meter moves extremely fast. Try your best to time it. Places are systematically moved from the left hash, middle, and the right hash. Also, never move the trajectory higher, since it will waste time and reduce distance. Swat Ball ---------------------------- This is definitely one of my favorite drills in all of 2004. Similar to most defensive drills, Swat Ball is a defensive back designed drill where players must swat, intercept, and prevent dummy receivers from catching the ball. An automated machine will shoot out a pass in timed intervals to a dummy (stand- still target) in which your defensive back must tip or intercept the ball. Points are earned by you getting a hand on the ball before the receiver does. Doing this consecutively will increase your points by a multiplier, and intercepting the ball yields bonus points. This is a really easy drill, as long as you can time the interceptions right. The drill starts off with a highlighted circle appearing to show you which receiver is going to get the ball. The immediate moment you see the circle, sprint (using B) to that direction, and let off right around the area. Once you reach the area of the ball, it should be shot out by this time. Press the R trigger to face the direction of the ball. If you don't, your back will be facing the pass, and will only get deflected. Using a combination of the R trigger, press Y to leap up and intercept the ball. Immediately after that, wait for the next circle to pop up, and repeat the process. Note that if you can't make it in time (for one of the interceptions), press the L trigger to make a leaping tip. *As the difficulty increases, the velocity of the ball will go up as well. This drill usually requires a fast defensive back since you'll be racing from target to target. Also, an additional dummy is added per difficulty. This means, you may be forced to run from short-to-deep, and tip a few passes along the way. Ground Attack ---------------------------- This is your all-out running back drill. Basically, the goal is to score as many touchdowns as you can with a runningback and limited blocking. You're given 60 seconds to get as many points as possible. Points are rewarded for gaining positive yards, and scoring touchdowns. Plays are continuous and random, meaning that a play (different or the same) will continue right after you're tackled. Rushing out of bounds will stop the clock. Each time a play intiates, random "pilon" blockers are shifted in various directions. You must use these pilon blockers, combined with a blocking fullback to get past 2-5 defensive tacklers. This is by far one of the most useful, and masterful drills in 2004. Your actual Halfback can make a huge difference, since speed can prove to be a great benefit. Since time is continuous, it's smart to go for the touchdown when you know you can, and to run out of bounds when the situation is doubtful. Once the play is snapped, look for where the hole is in the offensive line. If there's a wide open gap, speed burst through it, and use your fullback as a guide. Sometimes a linebacker will seep through that your fullback misses, meaning you're left to hang dry. It's essential that you follow the block of your fullback. If he cuts for the late block, move to the outside and rush up the sideline. If he goes for the inside slam, follow his lead, and see if he pancakes the defender. Use your special moves as well. Spinning is by far the most useful, since it allows you to get rid of a defender one on one. Use the stiff arm when you need to muscle an outside gain. Avoid using a juke, since it tends to be more of a slowdown on time. Here's a little picture to guide you: | . | | . | | X . | | X . | | B.. | | . X | | . | | .X | | . | | oo .^ oo o | | O | | O | Spin move Follow the blocker *As you can see, by pressing (B + inside direction), your rusher will actually spin towards the inside. This will completely fool the defender, getting him off your trail. Following the lead block can usually be a bit tricky, but takes a little practice. Your fullback ^ will plug one of the oncoming defenders, giving you an interval of time to see where to take your path. In this case, you'd probably want to take it straight up the middle since both outside routes are covered. As the difficulty increases, one more defender is added to the field. Trench Fight ---------------------------- The biggest flaw with most of the timed drills is that most of your players need speed. Unfortunately, Trench Fight is a timed drill that involves slow defensive linemen. The idea is to reach a posted flag (represents the QB) which is behind one or two offensive linemen. You must shove, rip, spin, or get by the guard/tackle, and reach the flag. Usually, there are 2 or 3 patterns setup one after another, making Trench Fight more of a race of time. This is by far one of the hardest drills in all of mini camp for the pure fact that you need pure luck. In order to reach the flags in the quickest amount of time, you have to know when to engage blocks, and when to get around them. Whenever you see a big tackle, try to rip (R trigger) past him. When you approach a fullback or lighter guard, use the shove (B button) to pancake him on his butt. Use the spin move in dire situations when you can't rip or push the person down. *Trench Fight gets extremely difficult on higher difficulties. Your defensive linemen needs a great balance between strength and speed in order to get past double teams, and large tackles. If you get pancaked once, you've pretty much lost the drill. Try to avoid contact with blockers if there's a way around them. Also, the time limit will increase, forcing you to get past more blockers along the way. Chase and Tackle ---------------------------- When it comes to kicking the pure butt out of any offensive players, linebackers usually do the dirty work. Chase and Tackle is a LB designed drill where a defensive player must track down and tackle the running back. It can be one of the easiest drills in the game up until All-Pro/All-Madden difficulties. Points are yielded for not giving up rushing yards, and penalty points are subtracted for giving up a touchdown. You'll start off as the initial linebacker a few yards behind the line of scrimmage. After the play is snapped, watch where the offensive blockers go. Usually, when a run up the middle is being played, you'll see the O-linemen space out a hole up the middle. The second you see it, press B to sprint into the hole, and dive straight ahead for the tackle. When an outside run occurs, you'll usually see the linemen space out. Move directly to the side of the pitch, and sprint horizontally across so you can direct yourself right into the half back at the line of scrimmage. Watch out for the spin move. The CPU does it quite frequently on outside runs. *When you reach the All-Pro and above difficulties, the HB gets a fullback as one of his blockers. This can be extremely dangerous, and avoid the fullback at all costs. He'll try to engage a block with you, preventing you from getting the tackle. Use the R trigger to face the line of scrimmage, and hover behind until you can get an angle on the HB. Try not to use the strip function since it rarely causes fumbles. You'd be better off going for the tackle. Corner Coffin Punt ---------------------------- Punters usually don't get a lot of respect in Madden. Most pressure situations don't come down to them (kickers get the champaigne), and those big-time plays are usually shunned upon. Thankfully, you can get all of your punting madness in the Corner Coffin Punt. The goal is to launch a punt inside a specified red/orange/yellow zone that is placed along the sidelines near the endzones. Players are given a limited number of attempts to get punts as close as they can to the bullseye, without kicking a touchback, or punt out of the zone. First off, aim your trajectory so that it appears to be going out of bounds. Try to get it close enough to the corner as you can, and aim downward so the wind doesn't play a huge factor in where it goes. Next, press A to start the meter, stop it in the red, and hit it once more in the yellow. Make sure you account for the factor of wind, and try to project where the punt will go. *On higher difficulties, the kicking meter becomes faster, more sporadic, and wind velocity becomes greater. Continue to line drive as many punts as possible, and try to hit them out of bounds, rather than bouncing them. Remember, there's no time limit, so take as much time as you desire. _______________ /2 Minute Drill/ ---------------------------- =Try to score as many points as you can within a two minute period at the end of a game.= - Two minute drill is your typical pressured situation that forces you to come out with the unexpected. This is basically a way for players to spend their time in Madden without playing an extensive game. It starts out similar to exhibition mode, where you select a team and an opponent. You automatically start out on your own 20 yard line, and must score as many points as possible in a 2 minute span. Thankfully, you're given 3 timeouts, and points are awarded accordingly. Every first down recorded, big play, or simple rush will accumulate a final score. If this score is fairly good, you're awarded tokens. If it's extremely good, you'll make a high score list for everyone else to see. - More tokens are rewarded for higher difficulties, so give All-Pro and All- Madden a try. Scrap most of your running plays in this mode. This isn't a simple game where you have to score a touchdown. This is more about a scoring frenzy. *The best strategy I've come by is to simply go out with a 3-wide receiver, 1- TE set. You want to be able to send your wideouts on straight deep patterns, and have your TE go on a post up the middle. Basically, if the defense is playing a cover 2 (where the safeties drop back to cover the wideouts), your Tight End should be open enough in the middle of the field. If there's 1-on-1 coverage on the outside, you can send a deep bomb, and pray for the catch. Here's how you should set it up: ^ ^ ^ | \ | | \ | | ___ | | | | \ | | | ^ | | | | | | | X | oooooX X X Qb Hb <->You may have to attempt some manual catches on the deep post patterns. Basically, after the ball is thrown in the air, press A to take control of the receiver. Hold down B to keep sprinting upward. When the ball starts to come down to the circle, press Y to leap up and make a magnificent catch. It's usually a 50/50 play, but it produces a big gain (30+ yards), and usually allows for quick TD scores. _____________ /Football 101/ ---------------------------- =Learn how football really is 1-on-1 with John Madden himself.= - This is sort of like the "n00b" version on how to teach you football. It's really just a simple guidance system with some John Madden audio clips that attempts to teach you the basics of a few plays. Tokens are awarded based on how successful you follow the play's plan. If you goof up, or pass to the wrong guy, it will give you another chance to complete it. Unfortunately, besides being a tutorial system, it doesn't offer much help or reward. Once you complete a designated play and earn the tokens for it, it becomes grayed out in the "Madden" playbook. _________ /Practice/ ---------------------------- =Get your groove down on each snapped play, whether it be a daunting pass or charging run.= - One of the relatively more useful game modes in all of Madden 2004 is Practice. This nifty little thing allows you take any team, and place them in rigorous practice conditions. Every single play can be used from a playbook, and is constantaneous so that you don't have to wait for the game situation. Types: - Normal <-> Offense versus Defense - Offense Only <-> Only your offense will show up on the field - Kickoff <-> Practice special teams plays *Practice allows for the importing of exported and created teams. Press Y at the practice setup to import a team saved to the hard disk. This is useful for practicing with some of your own custom franchise teams, rather than the default 2003 rosters. __________ /Situation/ ---------------------------- =Customize your own game complete with settings, weather conditions, and the whole shenanigans.