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     |  \/  | __ _  __| | __| | ___ _ __    | \ | |  ___| |    
     | |\/| |/ _` |/ _` |/ _` |/ _ \ '_ \   |  \| | |_  | |    
     | |  | | (_| | (_| | (_| |  __/ | | |  | |\  |  _| | |___ 
     |_|  |_|\__,_|\__,_|\__,_|\___|_| |_|  |_| \_|_|   |_____|
                                    
                 _|_|      _|      _|    _|  _|    
               _|    _|  _|  _|  _|  _|  _|  _|    
                   _|    _|  _|  _|  _|  _|_|_|_|  
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               _|_|_|_|    _|      _|        _|    
                                                          
                        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

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============================
- 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.

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============================
- 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