Madden NFL 2002 (PlayStation 2) Strategy Guide Document written by PyroFalkon (firstname.lastname@example.org) Current Version: 1.1b Last updated: 1 November 2003 +---------------+ |+-------------+| ||LATEST UPDATE|| |+-------------+| +---------------+ v1.1b (1 November 2003) It's been nearly a year, but unfortunately my site is down for the count. Luckily, IGN has decided to host my FAQs too, so it's all good. A new copyright notice is the only change. +-------------------+ |+-----------------+| ||TABLE OF CONTENTS|| |+-----------------+| +-------------------+ 1. Intro PART 1: FOOTBALL ================ 2. Player Positions 3. Offense a. Basic Theory b. Advanced Theories c. Beating the Blitz d. Personal Faves e. Going for Two 4. Defense a. Basic Theory b. Advanced Theories c. Personal Faves 5. Special Teams a. Kickoffs b. Field Goals c. Punts d. When to Fake 6. The End Game a. Offense, Leading b. Defense, Leading c. Offense, Trailing d. Defense, Trailing 7. Slapping on the GM Cap a. Signing b. Re-signing c. Trading d. Drafting 8. Challenging Plays 9. Franchise Mode PART 2: MADDEN 2002 FEATURES ============================ 10. Other Game Modes 11. Madden Challenge and Cards 12. Create-a-team PART 3: PLAYERS AND TEAMS RANKINGS ================================== 13. Best Players by Position 14. Best Teams by Category PART 4: FAQ STUFF ================= 15. Version History 16. Legal Info 17. Contact Info +----------+ |+--------+| ||1. INTRO|| |+--------+| +----------+ Welcome to my FAQ on Madden NFL 2002 for the Playstation 2. Thanks in advance for reading! I'm going to talk about football strategy, from the sidelines to the front offices. There will be a shorter section about some of the extra features of Madden 2002, but I won't go into them in detail since all the information is there for you in-game and in the instruction book. I'm going to assume you know the basics of football rules. For example, the offense has four downs to get 10 yards, stepping out of bounds is bad, crap like that. Okay, since most of you are coming here for football strategy, that's the first part. So, put on the cap of your chosen team, and away we go! +------------------+ |+----------------+| ||PART 1: FOOTBALL|| |+----------------+| +------------------+ This entire section will deal with plays on both sides of the ball, as well as getting a perfect team for your personal play style! Let me point out right now that there is a Practice mode in the game; go there to test any strategy you have, or to verify mine. That mode is almost as valuable to rookies as is their jock strap and helmet. +---------------------+ |+-------------------+| ||2. PLAYER POSITIONS|| |+-------------------+| +---------------------+ This section deals with what each player's position is, and what skills you want to look for when you either sign or trade for that position. Also, I'll only refer to the full name in this section... otherwise, throughout the FAQ I'll be using the abbreviations. OFFENSE ======= Quarterback (QB) - This player is the leader of the offense. He's the first one to touch the ball on any play. He'll either hand it off to a runningback, or throw it downfield for a pass. A QB needs to have good Throwing Power (THP) and Throwing Accuracy (THA) if you intend to use a lot of passing plays. If your QB has high Speed (SPD), he can run the ball himself during plays that break down, or simply to avoid getting sacked by the defense. Halfback (HB) - This player is your main runner. He'll typically just take handoffs and run downfield, although he may go out for some passing plays. He needs high SPD, Acceleration (ACC), and Agility (AGI) of course, and a high Carrying (CAR) so he doesn't drop the ball everytime he holds it. If you're going to pass to him a lot, make sure he's got a decent Catching (CTH) stat. Breaking Tackles (BTK) is very important too. Fullback (FB) - This player typically blocks for the HB if you're doing a running play, or he'll block for the QB on other plays. Sometimes he'll run with the ball, and he seldom goes out for passes. Typical FBs will have decent SPD, high Strength (STR), and good Run Blocking (RBK). Pass Blocking (PBK) is important too, although it doesn't have to be as high. Unless you're going to use him for running and passing plays, AGI, CAR, CTH, and ACC don't matter as much. The HB and FB are collectively called the runningbacks. Wide Reciever (WR) - Except for very specific plays, there's at least one of these guys on the field at once, with up to five total. They're the ones who go deep and catch passes. High SPD, ACC, AGI, and CTH are very important. CAR and BTK are very close seconds. Tight End (TE) - There's normally one of these on the field on each play, sometimes two, ocassionally none. TEs typically block, although they can go out for passes too. Because their primary job is blocking, try to get guys with high STR, RBK, and PBK. Center (C) - This guy is the one who gives the ball to the QB at the start of every play. That's the only thing he does aside from block, though, so STR, RBK, and PBK are the three big important stats. Guards (LG and RG) - These two flank the C on the left and right. They only block as well, so make sure they have STR, RBK, and PBK. Offensive Tackles (LT and RT) - These two flank the LG and RG. Again, they only block, so you know which three to pick. DEFENSE ======= *Note: All defensive players obviously need high Tackling (TAK). Defensive Tackle (DT) - Depending on the formation, there will be either one or two on the field. Except for very few plays, this player (or players) will try to blast the QB of the opponent. STR is important, and AGI less so. Defensive Ends (LE and RE) - These two will flank the DT, and also try to nail the QB on every play. Middle Linebacker (MLB) - Depending on the formation, there will be one or two. He stands right behind the front line of the defense, trying to block short passes or tackle the runningbacks if they get past the front line. Jumping (JMP) and SPD are important here. Outside Linebackers (LOLB and ROLB) - They will stand a little ways from the DEs. They are responsible for stopping the runningbacks if they try to run to the sidelines, and they stop short passes from reaching the recievers. All the linebackers blitz ocassionally (run right after the QB, ignoring everything else), but the OLBs do so more. Therefore, they'll need decent JMP, SPD, ACC, and AGI. Cornerbacks (CB) - These guys stand near the sidelines at the edges of the formation. They are responsible for deflecting passes thrown to the WRs. High SPD, ACC, and JMP are very important. Free Safety (FS) and Strong Safety (SS) - The safeties try to block long passes, as well as tackle anyone who manages to get past the rest of the defense. They'll typically pick up WRs that outran the CBs, or they'll double-team WRs if they're not needed elsewhere. Safeties need high SPD, ACC, and JMP. SPECIAL TEAMS ============= Kickers (K) and Punters (P) - The K kicks field goals and kickoffs, while the P is only responsible for punts. In Madden, their exact position is pretty much irrelevant; if you have either a good K or P, he can take the job of the other one, too. Ks and Ps need high Kicking Power (KPW) and Kicking Accuracy (KAC), naturally. +------------+ |+----------+| ||3. OFFENSE|| |+----------+| +------------+ Even