= - One of the newer, and much needed features in this year's Madden is Situation. Basically, you can create any type of scenario given any condition or setting. Various teams can be selected to recreate Superbowl matchups. Every aspect ranging from the score, what quarter it is, time left, timeouts for each team, and even who has possession can all be customized. Situation is basically the ultimate game modifyer, allowing to even set what stadium you're playing in. *You're also permitted to load created/exported teams, and watch matchups between the computers. -<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>- ============================ - 4) Offense - ============================ Football games are practically decided by the offense. The entire game is based around whatever team has the higher amount of points, thus giving the offense an edge. Whenever a big play comes down to it, the offense always performs. Madden is slightly more of an offensively-biased game, allowing for huge touchdown passes, and dominating runs. While the defensive AI improved this year, Madden is still dictated by the offense. ___________ /Formations/ ---------------------------- In order to play a football game, each team must play with a set of formations. Basically, formations are the arrangement of your personnel on the field. Sometimes they allow for advantages with the pass, or are designed strictly for the run. In many cases, some formations can be used for both. Each formation will have a brief description, explain when to use them, and will be rated on a scale of 1-10. I-Form ---------------------------- Personnel: 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 HB, 1 FB - The I-formation is one of the more commonly used setups across the world in all ranges of football. Basically, it's primarily designed for both the pass/run, allowing for play fakes, deep passes, runs up the gut, or along the sidelines. The FB and HB line up directly in a line behind the QB, similar to a giant I. The huge success behind the I-form is the simple variety of its uses. It's also useful for providing extra blocks on blitzes, since you have 2 eligible blockers in the backfield. ==Ratings== Pass: 7 <-> Rush: 7 <-> Trick: 9 X oooooTe X Qb Fb Hb *The prediction of pass or run is difficult for defenses to manage in the I- form. As you can see, two of the backs can either block, be engaged in runs, or go out on flat passing routes. The TE is useful passing up the middle, along with your 2 threats on the outside. Unfortunately, it's not overly- passing biased since you don't have too many speedy fellows on the field. Use this if you're looking for a short gain, or big-time play on a play action. It's quite useful, and should be in everyone's playbook. VARIATIONS: Twin WR (both WRs stack on one side), 3 WR (TE is substituted with additional WR), BIG (2 TEs, 1 WR) Strong-I ---------------------------- Personnel: 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 HB, 1 FB - The Strong-I is a slightly different formation than the I-form. Basically, rather than your HB and FB lined straight up, the FB is now shifted over towards the strong side. This means that you're usually giving the edge away of which side you're going towards. It's also a tad more run orientated since your FB is right in place of his blocking position. ==Ratings== Pass: 5 <-> Rush: 8 <-> Trick: 6 X oooooTe X Qb Fb Hb *The Strong-I is one of the more impressive running formations. If you have a power back, or want someone to grind into the inside hole, it's perfect for piercing the inside. Unfortunately, many Strong-I plays aren't too great with the pass. Your TE is usually forced to block, and play actions are a rare occurance. Regardless, it's still a necessary formation for anyone who wants to rush the ball. VARIATIONS: Twin WR (both WRs stack on one side), 3 WR (TE is substituted with additional WR), BIG (2 TEs, 1 WR) Weak-I ---------------------------- Personnel: 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 HB, 1 FB - The Weak-I is again, similar to the I-form and Strong-I, but is a tad more pass orientated. Your FB is now positioned towards the weak side, which allows for a higher chance of play action or deep pass. Since most QBs are right handed, and they hand off to their left side, this could trick the computer into thinking the FB or HB is running. ==Ratings== Pass: 8 <-> Rush: 6 <-> Trick: 7 X oooooTe X Qb Fb Hb *Use the Weak-I in situations where you need a fairly large gain. The Tight end can usually get open on a decent play action. It's also very useful for handing the ball off to the fullback, since he's right in position to dive straight ahead. Defintely useful for anyone who loves throwing to backs on the flat. Great for a 5-10 yard gain. VARIATIONS: Twin WR (both WRs stack on one side), 3 WR (TE is substituted with additional WR), BIG (2 TEs, 1 WR) Singleback ---------------------------- Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 HB - The Singleback formation is one of the most widely used formations in all of football. It's often used on teams where star runningbacks show off their moves, and quarterbacks show off their arms. Straight off the bat, you have 3 fast targets on the field to throw to. If all else fails, you can always rely on a tight end for either blocking, or the passing route. Finally, you have your half back in the backfield who can usually break a big gain if there's a hole, or go out on the flat. The singleback is also useful for drawing the defense into a nickel formation (since most teams like even matchups). ==Ratings== Pass: 8 <-> Rush: 6 <-> Trick: 5 X oooooTe X X Qb Hb *Unfortunately, the biggest problem with the singleback formation is that you need a darn good half back. Without any star player in the back field, your QB may have some problems. If a blitz comes, you only have one blocker in the back field. Secondly, if he goes out on a flat route, that leaves you with no protection in the back. Singleback is mainly designed for offenses with speedy players. It can pick apart teams who stay in their base defenses (3-4, 4-3) since you have a linebacker matched up with a WR. Despite the advantages, the gains vary on each play (2-15). VARIATIONS: Twin WR (both WRs stack on one side), 4 WR (TE is substituted with additional WR), BIG (2 TEs, 1 WR), Twin TE (2 TEs, 1 WR), 5 WR Shotgun ---------------------------- Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 HB - If you've ever dreamed of being an all-passing team, then the shotgun is for you. Basically, rather than having your quarterback constantly stepping back on deep throws, the shotgun gives him a five step advantage. The ball is automatically long snapped to the quarterback who is about five yards from the line of scrimmage. It's primarily pass orientated since the snap is designed to give the QB time in the pocket. He can also pass off to the half back, or use him as a blocking utility. ==Ratings== Pass: 9 <-> Rush: 3 <-> Trick: 5 X oooooTe X X QbHb *Thankfully, the shotgun is very useful on 3rd downs. If you pick the right passing formation, you can pick apart zone coverage. With a good offensive line, you can sit in the pocket all day and wait till your receivers get open. Unfortunately, the rush is quite dismal with the shotgun since your HB is starting from 5 yards back. Even draw plays, and fakes will take some time to develop. Use this if you're looking for big gains (10+). VARIATIONS: 4 WR (TE is substituted with additional WR), 5 WR, 2 RB 1 WR (2 RBs line up next to QB) Far/Near ---------------------------- Personnel: 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 HB, 1 FB - Both the Far and Near formations are specially designed sets in which it utilizes both the FB and HB. While most of them are run orientated, a few out of the flat passes can be poked here and there. Unfortunately, far and near formations are an aging fad in football. ==Ratings== Pass: 5 <-> Rush: 7 <-> Trick: 3 X oooooTe X X oooooTE X Qb Qb Hb Fb Fb Hb Far Near *The Far and Near are practically the same formations except the HB is either position on the weak or strong side. They're useful for getting two blockers in the backfield, or nice trick runs if performed right. Unfortunately, it takes some time for the FB to get in front as a block, which is why the I-form can be more useful in short situations. VARIATIONS: 3 WR (TE is substituted with additional WR), BIG (2 TEs, 1 WR) Split Backs ---------------------------- Personnel: 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 HB, 1 FB - Running backs are now commonly being used for more daunting tasks. The traditional running back use to be one who could plow through the line for large gains. Nowadays, many backs are being used as both running and receiving threats. The Split Backs formation is another brilliant formation that utilizes both the run and pass quite well. With a fullback and runningback in the back field, this allows for passes to the flat routes, or simple runs. ==Ratings== Pass: 7 <-> Rush: 7 <-> Trick: 9 X oooooTe X Qb Hb Fb *The huge advantage of the Split Backs formation (also known as Pro form) is that you can get both a hefty advantage through the air or on the ground. By motioning the fullback to the outside, you can get an extra block on a pitch. Or, you could simply run up the middle through the hole. If neither work, you can have them block, or go out on routes. Truly a brilliant and widely used formation. VARIATIONS: 3 WR (TE is substituted with additional WR), BIG (2 TEs, 1 WR) Goal Line ---------------------------- Personnel: 3 TE, 1 HB, 1 FB - One of the more lesser used formations is the simple goal line rush. Goal line basically brings a huge amount of blockers to the line, permitting for runs up the gut and off tackle. Unfortunately, its passing routes are extremely limited since most TEs get jammed at the line. Combine that with an oncoming blitz, and most of your passing time is limited. Instead, it's designed for the rush into the endzone. Use it accordingly ==Ratings== Pass: 2 <-> Rush: 10 <-> Trick: 3 TEoooooTe Qb Te Fb Hb VARIATIONS: BIG (2 TEs, 1 WR) -<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>- ============================ - 5) Defense - ============================ One of the more loved aspects of football is the crushing blows laid upon players. Linebackers, defensive backs, and even your defensive linemen all come up to make exciting plays that thrill the crowd. Whether it be a minimal sack, or leaping interception, defense is one of the most raved keys during a football game. Now that Madden 2004 is strictly based around defense, it's essential that you know how to utilize it. ___________ /Formations/ ---------------------------- First off, on defense, it's an entirely different story from the offense. Contrary to previous versions, you don't get to see what the CPU picks as their formation. Instead, you now see what personnel the CPU picked, and must decide from there. However, defensive formations decide who gets matched up with who. It's always smart to match a defensive back with a speedy WR, however, you're also losing one extra LB in case they rush the ball. Thus, defense in Madden is much more strategic than the offense. 4-3 ---------------------------- Personnel: 3 LB, 4 DB, 4 DL - The 4-3 formation is one of the most widely used sets in all of football. Whether it be the high school level, or even the NFL, each have used the 4-3 one way or another. Basically, you have your traditional defensive linemen, with 3 linebackers, and 4 defensive backs (2 CB, 2 safeties). The 4-3 is similar to the I-form in terms of defense. It can practically stop both the pass and run. Linebackers and blitz certain parts of the field, and easily be shifted to compensate for extra blockers. If the going gets tough, you can usually match a LB on the outside, or drop them back into coverage. ==Ratings== Pass: 4 <-> Rush: 6 <-> Trick: 5 X X | | | O o o o o O *The 4-3 formation should be your base formation if you have a strong D-line, and weaker linebackers. It can practically cover any I-formation, running play, and even 3 WR sets (as long as you have speedy LBs). Safeties can drop back to cover wideouts, while your LBs drop in the middle. Unfortunately, you will get overwhelmed at times, meaning it sucks against spread out formations. It also tends to have trouble on outside pitches if one of the OLBs gets jammed. However, use it in nearly all situations, except for wide receiver sets. VARIATIONS: Over (brings a LB to the line, better for getting pressure or an edge on the outside) 3-4 ---------------------------- Personnel: 4 LB, 4 DB, 3 DL - One of the more rare occurring formations in the NFL is the 3-4 defense. Basically, it's similar to the 4-3 except now you have 4 linebackers, rather than 3. This specific set is designed for teams that have skilled linebacker cores, especially up the middle. 