Review: Madden NFL ’11

44477-brees-thumb-480x270-44476.jpg

Pro football and the Madden game franchise have been part of the same sports/pop culture fabric for more than two decades. You don’t spend that kind of time together without learning how to evolve.

The real thing has witnessed the growth of ideas like the West Coast Offense, spread formation and defensive schemes. The games have withstood everything from passing windows to passing cones to the ProTak animation system.

But in the end, it’s still about how good the football is, and in the case of “Madden NFL 11,” some of it’s better than it’s been in years.
Continue reading

Fans select Drew Brees for sacrifice

39951-breesmadden-thumb-480x651-39950.jpg

New Orleans Saints QB Drew Brees will be the latest to test his fate against the Madden Cover gods, thanks to the results of first-ever online fan voting for the game’s next cover athlete for Madden ’11. Brees beat out Minnesota sack machine Jared Allen and Indianapolis wideout Reggie Wayne. If you remember, the famed “Madden Curse” decided to smite Pittsburgh safety Troy Polamalu following his joint appearance on the cover of Madden ’10 with Arizona wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

Then again, Brees IS the QB for the Saints. Surely a Saint can negate the curse … right?

Among the game’s new features in its effort for a “simpler, quicker, deeper” experience, according to EA:

Simpler: Call plays like an NFL coach with ease using an all-new play-calling system, GameFlow, which executes an authentic, situational game plan for you.

Quicker: The new play-calling system will enable players to spend more time on the field and less in the playbook – completing games in half of the time.

Deeper: Madden NFL 11 is feature-rich, with improved animations and control options, enhanced online functionality, and new broadcast and audio presentation that delivers the NFL experience fans have come to expect.

EA hails the Redskins (and Madden ’11) with McNabb pics

39142-maddenmcnabb-thumb-480x270-39141.jpg

EA Sports doesn’t waste any time. Not long after the news broke of quarterback Donovan McNabb being traded from the Philadelphia Eagles to the Washington Redskins (and joining forces with Mike Shanahan, apparently the Mr. Miyagi for aging QBs) the makers of the upcoming Madden NFL ’11 sent out some photos featuring Mac 5 in Redskins colors. It’s also a timely way to keep Madden 11′s sense of improved detail in the consciousness to those members of the football-starved public who can’t find solace in either baseball season or the coming NBA postseason.

Because I don’t want to leave him out in this talk of trades and transactions, here’s a photo of former Arizona Cardinals pass-catcher Anquan Boldin, who was acquired by the Baltimore Ravens during the offseason.

39145-boldin2-thumb-480x518-39143.jpg

Both of these photos not only show hints of pretty exquisite player detail in the game to come, but also two teams that have had better offseasons than my squad, the Pittsburgh Steelers. McNabb will be playing for vengeance. Boldin, the man who came back to play weeks after breaking his whole face, now joins the Ray Lewis crew. Our QB? Battling rape accusations and is in the position of soiling the reputation one of the league’s proudest franchises. I hope Dennis Dixon’s ratings are solid.