if you can't tell Marshall Faulk from Zach Thomas, or have no idea what position Jerome Bettis plays, or what two teams actually share the same stadium, you do know that it takes points to win a game. You can't score if you don't hold the ball, and you can't score consistently if you make mistakes every five seconds. While it takes a little practice to get down your style, you should be racking up points in no time. +----------------+ |3a. Basic Theory| +----------------+ All right, when you're on offense, the basic question that poses you every single down is: run or pass? Now, let's assume for a second that all your guys are equal in strength. The basic theory of which to choose is related to three questions: what down is it; how far is it to get a first down; and what's the score. WHAT DOWN IS IT - Running plays are far better to choose in early downs, mostly because they are much safer. Because your QB is handing the ball DIRECTLY to your runningbacks, there's no chance for a turnover unless your runner's fingers are made of butter and he drops the ball every time. However, because you probably won't get more than 3 to 5 yards per run, you'll need to pass if the down count is getting too high. HOW FAR IS IT TO GET A FIRST DOWN - If you ever need more than 10 yards, you'll need to pass. Passing will oftentimes get you worlds more yardage than runs, although throwing too deep too early will cause problems. The Pass Defense AI is much stronger this year, and while it's not perfect, you'll not want to risk giving up an early lead. WHAT'S THE SCORE - If you're leading, don't bother running passing plays. After all, there's no reason to risk the score to get a few extra points. If you're behind, you'll want to go deep, since that may be your only chance to get away with a win. Here's the basic theory list, assuming the score difference is 7 or fewer points either way... 1st Down: Run. 2nd and less than 7 yards: Run. 2nd and more than 10: Pass. 3rd and less than 3: Run. 3rd and more than 5: Pass. 4th and less than 1: If you're feeling confident and you're past the 50 yard line, try a run. 4th and anything else: Punt or Field Goal. Notice that I didn't cover every single yardage situation. The reason is simple: your team's strengths and weaknesses, as well as your personal playing style, should dictate the list also. If you've got a fantastic runner like Bettis, George, or Faulk, run more. If you have a good passer with good recievers, pass more. +---------------------+ |3b. Advanced Theories| +---------------------+ WHEN TO PASS ============ On all passing plays, the WRs have definite routes that they run. If they cut (quickly change directions) or curl (come back toward the line of scrimmage after running a set distance), you'll want to time it so they they recieve the pass when or soon after they make the move. For example, let's take a play in which the WR cuts inside. The moment he plants his foot and turns directions, the enemy defender is still going to be travelling the same direction. The defender must REACT to the action, which might buy that extra split second you'll need to hit your reciever when he's free. Another tip for passing to get your timing so you throw BETWEEN defenders. Take a look at this... R------------N-----------> X X =========================== Q R=Reciever X=Defenders Q=Quarterback You'll want to throw the ball so your reciever will catch the ball at the N mark. Now, you'll not want to throw when he's AT the N mark. You'll want to throw the ball while he's a few steps away. Basically, you'll want to throw the ball where the defender SHOULD be in two steps, not where he's currently at. If your timing is good, you can make the play and burn the defense to get a few extra yards. RED ZONE ======== The "Red Zone" is the area between either 20-yard line and the closest goal line. If you are inside either Red Zone, the rules change a bit. First of all, if you're in your own Red Zone, you need to be careful. An interception or fumble could quite easily turn into a defensive touchdown, even if you're against a team with below-average defenders. Besides, even if you manage to stop the enemy before they score, he'll be in a beautiful position when they take over on offense. Getting out of your Red Zone has two schools of thought. Some play as if their tails are on fire, and they chuck the ball deep every time to get out quickly. Others go the safe route and call runs, although they may be stopped soon. I play a mix, and alter my play depending on the situation. If your team has better running or passing, or the defense is weak against one or the other, exploit it. Say you've got a phenomenal QB and WRs. Passing to get out is probably your best bet. If you've got great blockers and runner, try a running play designed to get you to the sidelines, then turn up and head downfield. If you're in the enemy's Red Zone, it's a whole other ball of wax. 20 yards is not too far from a touchdown, and you're definitely in field goal range. Again, you'll want to exploit your team's strengths and the enemy's weaknesses, but it's not nessecery to go insane with risks. I personally run my standard offense until I hit about the 15 yard line. The one problem with being in the enemy's Red Zone is that you can no longer use really deep passes. Short and medium passes are typically what are blocked unless your QB has a lightning-quick release (which is more up to how well you play personally). On the other hand, the enemy may use their best DTs and DEs to stuff the line and give little to no hope of running. What I typically do when I get that close is run my best running play and see how the defense reacts. If they blitzed, I throw a pass on the next down. If they hung around looking for a pass, I run again. Typically, they will run about the same play for the first two downs, then change for the third if they think it will help them. PLAY ACTION PASSES ================== Play action passes are plays that have the QB pretend to hand the ball to a runningback, but then he'll drop back to pass. If you use too many of these, or you seldom call runs, the enemy will not be fooled. For example, I typically run PA Passes on the second down about 3/4 of the way to the enemy's goal line. Except for the hardest difficulty, the computer is pretty fair. If you generally call running plays, then throw in a PA on the same downs, the computer will generally go for it. There's a science to using this play, though. The defense will only react to it for a split second, and typically only the LBs are thrown off. After all, the WRs and TEs will be running their routes, so the CBs and safeties won't be distracted since they're only looking at the guys they're supposed to be covering. Also, the fake handoff takes about a second or two, which is enough time for a sack if enough of the enemy is blitzing. Basically, you shouldn't run a PA unless you know exactly how it's going to go and who you're going to throw to. I'm not saying you'll have to pass immediately after the fake, but because the PA is nothing more than a deception pass (and is therefore only as good as the deception itself), you'll need to find a target quicker than a normal pass play. Because the MLBs and OLBs react more to PA plays than anyone else, try to choose one in which you'll pass to someone going