3-4 defenses can be extremely useful as long as you utilize them to full potential. The idea is to blitz a lot in the holes to cause both pressure and plug the run. It's essential that you have one key DT up the middle to clog the hole, allowing your LBs to rush around him. Teams such as the Steelers and Texans run this defense. ==Ratings== Pass: 5 <-> Rush: 7 <-> Trick: 3 X X | | | | O o o o O *Unfortunately, the 3-4 is a specialized formation for a specialized team. If your franchise does not have a brilliant Linebacking core, don't even bother with the 3-4. Without speedy linebackers, or at least decent pressure coming from them, it's just a waste of space in the back field. The 3-4 can be used to drop everyone back, creating a 7-man defense against the pass. Unfortunately, this can backfire since the weakness is running up the gut. VARIATIONS: Pressure (brings a LB to the line, better for getting pressure or an edge on the outside) 4-6 ---------------------------- Personnel: 5 LB, 3 DB, 3 DL - The 4-6 is more of an offset formation used to pressure the run. It's almost a rarity to see any NFL team run this formation, however, the 4-6 is designed for mainly stopping the run. Basically, a 5th LB is brought in, with 2 of them playing on the line. There's only one safety in the backfield, who must be essentially skill to block both the pass/run. Fortunately, the 4-6 provides an insane amount of pressure on any team because of how many people are playing in the "box." ==Ratings== Pass: 3 <-> Rush: 8 <-> Trick: 7 X | | O | o o o | | O *If at all possible, avoid using the 4-6 formation unless you have the correct personnel. It's necessary to have an amazing safety, with good cornerbacks on the outside. The 4-6 also requires good man coverage, otherwise you'll get burnt on the deep pass. Besides that, it provides a hefty amount of pressure on both the pass or run. It's great for a change in pace, but probably too risky for a base defense. VARIATIONS: n/a Nickel ---------------------------- Personnel: 2 LB, 5 DB, 4 DL - The Nickel formation is one of the more hybrid combinations of pass/run. While its main purpose is to defend against 3 WR sets, the Nickel can be used for blitzing on the rush as well. Unfortunately, nickel requires good defensive pressure from your line. Tight ends tend to get open up the middle, causing for a gap. ==Ratings== Pass: 7 <-> Rush: 4 <-> Trick: 6 X X | | O O o o o o O *The Nickel formation should be used only in situations where you're 75% they're going to pass. Three CBs allows for great coverage on WRs. LBs can blitz up the middle to cause additional pressure, or stop some sort of a draw play. Unfortunately, it seems like this set seems to get picked off way too often up the middle. VARIATIONS: 3-3-5 (substitutes a DL with a LB, great for added pressure or stopping TE), Strong (pushes the safety down for better coverage) Dime ---------------------------- Personnel: 1 LB, 6 DB - The Dime is the perfect antidote for stopping the pass. It's entirety is based around covering wide receivers, and stopping those big WR sets. While the rush works quite easily against this nifty formation, the coverage is unbelievable. You can play zone, man-to-man, or covers out of the Dime thanks to its versatility. It can also be used along with blitzing CBs for pressure on the outside. It's best to use the Dime in definite passing situations. ==Ratings== Pass: 8 <-> Rush: 2 <-> Trick: 4 X X | O O o o o o O O VARIATIONS: Flat (moves the safeties closer to line, CBs back, sort of like a cluttered mess), Quarter (subs another CB in for DL), Quarter 3 Deep (sends 3 DBs deep, rest play close to line) Cover 2 ---------------------------- Personnel: 3 LB, 4 DB, 4 DL - The Cover 2 defense is really not a formation, but more of a setup. Basically, your 2 safeties drop back to prevent the deep pass, your 2 CBs play a zone close to the line, and your LBs drop back for coverage up the middle. This ultimately causes plenty of turnovers because most downfield receivers are covered. Thus, many QBs force balls in, and this causes plenty of interceptions for your defense. This is why teams like Tampa Bay are so successful. Unfortunately, the Cover 2 can get picked apart by timing routes, and slants. However, it provides such an able balance between pass and run that you really don't know what's coming for you. The biggest flaw is that it requires excellent personnel to perfect. ==Ratings== Pass: 5 <-> Rush: 5 <-> Trick: 8 X X | | | O o o o o O VARIATIONS: n/a Goal Line ---------------------------- Personnel: 4 LB, 3 DB, 4 DL - The Goal Line formation is primarily designed for stopping anything inside the 5 yard line. This nifty (and tight) set can easily crush the run on a blitz, while providing ample protection on the outside. It's quite similar to the 4-6, except for the fact that it's designed to be used on must-run situations. Unfortuantely, while it's devestating against the run, play actions can hurt it if not utilized properly. ==Ratings== Pass: 3 <-> Rush: 9 <-> Trick: 2 X | | | O o o o o | O VARIATIONS: n/a -<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>- ============================ - 6) Key Strategies - ============================ In order to fully master the game of football, you need a certain degree of strategy amongst yuor playcalling. Knowing when to go for the short yardage, or play fake for the deep bomb can make the difference between a winner or loser. Before you jump right in to the game of football, there's a few key things that you need to "practice" correctly. Don't just think you can pass all you want against the Tampa Bucs, or try to do an outside run every play. Madden 2004 requires a somewhat hefty balance of offensive plays, and the right behavior on the defensive side of the ball. ________ /Passing/ ---------------------------- In order to the pass the ball, you need a decently good QB, and some nifty peripheral vision on your own part. Interpretation of the defense is critical since you have to know when a LB is creeping in the zone, and safeties are moving back for the deep pass. First off, let's concentrate on the basics. =Use pressure sensitive buttons to your advantage.= - The X-BOX controller features pressure sensitive buttons which allow for higher velocity passes over simple lofts. In order to throw a really fast spiral, press the passing icon as hard as you can. It's best to use this option if you're trying to pierce a ball through a zone, such as on a slant, or on a curl route. Loft the ball (tap it lightly) on deep bombs, and crossing routes up the middle so that your receiver has time to pivot for the catch. =Get use to utilizing hot routes.= - Hot Routes are sort of like audibles at the line of scrimmage. You can basically edit any receiver on the field, and change his receiving route or primary function. If you notice the defense looks like it's going to blitz on the left side, use the hot route function, and change your tight end's assignment to block. Rather than going out for the pass, you'll have one extra blocker to give you extra time in the pocket. Any time it appears that a CB is going to blitz you, press Y to initiate the hot route, and up to have your receiver go on the deep route. Make advantage of matchups between WRs and LBs. =Watch the safeties!= - This can't be stressed enough. Always watch the safeties on any sort of pass. Basically, you can interpret the whole defense based on where the safeties go. If both safeties drop back at diagonal positions, this usually means they're playing a Cover 2. When they drop back like that, they're playing the wide receiver, which means you should IMMEDIATElY look for a target in the middle of the field. If the safeties move forward (to the middle), or split in opposite directions, look for your 2nd and 3rd options on the play. =Don't force the ball.= - Too many Madden players do this quite often. Often, you'll see a tight end break open in the middle of the field, and then decide to throw it. Always be aware of your current position. Many times, there's usually a linebacker sitting in the zone just waiting to pick your pass off, and you'll never see him coming. Try to get a quick look of the defense while dropping back, and then decide on who to fire the ball to once you reach your pocket. =Play according to your Quarterback's style.= - QBs in the game tend to have different strategies. For example, if you're Michael Vick, play it accordingly, and rush when no wide receivers are open. On the other hand, if you're a heavy pocket passer (Drew Bledsoe), stay in your pocket. Try to play as your real life QB would based on his tendencies. This helps your success rate, because trying to rush with Jon Kitna or a QB with low carry is not going to work all the time. =Know the coverage and type of defense on the field.= - Right when you start off, look at what base defense is on the field. If you have 3 WRs up against a 4-3 formation, you should know that one of your wide receivers is going to be covered by a slower linebacker. Use your reads to your advantage. If the CPU brings out a dime formation, and it's 3rd and 10, they're awfully confident that you're going for the deep pass. This is the type of time where you'd want to audible to maybe a short screen, or trick play to confuse them. =Use manual catching on deep passes.= - Manual catching is when you take control of a receiver, and catch the ball on your own recognicance. In order to do so, it takes lots of practice, and getting the right angle over a defensive back. Before you start, in order to throw the deep ball, you need a decent QB (85 THP, 85 THA). Avoid using pass sensitivity, but rather, just slightly tap up on the lofty throw. Once the ball is in the air, press A to take control of the receiver running for it. Hold B once you take control of the receiver, and sprint down field towards the yellow circle (estimation of where the ball is going). Try to leap up (press Y) at the last second of when the ball is close to hitting the ground. If it works, your receiver will make a huge gain up field (30+ yards). Unfortunately, this strategy is also prone to dropped balls, and interceptions. But it has a 50% success rate. ________ /Rushing/ ---------------------------- Running the ball is one of the more praised aspects in the game of football. It allows for coaches to continually keep the clock moving, while usually managing a small gain, and tiring the defense. It also keeps turnovers to a minimum, since most NFL runningbacks are capable of holding the ball in. Thankfully, the running game in Madden 2004 is somewhat realistic, although a tad overrated. =Don't speed burst until you hit the hole.= - Many players don't seem to realize what this exactly means. This means that you shouldn't start tapping A right off the bat. Wait until a hole in the offensive line develops, and then hold A to pound through the line. Unfortunately, when your speed burst, you cannot change directions for a limited interval, and are more prone to being tackled. So if you see that a running lane is clogged, bounce it to the outside, and then press A. Faster runningbacks tend to benefit more from speed bursts since it's their specialty. =Use the stiff arm when there are players on ONE side of your rusher.= - Whatever you do, never use a stiff arm between traffic. When you press the L trigger to perform a stiff arm, the ball is placed in the opposite hand of the actual stiff arm. Thus, if you get tackled while switching the ball, your change of fumbling increases. Only use it if you're near a sideline, where the chances of the fumbled ball going out of bounds are increased. =Try to follow the scheme of the play.= - Believe it or not, there are too many "critical" Madden players out there. Some constantly panic when they notice that a hole in their offensive line doesn't open. Way too many players always bounce it to the outside, and end up getting tackled for 2 yard gains. It's IMPORTANT to follow the design of your play. If it's a HB dive, go straight up the middle. Unless you're near the endzone, don't bounce it outside. The CPU will always catch up. =Utilize all draws, pitches, slams, and the playmaker feature when available.= - Try to keep a balanced attack on the rushing side of the ball. Throw an outside run on 3rd and 4. Try to mix it up so that your opposing defense isn't always blitzing up the middle. Perform a draw play on a relative passing down. Use slams and off tackle runs up the middle to cause havoc on the defensive line. Finally, if it looks like the defense is going to blitz, press the opposite direction of the blitz with the right joystick. The playmaker feature will flip the play, sometimes allowing for critical gains. =Speed is everything.= - I use to try to argue that speed was just a deterrant in all of Madden. However, in the past years, the speed of your runningback usually decides your success rate. As much as I'd like to say that a Jerome Bettis, or Stephen Davis is always nice to have, imagine if you have a speedy fellow who could break tackles. When attempting to get a runningback, always look for the best combination of speed and carrying ability. Faster HBs in Madden 2004 get up the field quicker, and also prove to be harder to touch. You can also soup them up via Training Camp mode (in franchise), and turn a 96 SPD HB into a 99 BTKer as well. ________ /Defense/ ---------------------------- Big plays and momentum shifters always come thanks to the defense. Knowing how to play a lockdown defense in Madden 2004 is critical to your success. Since Madden is a primarily offensive game, mastering the defensive side will allow you to shut down opponents with ease. Unfortunately, defense in Madden requires that you have the right personnel, otherwise, you're just wasting bodies on the field. =Try to use the playmaker feature as much as necessary.= - One of the most underused abilities of this year's Madden is the playmaker feature. After the ball is snapped, if you press the right joystick immediately (up or down), your defense will play accordingly. You can literally shut down rushing offenses by tapping it down if you see that it's a running play. If they're going for a deep pass, press up, and your safeties will drop back for deep coverage. However, be weary of its use. Pressing down on a play action pass will completely fool your defense, and give up a big play. Also, pushing up on every passing play is not entirely effective since your safeties will drop TOO far back (behind the actual receivers). =If you're running a 4-3...