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Reason for EA Football Hate 
Posted on February 18, 2011 at 12:54 PM.

Reason for EA Football Hate

Posted by Phobia on Feb 18th, 2011

If you have been around the gaming industry for any period of time and have ventured into the online forum world. Well you will notice a common trend, people dislike the EA football products. Yet the major gaming review sites every year give Madden and the NCAA franchise excellent review scores. Lets take a quick peek into what has made the EA Football products so hated among the football gaming community and why do customers feel so differently than these supposed "review sites".

Power Struggle

It was not very long ago when we had multiple NFL products to choose from. With many different developers all battling to create the best football product. The presence of competition, led to developers pushing the boundaries on what was possible. Titles such as the revered NFL 2k5 were at the forefront of making huge leaps and bounds in sports game developments. With many of the features that NFL 2k5 has, still have yet to be duplicated. It was the perfect model that competition breeds consumer satisfaction.

Then a drastic change happened in 2005 which changed the Sports gaming world. The NFL signed a 5 year contract with the NFL & the Player Union. Thus locking out any other developer from creating another NFL based football product. In 2008 EA then extended the contract to 2012 and just recently has extended the contract by one more year.

To further compound the issues already for other developers. EA then went out and signed a 15 year deal with ESPN. This marriage seemed like the perfect blend for sports gamers. Both the leader in Sports and the Leader in Sports video games teaming up together. Wow the level of presentation we will see should be off the charts, WRONG!

EA Sports integrated a ESPN sports ticker in its sports franchise and outside of that very little in terms of ESPN presentation has been used in its sports games. There is so much opportunity here for EA and they have chosen to not make use of this contract but also eliminate everyone else from having a shot at utilizing the leader in sports presentation packages. This is a huge slap in the face to all their consumers and we spend far to much money for a game to include a roster update and one new feature or so. There is ZERO reason why they should not have ESPN presentation in all their sports games!

As long as EA holds these contracts it will do nothing but hurt the consumer. Without competition you will see a steady decline in production quality. This has been evident in the last several Madden games and will continue until we the consumers stand against mediocrity.

X & O's

The heart and soul of why consumers are not happy with the EA Football franchises is because their own motto of "If its in the game, Its in the game" is a lie. They have not created a game which mimics the sports we watch on TV. This is the biggest issue and complaints with EA Sports. Everyone does not hate EA Games, everyone hates that EA Games won't make a realistic sports game. Lets look at some of these issues that consumers complain about.


It is common knowledge that the EA Football franchises have horrible line play. The problem with this is that the entire game of football starts with the line play. If the line play is broken then the entire game is flawed from the start.

You can create a 160 pound Wide Receiver with the lowest blocking stats and face him against the best 300+ D-lineman in the game. The 160 pound Wide Receiver will stand up the D-lineman over and over. Plus pancaking him many times through out a game. Why is this happening??? Where is the respect of weight, strength, momentum, etc.

So in EA's football world, a O-line built entirely of 170 pound men will compete versus a D-line of star 300+ pound monsters. Anyone see a problem with this picture?

Until the line play is fixed, the entire Madden and NCAA franchise will be broken!

Timing Passing System

A key part of football you hear mentioned all the time is the connection and timing between a quarterback and his wide receivers. From the moment the ball is snapped there is a internal clock working in all the players heads. Quarterback has so many steps to drop back before he knows the Wide Receiver will be breaking on his route. The Wideout knows he has so many yards to cover and at this certain moment the ball should be arriving to him. This timing sounds like a simple feat, and would be so without 11 angry defense men trying to prevent this from happening. This is where the timing of the passing engine becomes so important.

If a QB releases the ball before he is supposed to there are a number of factors that could go wrong. The wideout might not see the ball has been thrown, the QB might place the ball off the mark, the defense might force a INT, etc etc. The game All Pro Football 2k8 did a excellent job with the timing based system which simulates very well how the passing game is in real life.

EA's Football passing engine is nothing close to this. No matter if your QB releases the ball early, late, or on time the wideout will always know the ball is coming even without looking for it. Plus the QB will always throw the ball to a location that puts the wideout in perfect spot to make the catch. This leads to many many issues in the EA passing engine. Defensive pressure is not a factor and makes rushing a QB nonexistent. He will always place the ball where it needs to be and the WR will always know it has been thrown.

Timing passing has to be implemented to have a correct back and forth between the defense and Offense.

Suction Blocking

Ohh the dreaded suction blocking. How many times have you had a defensive player literally touching a offensive ball holder and your defense men gets stuck in a blocking animation that he is unable to make a play on the ball. Then you watch the ball holder scamper for another 15 yards which equals to a frustrating experience and also a unrealistic one.

There is not a great deal of detail that needs to be said about this issue. Until EA figures out how to make it so players don't get stuck in animations, this will always be a issue. This remains in all their new titles even though they said it was fixed.