in the middle. QB SNEAKS ========= A QB Sneak is when the QB takes the ball himself and runs it. This typically won't get more than a few yards, but it could throw the entire defense into confusion. There is only one "set" QB Sneak; it's under the Goal Line formation of all the playbooks. However, that doesn't have to be the ONLY QB Sneak. If you watch real NFL games, you'll notice that when severe pressure is applied to the QB, sometimes he'll just give up trying to throw it and run. This works VERY well in-game, although you're going to need a very speedy QB to pull it off with any sort of sucess. One of my favorite plays was to call a Hail Mary, which sends five WRs (and therefore all the CBs and safeties and LBs after them) deep. With most the defense 30 yards downfield, and the rest tangling with my front line, that gave my QB the chance to just walk around the scuffle and haul butt downfield. The defense covering my WRs would have to take the time to turn around, plus my WRs would try to block them. Also, the front line of the defense would have trouble breaking away from the front line of my offense. By the time all the defense figured out what was going on, my QB was several yards downfield already and still running. When it was executed correctly, I could get upwards of 20 yards. This is a VERY dangerous play to try all the time, however. QBs tend to drop the ball when they're hit, and you'll have to be slightly lucky to get a QB with the SPD to pull this off right. Also, if only one CB or LB hung back to watch my QB, I could not get more than a few yards. I only used it in times of crisis, or when I needed to throw variety into things. HURRY UP OFFENSE ================ At the end of each half, you should hurry to get your plays off. You may elect to choose the same play and not enter a huddle by issuing a No Huddle command. Once the play is done, hold Triangle, and everyone will reset to the line of scrimmage with the same play chosen. You can call an audible there to mix up your offense. This has other uses than the end game, however. The defense gets tired faster than the offense, and by continually hurrying the play, you can make them tire out fast. This will lead to them being at quite a disadvantage by the time you get to their Red Zone. This also disrupts the tempo of the game if you start it during the second or third quarter, and you can severely throw off a human opponent at the same time. While the computer doesn't get completely confused, they tend to fall asleep on the first few plays if you run a Hurry Up Offense at an unexpected time. +---------------------+ |3c. Beating the Blitz| +---------------------+ First, I would like to thank Juan Little (email@example.com) for inspiring me to write this... The blitz is definitely a threat. However, there are a few things you can do. First of all, if the blitz always comes from the middle, and the CBs just cover receivers, considering a sweep. If only the DBs are blitzing, you can actually run AROUND them (which is why I like I-Form Big/HB Toss). If the blitz comes from the sides, there are a few things you can do. If you want to try your luck, you can try to run the other way from the blitz, but it's a little hard to guess that (and the blitz could come from BOTH sides anyway). Running up the middle is also risky all the time, blitz or not. If he blitzes from the sides, then, you'll need to use your receivers creatively. If you insist on running, then use a man in motion and put him on the side of the run (if you run right, move the left-most WR as far right as he can go). The other thing you can do is set your WRs to BLOCK. To do that, select the play. Then, before the snap, hit Triangle, then the letter of the receiver, then R2 or L2. He won't be an eligible receiver for that play, but he might be able to stop whoever is blitzing. Remember the basic rule of fighting against the blitz: for every man blitzing, that's one less they have in the backfield. If his CBs are blitzing, then your WRs are openb for a SPLIT-SECOND after the play stars. If your friend is consistantly using blitzes, especially from the sides, try passing only a moment after snapping. It's risky, but he may not expect it. +------------------+ |3d. Personal Faves| +------------------+ Because my team has an all-around running and passing offense, and because I run about two-thirds of my plays as runs, I needed a playbook with mostly run plays but a good selection of passing plays as well. I settled on Mike Martz's Saint Louis Rams playbook. Here are my favorite plays from that playbook... I FORM-BIG > HB TOSS - This is a perfect play to establish the running game early. My HB takes the ball on a toss from the QB and runs right. The FB gives him a lead block, and the TE and offensive line block any oncoming traffic. The sole WR on that side helps out too. I can get about 4 to 6 yards on average. WEAK I-NORMAL > FB POWER - When I only need a few yards, such as a third-and-short situation, I go to this play. The FB takes the ball and pounds it up the middle while the HB goes to the right, hopefully making some of the defense watch him. While I never get more than 2 to 4 yards with this one, sometimes that's all I need. SINGLEBACK-SLOT STRONG > PA HB CURL - This is a basic Play Action Pass play. The HB fakes the handoff, runs up the field five yards, then curls back toward the line of scrimmage to get a pass. The reciever on the left side of the field is mimicing those motions, although he curls back after about 15 yards. The TE runs up a few yards then breaks diagonally to the right, and he's normally the one I'll pass to. Meanwhile, I have another reciever who is hanging around near the right sideline, and another who's going deep. That gives me two short, two mid, and one deep options for my pass. SINGLEBACK-4WR > SLANT OVERLOAD - This play features four WRs, all of whom go forward about 5 yards then cut diagonally. All but the WR on the far left will break toward the left sideline. This gives four options, and each option will cut. The only problem is that they sometimes bump into each other, especially on the left side, which hurts my chances to complete the pass. SINGLEBACK-EMPTY 5 WR > HAIL MARY - 4 WR and my HB line up, and they just run deep. My HB is normally who I throw to, and I favor the right side over the left since there are more recievers there. Of course, if everyone's covered and no play is possible, I drop it and tell my QB to run. +-----------------+ |3e. Going for Two| +-----------------+ If you're behind by a large margin, you can elect to go for a two-point conversion after a touchdown. That means you decide not to kick a field goal and simply try to make a touchdown from the two-yard line. If you suceed, you get two points instead of the usual one. It's risky, but sometimes it's the way to go. If you're ahead, don't bother. When you're in the lead, you'll want every point you can get, so there's little reason to risk getting none in order to get one measely additional point more than the sure thing of the one-point field goal. If you're behind, again you'll need every point you can get, and again there's little reason to risk it. The time to try it is in the fourth quarter, when that one point can mean the difference between a win and a loss. Some people like to try it when they're