= - Use this defensive scheme. Only blitz about 20-30% of the time. The 4-3 formation is very balanced, and should be played balanced accordingly. It's not a huge pressure formation, and usually established extra pressure when needed. Shift the linebackers (R Trigger + direction) if you know they're doing an outside pitch. Crunch the linebackers together if you know it's a run up the middle. Be careful though. Your linebackers are your only true coverage guys on the Tight ends, so when you blitz, you're usually leaving one open. =If you're running a 3-4...= - Although it's somewhat more difficult to effectively run a 3-4, it can be done. I'd recommend blitzing at least 50% of the time with the 3-4 since it's primarily a blitzing formation. Your 4 linebackers are dropped back for a reason, either to blitz, drop in coverage, or play a zone. Blitzing one or two is the same as having an extra defensive end, or defensive linemen. If you're fairly confident that the CPU is going to pass, have them drop back into coverage. The 3-4 is very effective in shutting down the run, and can pick apart passing offenses by simply intercepting passes with zoned linebackers. =Use coverage audibles based on your defensive playcall.= - First of all, a coverage audible only affects your defensive backs. By pressing Y before the snap of the ball, you can move your cornerbacks for bump- n-run, or have them play back for the deep pass. If you know the computer is going to pass for a first down, move them back so they get an extra edge over the opponent. Play bump-n-run coverage whenever you blitz, since this will jam the receivers giving you just enough time to get to the quarterback. Be cautious though. Playing too much tight coverage will often cause your cornerbacks to get burnt by the receiver. =Mix up zone/man coverage.= - This can't be stressed enough. Too many players in Madden believe that you can play "man" coverage all day, and keep the receivers covered. It simply doesn't work this way. The first flaw with man coverage is that you need personnel. Most teams do not have the personnel to match up with every single receiver on the field. Thus, you should run zone/man coverage on a basis of about 50/50. Zone coverage is where assigned people play a certain area of the field, and follow anyone who enters that area. Unfortunately, zone coverage can be picked apart if the QB has time in the pocket. Thus, you must sparingly blitz with zone coverages, and play conservative with man-to-man coverage. ______________ /Special Teams/ ---------------------------- As much as I'd like to say special teams mean a lot in Madden, they simply don't. Sure, you can completely change a game on a punt return, or kick return, but Madden doesn't place enough emphasis on special teams. This is completely true because special teams are more of a process, rather than a 1/3 portion of the game. In Madden 2004, you cannot create special teams formations, which goes to show that there obviously is lesser importance placed on the subject. Regardless, there are a few basic things you should know. =Use sideline returns if at all possible.= Whenever you're making either a kickoff or punt return, always attempt to go up the sideline if the blocks are there. Sideline returns allow for you to concentrate only one side of the field, making it easier to juke or spin out of the way of oncoming tackles. It also makes it easier for your blockers to decide on who to engage a block with. =Call fair catches.= On punt returns, there will come a time when you have to call a fair catch. In order to do so, press Y to call for a fair catch, and make sure you catch the ball. If you catch the ball in the endzone, do not touch the controller, and your player will kneel for a touchback. Not calling a fair catch makes you prone to getting nailed right on the reception, which can cause for a fumble. =Use correct punt formations in the right situations.= If you have to punt the ball away on 4th downs, I recommend using the following punt formations according to your field position: X = your field position If X < your own 20 <-> Use Punt Max Block If X > your own 20, and < their 40 <-> Use Max Cover Punt If X > their 40, use Punt Max Block If all else fails, just use the normal punt. Basically, you want to use max block when you're positive they're going for the punt block. Max Cover punt gives you more men down field to prevent them from bursting out a big return. -<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>- ============================ - 7) Franchise Details - ============================ One of the most in-depth modes in any sports game is franchise. It allows you to take control of an organization for over 30 years managing key aspects such as finances, player contracts, and your overall appeal. This year's Madden is more than a franchise mode, it practically gives you the power to own a NFL team. You must control ticket prices, offer campaigns to bring in new fans, and keep your stadium in tip-top shape for the fans to enjoy. Franchise mode is basically the key feature as to why Madden 2004 is one of the best football games out there. More importantly, this section will go through every consecutive detail of franchise, helping you own the ultimate team. ______________ /New Additions/ ---------------------------- Compared to Madden 2003, 2004 has plenty of new additions to franchise mode. - Game stats can now be viewed by clicking the Right Joystick on a completed game (includes simulated ones as well) - The NFL Draft and Scouting Combine now take place before the Free Agent Signing Period - Players can now have signing bonuses added to their contracts - Contracts are negotiated in total amounts, with the length deciding the per yearly cost - Owner's Mode (explained in detail further on) - Stadium Builder - Coaches can now be signed to contracts - Retired players will become coaches after several years (5-10) - Custom playbooks/plays can be incorporated for your team's playbook - Health staffs are now hired to prevent/recover injuries - Training Camp allows you to raise attributes on certain players by participating in drills - Teams can be relocated to new cities - Uniforms can be modified in your franchise - At the end of each year, all of your expenses are subtracted from your total income - Draft picks Overall rating cannot be viewed until the player is either signed to a contract, or released by your team (ratings appear as ??) - The CPU tends to take all rookies off the depth charts for Year 1 - And much, much more... __________________ /Franchise Options/ ---------------------------- When you start a franchise in Madden 2004, you're given the option of editing a few settings here and there. These will affect most of the major outcomes of your franchise. Users: select a number of human players in the franchise (1-32) Salary Cap: the NFL salary cap is enforced, meaning you can only spend so much money on players Fantasy Draft: create your own team by drafting real-life players in 49 grueling rounds Owner Mode: if selected on, you'll be able to manage the financial proportions of your franchise *Any one of 32 NFL teams can be selected as your starter for a franchise. If you decide to "import" your own team for a franchise, owner mode will automatically be disabled. Also, to create your own coach (like yourself), owner mode must be off. Thus, Owner mode basically makes your franchise realistic, while no owner mode makes it more of a fantasy. ______________ /Training Camp/ ---------------------------- Before you can officially start your first season, there are a few necessary steps that must be acquired. Training Camp is one of the newer features in 2004 that allows you to take any player, and increase his attributes by succeeding in Mini-Camp drills. It's basically a nice way to tune up an old veteran, since most 5+ year pro players do not gain progression in preseason. Training Camp is completely optional, but is recommended if you want to finely tune certain players. There are however, a few conditions that must be met in order to complete the drills. - There are 9 drills in total. Eight of which can be practiced in the actual game mode of Mini Camp. - Each drill is restricted to a certain position, or range of players. For example, one drill is only for kickers, while another is eligible for any type of receiver (HB, FB, TE, WR). - Once a player attempts a drill, he cannot try any other drill (their name is removed from a roster list). - Only one player per drill. - A trophy must be earned (bronze, silver, or gold) before you can move to the next level. - There are four difficulties. Each higher difficulty yields more attributes, but the drill becomes harder as well. - After you earn a trophy on one difficulty, you can keep the points and quit, or risk them on a higher difficulty. If you do not earn a trophy, and risk the points, those points will be deleted, and you gain nothing. Thus, Training Camp is all about peer pressure. ---------------------------- Pocket Presence (QB only) ---------------------------- Avoid flying tennis balls while pelting your receivers in motion. STRATEGY: described in Mini Camp section (Chapter 3) Rewarded Attributes <-> THP, THA ---------------------------------- Chase and Tackle (LB, DL, DB only) ---------------------------------- Tackle the runningback who tries to score in your endzone. STRATEGY: described in Mini Camp section (Chapter 3) Rewarded Attributes <-> AWR, TAK, AGL ---------------------------- Swat Ball (DB only) ---------------------------- Prevent dummy receivers from making the catch by tipping and intercepting launched passes. STRATEGY: described in Mini Camp section (Chapter 3) Rewarded Attributes <-> CTH, JMP, ACC ------------------------------ Trench Fight (LB, OL, DL only) ------------------------------ Try to capture all the flags behind opposing blockers in this timed event. STRATEGY: described in Mini Camp section (Chapter 3) Rewarded Attributes <-> STR, ACC ---------------------------- Clutch Kicking (K, P only) ---------------------------- Kick as many field goals that accurately hit the center in 60 seconds. STRATEGY: described in Mini Camp section (Chapter 3) Rewarded Attributes <-> KPW, KAC ---------------------------- Corner Punt (P, K only) ---------------------------- Kick a certain amount of punts inside the bullseye zone to earn as many points as possible. STRATEGY: described in Mini Camp section (Chapter 3) Rewarded Attributes <-> KPW, KAC ---------------------------- Precision Passing (QBs only) ---------------------------- Hit receivers in stride while piercing pre-set rings placed around the field. STRATEGY: described in Mini Camp section (Chapter 3) Rewarded Attributes <-> THP, THA ----------------------------------- Ground Attack (HB, FB, WR, TE only) ----------------------------------- Score as many touchdowns as you can by rushing the ball in various patterns. STRATEGY: described in Mini Camp section (Chapter 3) Rewarded Attributes <-> CAR, BTK, AGL ---------------------------- Catch Ball (HB, FB, WR, TE) *unique to Training Camp* ---------------------------- One of the newest drills in Madden 2004 is the Catch Ball drill. The goal is to catch as many balls as you can consecutively, to score an insane amount of points. Footballs are shot out of an automated gun at certain spots on the field. By catching passes in a row, a multiplier will increase your points. This is not a timed event, but rather an attempt event (so many balls are shot). If you bobble or miss a pass, your multiplier is set back to 1. STRATEGY: This can be one of the harder events if you don't have the right personnel on the field. Usually, only wide receivers excel at this event, and it's best to get someone speedy (90+) on the higher difficulties. A ring will pop up on the blank field to tell you where the pass is coming. Immediately, hold down B to sprint to the area of the ball. When it's launched, time it perfectly, and press Y to leap for the catch. As the velocity of the ball increases, so will the passing patterns. Expect to sprint up and down the field catching balls. Also, make use of the R trigger to face the line of scrimmage so you don't constantly have to make over the back catches. *Don't attempt the dive for a catch (press X). It takes nearly 6 seconds for any type of player to recover from a dive, meaning passes will be flying by while you're on the ground. If there's no way to catch it, let it go by, and recontinue the pattern. Rewarded Attributes <-> CTH, JMP, ACC __________ /Preseason/ ---------------------------- Once you finish training camp, you can then move on to the exciting Preseason. Preseason is basically a four game set where teams play exhibition games against other teams. It helps starters and backups get into the feeling of playing a real life game, and is good for evaluating rookies. Unfortunately, the preseason also yields many injuries to starters. This is one of the most doubtful risks. Since every team in the NFL preseason plays 4 games, expect to compete against four grueling teams. - In all preseason games, starters are automatically substituted out after the 1st quarter. This happens in real life, and Madden 2004 does it as well. Thus, set your depth chart with #2 players who you want to have some game time experience. - Any 4 year pro or less can gain attributes after the preseason is over. In order for any 0-4 year player