Mind Reading Players

Why is it that the Defensive Back I am facing is making a break on a out route before my wideout even makes his cut??? Why is it that the D-line is shifting to the side I am running to EVERY PLAY?? Why are Linebackers dropping into zones right where my slant route is headed??

This is mind numbing and should not happen in this current generation. There are stealth games base on hiding and enemy AI not knowing I am sneaking up behind them. There is no excuse for this considering many other football games do not have this problem, Only EA's Football titles.

Mark another big issue with EA Football games. This has to go!


I touched on this a little in the ESPN licensing agreement. But to further discuss the issue the main reason people are upset is because there are other titles out doing it 10 times better on a smaller budget and without the license.

Why don't we have pre-game break downs, Half time shows, Weekly highlight shows, Weekly stat coverage and key players, trades and injury breakdowns, to sum it up why don't we see in your game the same level of presentation covering the NFL as we see on ESPN every night? There is no excuse when a game from 2004 (NFL 2k5) has completely dominated the Madden franchise in presentation with less disk space and weaker console.

Another area that falls under presentation that is seriously lacking is the horrible commentary. What can be done to improve the commentary to the quality of The Show or NBA2k11 franchise?

Presentation is immersion and immersion keeps people coming back!

Its a Wrap

The EA Football franchise has been on a steady downward spiral and the only way to help them get out of this spiral is to force them to make a change. The way to do this is to vote with your hard earned dollar. Make a clear statement to EA that we want to see a marked improvement in their football games. They have all the means at their disposal so there should be ZERO excuses on why the MADDEN and NCAA franchises are not on the same level as NBA2k11 or The Show!

Lets show the EA Football developers we no longer will "make do" with what they give us every year. We want a quality product or we will hold out until they deliver!!
# 1 videlsports @ Feb 18
Good Read I fully support what you ae saying on here.
# 2 cbrock24 @ Feb 19
It's interesting how people hate on EA football games non-stop but don't mention the short comings of other games over and over. I agree there are some issues with the EA football engine, but let's not act like nba2k series is without fault. I don't know how many times I move my player in nba2k11 one direction and the guy does some funky animation and heads in a different direction before going in the direction I want the guy to go......and the game has had this problem for 6-7 years! At least you can run in a straight line in EA football games. The Show is the closest to real action, followed by the EA NHL and FIFA series. Let's not act like the NBA2K series does not have issues.....They have one game to make at 2K and they still have lingering issues.
# 3 SHAKYR @ Feb 19
Wow, I thought the fans here were more supportive of wanting more. They sound like the Fight Night fans and NBA LIVE(NBA ELITE)fans who will accept anything.
I question so called sports fans knowledge and perception of realistic gameplay.
Mack Mittens put it plain and simple.
# 4 ManiacMatt1782 @ Feb 19
Hey man good write up and very true, but the uneducated fans out number us. There are literally hundreds of thousands who believe football should be played the way it was in madden. I was watchin an eagles game and literally a guy I was watching with said on a 3rd down play " the eagles should bunch the receivers up on one side and then take offwith vick like I do in madden. EA has successfully uneducated football fans on how the game should be played
# 5 videlsports @ Feb 19
@shakyr I love the vid.. also telling the truth.. but so many are used to madden. that's all they think about.. And yes EA is not innocent in this, all games have flaws, but at least 2k puts all their effort in the games, Not all EA Sports teams Do that. Ncaa is good, Fifa's cool ( i don't play soccer) and Fight night is good too. But if they would have had 1 liscense, NCAA, or Pro, we would be talking a whole another conersation. 2k was on the Rise in 04/05 but still had some more improvements to go.. that's why Madden still outsold them that year because the people that loved madden still bought madden. But I belive if they saw the games side by side for those years there would be a split in sales.
# 6 newtonfb @ Feb 19
great read
"They have all the means at their disposal so there should be ZERO excuses on why the MADDEN and NCAA franchises are not on the same level as NBA2k11 or The Show!"

that says it all
# 7 malgrneyes @ Feb 19
@Phobia, great read man. You absolutely right, EA with all their resources should have a football game WAY better than they have produce. Snatching all the licenses only shows that the competition to their brand was coming. Open up the license and put your money where your mouth is...let there be competition, it only brings out the best in everyone.

@cbrock24, yes NBA2k series has its flaws but at least EA has a shot to compete against them with Live/Elite and look what happened. They scrapped it and went back to the drawing board to create a better game for the next year. Do the same with football. We all want the best game out there, the ability to choose what we want. Is that too much to ask for? I think not.
# 8 Eski33 @ Feb 19
First, let's keep things in perspective. These are games. Nothing more, nothing less. People's expectations are way out of control. In my opinion, the reason there are people who hate Madden, EA, etc. is due to people expecting too much. People actually spend time breaking down blocking and defensive line logic. Why? It's a game.

