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Playbooks in "sim" leagues 
Posted on December 17, 2016 at 05:45 PM.
Custom Playbooks... We all use them right? Let's be honest, a majority of the default playbooks are awful and generic. So we go into the editor, and we build the ultimate playbook. All the best formations and plays.. everything we just know for sure is going to get us that W. Then we struggle a little, so we hit up youtube and figure out that the best toss plays come from bunch formations. Well, that's getting added right away!

Wait a second... what are we doing?

Isn't this exactly why we are in these leagues to begin with? To avoid seeing the same things over and over? That's what is happening though. Week after week, game after game, routine. The same plays, the same formations. Sure, It's mixed up a bit to abide by the rules, but all the content is still there. You can put ham, cheese, and mayo on a sandwich in 3 different orders, but it still tastes the same. It's not just this madden, or even youtube... There is a developed consensus when it comes to plays that work. Mesh plays, multiple crossing routes, bunch formations... Your typical Buc sails and trips verts. And it's not all bad.. In fact, madden 17 revamped the defense and a lot of it can be stopped with the right call now. No, see, that's not the real issue.. The real issue is that everyone is running the same things. There's no diversity.. there's no schemes.. there's no thought.. We know what works, and that's what we are running. I play against so many different people, and yet see so much of the same things.

- 450 play playbooks with no direction.
- a dozen different styles in one game.. switching back and forth from power run, west coast, spread, run and shoot, etc..
- Formations where a user only runs 1 play from it.
- defensive alignments that make no sense in any situation(spreading a DL against I form, shifting DL one way and LB's the other, ruining gap control schemes.)
- constantly running base personnel in pressed(and show blitz) cover 3, because well, madden let's you get away with it.
- Hot routes that aren't logical in the real world, but work because of bad AI

STOP!!! Madden is not as broken as you think it is. Real world schemes can be translated into this virtual platform, and isn't that what we really want anyway? An experience as close to authentic as we can get? It's a part of football that's missing from our leagues. The sense of strategy and gameplanning. We don't need to know how our opponent plays because we already know that our plays are going to work, no matter what, because they always have.

Perhaps, for a lot of people, that's just too much depth. It's just a game after all, and we just want to play something other than the toxic, unforgiving version of football that is MUT. That's okay, everyone is entitled to their own opinion. This is just the voice of one person among many. Of course, I'm not saying everyone is guilty of this, obviously, but I see it a lot more than should be expected.

So, to the point of all this. I think it's time to up our expectations. Stop settling for a, "well, it's better than lobby", experience, and start looking to get the most out of this game.

To the league members out there - Don't be afraid to dice up that playbook. You may be set in the idea that madden can't do this or that, but it can. You can run a real offense or defense. You don't have to settle for the same thing everyone else is running or risk being at a disadvantage. Develop a scheme... It doesn't have to be perfect, or even limited to what we already know.. it just needs to be focused. Pick an idea and run with it.. learn it, master it, and execute it. Stop filling your playbooks with a dozen different ideas, or the crap some viewbait youtube fool tells you is the only thing that works. You wanna be a power run team, Then make it so. You wanna spread the field with speed and options, the make it so. Just stick to it. It's silly to see one team run a dozen different schemes in one game. It's an eyesore, and it's unrealistic, which is not what we want out of these leagues. Finally, Don't be afraid to ask for help. In a 32 person league the level of football knowledge is pretty diverse. Anything from casual fans to scholars of the sport. If you need help, chances are there is someone around who has the answers.

To the people running the leagues - Let's get some higher expectations. These leagues could be so much better than they already are. Not just as a place for an authentic experience, but a place that keeps players engaged and learning. Ask your members how they play. Ask them what schemes they run. Question the repetitiveness you see. Expect more than just casual fans, and if that's what you get, turn them into enthusiasts of the sport.

I guess that's it.. Maybe this was more of a rant, I don't know, But hopefully it helps.
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