I am not a football fan. However, I am now a member of a fantasy football team and I am buying Madden 15 today. This requires some brief explanation, so bear with me.
My football knowledge extends to a basic understanding of how scoring works, the difference between offense and defense, and that the term "sack" means that a quarterback got tackled. I can identify a handful of players from the last 30 years, and that's not saying much.
My wife is even less inclined toward football, but she has a lot of friends that ARE, and this year, she decided she wanted to try fantasy football. Unfortunately, her friends' teams are all full up, and that means that she took the plunge and created her OWN fantasy football team. That, in turn, means that I am now playing fantasy football, and am now her football mentor by default. It's up to me to gather as much knowledge as I can, and in search for that knowledge, I am returning to a game I last played years ago.
Flashback: The year is 1994, it's late September, and I'm in my dorm room. I brought my SNES with me to college, and I'm enjoying playing Super Street Fighter and Super Mario World. A guy from down the hall knocks on the door, bursts in and holds up a copy of Madden '94. He barks at me, "Dude. You've GOT to play this." I respond, "No thanks, man. I don't watch football; it's not my thing." He then takes two steps into the room, turns off my SNES mid-game (a maiming offense, at LEAST) pushes the Madden cartridge into place and sits down next to me on the floor.
Within 15 minutes, we're trash talking as I pick the Bengals and he smashes me with the 49ers. It was merciless. I was hooked. I knew next to nothing about football, but playing Madden '94 with a friend was far too much fun for me to worry about my lack of knowledge.
After a few hours. I looked up and realized we had left the hallway door open, and had gathered a sizable crowd of guys from up and down our floor. As we finished up our game, he asked if he could sit in. I said sure, popped up and handed him the controller. Thus was born our dorm floor's Madden League.
We played for weeks, and it was a ladder tourney in which I was knocked out in the first round. However, it brought me closer to the guys on the floor and also taught me a little about football. All of the current knowledge I have about football was gleaned in some part from Madden '94.
Cut back to 2014. On Sunday, TommyMFPickles came over to give my wife and I some fantasy football pointers, and he brought his copy of Madden 25 for the Xbox One. I installed the game, and spent the next 3-4 hours trash talking, getting frustrated, throwing my hands up when I actually completed a pass and generally loving my time. I still couldn't name players, I still didn't know what all the pass options mean, what an "audible" is, or why the field goal exists, but damn it, I had fun.
On a side note – The 2013 Buffalo Bills couldn't complete a pass or run to save their lives in my game (yes, I know that's primarily my fault.) but I'll be damned if they didn't intercept or pick off almost EVERY pass thrown by the San Diego Chargers. EVERY ONE. That was the best game I had, I think.
So, tonight I begin my quest for football knowledge anew with Madden 15. If I get a better understanding of football? Fantastic. If I can assist my wife in running her new fantasy football league? Even better. If I can keep having these great couch co-op or online moments with friends? At the end of the day, if I get nothing else out of this experience, that's what I'm looking forward to most.
Talking smack and being bad at Madden.