I, for one, like the direction the NCAA team is going. NCAA 11 was miles better than any product put out. Madden has its challenges but, in my opinion, it is more to do with the presentation than anything else.

People still bark up 2K's tree. I loved 2K5 as much as anyone but the gameplay wasn't that great. What made 2K5 memorable was the outstanding presentation and extras. If it didn't have SportsCenter, highlights and The Crib, no one would ever mention that game again.

The comparisons that were brought up were to games NBA 2K11 and The Show. 2K11 has an outstanding presentation and animations but the core gameplay isn't without flaws.

I guess my point is that gamers need to stop spending so much time trying to find flaws in a game and spend more time enjoying the game for what it is.
# 9 H to the Oza @ Feb 19
^^ People spend time breaking down blocking becuz when your O lineman runs away from his block, resulting in a 4 yard loss. We get REALLY pissed off, so we look at the replay over and over in disbelief.. thinking "damn, I cant believe they would release such a flawed game"
# 10 SHAKYR @ Feb 19
Eski33, yeah it is a game, but EA keeps talking about capturing the game realistically and calling their games sim experiences. You act like you work for EA!
If you don't expect more you don't get more. We would be still stuck on the Atari systems or playing table top football. You want people to accept anything for their money when they no better. EA isn't dealing with 5 year olds. They are dealing with (sports)football fans.
# 11 statum71 @ Feb 21
Yes, yes, yes, yes......and you didn't leave out presentation either.
# 12 Phobia @ Feb 21
1) To the guys saying "Its just a game", let me explain a few things. A burger from McDonalds is just a 2 to 3 dollar burger. But you are spending your money on it so you want a burger that taste good. You would not spend your money even if it is 2 bucks on a nasty burger.

We as game consumers spend literally THOUSANDS towards games. The industry is a BILLION dollar industry, so it is not "just a game". It is literally a INDUSTRY. So with that said, we as consumers deserve to get our money worth.

If you spend 60 bucks in 08 on Madden, then 60 bucks in 09 for Madden with hand warmers and colored cleats, then 60 bucks in 10 for Madden with new running animations, then 60 bucks in 11 for Madden with autoplay calling, then 60 bucks in 12 for Madden with sneak onside kicks. That does not strike a nerve with you that you spent 300 dollars and the product you spent all that money on has changed very little from one year to the next to deserve equal payment amount??

I disagree completely.

Also my biggest issue with the EA football direction is the simple fact they have everything at their disposal and still can't create a game comparable to NBA2k11 or The Show. For those that say we are not being fair and those games have flaws also. How can you even remotely compare Madden to NBA2k11 and say it is "close" because NBA2k11 has gameplay flaws. The complete package of both those titles is better than any Madden game EVER created.

To make matters worse it is one of the longest running sports franchises and still has NEVER had that one year where the game was drop dead amazing. Every year it is a rehash of the same product and is always received with a "mehhhh its alright" approach from most.

That is the issue is people are willing to accept a lack luster product rather than exercising your right to speak your mind on what you want.
# 13 sportyguyfl31 @ Feb 21
good write up Phobia. I'm not a crusader by any stretch, but you bring up good, reasonable points
# 14 Phobia @ Feb 21
Neither am I Sport. I am no "crusader", all I am is a guy who enjoys killing time relaxing after work playing sports games. But the industry has improved the quality of our games greatly, so industry giants must keep up with the times.

When you have developers out there creating games such as The Show or NBA2k11 which are clearly the better representation of the sport than Madden is. You start addressing that maybe it is the developers lack of talent or drive which is causing the game to not meet expectations.

Some people say our expectations are to high. But I disagree with that because titles that succeed in bringing us a product worthy of the 60 dollar price tag clearly get the recognition from the community. Consumers praise the hell out of NBA2k11 and The Show, because they recognize that the product is great.

Madden having the longest running sports franchise has zero excuse to not be mentioned up there with The Show and NBA2k11. You are representing the number one sport in the country and falter year in and year out.

They have every opportunity a company would love to have for delivering a superior product. License with the biggest sport company the NFL and license with leader in sports news ESPN. Your presentation quality should be off the charts having access to all these avenues, your gameplay should mimic real life, your animations should be thousands and thousands ( similar to NBA2k11), and your complete package should be able to compete with other industry leaders if you want to continue being taken seriously.

The biggest mistake EA made was signing these licenses and not being able to back it up. You placed all eyes on your product BUT you have to deliver in that product for people not to feel "monopolize". The moment people feel as if you can do better and you have taken away there right to a better product. Well you get placed on the chopping block. I think that is what is occurring right now.
# 15 SHAKYR @ Feb 21
We need "Crusaders" and "Campaigners" for realism, this is the only way the companies will listen.

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