7. Restore the Pro Bowl
It’s the year 2019 and incredibly there’s no way you can play the Pro Bowl – where the league’s best players go head to head in a fun end-of-season curtain call – in franchise mode. Staggering.
It used to be in, and reddit’s Boffo97 has a strong theory as to why that’s no longer the case: “During the PS2 era, the games had no problem with the helmets. I always thought it was because during the PS3 and PS4 eras [EA felt] doing the Pro Bowl properly, with each player wearing their team's helmets rather than generic NFC and AFC helmets, was impossible – so they ended up just taking it out so people would stop bugging them about the helmets.”
Whatever the reason, the community is right to want it back. “If [EA is] telling the truth on not having enough RAM to load 32 potentially different helmets, why not have a standard AFC and NFC helmet as a compromise rather than not having it at all?” writes Chief--Blackhawk on the same thread. It’s a reasonable question…
8. More defensive variety
The modern NFL is an offensive league, and for the most part that’s reflected in Madden via playbooks which offer myriad rushing and passing variety. Yet as the Patriots proved in the play-offs, the adage of defense winning championships hasn’t gone away, and playbooks on that side of the ball should be expanded to reflect that. On the official EA forums, MrDollarMenu picks out three specific plays which would bolster everyone’s defensive capabilities:
1. Cover 3 Buzz Match, for 3-4 and 4-3 formations
“[There are multiple purposes to this. First, a defense can disguise their Cover 3 with a two-high shell pre snap. Second, the strong safety can provide run support, while the free safety can take away the deep post. Strong-side stretch and deep post are my two main concerns vs Pro formations, and this play would take away both, while disguising it as a Cover 2 pre-snap.”
2. Cover 3 Cyclone, for all defensive formations
“A sister of Cover 3 Cloud, Cover 3 Cyclone would make the corner on the strong side of an offensive trips formation play the hard flat, and the rest of the secondary would rotate or “roll”. The purpose of this play is primarily to take away screens, the quick passing game, and outside runs towards the Trips side of an offense.”
3. Cover 2 Robber (inverted Cover 2), for all defensive formations
“Exactly like the Cover 2 side of Cover 6 invert, Cover 2 robber would switch the roles of the cornerback and safety to each side. The cornerbacks would take the deep 1/2’s and the safeties would drop down into the cloud/flat zone. The purpose of this play would be to show the quarterback Cover 4 Quarters but actually be in a Cover 2 concept. This play would intercept a lot of deep outs and comeback routes, as well as provide nine defensive players in run fits.”
9. Learn franchise lessons from Madden 19
The annual Madden features wishlist has been a fixture of GR for half a decade – but we’ve never before linked to a third-party video as part of it. Until now.
Series devotee That Franchise Guy’s breakdown of what worked in Madden 19 and what can be built upon next year is so comprehensive that I recommend anyone keen on the mode watches it in full.
A TL;DR summary: improved contract management, an overhaul of the regression system, off-season training programs, and (again) a proper coaching carousel. But I’m doing it a disservice by summarising it in one sentence. It really is worth 30 minutes of your time. Enjoy it here:
10. Dynamic attendance
This is mentioned in passing by Gopherattack on reddit, in addition to a neat new wrinkle to the kicking game: “Have something besides wind affect kicks. For example, if you are kicking in a blizzard you should have a slower approach to the kick, [while] kicking in altitude should add yardage to your kicks.”
Dynamic attendance works perfectly in MLB The Show, with matches towards the end of the season – when both teams are beyond play-off contention – often played out to rows of empty seats. Indeed, it used to be in Madden too – until the series’ licensee pulled one if its cliched ‘No Fun League’ moves.
“We incorporated accurate attendance for all the teams, and Jacksonville always had these terrible turnouts,” an ex-EA producer told Sports Illustrated. "The Jags owner got all pissed off when he heard there were empty seats when you played as his team in the game. The team called the NFL and we had to fix it immediately.” Maybe this could be the year EA sneaks it back in?
11. A ‘Tom Brady retires with immediate effect’ cheat code
Let’s face it, it’s the only way New England’s dynasty will ever end. In both real-life and Madden world.
Madden 20 is as yet unconfirmed, but expected in August 2019. Only just getting started with its elder sibling? Then get stuck into GR’s 8 essential Madden 19 tips to know before you play.