one point down. That means they will either be ahead or behind after the play, taking a gamble either way. I personally don't do this, and I prefer to send a game into overtime with a field goal than to risk a two-point conversion, especially during the playoffs. It's really up to you, and you may want to use them more if you think you can get those two yards easily. Just remember, though, that you only get one chance. If you have to take your extra-point attempt farther away for some reason (say, an offsides or delay of game penalty on the first attempt), don't bother trying a two-point conversion. It's hard enough to get 2 yards downfield on one play, it's even harder to get 7 yards or more. +------------+ |+----------+| ||4. DEFENSE|| |+----------+| +------------+ Defense is somewhat harder, because the play is entirely controlled by the offense. You have to react, and you'll need a little luck on your side as well. However, once you have the basic formula down, you should do well. +----------------+ |4a. Basic Theory| +----------------+ The biggest thing you need to do, especially if you're actually playing one of your defenders, is know what your player's responsibility is. Generally, you'll not want to pull your DTs back to block passes, and you'll not want to bring in your safeties to blitz (although there are plays written for that). Beyond remembering what you're supposed to do, also know what you've been ordered to do. The defensive plays are written so each player has their own area or player to watch and defend. When a player steps away to help another too early, it can result in problems. For example, let's say that you're playing as your MLB. You see a WR burn your CB, so you decide to go and help. That leaves the entire middle open, and if a WR is running that way, he'll have an easy reception. You'll have to have the mindset and will to keep your guys where they should be. After all, in this example, one of your safeties should be picking up the stray WR. It's not the job of MLBs to clean up trash. Obviously, the DTs and DEs (along with anyone else who's blitzing) have easier missions. Their jobs are to kill the QB with disregard for everything else. If the play you picked assigns your guy to blitz, ignore all rules and tendancies of where defenders are supposed to be. Yes, having your MLB blitz will leave the middle open, but hopefully you'll get a sack before the QB can pass there. You may be asking, "What's the difference between telling my guy to blitz and picking a play that has him doing it? He's blitzing either way!" There's a problem with going on your own. Plays in which non-linemen are blitzing are DESIGNED to compliment the open area. For example, if you're running a 3-4 formation, in which you have two MLBs, and one of those two blitz, then the one who hangs back will take a half-step to the center as well, trying to cover both areas. You see, the "problem" is that the computer will control your other 10 guys as the play dictates. So if you do something that the play did not intend to happen, then your other guys won't try to help out with the open area. If you take that MLB and have him blitz on a play that wasn't designed for him to, the other MLB will not attempt to cover your guy's area until it's too late. Once the ball has been thrown or handed off, it's a whole other story. The moment you know that the enemy has thrown or handed off, your job, no matter what your position, is to run over the ball carrier. It doesn't matter if you're on the other side of the field, hold that sprint button down and get to the ball. To block passes, you'll have to first make sure you're between the ball and WR. That seems obvious, but you have to realize that blocking passes is not the only way to play defense. If you're ahead of the WR, you can wait until he actually touches the ball before planting his face into the ground. That alone may jar the ball loose, and even if it doesn't, it won't get them any additional yardage. Of course, blocking passes gives you a chance to intercept, and unless you're one of the safeties, there is at least one man back to help you should something go wrong. As the ball nears the target, simply hit the Triangle button. Your player will try to catch it, although if he can't, he'll do his best simply to knock it away. To tackle a player, make sure you're close enough and jam the Square button. Keep tapping it as you make contact to better you chances of taking him down. Just remember not to blast the QB after he's passed, or the K or P after he's kicked, or you'll get a penalty. +---------------------+ |4b. Advanced Theories| +---------------------+ LINE SHIFTING ============= Before the ball is snapped, you can shift your DTs and DEs left or right, and/or shift your MLBs and OLBs left or right. If you see a weakness in the offensive line, or you see a strength of the offensive that you need to block, shifting your lines may make the difference between a 20 yard gain and a 5 yard loss. You basically want to look for a situation in which the offense has more WRs on one side than the other. You'll want to shift your LBs to the side that has more WRs to cover them better, for example. Note that you don't need to shift your lines as long as the number of recievers match your CBs. For example, if there are 2 WRs on the left and none on the right, your RCB will move over to the left before the play even starts. No line shifting is necessary in that case. DEFENSIVE COVERAGE ================== Before the snap, you can perform a coverage audible to tell your secondary where to go and how tight they should cover the WRs. Bump & Run coverage (Triangle, Circle) tells your men to jam the receivers at the line and stick with them closer than jockstaps as they run down the field. This prevents quick passes, and increases the liklihood of an interception. Also, should the WR actually get the ball, he should be planted soon after it. However, if the offense is using their WRs creatively, with odd cuts and the like, your CBs will get burned easily. If you use a lax coverage (Triange, Square), your men will hang about five to seven yards away from the LOS. That way, they can read and react a little better, which more or less defeats the weird cuts the offense may try. But, that leaves you open to short passes, quick passes, absolutely BURNS you with runs. If you know that he'll do a pass (say, late in the game with you leading), put your backs back somewhat. You can also hit Triangle, X to rearrange your men a little better. For example, safeties typically stay back behind the middle. However, if the offense is running a Singleback/Empty 5 WR set, then hit Triangle, X to send your safeties to the sides, where they'll cover the receivers MUCH better. Or, if they run a Pro Form and send one of the runningbacks left or right, hitting the Triangle, X combo sends the closest safety at him without moving the other. Of course, this affects more than just the safeties. Creatively using Line Shifting and special Defensive converage, especially together, and give your defenses a bit of a flavor that the offense may not expect. Mix it up to keep them guessing. PREVENTING A TD =============== Sometimes, towards the end of the game, all you'll want to do is prevent a touchdown. If there's only time for one more play, for