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The 7 lamest Madden NFL innovations

4) The Extra Point Show (Madden 10)


Above: We’ll give ya points for the eye candy, but this is still excruciating torture

What it was: A hideous attempt at a halftime show, featuring a barely-awake Alex Flanagan tossing out a few generic one-liners over and over (“Both teams ran almost the same number of plays”), followed by a full minute of silence while a few random highlights are shown from crappy camera angles.

Why it was lame: Nothing ever made us want to get through halftime faster than the first incarnation of Madden’s Extra Point halftime show. Heck, we almost developed carpal tunnel syndrome from hammering Start so much to get through this torture as quickly as possible.

Amazingly, the weekly franchise incarnation of The Extra Point was even worse, with a hack-job of voiceovers (“The…..GREEN BAY PACKERS………clashed with……the………PHILADELPHIA EAGLES………Sunday……” ) taking you through a few stats from randomly selected games, this time with no highlights.

We get that the Madden gang was trying to make us feel like we were watching TV, but when the finished product was so poor, they should’ve just shelved the thing until it was ready for prime time – which, by the way, it still isn’t a year later.

3) EA Sports Radio with Tony Bruno (Madden 05)


Above: In real life, Tony Bruno’s “Into the Night” show is great. But it’s also new every night 

What it was: A weekly sports talk show embedded in the Franchise mode that tried to tie its content with what was happening in your season.

Why it was lame: With sports talk radio dominating American airwaves, it was no surprise when Madden added a radio show. After all, following your team through the media made a lot of sense. And, to be fair, it worked pretty well at the beginning. Tony would somehow be up to speed with your team’s record, and would do interviews with coaches and players, and take phone calls from fans to answer trivia questions. He even gave props to us once when we completed a perfect season.

The problem, naturally, was that there’s pretty much no way to keep that going for long without getting repetitive or out of date. Despite recording more than 30 hours of lines, Bruno – whose nightly radio show in the real world is one of the funniest around – got to be pretty boring after the first season (and don’t even try to listen in your third or fourth year of a dynasty). 

This was one of those ideas that was ahead of its time – and still is, considering how ordinary voice work is even in Madden 11.

2) Vision Cone (Madden 06)


Above: Ice cream cones are good. This is the other kind of cone. The bad kind 

What it was: A movable visual cue that displayed how much of the field the quarterback could see. The cone needed to be positioned in the direction of the intended receiver (using the right analog stick) in order to throw a decent pass.

Why it was lame: You thought this was going to be Number 1, didn’t you? In theory, the cone was a well-meaning but awful idea; in practice, it was a nightmare. Making the cone controllable via the thumbstick added another layer of complexity to an already intricate game, and it also showed the defense exactly where you were throwing the ball. 

Better quarterbacks had wider cones (corresponding to broader fields of vision), but even they could not throw to someone outside the cone. If you tried, disaster awaited. It virtually ruined the game for players whose favorite teams had less-than-stellar QBs at the helm. Unless your man was a top-8 level quarterback, chances are you were going to throw a lot of bad passes and interceptions. Comparing the size of superstar Tom Brady’s cone to that of, say, average (at best) QB Joey Harrington was an embarrassment to everyone involved (including the writer of this sentence).

1) Ring Building (Madden 08)


Above: What does your custom-made “I’m never ever going to have sex so I’ve given up trying” tag look like?

What it was: Awful as the vision cone was, it didn’t cost you a massive pile of actual real-world cash and shout to the world that you had no life. That’s the exclusive specialty of our #1 entry. EA teamed up with jeweler Josten’s, of high school class ring fame, to enable hardcore Madden players to build up a virtual championship ring inside the game, then actually design and purchase a real-life replica of it.

Why it was lame: Real NFL players and coaches pour their heart and soul into their craft, with the ultimate symbol of success being a Super Bowl ring on their finger. Having Madden players congratulate themselves on their in-game accomplishments with similar-looking jewelry? YIKES.

This was ridiculous on a few levels. First off, it took a substantial amount of time and effort to get to the point where your in-game ring was complete (we’re guessing well over 50 hours and a ton of tough-to-do accomplishments). Secondly, the cheapest real rings you could get once you unlocked the in-game code were $150, and the nicer ones could run over $500.

But thirdly – and most important – just who in their right minds would want to walk around with one of these things? You’d be giving off massive nerd vibes, telling the world you wasted big money and lots of time to walk around with a giant chunk of cubic zirconium for a fake football career.

We’ve never seen a real person wearing one of them, and would be shocked if anyone ever went the whole nine yards and got one. And if you did? Heaven help you, you’re the kind of super hardcore player we wrote this article for. See you on the gridiron.

Nov 25, 2010

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21 comments

  • Zels77 - November 29, 2010 7:51 a.m.