to gain attributes, he must have a great preseason. If your rookie halfback scores 2 TDs, he'll usually rise a few points in his OVR rating. Thus, it's best to play all of your young players during the preseason, to give them a slight boost in ratings. - Also, preseason opponents can be selected during Year 2 and beyond. You're given the option during a new season to pick who you would like to face. ___________ /Owner Mode/ ---------------------------- One of the premiere additions to Madden 2004 has been the hailed Owner mode. Rather than simply managing a franchise by adding and releasing players, Owner mode allows you to control the financial aspects of your franchise. Details can be seen about fan attendance, support, and even your net profit. The whole idea of making money is accounted as well. You can set ticket prices, concession stands, and even renovate a stadium during the off-season. However, Owner mode is split into 2 sections. You can dilly-dally around with it during the season, and also enter the enhanced owner mode during the off-season. - The goal of Owner mode is to keep making more money for your franchise, which can be used to purchase more upgrades, enhancements, and perfect the experience for the spectator. Once you click to enter Owner Mode, it splits into 3 options. Information ---------------------------- If you've been looking for all of the statistical data behind your franchise, this section has it. Information provides you with graphs, pie charts, and table-split data on various topics. <-> Fan Support - shows the interest in your franchise *More fan support usually yields more tickets sold, and a higher profit for your team. <-> Attendance - actual tickets sold at each game (based on %) *Slowly but surely, attendance increases as your team goes on winning streaks. Also, if your team has high expectations, or is playoff caliber, attendance will be very high. <-> Expectations - what your fans expect of your team this year *If your team does work than expectations, you'll lose a hefty amount of money. However, if your team goes beyond the call of duty, you'll gain small bonuses in sales. <-> Income - total profit yielded <-> Expenses - total money subtracted from income <-> Franchise Team - shows the top players on your team and OVR at each position <-> Stadium Info - shows upgrades installed and your current stadium <-> City Info - shows the growth, population, weather conditions of the city Set Prices ---------------------------- In order to make a profit, owners of NFL teams must sell tickets and yield a profit to continue their franchise. This is why you sometimes pay outrageous prices just to visit a football game. Thankfully, you can now control every ticket price, hot dog that leaves a stand, and even provide advertising campaigns. Prices are designated according to default guidelines. If you raise or lower a price, arrows will designate how they compare to the league average. <-> Tickets - prices for each type of seat can be set (types of seats vary based on your stadium) *If you really want to make a profit, set your ticket prices below average (down red arrow) during the beginning of a season. Try to win as many games as possible. Once your team starts to enter the playoff race, raise your ticket prices above average. Your seats will still sell out because of huge fan support. You can also raise prices for the playoffs to really reap in a huge profit. <-> Concessions - prices for foods and drinks at concession stands can be set (types of food vary on the team) *Most food prices should stay the same throughout the year. However, just to get a small boost in income, raise beer and prices on your "specialty" foods. For example, Cincinnati sells a Cincy Chili, which should probably sell for $5 since it's a unique food. <-> Merchandise - prices for team memorabilia can be set (all items are the same for each team) *Prices can be argued when set for merchandise. Based on your team's history and prestige, it makes sense to raise jersey prices for a well know team. If you're the Green Bay Packers, raise your jersey price to $45+. However, if you're a lesser known team (Texans), lower prices on key items. Programs should be around $3. <-> Parking - fans need a place to park, and you get to charge them based on the location (all spots are the same for each team) *Prices should be roughly cheap for grass and lot parking spots ($5-$10). Valet parking should be set extremely high, but besides that, parking doesn't bring in a whole lot of income. <-> Advertising - if you want to exploit your team's popularity, send out advertising campaigns via multiple ways (all advertising methods are the same except for varying Fan Appreciation Days) *Advertising is not a necessary need for all teams. However, if you want to sell out on one your big games, or just increase attendance, you can pay a small amount per week. Prices range from $50K-$1.00M per week. Remember, since these prices are based on weekly rates, make sure you don't leave it on all year. It's nice to have one Fan Appreciation Day to reward all of those loyal fans. Television is usually the most effective advertising method, but there's really no discrepency between Radio and Newspaper methods. Advisors ---------------------------- Last but not least, each franchise has a small board of advisors that give you hints on what to do. Clicking the Advisors button brings up 5 small tips that guide you on what actions to take. Most of them are common sense, telling you that your Parking prices are around the league average. You'll rarely use this feature. - Also, if you press Y in the Owner Mode menu, it will open a Balance Sheet showing all expenses and income. Great for seeing what needs improvement profit-wise. __________________ /Starting a Season/ ---------------------------- When you begin your first official franchise, the first year means so much. Winning the Superbowl and then falling apart can be depressing. Other teams are forced to rebuild in the first year, hopefully engaging playoff hopes in a few years. The actual season consists of 17 games, with each team having 1 Bye week. The trading deadline occurs during Week 6, which means you cannot trade any players afterwards (until the season ends). In the meantime, there are some options you should become accustomed with during the season. Coach Options ---------------------------- - This nifty little section allows you to view your coach's gameplan, and how he plans to win his games. You can edit his pass:run ratios, defensive behaviors (aggressive, conservative), base defensive formation, and Runningback tendencies (substitutions or primary back). Also, priority sliders can be adjusted for each player on the field. If you want your offensive line to block more for the pass, increase the priority rating, and nudge his blocking slider to the right. These sliders affect any NON-HUMAN controlled player. They also affect statistics for simulated games. So if you're going to be controlling the QB, and HB, reduce their priority sliders so you can give more priority to the CPU controlled positions. STAT Book ---------------------------- - Check out the current statistics of your players in the past seasons, team rankings, career stats, and even the coach ratings. These have no effect on the output of your game, but are just designed so that you can view your current stats. League News ---------------------------- - Read up on the latest news in the NFL. Every transaction can be viewed for each team (or the NFL in its entirety). Coaches placed on the hot seat are mentioned, along with Player of the Week awards, and Horse Trailer mentions. Features ---------------------------- - If you want to do a few things inside of your franchise, feel free to mess around with the features. You can export your current franchise team (to be used in exhibition play or for practice), create-a-player, or modify your team's alternate/primary uniforms. _______ /Roster/ ---------------------------- The roster of your team is basically who is on, and who isn't. The real NFL requires a 53-man roster, which is large enough to include backups and special teams players. Madden NFL 2004 allows for a maximum of 55 players on your roster, with at least 49. During a season (and the off-season), you can do plenty of moves to your roster. Here's just a few ways of editing them: View ---------------------------- - Check out your current roster and edit ANY information you want on the players. This is useful for naming those generic position players (RT #74, WR #83), or editing height/weight details. You can view any player on any team, and sort them out by attributes (press Y in the category heading), or even by position (press Black/White buttons). Injury Report ---------------------------- - View any injured players on your team or currently in the NFL. Only injured players will show up on this list. You can also place injured people on the Injury Reserve, which basically grays them out. You gain an extra roster spot to use over them, this way you don't have to release your star player in case he gets injured. Once a player is put on the Injury Reserve, they cannot be taken off until the end of the current year. Depth Chart ---------------------------- - This is where all the sorting of positions takes place. Players are automatically jammed into the depth chart, and then you can resort it by clicking their name (press A), and moving them to a new spot. Certain players are better at other positions (a free safety playing cornerback). The CPU tends to leave rookies off the depth chart for some reason. Substitutions ---------------------------- - Allows you to substitute certain players on certain formations/plays. If you've ever wanted to give your backup HB some time on runs up the middle, this is your perfect dream. Substitutions allow you to automatically place players permanently in certain formations, rather than constantly editing your depth chart. Great for spreading the ball to every player. Trade Block *New* ---------------------------- - One of the more noticeable problems with previous Madden games is that the computer never seems to be active. Rarely will they drop players, or even make a trade. It's about time. EA Sports added a trade block feature that allows you to put certain players on the "trading wire", and you can request what you want for a minimum in exchange. This is great for trading away young talent for much needed leadership, or saving some cap room. After you make a proposal, the CPU will make offers from various teams on your proposal. If no ones interested, you won't receive any offers. Trade Player ---------------------------- - Yet again, trade player is similar to the trade block, except you make the actual trades. Players propose a trade by putting draft picks and certain players up for another specific player or amount of draft picks. Useful during the NFL draft to trade up to a higher pick. Release Player ---------------------------- - This function is the only way to get rid of a player, besides retirement or the end of a contract. Releasing a player from your team basically cuts them, causing the previous contract void. *Your team will take what's called a Cap Penalty when you cut certain players. A cap penalty is a small amount you have to pay the following year whenever you cut someone early on their contract. The amount's usually a small percentage of that player's salary (5-10%). Re-Sign Player ---------------------------- - If you want to re-sign a player back to your team, this is the best place to do it. Rather than watching your beloved players enter free agency, you can re- sign a player to a new contract. Contracts are organized by total amount, for a certain length of year (1-7). *If you have a star player that you want to keep, try resigning him during the season. Most players will usually request a lot of money during the resigning period because they know your franchise has the money to do it. You can usually sign people back for cheaper prices. <-><-><-> ___________ /Off-Season/ ---------------------------- Once a year is finished in your franchise, you'll begin to approach the off- season. The off-season is a very hectic time, since you have to perform contract negotiations, rebalance finances, and simply manage the team. - At the end of a season, you're given the option to move to the Off-Season Owner Mode, or Import a Draft Class. A draft class is a roster that can be exported from NCAA 2004 in which you can bring in real-life college players to your NFL draft. *Unfortunately, the X-BOX version of Madden 2004 has a glitch which does not correctly read the NCAA draft class. If you have a NCAA 2004 draft class, and Madden 2004 does not read it, please contact EA Sports. Here's the type of message you'll probably get: "Thank you for contacting us about Madden NFL 2004 for the Xbox. We are aware of the problem relative to the importing a draft class from NCAA Football 2004 for the Xbox and want to rectify this problem as soon as possible. In order to do so, please send us page 43 & 44 from your Madden NFL 2004 Xbox manual with your complete shipping address written on this page. Send original, do not send a photo copy. After Labor day, a new disc will be sent to the address on this page (it takes this much time to manufacture replacement product). This new disc will resolve the problem. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your time and understanding." Send to: Warranty Electronic Arts 209 Redwood Shores Parkway Redwood City, CA 94065 ______________________ /Off-Season Owner Mode/ ---------------------------- After you finish a season, the game immediately moves on to off-season owner mode. This is where most of the ownership action takes place. Whether it be moving to another city, or simply reorganizing your coaching staff, each plays an important role in your team's success. Staffing ---------------------------- - New to Madden 2004 is the ability to sign, promote, and release coaches. You can now have a coaching staff which composed of 4 positions - Head Coach, Offensive Coordinator, Defensive Coordinator, and Special Teams Coordinator. - Sign Coach let's you propose a contract offer to any available or unemployed coach in the NFL. You can release or "fire" any coach you want at the end of a season. You may also promote a coach to a higher position (head coach). - It's required that you have all 4 positions filled, so make sure you sign someone to be your coach. <-> Training Staff - Another relatively new feature is that of the training staff. Whenever a player gets injured on the field, your training staff rushes out to help him. Training Staffs are similar to coachs, as they are signed on contracts (a couple million dollars $$ for a few years). *Training staffs are rated according to 3 attributes: -- REC (quicker recovery from injuries) -- PRV (prevention of injuries) -- KNW (knowledge of injuries, and the extent of damage) **If you want the best training staff, I'd go with the best Recovery time. Injuries are usually inevitable in the NFL, so you're best off just going with a quick recovery time. <-> Coach Progression - Much like players, coaches progress as well during the off-season. In order for a coach to progress, his players must progress as well. Although the exact formula isn't know, I'm pretty sure the OVR progression of each position affects your coach's individual +/-. Coaches are also rated with individual attributes. -- MOT (motivation, improves player's OVR) -- ETH (work ethic, preparation for games/??) -- CHM (team chemistry, improves teamwork/AWR) -- KNW (knowledge, improves route running of players) -- OFF (offensive knowledge, improved ratings towards offensive players) -- DEF (defensive knowledge, improved ratings towards defensive players) -- OL (offensive linemen) -- QB (quarterbacks) -- RB (runningbacks) -- WR (wide receivers) -- DL (defensive linemen) -- LB (linebackers) -- CB (defensive backs) -- S (safeties) -- K (kickers) -- P (punters) *Based on how well your actual players progress at each position, your coach's ratings will improve as well. Coaches with high ratings in certain positions will boost the ratings of all players at that position. For example, if you had Mike Singletary as your Head Coach, linebackers and defensive players would receive a boost in their ratings. Coach ratings tend to reflect simulated stats as well. ________ /Stadium/ ---------------------------- There are numerous types of stadiums that football teams play in. Some are simply grass layered fields, while others are mass combinations of concrete and steel. One of the more architectural additions to Madden 2004 is the ability to create/edit stadiums. During the off-season owner mode, you can rename, renovate, rebuild, relocate, or upgrade your stadium by spending extra income money left over. Rename ---------------------------- If the generic name of your stadium isn't good enough, you can manually rename it to something else. Besides that, you can also hire "sponsorship" deals which automatically rename your stadium to a specific company or product. If your team meets the requirements of the renaming contract (makes it to the playoffs, or earns at least 12 wins), you receive a special cash bonus. This is quite nifty for bringing in some extra cash. Otherwise, you can just rename the stadium like a player to whatever you want, sponsor free. Renovate ---------------------------- In order to renovate your stadium, it must be a USER-CREATED stadium. This means that you manually created a new stadium, and now want to edit it. You CANNOT modify the default stadiums in the game for each of the NFL teams. This is why the option is usually grayed out. *Renovation requires a large essence of money. Try to gather some extra income over a few years. Rebuild ---------------------------- There are four steps in the rebuilding process. First, Madden 2004 permits you to create your own stadium with a special editor program that let's you customize every angle of the structure. <-> Design Stadium - In total, there are 8 sections to a stadium that can be modified. The Northern/Southern End Zones, Western/Eastern Sidelines, Field, Roof, South Corner, and general Info. - Seats can be changed to different styles by pressing left or right on the control pad. You can have normal seats, inlet (slightly pushed back), booth, or bench seats based on what deck you're on. Also listed on the screen is the current capacity of the stadium, and the total cost, which can be used as guidelines. - Designing a new stadium roughly costs around $200 million to $250 million. Expect to be in debt for several years. - New stadiums must be built when you relocate a team. <-> Secure Funds - After you come up with the plans for the stadium, you then have to secure a rough amount of funds. A certain amount in millions of dollars can be taken as "Team Contributions", which is basically your city's funding. This can hurt fan support since the funding comes out of that home city's taxes. - Additional money can (and should) be taken out of Personal Seat Licenses. These are basically licenses that help raise money to support the stadium. Unfortunately, the higher the amount you take, the more it hurts fan support for the following season. <-> Submit Proposal - Once the financial and engineering aspects of the stadium are complete, the player must then submit the outline to the "council." Basically, a council votes on whether or not the proposal is approved. There's a meter to help guide you on what the success of the bill being passed is. - Unfortunately, many new stadium plans get rejected unless you're relocating, or have some money to spare. Most U.S. cities don't hand over millions of dollars unless they're positive that it will attract people. <-> Finalize - If your entire plan is accepted, you can then sum the operation up for completion. - Each new stadium built has an estimated Date of Completion, meaning you won't receive a new stadium right away. Relocate ---------------------------- If you really want to make full use of franchise mode, you'll eventually be forced to relocate certain franchises. Eventually, if your team doesn't establish itself as a dominant force, relocating is the only option to save a certain team or franchise. Basically, relocating a NFL franchise means that it will be moved to a new city, and a new stadium is built. - If you decide to relocate, sometimes you will receive offers from other cities at the end of a season. Offers consist of a dollar amount that the city is willing to contribute, plus, fan support will be an automatic plus. - Relocating puts you in the largest amount of debt, so use it sparingly. There are over 100 cities you can pick from, ranging from Los Angeles, California to Bismarck, North Dakota. Cities have individual team desires, weather conditions, and population/growth. Make sure you pick a city that has high desire, since you don't want to be in debt forever. - After you successfully relocate, you enter Rebuilding mode. It's the same as building a new stadium. Upgrade ---------------------------- Finally, if you don't want to make any major moves, you can simply purchase upgrades for your stadium. Upgrades increase fan support, attendance, and make your spectators more comfortable at the game. Unfortunately, they cost extra bucks, so make sure you have the assets to spare. Here's a list of the known upgrades available to all stadiums: __________________________________________________________________________ | Upgrade | Total Cost | Cost per year | unique advantage| -------------------------------------------------------------------------- EA Arcade | 2.00 M | 500k | entertainment | Cup Holders | 2.00 M | 50k | drink holders | Internet Cafe | 2.10 M | 100k | entertainment | Gourmet Chefs | 2.40 M | 500k | yummy food | Retractable Glass Windows | 6.10 M | 1.00 M | better view | Medical Facility | 8.15 M | 2.00 M | medic | English Pub | 8.15 M | 1.50 M | entertainment | High Fidelity Audio System| 9.15 M | 500k | entertainment | Super Screen | 10.15 M | 1.00 M | entertainment | Personal Audio Systems | 12.20 M | 2.00 M | entertainment | Massage Seats | 15.25 M | 3.05 M | comfort | -------------------------------------------------------------------------- *Once you purchase an upgrade, it cannot be bought again. They're also kept track of in the Stadium Info, under the Upgrades bar. ____________ /Progression/ ---------------------------- Certainly one of the more intriguing features inside of Madden is the ability to watch your players become better or worse. Previously installed a few years back, progression is how your players advance through an NFL playing career. Progression is primarily based off of the player's stats, meaning someone who has a breakout season usually has a breakout in overall. There are a few guidelines as to how progression works. - The older the player, the higher chance of a decrease in progression. If old players do get playing time, they will quickly rot away on the bench. - Progression becomes constant as long as the player's stats increase each year by a few or more. If a player does less than their expected amount, they usually will not progress at all. - Every single player on your team is eligible for progression. - For offensive players, touchdowns seem to have the biggest boost in ratings. Linemen usually increase based on the amount of sacks/pancakes. Defensive players greatly increase based on interceptions. <-> The following is a list of attributes which progress throughout Madden. Key attributes have *'s next to them. Attributes with a ^ mean they're important for a specific position. For example, an offensive linemen needs PBK or RBK for blocking skills. Overall is the basic sum of all of the player's ratings. __________________________________________________________________________ | Attribute | Definition | Purpose | -------------------------------------------------------------------------- OVR* | Overall | main sum of your player's ratings | Age* | age of player | determines when he will retire | SPD* | speed | how fast your player moves | STR | strength | ability to block, break a tackle, | | ... | catch a ball in traffic | AWR* | awareness | make intelligent football decisions | AGI | agility | determines how fast a player can cut | | ... | back, turn, perform a special move | ACC | acceleration | how fast the player can break from the | | ... | line | CTH^ | catch | how well a player can catch a ball | CAR | carry | how well a player can carry a ball | JMP | jump | how high a player can jump | BTK | break tackle | how well a player can break a tackle | TAK^ | tackle | how well a player can tackle another | THP^ | throwing power | how fast or far a QB can throw | THA^ | throwing accuracy | how accurate or precise a QB can throw | PBK^ | pass blocking | how well a player can block on a | | ... | passing play | RBK^ | run blocking | how well a player can block on a | | ... | running play | KPW^ | kicking power | how far a player can kick the ball | KPA^ | kicking accuracy | how wide the yellow meter is | | ... | (for kicking) | KR | kick return | how well of a kick returner the player | | ... | is, blocking schemes improve when this | | ... | player returns the ball (PR/KR) | IMP | importance | significance of the player to your | | ... | franchise, usually is higher based on | | ... | player's OVR, increases their trade | | ... | value | STA | stamina | how long it takes for the player to | | ... | decrease in energy | INJ | injury | the chance of the player becoming | | ... | injured on the field, lower is worse | TGH | toughness | how quickly the player recovers from | | ... | an injury | -------------------------------------------------------------------------- *OVR pretty much sums up how decent the player is. *Age determines both when they will retire, and a decline/increase in progression. Most old players decrease naturally due to age. *SPD is by far one of the most important attributes on the field. Everything in Madden is based around time. High speed ratings (90+) are scarce in the NFL, thus making them rare to find. *AWR is basically the mental ability of the player. High AWR means the player will make a lot of clutch plays, and improve the abilities of players surrounding him. Unfortunately, rookies often have extremely low AWR (40-60), and veterans tend to have high AWR. It's basically a way of measuring experience in the NFL. *Any other ^ rating basically affects an individual