example, and you're ahead, running a standard defense is not necessary. Definitely put your defensive players in a lax coverage. You should also manually take one player back deep, and have him be the last line of defense. I'll go on more about that in a later section. +------------------+ |4c. Personal Faves| +------------------+ All the defensive playbooks are identical. NICKEL > MAN LOCK - This play has the four defensive linemen charging forward. The three CBs will tag and follow WRs. The MLBs will follow the runningbacks if they go on passing routes, or they'll cover the middle area of the field. The safeties go back toward the closest sidelines, preventing a Hail Mary or other deep pass. This is a great balanced passing defense when you know that the enemy will go to the air, but you're not sure where exactly the target will be. 3-4 > DROP ZONE - This play features the three defensive linemen blitzing the QB, while the other 8 men spread out over a 15-yard area to block passes. Because the defenders cover areas, not WRs, this play is susceptible to quick passes to the outside, or bullets just over the linemen in the middle. 3-4 > MAN UNDER - This is a safer version of Drop Zone. The OLBs and CBs do the same jobs, but the FS goes a bit deeper and toward the middle. Everyone else is free, so they can pick up anyone who crosses into their territory. Again, this play is weak against quick passes and is not recommended on 3rd-and-short situations. 3-4 > CB BLITZ - If you know that the enemy will run, this play will annihilate them. The three defensive linemen charge the QB, and the CBs curl in from the outside. With pressure from both sides, it's very hard to pull off a running play against this defense, and offensive sweeps and tosses are most susceptible. However, if the offense decides to pass, it leaves BOTH WRs open for a very fast bullet. GOAL LINE > SLANT STRONG - When you're within your own seven yard line, you'll want to be very careful. If you make your defense too compact, you'll leave a large open spot somewhere for a quick run or pass. If it's too sparse, then you won't be able to help someone in time if they get into trouble. This play is a healthy balance. Four defensive linemen charge the offense, making runs up the middle nigh impossible. The men flanking them fall back and step to the sidelines to deflect passes. Behind the front line is two men who can cover the middle. On the sidelines are two CBs to stop quick passes, and to tag and follow the WRs. This play is weak against a sweep. DIME > UNDER 2 - This play is perfect against deep offensive passing, and poses a challenge to anyone who's passing medium and shallow. The two furthest CBs and the two safeties all go deep, taking away a Hail Mary pass. The two other CBs and the MLB are free to pick up WRs and to cover the middle of the field. Runs, especially sweeps, tend to beat this defense, although good CBs and MLBs will be able to prevent too much damage. +------------------+ |+----------------+| ||5. SPECIAL TEAMS|| |+----------------+| +------------------+ Special teams are the guys who are on the field during any kind of kick. They're comprised mostly of your best defenders, although the linesmen are taken out of the equation due to their low speed. +------------+ |5a. Kickoffs| +------------+ Kickoffs usually feature your kicker on the 30 yard line. Kicking it out of bounds will cause a penalty flag to fly, and the enemy gets the ball on their own 40. If the kicking team kicks it into the endzone, the receiving team can kneel, taking the ball on their own 20. Otherwise, once a member of the receiving team gets it, everyone else will block while the ball carrier tries to get as far downfield as he can. The first goal of both teams rests on the 20 yard line of the receiving team. If the receiver can get to his own 20 or farther, he "wins" the kickoff and puts his team in a good position. If the kicking team stops the receiver before his own 20, the receiver "loses" the kickoff, putting his team in a rather bad position. In the event of a safety, the scoring team will get the ball back. When this happens, the kickoff is replaced with a safety punt by the kicking team's punter. This kick will definitely not go as far, because the punter won't get a running start. Safeties are bad for whoever is scored against for many reasons; the nasty safety punt afterwards is part of it. +---------------+ |5b. Field Goals| +---------------+ Field goals feature the kicker trying to boot the ball between the uprights that lay against the endline of the endzone. Before I go any further, I offer a quick explanation on how field goal distances are calculated. The kicker is 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage, and the uprights are 10 yards from the goal line (due to the endzone). So, whenever field goal distances are calculated, take the yardage from the line of scrimmage to the goal line and add 17. For example, if a team is on the 30 yard line and attempts a kick, the kick is a 47-yard field goal attempt. Field goal range is from around the enemy's 35 yard line to the goal line, although 52 yards is stretching it. The safe distance is from the 20 yard line. Despite the range, you can command your team to kick a field goal from anywhere on the field if you so desire. If the kick is made, the scoring team gets 3 points and kicks off to the opponent. If the kick misses, the defense gets the ball where it was KICKED (that is, 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage). +---------+ |5c. Punts| +---------+ Punting is the way to launch the ball downfield when it's fourth down and you have no hope of getting a first. You should only punt when you're too far away from the endzone to attempt a field goal. Punts are done by the punter, who stands 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Unlike field goals, punt distances are determined by the line of scrimmage, not the punter's location. So, if the line of scrimmage is on my own 30, and I punted the ball to your 40, it would only be a 30-yard punt. Because the punter stands 15 yards behind the line, he cannot give full power to his punts if he's standing any closer. That means that if you're on offense, and you haven't even gotten past your own 5-yard line, your punter will not be at full strength. Of course, if you can't get past your own 5, you have more problems than a weak punt. If a punt goes out of bounds, then the receiving team gets the ball from where it went out of bounds. This can work in favor of the kicking team; if you manage to kick the ball out of bounds at the enemy's 1-yard line, then that's where they have to start their drive. Punts are subject to touchback rules if one is kicked into the endzone. +----------------+ |5d. When to Fake| +----------------+ You can call fake field goals and fake punts whenever you wish. The computer is not stupid, but it doesn't cheat either. If it's conceivable that you would make a play from a certain distance, they will set up to defend it, whether you're faking or not. For example, if you select a fake field goal when you're on your enemy's 20-yard line, they will probably defend against a field goal, not knowing it's a fake. Of course, if you call a fake field goal from YOUR OWN 20-yard line, they'll know something is up. Faking isn't that