The new interface makes the whole game feel easier to understand. Instead of figuring which buttons perform what action at which time, all you need to remember are basic movements that roughly look like the real thing. This makes it possible for everyone to enjoy, even those who routinely avoid Madden like the plague. For the diehards, Madden on Wii is still a blast, you just get to act out your team's actions instead of tapping a button. The game even walks you through each of these actions step by step, easing everyone into a confident happy place before each match. It's a win-win.
Picking plays and winning games, on the other hand, still requires some rudimentary football knowledge. Any idiot can throw a ball, but even the simplified playbook can still confuse people who just want to run around and have some fun. The "play type" playbook categorizes each team's plays based on what kind of move you want to do (short pass, inside run etc) but when placed in front of a totally sports-ignorant gamer, they're still going to look daunting. The mess of menus before and after each game doesn't help either.
The biggest attractions for the Wii version are the three exclusive minigames, alldetailed here (opens in new tab). It was these three games that converted a room full of non-Madden fans into trash-talking combatants. While the kicking game is pretty weak (though generating wind with the remote is a nice touch), the 2-on-2 and YAC Attack games are worth checking out entirely on their own merit. Even if you abhor the idea of a football game, these robust minigames were made for parties.
Again, it's the motion controls that liven things up. It's not just sitting on a couch, tapping buttons to throw passes - you're lobbing or tossing depending on the situation, or you're actively swatting your arms in the air to stop an incoming pass. It's such a physical game that the only thing more real would be stepping outside and playing in the yard.