position. Receivers need excellent catching, while blockers need RBK/PBK. Kickers need KPW/KPA, and QBs should have high THP/THA. While CAR is important for RBs, fumbles don't occur too often in Madden. ________________________ /Off-Season Transactions/ ---------------------------- Once you finish with the Off-Season Owner Mode, and renovate your franchise, you can then move onto the actual franchise moves. Off-Season is an ordered schedule that must occur in a specific procedure. Each procedure usually has certain restrictions or limits which will be explained. Retired Players ---------------------------- After the completion of an NFL season, players will retire due to personal and career reasons. Sometimes the going gets tough, and there simply isn't a spot for them in the NFL. When a player retires, they forfeit the REST of their CONTRACT. This means any designated money in their contract is now rewarded back to your team. In a sense, this helps your team since it allows the young players to get a slot on your team, while giving some finance back as well. - Players will retire because of old age, or NFL Pro Years. Players will retire fairly young (early 30s) if they've been in the NFL for 7+ years. - Career-Ending injuries always force players to retire at the end of a season. - Some retired players do become available coaches who can be signed in a few years. Great for getting your favorite superstar like Jerry Rice! Re-Sign Players ---------------------------- Whenever a player's contract runs out of years in the NFL, you're given first dibs on resigning them. Basically, any NFL team who has a player on contract always gets the first chance to renegotiate them before they enter the free agency market. - Players who have 0 years left on a contract must be either resigned, or cut by your team. - Salaries work the same way as signing a player. Contracts are paid in TOTAL amount, and are capable of having bonuses. Resigning a player at the end of the year tends to be more costy. Try to resign them during a season if possible. - If you don't feel like doing the cuts, you can simply press START, and click the button CPU Resign. The computer will resign players it feels that are necessary to the franchise. For some odd reason, the CPU cuts an awful large amount of players during this process. So try to resign as many as possible. Rookie Scouting ---------------------------- ***I'd like to give credit to JLawson's Rookie Scouting FAQ for the list of scouting tests, what ratings they represent, and the ratings in correlation to what each test stands for.*** Before you can successfully draft your first NFL rookie, there's some time and preparation that must be made. Madden 2004 allows you to scout all sorts of rookies before actually drafting them. The scouting period is when NFL scouts go out, and have rookies perform various tests while they're being evaluated. These tests range from 40 yard dashes, to vertical jumps, and weight bench reps. - When you begin your scouting of rookies, there are 3 stages it's split into. Basically, each of these stages allows you to spend 15 designated points by checking a player to be scouted by your professional staff. Each scouting stage provides a different comment/note added to the player's profile, so you can see what their ups and downs are. - You can only scout up to 15 players each round, no more than that number. Press the A button to check a player's box. Once you used all of your 15 points, press Start to have the scouting list scouted. After you complete all three stages, the final draft assortments are taken in place, and you can view the complete profiles of all the players in the draft, or who you scouted. *Players are tested in several different scouting tests. Each represent a certain player's attribute in Madden NFL 2004. The follow is a list of what each test stands for: 40 time <-> SPD Shuttle <-> ACC Cone Drill <-> AGL Bench Reps <-> STR Vertical <-> JMP Interview <-> AWR - Certain positions have specific word categories designed to help you in analysis. For example, wide receivers have Hands (represents catching ability), while certain halfbacks may have Kick Return (another way of showing how well they are on kick returns). These categories are described with simple phrases, rather than actual statistical data. **Rankings of these words range from: Amazing, Great, Good, Above Average, Average, Below Average, Bad, Terrible <->The following is a small list of what each scouting test represents in terms of Madden attributes. These numbers are not 100% accurate, but should be used as a general assistant in deciding who to draft. PLEASE thank JLawson (GameFAQs username) for taking the time to figure out these ratings. 40 Time <->Represents Speed<-> (4.24 - 4.35) == [90-99] (4.36 - 4.52) == [80-89] (4.53 - 4.67) == [70-79] (4.68 - 4.81) == [60-69] (4.82 - 4.76) == [50-59] (4.99 - 5.10) == [40-49] Shuttle <->Represents Acceleration<-> (3.75 - 3.92) == [90-99] (3.93 - 4.09) == [80-89] (4.10 - 4.25) == [70-79] (4.26 - 4.44) == [60-69] (4.45 - 4.64) == [50-59] (4.65 - 4.82) == [40-49] (4.83 - 5.05) == [30-39] Cone <->Represents Agility<-> (6.60 - 6.82) == [90-99] (6.83 - 7.05) == [80-89] (7.06 - 7.28) == [70-79] (7.29 - 7.51) == [60-69] (7.52 - 7.75) == [50-59] (7.76 - 7.97) == [40-49] (7.98 - 8.20) == [30-39] Bench Reps <->Represents Strength<-> (38 - 44) == [90-99] (30 - 37) == [80-89] (24 - 29) == [70-79] (18 - 23) == [60-69] (12 - 17) == [50-59] (6 - 11) == [40-49] Vertical <->Represents Jump<-> (42 - 39) == [90-99] (36 - 38) == [80-89] (33 - 35) == [70-79] (30 - 32) == [60-69] (27 - 29) == [50-59] (24 - 26) == [40-49] (21 - 23) == [30-39] - The following are word description ratings. Sometimes you'll get a rookie who will burst out of the range with an extremely high or low one compared to the numbers. This is just a list of COMMON ratings to what each word means. Amazing == [85-95] Great == [75-85] Good == [68-79] Above Average == [64-77] Average == [54-68] Below Average == [46-57] Bad == [40-50] Terrible == [10-20] NFL Draft ---------------------------- The NFL Draft is one of the exciting parts of the year where young and awaiting prospects get selected by professional teams. In the NFL Draft, you can select any eligible athlete, which means you get first picks on offering him a contract. It's basically like re-signing, except no one can offer him a contract until you're finished with him. The NFL Draft takes place in 7 rounds, with all 32 teams having a draft pick each round. The order of the picks is based on your season's record, meaning the worst and Superbowl teams pick first and last, respectively. It's quite common for trades and minor adjustments to occur during the draft. Draft picks do hold value, and can be traded for players or lower/higher picks. The advantage to doing this is that you can get an all-star player at the cost of a lower player, and low round pick. Unfortunately, giving up a draft pick gives you one less chance to pick a possible phenom. - Your pick is the same each round (unless you trade it away). You can have more than 7 draft picks if you trade for them. - Players are assorted by default according to "Projected Round." - Projected Round is a rough rating of their abilities. Usually, the higher OVR of the player is based on the Projected Round as well. There are some "hidden" gems, and draft busts purposely included in the draft. - All of the scout times and tests are displayed in columns after the Projected Round. Press Y to sort them accordingly, so you can see who the best at each category is. Right click the joystick to see your custom scouting report of each player. If you did scout each player during the Scouting session, the notes and details will be accurately displayed. *After you select a player, a sound will play off based on how the crowd feels on your pick. You'll hear a "Boo!", for bad picks (according to the fans), clapping for a solid pick, and silence for a neutral pick. Don't listen to the crowd though, you're the true manager. <-> Contrary to last year's version, you CANNOT view any attributes of a drafted player UNTIL you draft them. Thus, it's risky to sign every pick nowadays. Sign Draft Picks ---------------------------- Once you're finished drafting the future phenoms of the NFL, it's time to make your financial decisions. Madden 2003 allowed any player to view how their draft pick was rated. This year's version is brilliant as you CANNOT see what their ratings are until you sign them. Prepare for some risky transactions. - Once you're finished drafting, you'll then move to a Sign Draft Picks screen. Picks are signed much like any player to contracts based on TOTAL salary. - Rookies can be purchased extremely cheap, so try to sign them for low prices (200k-500k per year). Remember, rookies make huge progression only if they get playing time and stats. Don't sign every rookie to 7 years if they're rated like snobby backups. - Keep signing bonuses to a minimum. While they're excellent incentive, rookies simply don't "die" out after 4 years. Keep signing bonuses to a minimum, and just keep the salaries straight. *All attributes of a draft pick can be viewed after you sign them. Free Agent Signing Period ---------------------------- Finally, one of the most influential periods in all of the off-season is the ability to sign free agents. Free agents are basically players whose contracts ran out, and the teams cut them due to personal, financial, or just silly problems. The process works in a simple manner. The period lasts 30 days, in which time you must offer contracts to various players around the league. In the meantime, other NFL teams also offer contracts to these superstars. Thus, it's almost like an interactive eBay auction. You're practically bidding on players, at which point, they make a decision on which contract to accept. All decisions are made by the end of the 30 day period. A message will notify you if your current offer is declined, beaten by another team, or accepted by the player. - Free Agency can be very expensive for a team. Unlike rookies, most free agents are veterans who have proven their worthiness in the field. Thus, expect to pay a lot more rather than a simple minimum wage contract. - Once you offer a contract to a player, you cannot pull it back. - Free agents are normally sorted by their OVR rating. The CPU tends to offer contracts based on OVR, rather than a specific SPD or what not. Most free agents tend to enjoy lower contracts (1-2 years) unless they're an older veteran. ***** Cheap Way of Purchasing Veterans (thanks to Bengal1985) ***** - In order to sign a veteran for a cheap price, make exclusive use of the signing bonus feature. - Offer any veteran a cheaper Total Salary Contract, for a longer amount of year (4+). -- However, increase the signing bonus to an outrageous amount (preferably 1.5M or higher). --- Once this is done, you'll notice that in the contract's detailing, it now shows the signing bonus being added on to the LAST 2 years of his contract. This means that you can get someone for a cheap price, because he'll retire before the last 2 years of his contract. Here's an example: Let's say we want to sign Kurt Warner. Unfortunately, his hefty cost requests around 5.0M per year (since he has an awesome arm and AWR). Offer Warner a 4 year contract for 10.0M per year (2.5M per year). Now, add a signing bonus of 2.00M to the contract, and watch his eyes fluster. In case you didn't notice, the last portion of his contract will drastically increase, meaning you'll only have to pay the low 2.5M per year before he retires. By the time Warner reaches the 3rd or 4th year of his contract, he'll probably be retiring or out of his prime. This way, when he retires, you'll gain back the extra 10.0M. This effectively allows you to get aging veterans near the end of their prime, yet only have to pay about half the cost. ***** _______________ /The Big Finale/ ---------------------------- Once you've accomplished all the tasks of an off-season, you should feel proud. Effectively managing an off-season means that you bring in a balance of experience veterans, phenom rookies, yet still manage to balance the salary cap. All you have to do is: - Reorder your depth charts for the preseason/new season - Prepare for the following year This procedure repeats for 30 seasons, so expect to get plenty of playing time out of Madden 2004. -<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>- ============================ - 8) Common Questions - ============================ )) Troubleshooting (( ---------------------------- << How do I know if I have a defective disk (only the X-BOX versions), and what can I do about it? >> - Unfortunately, there's a small defect in certain Madden disks for the X-BOX console. The glitch is that you cannot import NCAA 2004 Draft Classes. Madden 2004 for some odd reason does not recognize the saved format on the hard- drive, and you'll see a ?? if you try to import the draft classes at the end of the season. To combat this, you must do the following. This is what most EA Tech Support people say: "Thank you for contacting us about Madden NFL 2004 for the Xbox. We are aware of the problem relative to the importing a draft class from NCAA Football 2004 for the Xbox and want to rectify this problem as soon as possible. In order to do so, please send us page 43 & 44 from your Madden NFL 2004 Xbox manual with your complete shipping address written on this page. Send original, do not send a photo copy. After Labor day, a new disc will be sent to the address on this page (it takes this much time to manufacture replacement product). This new disc will resolve the problem. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you for your time and understanding." Send to: Warranty Electronic Arts 209 Redwood Shores Parkway Redwood City, CA 94065 *It usually takes 4-6 weeks to get your new copy, so wait patiently. DO NOT assume your disk is defective unless you actually tried to import the features. Most new copies of 2004 arrive in a sealed white envelope, no fancy box or EA Sports case. << I really suck at Madden. How can I improve my skills? >> - If anything, try the Football 101 mode first. That'll give you a basic understanding of the game. Next, read my brief strategies section. It's essential to utilize all new features of Madden 2004 - especially the Playmakers feature. You will get dominated on certain difficulties by the offense, unless you use the defensive Playmaker features. )) Gameplay (( ---------------------------- << What are some of the worst teams in the game? >> - The definite, and most likely worst team in the game is the Arizona Cardinals. The Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears come in a close second. << Are there any key differences between the PS2 and X-BOX versions? What about the Gamecube? >> - First off, the X-BOX version and PS2 version have key differences. Only the PS2 version has an exclusive online mode which can be played against other real-time players. You can receive rankings, participate in tournaments, and just kick bootay over the internet. Unfortunately, neither the X-BOX or Gamecube versions have these features. Why? The X-BOX doesn't have it because of conflicts between EA Sports and Microsoft not wanting to split profits. The Gamecube simply wasn't involved in the matter. - The X-BOX is graphically the best out of all versions, although the differences are minute. Most include better framerates over the PS2 version, and slightly better graphical effects on field (sun shining on a helmet). Unfortunately, the X-BOX version seems more like a port, than an exclusive title. - The X-BOX version can save everything to the harddrive, meaning it's probably the best choice for single player franchises. You don't have to worry about pesky limited memory cards, and most saving times are extremely quick. Unfortunately, the only downfall is whether or not you own a glitched copy of the game. << Would you recommend this over ESPN NFL Football? >> - Quite frankly, yes. ESPN NFL Football, while a certain competitor of Madden simply doesn't compare with franchise or online options. Gameplay is a tad more realistic in Madden (as unbelievable as that sounds), and simulations simply relate more realistically. Exclusively, the X-BOX version of ESPN NFL Football is the very best, but probably not enough to slide over Madden 2004. << Why are my backups playing during the preseason? >> - All starters are benched after the 1st quarter during preseason games. The CPU automatically does this to avoid injury to your starters, and also give playing time to backups. The preseason is basically the battle of the depth chart. << How do I get real college players into my NFL Draft? >> - This can be a somewhat costy process, but is well worth the reward when accomplished. Go out, and buy an Action Replay accessory for the X-BOX Console. The Action Replay is similar to the Gameshark, as it allows you to hack games with various codes. There's a small accessory wire included (a USB wire) that connects to your computer. Plug it in, search the internet for pre- made draft classes, and download them. Basically, you transfer the pre-made draft classes onto a memory card, and then using the Action Replay, transfer the draft classes onto the X-BOX harddrive. From there, you can use those draft classes which include all real life college players. << What does it mean when a player status is HOLDOUT, and how do I fix it? >> - Holdouts occur when players in the NFL decide that they're worth more than their current contract, and want an improved deal over the previous one. In most cases, popular/decently good players will hold out for more money if they had a Pro-Bowl year, or simply are a rising talent. In Madden 2004, most Holdouts occur after a player has a Pro-Bowl year, or increases in a large amount of OVR. When a player decides to do so, they BECOME an inactive spot on your roster. To fix this, go to the Re-Sign players menu under Rosters, and offer the player a new contract. Expect to pay much more than you originally did. If you decide to not fix their contract, the player will not PLAY during the entire season. Be aware of your cap space before offering a new contract. << What custom team names do the announcers say? >> - Believe it or not, the announcers in Madden 2004 will actually say team names that currently aren't in the NFL. PLEASE give credit to Joel Glenn (jglenn@myfirstlink.net) for coming up with this extensive list, as it takes a lot of effort to come up with these sorts of details. Teams with a * next to them are NFL Europe, while the others are simply pure guesses. Admirals* Bandits (Al says ?) Breakers Bruisers Bombers (Al says Viecho?) Bulldogs Bulls Cavaliers Centurions Claymores* Comets Commandos Copperheads Cougars Desperadoes Dragons* Fire* Galaxy* Generals Green Wave Hawks Knights Lightning Marshals Miners Monsters Mummies Pioneers Piranhas Rhinos Scorpions Sharks Sugar Buzz Stallions Stingers Tigers Thunder* Warthogs Wasps Wildcats Vipers -<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>- ============================ - 9) Special Features - ============================ _____________ /Madden Cards/ ---------------------------- One of the more memorable features in the past few years has been the Madden Cards. Similar to collecting sports cards, Madden 2004 allows you to collect in-game Madden cards which can be played as temporary boosts for your players. Types range from skill boosters to in-game elements that affect how the game plays out. - You can access your own collection of Madden Cards by entering Gameplay Settings. From there, click the Madden Cards tab, and explore. - Cards are bought in packs, which cost 100 tokens. In case you didn't know, you're rewarded tokens quite frequently throughout Madden. These tokens go onto your profile, similar to cashing in a gift certificate. A pack consists of 15 cards, each which are completely random. Most cards range from bronze, silver, to gold, and each have a stronger effect based on the medal. Historic teams, special features, and game situations can be unlocked based on what you receive. *If you want a detailed list, check out one of the in-depth Madden Cards FAQs. ______________ /EA Sports Bio/ ---------------------------- A new way for gamers to keep track of their progress with all EA Sports games is the EA Sports Bio. It's a practical way of seeing how much time we spend on these addicting video games throughout our life. The Bio rewards the player for spending more time with Madden by presenting cards, unlocking situations, and simply enthralling the player. - Your current EA Sports Bio level stays the same until you meet a certain time requirement for the next. - It keeps track of total EA Sports titles played. - An exact time measure of playing time is kept track of (days, hours, minutes, seconds). - Additional accomplishments such as returning a touchdown on the defense, or scoring a huge touchdown pass is jotted down. These can be viewed in the Product Summary. ___________________ /Custom Soundtracks/ ---------------------------- Finally, one of the rewards with the X-BOX version is that you can assign custom soundtracks during Madden. Rather than listening to those rapper-hacked songs, you can replace them with your own X-BOX saved music. By inserting a music CD, and copying the tunes to your X-BOX harddrive, you can then reassign them into Madden NFL 2004 as the background music. - Songs can be turned on or off. In total, you have about 20 songs you can keep active at one time. - Songs from various soundtracks can be played, rather than just songs from one soundtrack at a time. - Tunes must be saved directly to the X-BOX harddrive, otherwise, you can only listen to the default music. ________ /Sliders/ ---------------------------- For the past few years now, the Madden series has included "exclusive" features that allow the gamer to customize his/her own game. Players can now control how well blocking schemes work, the accuracy of your quarterback, and even the rate of interceptions. While sliders are partially tricky to get use to, their benefits can help make Madden 2004 an even more realistic experience. Here's a short list of each slider, and what it affects. Make the sliders to the left if you want less of that effect, or to the right if you want more of that effect. In the custom sliders section, +2 or a -3 for example means to move the slider that many clicks from the default center. So if you saw, QB Accuracy (+2), this means you should move the clicker to the right two spaces. Oh, and sliders are set for both the CPU and Human players. Offense ---------------------------- <> - affects how close a thrown pass is to its intended target <> - affects how much protection you get in the pocket by your offensive linemen <> - affects how many dropped passes occur during a game, and whether a ball will be catched automatically <> - affects the attributes of a runningback (higher will increase his speed, agility, etc..., lower decreases them) <> - affects how far your linemen will push oncoming defenders, and pancake them Defense ---------------------------- <> - affects the mental reaction of each player on the field (whether to fall back to cover, and how fast to react to a rushing play) <> - affects how many tipped, blocked, or incomplete passes during a game <> - affects the chance of intercepting the ball <> - affects the chance of breaking an offensive linemen's block <> - affects how well a player will tackle Special Teams ---------------------------- <> - affects the length of field goals (changes KPW) <> - affects the accuracy of field goals (changes KPA) <> - affects the length of punts (changes KPW) <> - affects the accuracy of punts (changes KPA) <> - affects the length of kickoffs (changes KPW) -<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>--<>- ====================================================== - 10) Copyright/Distribution/Reproduction Guidelines - ====================================================== This FAQ/Strategy Guide/Walkthrough is my own published work, and copyrighted by Christopher Zawada. Whatever you do, DO NOT edit this FAQ in any way. DO NOT steal anything from this FAQ. If you want to use some information in your own guide, simply ask me. If you want to place this guide on your website, either link to GameFAQs, or download the file and place it on your own web server. Basically, you can post this on your website as long as its in ORIGINAL form, and not linking directly to GameFAQs. Aside from that, all proper credit is due when necessary. Also, don't even think about selling FAQs. Trying to prosper off of other people's work will get you in big time trouble (coming from an eBay seller myself). ============================ - 11) Proper Credit - ============================ I'd like to thank the following people for their help in making this FAQ possible: )) EA Sports (( for producing a true gem in Madden NFL 2004. While you may not be the biggest fans of the Microsoft X-BOX, at least you allowed us to play it on our expansive system. )) CJayC (( for constantly updating GameFAQs, and dedicating his entire life to it. Takes a lot of effort to keep a site going this long. )) Madden Mania Forums (( for teaching me the basics of Madden football back in the day. I learned a ton of strategies, hidden information, and elements that the typical gamer doesn't know. )) GameFAQs Madden Boards (( for inspiring me to write this FAQ. Certain people asked questions, and I hope this can answer them. )) JLawson's Rookie Scouting FAQ (( for giving me permission to use his extremely helpful rookie scouting ratings. You can check out his Rookie Scouting FAQ as well on GameFAQs in the Madden 2004 section. )) Bengals1985 (( for coming up with a truly innovative way of signing veterans for "el cheapo" prices. )) Joel Glenn - jglenn@myfirstlink.net - (( for coming up with the list of custom team names said during the game. As strange as it sounds, our favorite football announcers do pronounce teams currently not in the NFL. )) FAQ Contributors Board (( for teaching me how to write guides both diligently, and effectively. )) Rootsecure.net (( for providing me with an ASCII generator to help make the custom ASCII title. *** Finally, I'd like to give a Shabooyah out to my Bengals, who had an amazing year. Go Bengals! *** "Some people make sacrifices to make other people happy." - Chris Zawada "Freeeeeedddooooooommmmm...ugh!" - William Wallace, Braveheart