important, and it's certainly not needed if you're in the lead. Also, if you're more than just a few yards away from getting a first down, it's too risky to try it. I never call fakes if I'm more than 5 yards out, and I seldom call fakes unless it's less than 2 to go. You'll want to take your field position into consideration when you decide to call a fake. If you're nearer to your own line than the enemy's, you shouldn't fake. Screwing up would just put the enemy that much closer to getting a score. Also, remember that your special teams are not supposed to be used on offense. Your punters and kickers are worthless when it comes to passing, and you probably won't have your best WRs there either. An effective fake field goal is the run, in which the guy who's kneeling will take the ball and run to the right immediately. It's not perfect, and will in fact fail most of the time, but it's still not a bad option if you need it. Punters are even worse, although an RB Direct Snap may be the solution. In that play, the C simply snaps the ball to the runningback, and he tears up the line. The man there is normally the FB though, and he may not have the speed to get far enough for a first. If you're far behind, don't bother faking, just run a normal play on fourth down. You'll lose any element of surprise that you may have had, but at least your normal offense is out there making the play instead of crappy kickers and punters. I'd say that the best time to fake would be if you're near the opponent's 40-yard line. That's a little too close to punt, and a little too far to kick a field goal, so a fake punt may actually be a better option. But then, I have some difficulty aiming my punts as well as I want to... +-----------------+ |+---------------+| ||6. THE END GAME|| |+---------------+| +-----------------+ Strategy is more important in the final 5 minutes of each half, and especially more important in the final two minutes of the game, than in the rest of time. Games have been won or lost depending on the coaches' decisions and the players' mistakes during those critical seconds before the final gun. +--------------------+ |6a. Offense, Leading| +--------------------+ If you are in the lead, then your mission is to burn time off the clock. Timeouts only serve to freeze the clock, so don't bother calling any. Remember that the clock only runs after a play if someone actually had control of the ball before hand. That means that incomplete passes and runs out of bounds will freeze the clock and buy the defense a few precious seconds. In order to milk the clock, only call running plays that go in the opposite direction of the hash marks, or go right up the middle. For example, if you're on the left harsh mark, run right. If you're on the right, go left. After a play is over, quickly select your next play, and just sit there on the line of scrimmage until the play clock reads 1 second. Defensive offsides penalties are your best friends, since those will run the clock and reset the play clock in the process. If the clock stops for some reason, such as a timeout or the two-minute warning, just select the next play like normal. Remember, avoid passes unless it's 3rd down and at least 5 to go. Of course, if you complete the pass, all the better. If it's 4th down and you're in your own zone, don't hesitate to kick. Kick a field goal only if you're SURE you'll make it. Otherwise, punt as close to the enemy's goal line as you can. In the special teams formation, you can select the QB Kneel play. In that play, your QB will immediately take a knee when he gets the ball, resulting in a 2-yard loss, but it moves the clock along. Here's how you can determine if you should kneel. If the enemy is out of timeouts, multiply your remaining downs by 40, and compare the solution to the remaining game time. Here's a little chart... 1st Down: 40s 2nd Down: 80s (1:20) 3rd Down: 120s (2:00) So, if there's less than two minutes left, and the defense has no timeouts, and it's first down, you can just kneel to move the clock all the way to 0:00. If you can't kneel the clock all the way out, just run running plays until you can. +--------------------+ |6b. Defense, Leading| +--------------------+ If you're winning by only 3 points in the 4th quarter, you're hardly out of the woods. A field goal will send the game into overtime, and a touchdown will put you down. Opponents get desperate if they're losing as the clock runs out. They will try mostly passing plays, and most of those will go medium or deep. Set up Nickel and Dime defenses, which are designed to stop those range of passes. You need to do your best to keep the enemy out of field goal range, which again is about to the 35 yard line. If you fail in that, you need to be on the highest alert to stop them from getting any farther. If you're leading by more than 4 points, but less than 7, things get just a smidge easier. With that difference, the enemy is forced to get a touchdown, so they can't settle on a field goal. What that means is you simply have to stop them before getting to the goal line, which you should be doing anyway. Just remember that they'll go for yardage on their fourth down, and you'll have to be ready for anything. If you're up by at least 4 and there's only time for one more play, and the enemy is a rather large distance away from the goal line, then you need to invent your own defensive play. Go to Dime, and pick the play called Prevent. This sends all seven of the backs deep to prevent any touchdown, but you can do two better. First, hit Triange, Sqaure to send all your backs back in a lax coverage. Second, take manual control of a guy and send him ALL THE WAY BACK before the play comences. Leave him there; he's the absolute last line of defense when the offense does their play. While this leaves an area or person open to be hit with a pass, you can immediately rush whoever has the ball to cream them to the showers. That one guy in the endzone serves as the mopup crew, ready to floor whatever fool happens to try to score, no matter where on the field they are. +---------------------+ |6c. Offense, Trailing| +---------------------+ Mistakes are bad, very bad. Chucking a ball into the hands of a defender will seal your coffin, as will a fumble that turns to the guys in the other shirts. You need to run plays that you're very comfortable with. Deep passes are preferred, although running the same play over and over will fail eventually, because the enemy will learn your actions. Running plays are dangerous, but almost necessary when you get to the enemy's Red Zone. Pick a play you're comfortable with and run it, issuing a No Huddle command every time by holding Triangle after the play stops. Running out of bounds will freeze the clock, so do that as often as you can. Even if you think you can gain an extra yard or two by running forward, break to the sideline. You NEED to save every precious second you can. Call timeouts if you need to, but try not to unless you have no choice. If you hold Square instead of Triangle after a play, your QB will spike the ball on the next play, stopping the clock, although it will cost you a down. Still, that's the only way to freeze the clock if you're out of timeouts. Defensive penalties are your best friends. THE GAME CANNOT END ON A DEFENSIVE PENALTY. If you throw the ball, and