Updated: Jul 23
Without sports for nearly 100 days, boredom was hitting an all-time high. I began playing more video games than I normally divulge in. My nights were being filled with mostly Madden. I enjoyed watching Barstool Sports Big Cat create his head coaching Guru, Gus Duggerton in NCAA-14. A regret I still have this day was not buying that game for XBOX360 while at GameStop for a whopping $55. It is now valued at over $175 on eBay and Amazon. To pass the time, I began running fantasy drafts on franchise mode. Those were fun, but it got boring really quick. I wanted to challenge myself a little more, so I came up with the idea of creating the best Madden team without short cuts.
I wanted to choose a team that was already poised to win. This involved having a solid core with a young promising quarterback, strong weapons, and a fortified defense. I ultimately chose the Kansas City Chiefs led by jolly ole Coach Andy Reid. The roster I used was from the end of the 2019 season.
To preface this blog, Madden is really not realistic in trades. To obtain high-value players, you can beat the system by trading lower value guys for whatever the team needs. For example, I acquired Super Bowl MVP Von Miller from the Broncos for a Defensive Tackle, a Wide Receiver, and a 5th round pick. In real life, not a chance! But this is a simulation, and I will play its game.
I first looked at the trade block. This is the easy way to acquire decent players on Madden because the teams will trade away 80+ ranked players for garbage. Here is what I accomplished.
· HB Spencer Ware (80 OVR), RT Martinas Rankin (66 OVR) -> Chargers: HB Austin Eickler (83 OVR)
· TE David Wells (70 OVR) -> Redskins: TE Vernon Davis (80 OVR)
· LE Breeland Speaks (76 OVR) -> Bills: RE Shaq Lawson (80 OVR)
· MLB Ben Nieman (71 OVR) -> Packers: ROLB Kyler Fackrell (75 OVR)
· CB Rashad Fenton (69 OVR), 2021 3rd Round Pick -> Seahawks: LOLB Shaquem Griffin (77 OVR)
· FS Jordan Lucas (70 OVR), TE Blake Bell (70 OVR) -> Patriots: FS Duron Harmon (80 OVR)
· LT Cameron Erving (70 OVR), LE Tanoh Kpassagnon (69 OVR), 2020 4th Rounder -> Buccaneers: MLB Kendell Beckwith (75 OVR)
That was the easy part, and overall I was happy with the haul. I got some really talented players and didn’t really lose anyone in return. Now, the fun began. The manual trades in Madden is what gets the gears turning. As I mentioned, this wasn’t realistic whatsoever, but you still couldn’t trade gunk for gold.
· HB Austin Eickler (83 OVR), CB Morris Claiborne (78 OVR), 2020 1st Round Pick -> Giants: HB Saquon Barkley (92 OVR)
· DT Mike Pennel Jr (72 OVR), ROLB Damien Wilson (72 OVR) -> Colts: LG Quentin Nelson (93 OVR)
· DT Khalen Saunders (70 OVR), WR Mecole Hardman (70 OVR), 2020 5th Round Pick -> Broncos: LOLB Von Miller (96 OVR)
· LE Alex Okafor (75 OVR), HB David Williams (65 OVR), 2020 3rd Round Pick -> Jaguars: LE Calais Campbell (92 OVR)
· WR Demarcus Robinson (69 OVR), 2020 2nd Round Pick -> Cardinals: WR Larry Fitzgerald (83 OVR)
· 2020 6th Round Pick, 2021 1st Round Pick, 2021 2nd Round Pick -> Cowboys: RG Zack Martin (97 OVR)
At this point, I was truly hyped. I created a fantasy team that I felt would be unstoppable. It dawned on me though to take a look at the free-agent market. Usually, it is pretty dry, but I created this team at the start of the preseason. I was mistaken. It was loaded with decent guys, but two names really stuck out. The first … Andrew Luck. I forgot that he “retired” right when the game came out, so he was not on the Colts. I was going to grab him to trade for somebody in high value, but my cap situation only would allow me to choose one player. I decided to go with choice number two. WR Antonio Brown, a 93 overall weapon (too soon?), that would truly make my offensive a threat. I grabbed him on a one year, 11-million-dollar deal. At that point, I felt like Thanos placing the last infinity gem in his gauntlet.
The team was loaded. I was a 94 OVR with a 96 OVR Offense and a 91 OVR Defense. It was time for the season to begin.
The Season and The Outcome
I wanted to make this realistic and difficult, so I put the settings on All-Madden and Competitive. Injuries were on, as were salary cap (which will be talked about at the end). There were no sliders, no cheating, this was gritty EA Sports play.
The Chiefs had themselves a year, similar to their real-life success. The team went 15-1, losing the Broncos at the end of the season. I was hoping for a perfect season, but Madden decided to rest the stars for week 17. No matter, the playoffs, they were young. The Chiefs dominated through easily beating the Chargers in the Divisional round a whopping 42-10. The AFC Championship game was a doozy, but the Chiefs came out on top, stopping the Ravens 28-7. The team took a trip to Tampa Bay to play in Super Bowl LV. Their foe, a familiar face, they met up with last year’s NFC Champs, the San Francisco 49ers for a rematch. The outcome? The same.
KC wins the big one, 35-21. All gas, no breaks, it was a season that maybe will be written into a movie one day. The guys balled out this year, and here were some big player highlights
· QB Patrick Mahomes: 4590 yards passing, 42 TD, 6 INT, 82% passing rate. He also rushed for 350 yards and 8 TD. He was the MVP, AFC OPOY, and the best QB in the AFC.
· HB Saquon Barkley: 1402 rushing yards, 15 TD. He caught 645 yards for 5 TD and was awarded best RB in the AFC
· WR Tyreek Hill: 1241 receiving yards for 13 TD, Best WR in the AFC
· Martin, Nelson, and Schwartz were the top 3 OL in the AFC with 0 sacks allowed amongst the three.
· LOLB Von Miller: 20 sacks, 85 tackles, AFC DPOY
· Coach Andy Reid: NFL Coach of the Year
The Next Five Years
With all that glitter, there wasn’t much gold in the near future. Ultimately I was fucked after this season. I was negative 10 million in cap space and couldn’t make any additions or resign some key players. Those who left in the offseason included FB Anthony Sherman, P Dustin Colquitt, WR Antonio Brown, LB Daren Lee, HB LeSean McCoy, LB Terrell Suggs, and CB Kendall Fuller. I did franchise tag DT Chris Jones for 2020, so I kept at least one big name.
I let the computer do the rest because I did not want to sit there for hours crunching numbers to fix the cap value. The team was still successful, but not victorious. I would compare this team to a testosterone-filled teenager. They were hot, but they couldn’t finish.
· 2021: 15-1; Lost in the Super Bowl to the Packers, 17-10
· 2022: 14-2; Lost in the AFC Championship to the Browns, 27-21
· 2023: 13-2-1; Lost in AFC Divisional the to the Ravens, 35-21
· 2024: 14-2; Lost in the AFC Championship to the Chargers, 27-24
· 2025: 12-4; Lost in the AFC Championship to the Browns, 38-35
Mahomes won 3 more MVPs, Andy Reid was coach of the year twice more. Each season, the Chiefs had around 10+ players make the trip to the Pro Bowl, ultimately sealing up HOF status for many of them.
Overall, it was a fun experiment and took up a good week of quarantine. The question now is will I be paying $70 for the new Madden 2021 in a couple of weeks. Magic Eightball says “probably”.