    "Reality is the most important part of Madden" !? You obviously haven't played Madden for a loooooong time, Rich.
  • Overlord153 - November 28, 2010 2:49 p.m.

    Oh how I hated the cone. It was weird because whenever I would try to play that version of madden my right eye would twitch uncontrably. And what's with all the spam it's almost two whole pages of stuff people just report.
  • Ch0doBoy - November 26, 2010 11:45 p.m.

    Idk, I personally think the franchise died after '05. That's where it was best. Like they mentions rearranging my d-line to fit the play, that was easy in 05, idk about 06 or on...cause once the cone came into play, I stopped playing. My figures are smart at inputting the buttons I want, but it became a world of confusion when all the extra BS came into play
  • revrock - November 26, 2010 7:33 p.m.

    I don't like the fact that somewhere along the line they took out our ability to do the "Madden high step" walk as we went untouched into the end zone... Somehow it slowly transformed into a random occurrence tacked onto another button command to fading out of existence. Also, the stupid touchdown celebration button mashes and wagglings (depending on your console) from '09 were the lamest innovation ever.
  • Sukharevskaya - November 26, 2010 3:21 p.m.

    No gameflow? hm, well I gotta agree with this list.
  • philipshaw - November 26, 2010 2:39 p.m.

    I forgot number 1 even existed. But I do remember how awful the vision cone was
  • xlonenobodyx - November 26, 2010 2:38 p.m.

    I agree, the series itself has just lost popularity over the years and frankly I can see it coming to an end all to soon. Let's all face it, their fan base isn't what it used to be. I love playing out football plays on a system as much as the next sports fan. But it's end is coming and fast. =/
  • NeelEvil - November 26, 2010 10:07 a.m.

    Amen to that QLev, I'd memorized the old system to the point where I could tweak everything about the defensive line before the snap. With the strategy pad I'm lucky if I can change 2 things!
  • QLev - November 26, 2010 8:39 a.m.

    Those are all bad, but the worst in my mind is the strategy pad. Maybe some people like it, but to me they just took a system that worked fine (and I had memorized for quick imput) and made it much, much worse. It used to be so quick and easy to hit the 2 buttons to adjust my d-line/linebackers, now it takes twice that... :(
  • BlackElement17 - November 26, 2010 8:33 a.m.

    Lame innovation, is that ironic or just funny?
  • Ampatent - November 26, 2010 4:53 a.m.

    I disagree, the cone was actually quite realistic. I mean honestly, most people don't play Madden with people in the same room, so the screen watching issue doesn't come up. Besides, it's far more realistic to have the quarter back's throwing ability dropped when he's throwing in the direction that he isn't looking.
  • Bloodstorm - November 26, 2010 1:19 a.m.

    The lamest thing about Madden is Madden itself. I live not 30 minutes from EA Tibron and I want to go in there and tell them all the time how much they suck at making games.
  • Cyberninja - November 26, 2010 1:13 a.m.

    i remember last year i at christmas me and my bro were playing madden 09 and we kept screwing each other over with the replay it really wasnt fair so i am glad they took it out
  • Dabenguin - November 25, 2010 11:29 p.m.

    I do remember a form of rewinds in an early version of Madden. They were called Mulligans.
  • SVC5 - November 25, 2010 11:21 p.m.

    Lol you guessed it I was surprised the cone wasn't number one.
  • ventanger - November 25, 2010 11 p.m.

    Oh my god, I never even heard of #1... that's... so bad. Making your "gaming championship ring" is to fantasy football as wearing your "Doug of the Forest Rangers" costume in public is to LARPing.
  • Jessup - November 25, 2010 10:45 p.m.

    I think you're forgetting the best one of all. I think it was the 92 or 93 version, where if a player was injured, the ambulance would drive on to the field and flatten any player that happened to be in the way. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_138p6uzhUk
  • skyfire56 - November 25, 2010 10:35 p.m.

    You also forgot Gameflow, Ultimate Team, Madden Moments with wrong rosters, Swagger Rating...Ugh the entire series has turned into a gimmick... I hope EA just calls it quits with Madden and give the license to 2k.
  • bongzilla - November 25, 2010 10 p.m.

    Yea that extra point show was lame.. I always thought sports games should have something like that, but when Madden did it, it just was too lame and short and I just ended up skipping everytime.. The rewinds I do use, cause I always have 2 seasons or franchises going at the same time.. 1 I use an all-star team, where I trade for great player and put them on 1 team, thats where I use the rewinds, cause its just for me to fuckk around. The other one where I bump up the difficulty and use the real roster of teams, I don't use the rewinds. So I'm cool with them..
  • bron1417 - November 25, 2010 9:45 p.m.

    if EA wants to make "The Extra Point" show better they need to take cues from NFL 2K5. that would make it amazing in my mind anyway.

Showing 1-20 of 21 comments

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