there's 0:00 on the clock, but the defense gets called for pass interference, you'll get to run ANOTHER play. Also, you'll get to run the point-after attempt after you score a touchdown, whether or not there's time remaining on the clock. Remember, you need to get your plays off as quickly as possible. The other advantage to hurrying is that the defense will tire, and they may not even be in a set position when you snap it. That will give you a slight advantage. If all else is failing, use a Hail Mary. That play alone has saved my hide many, many times. +---------------------+ |6d. Defense, Trailing| +---------------------+ Hoo boy. This is the worst situation to be in. The offense controls the clock, and they will do so without mercy. They will only run running plays, so you can set your defense accordingly. The only time they'll pass is during 3rd down if they need yardage (although I've seen them pass on 2nd down before to throw me off). What you need here is an interception or fumble recovery. Try your hardest not to cause a penalty, since that will keep the play clock running if it already is, and reset the play clock either way. This is the time to burn your timeouts if you have them. Use them whenever you can, but remember that the two-minute warning will stop the clock as well. If there's 2:01 left on the clock, don't bother calling a timeout since the clock will freeze in only a play or less. Just keep those fingers crossed and pray that luck is a lady this night. +---------------------------+ |+-------------------------+| ||7. SLAPPING ON THE GM CAP|| |+-------------------------+| +---------------------------+ You may be the greatest coach in the universe, but if your team plays like 1st-grade girls, you won't be seeing too many Super Bowl rings. Luckily, not only are you the coach, but you're also the General Manager, in charge of players, their salaries, and their fates. For this entire section, I'm going to assume you have the Salary Cap option set to On. If not, you can pretty much ignore this, since you can make your team into anything you want. +-----------+ |7a. Signing| +-----------+ The Free Agent Pool may be what you need to round out your team. If you have a particular weakness at one position, or you want a good backup for an already strong position, you can sign someone to a yearly contract worth a particular amount of money. Most players want to be signed for only a few years, although the older players want long-term contracts. Getting the perfect deal is easy, because the players have infinite patience. When you're first presented with the sign screen, the amount of money listed is what the player wants. The secret is that he'll normally settle for a LOT less. The first thing you should do is cut the money in half, then select the number of years you want to hire him for, then submit the offer to him. Depending on how many years he wants, he'll respond in different ways. If he says that the years are right, but he wants more money, that's a good thing. If he says that the whole deal stinks, then slowly adjust the years and NOT the money. Basically, you want to establish how long he wants to play for you. Once you've got that figured, move the money offer up slowly. Work one tick at a time. He'll accept the moment you get within the range, and he'll normally make some comment about that he should have held out for more. He's now on your team, for as cheap as you could get him, and for the number of years that you set as well! Don't worry about making any bad offers. They don't have attitudes, so you don't have to worry about a player getting mad and just leaving your offer, no matter how high, to go somewhere else. +--------------+ |7b. Re-signing| +--------------+ You have the opportunity to re-sign your players to alter their contracts, which is very important at the end of seasons. Players with zero years remaining will be released to the Free Agent Pool if you don't resign them, which is trouble if they're stars. If you're dealing with an older player that's been in the league for awhile, especially if he's carrying a high price tag, you may not want to sign him for too many years. His skills may just decay for the rest of the time you've got him, and his price will hurt your salary cap. On the other hand, youngsters that have high skills need to be signed longer than they want. If you have a star rookie, you may want to pay him an obscene amount of money so he'll stick around for 7 years. Of course, the problem is if he ends up sucking, you're stuck with a black hole of money. Carefully weigh whether you need a player before paying him large sums for long-term contracts. If he's failed to live up to your expectations, then there's no shame in not re-signing him. Players may hold out if they don't think you're paying them enough. While they will remain on your roster, they will not play in any games until they get however much they think they deserve. +-----------+ |7c. Trading| +-----------+ If a player becomes dead weight, or another team got someone you wanted, you may want to trade. You can trade up to 3 players, 3 draft picks, or a combination to one other team (no triangle trades here). The CPU values draft picks relatively highly, so you can use those as bargaining chips to get what you want. If your team is very old, you may want to save your draft picks or even trade to get more to get youngsters. You can have up to 10 picks for the next draft, and those can be distributed to any round however you see fit. Players that are injured, players that are holding out, and players that have zero years left on their contract cannot be traded. +------------+ |7d. Drafting| +------------+ At the end of each season in Franchise Mode, you get to draft rookies from the colleges around the country. When you draft, you need to keep several things in mind. First of all, you'll want to make sure that you're not drafting for a position that you know is already filled. If you're the Bengals, there's no reason to get a HB since you've already got Dillon. Drafting is more or less like signing a free agent. You want to compliment your team's strengths by filling holes in its weaknesses, or at least get backups for your players that are already established. The draft order is determined by your position in the previous season. The Super Bowl winner will pick last, with the Super Bowl loser picking just before them. The worst team will pick first, and the records determine most of the other picks. Of course, you can trade up; I once won the Super Bowl, but traded a bunch of picks and players and eventually got first pick. You have to pick on each round, but you don't have to SIGN anybody. Once you make all your picks, you can sign whoever you want. You can sign them all, or none, or whatever combination you feel you need to. Like signing free agents, you can slowly manipulate your target to get the best deal possible. +----------------------+ |+--------------------+| ||8. CHALLENGING PLAYS|| |+--------------------+| +----------------------+ If you think that the refs got a call on the field wrong, you can challenge the call by going to the pause menu and choosing the appropiate option. The ref will check out the replay, and if there was a mistake, they'll correct the problem. If you were wrong, you will lose a timeout. You