by Gus Ramsey
(I wrote this last year. I've updated it a little bit for the release of Madden '12)
Mario Brothers is a video game.
Donkey Kong is a video game.
Wii Sports is a video game.
Madden football is NOT a video game! It is a simulation series designed to bring the real NFL experience to the fan as best as possible. You know, "If it's in the game, it's in the game." So we will use that understanding as the guide for all the rules for online play.
Let's try a little True or False to make sure we all understand.
The advent of online play was a godsend for serious gamers who wanted to test their skill with players better than their dorm buddies or neighborhood friends. True or False?
The advent of online play was an opportunity for people to 1) find glitches and tricks that work consistently in order to win and 2) do unrealistic things that simulate NFL football about as closely as Charles Barkley's Shut Up and Jam game. True or False?
Madden online play should be played in an effort to simulate the actual NFL experience as best as possible. True or False?
Playing an online game is an investment of my time. Do not waste it by pulling the plug or quitting after 2 1/2 quarters because things aren't going well. True or False?
Everyone on board? I hope so. So here we go.
IT'S NOT A SURPRISE, IT'S ANNOYING
Onside kicks are used when you are trailing. They are not used at the beginning of games to find out if your opponent knows how to audible into the proper kick coverage or to catch people who use game flow with their hands team on the field.
Last year I said "When EA puts the surprise onside in the game, be my guest."
Guess what? EA put it in the game. So go ahead and use it, just don't keep lining up for onside kicks to try and force the people who use game flow for kick returns into having their hands team on the field and then audible to regular kick formation.
To execute the onside on PS3 (which is what I play) you hit the x to start the kick meter, hit x again at the top and circle button in the accuracy part. It only works once a game.
FOR THE LOVE OF PETE, JUST PUNT IT
Going for it on 4th and more than 5 yards deep inside your own territory in the 1st half of the game, if you are winning or only down by 3-10 points, is idiotic. This is equivalent to people never throwing a strike in MLB the Show. If you want 4-down football, play Madden Arcade.
THE TOOL SHED
Trying the things I just noted and then quitting because they didn't work makes you King of the Tools. If you have a legit reason for having to quit, do the honorable thing and concede.
If you have time, send your opponent an explanation. "Sorry, my baby just woke up," or "Sorry, my dog just puked all over my den." Don't take 15-30 minutes of my time and then waste it by pulling the plug. This should be like failing a steroids test in MLB. EA should suspend people 25 days for the first
offense, 50 days for the 2nd and a year for the 3rd. It's the single most egregious offense there is.
Thankfully this year EA created the Communities feature, where you can create a place for like minded people to play and keep out the non-desireables.
For those of you who do the onside kicks and go for it on 4th and 21 in the 1st quarter, may I suggest you call your community The Tool Shed.
PLAY LIKE A MAN, MAN
Take your beatings like a man. Win your games with class. If it's out of hand and you don't want to quit or concede, don't start pausing the game, jumping off-sides, etc. Conversely, if winning, start running the ball and clock and don't go 5-wides, no-huddle and run up the score.
If I am doing you the solid of playing it straight and trying my best, don't rub it in.
Now, if someone is losing and doing tool things, be my guest. Run it up. Especially if they declined a
mercy offer. Also, if you offer mercy and the person declines, but continues to play straight, you can continue to play respectfully as well.
If you are ahead with 3:00 or less in the game, it is ok to start running the play clock down. Otherwise get your play called in about 10-12 seconds and keep the game moving.
BRING YOUR PLAYBOOK... OR SOMEONE ELSE'S
I'm ok with not using your team's playbook. For a long time I used the Jaguars playbook while playing with the Broncos. Whatever you like best is fine by me. The goal is to win and if you think there are play books better than your team's then you should use one you like.
RULES OF THE ROAD
If you are the visiting team, wear the white uniforms.
Don't put on a colored jersey. Two teams in colored jerseys make's the game harder to watch and play.
THIS AIN'T SOCCER, SO STOP FAKING
Don't fake the extra point every time.
When I see that done more than once by
a team in a real game, you can do it too.
Until then, kick the PAT.
Especially when winning.
Otherwise, take your place in the Tool Shed.
THE CAP BOSO RULE
I got lots of feedback from twitter folks about players using the same play over and over again. This is reminiscent of the old Tecmo Bowl game where even if the defense called the play you called, you could still get the play off most of the time.
The quick crossing pass to Bears tight end Cap Boszo was the epitome of this.
I'm a little torn on this one. You often hear coaches say "Run it until they stop it," but in the interest of realism, I've never seen a team run the same play 30 times in a game. So mix it up.
It's fine to have your bread and butter plays, but prove that you can master the game and not just one play.
THE 18-STEP DROP
When you drop the quarterback back to pass, try and keep him around 10 yards from the line of scrimmage. The 15-20 yard drops are absurd. Now you're throwing 30 yard out patterns. Scrambling around is fine, but just dropping back forever is a little silly.
Thankfully a major change to Madden this year is QB's can no longer throw darts while running in the opposite direction or backpedaling, which will severely hamper players ability to play that way.
STAY CLASSY, SAN DIEGO... OR KANSAS CITY
When the game ends, say good game if you are on headsets. If you're not on heads, send a GG note if you have the time. Think of this as the post-game handshakes coaches do in the NFL, unless you're playing with the Chiefs.
So there you go. Easy steps to follow which make the online experience far more enjoyable for the majority of us. We all love to play the game, so don't ruin it for others. If you can't help yourself, just do us the honor of creating a Tool Shed community and go play in there.