can only issue two challenges per game, and you probably won't need any. The only real issue that needs to be challenged is when the player runs out of bounds near the first down marker, and you don't think he got the first down although he was credited for it. You cannot issue a challenge in the final two minutes of either half, or at all in overtime. +-------------------+ |+-----------------+| ||9. FRANCHISE MODE|| |+-----------------+| +-------------------+ I'm just going to touch on Franchise Mode here. FM is perhaps the bread-and-butter of the game. You can take one team up to 30 seasons, dealing with player retirements, drafts, trades, and the like the whole time. Be careful, because if your team does very poorly, you can be fired from your position as coach and GM. Of course, you can turn that option off if you want, but if you're that much of a coward, you should be a cheerleader and not a high-paid coach! Ahem. Players do retire once they get old enough, deleting permanently from your season file (they're still on the default roster files on the CD, don't worry). Players will not retire if they have any years left on their contracts, but their skills will quickly decay at that point, making them worthless. Since you have to worry more than ever about the salary cap in Franchise Mode, I should tell you about the Injured Reserved. If a player is injured, he's still costing you money, despite not being able to play. If a player is out for an exceptionally long time, you can place them on the Injured Reserve. Go to the Injury Report screen, highlight the player, and click the X button. This is PERMANENT and can't be reversed, though, so do so carefully. When you place a player on the IR, you are basically preventing them from playing anymore that season, no matter how serious their injury was. However, you get their salary back as well, which you can put toward a replacement. The IR isn't really needed if the player will be back before the season is over, or if he's rather cheap. But if a star is out for a long time, perhaps even a full season, that's several million dead money to the salary cap if you leave him on your team. Once the season is over, the player will come off the IR if the injury was not career-ending, and his salary will again go toward the cap. +------------------------------+ |+----------------------------+| ||PART 2: MADDEN 2002 FEATURES|| |+----------------------------+| +------------------------------+ This part touches on the extra features in the PS2 game aside from just straight football. +----------------------+ |+--------------------+| ||10. OTHER GAME MODES|| |+--------------------+| +----------------------+ In addition to the basic Exhibition Game and my favorite Franchise Mode, there are several other ways to play for you. TOURNAMENT ========== You can select 4, 8, or 16 teams to participate in a tournament ladder. The games can either be single- or double-elimination. You can also accept an option to conduct a fantasy draft prior to the tournament, the draft composed of all the players in the league. CUSTOM LEAGUE ============= Select from 4 to 16 teams to compete in a round robin style league. Selecting Round Robin means that every team will play the others once; Double Round Robin will make each team play the others twice. You can then select whether to have playoffs, and if you do have them, you can select 2, 4, or 8 teams to participate in the tourney. PRACTICE ======== You can select one team and run any offensive, defensive, or special teams play as many times and from anywhere on the field that you want. This is a perfect place to go to learn the ropes and timing of plays, especially when you switch playbooks. SITUATION ========= You select two teams and a situation for the game to be in. You can recreate famous drives from the past, like the New England Patriots' game-winning final drive in this year's Super Bowl. As the Rams, can you stop them this time, or will reality repeat itself? You can also set up a standard game but handicap one player by spotting his opponent a touchdown or two. The possibilities are endless. TWO-MINUTE DRILL ================ This is perhaps one of the most fun modes in the game. You select a team for yourself and a team for your oppoents. You then have two minutes to score as many points as you can. You can earn tokens to buy cards (explained in a moment), and you have a numerical score that you can enter into memory. Challenge your friends! (Yeesh, I sound like a commercial.) TRAINING MODE ============= John Madden will be the annoying man who teaches you timing and such on offensive plays. Training does not cover defense, which is fine, because Madden's voice is so repetative and irritating in these voice overs that I wanted him to shut up as soon as possible. This mode also allows you to earn tokens for cards. +--------------------------------+ |+------------------------------+| ||11. MADDEN CHALLENGE AND CARDS|| |+------------------------------+| +--------------------------------+ Returning from last year's edition, the Madden Challenge awards you tokens for reaching milestones in the game, such as 3 sacks by one player, or kicking a 50+ yard field goal. For every 100 tokens you get, you can buy a pack of Madden Cards. Each pack contains 15 cards, and range from current players to cheerleaders. You can activate most of the cards during a game. Some boost the stats of players, while others let you "cheat" by fudging the rules a bit. For example, there's a card called 5th Down, which allows you to have an extra down on a play. Some cards are automatic, such as the stadium cards, which unlock old stadiums like the Pittsburgh Steelers' old turf bowl. Others need to be activated, such as the historic player cards, which put an old vet into the Free Agent Pool. Part of the fun of the game is collecting all the cards in their gold format, although, just like real life cards, you may have to buy 100 packs before you get that one last card. Cards can be traded between users as well, in case you have friends that play Madden and want to help each other complete your collections. +-------------------+ |+-----------------+| ||12. CREATE-A-TEAM|| |+-----------------+| +-------------------+ For the first time on the PlayStation versions comes Create-a-team. You can build a team from ground up, choosing their uniform style and colors, as well as a logo. You can customize a stadium and choose to play on turf or grass and adjust the seating capacity as well. Let me say upfront that the stadium changes you do are strictly cosmetic. Players get no more injured on turf than they do on grass unlike real life, and the stadium capacity won't affect the in-game graphics or crowd noise. But, this way you can keep current on changes if you own the game that long. Also, you can import your team into any mode you desire. You could, say, make 16 fantasy teams and shove them into your own tournament for ultimate customization. You can also import your new team into Franchise Mode to take the place of the Houston Texans (heavens, I *hate* that name!) as the expansion team. I despise the name "Houston Texans" so much that I became an anti-fan of them the moment I heard that the name was confirmed, and I was sure to get them the heck out of my Franchise Mode. If you have a team you despise as much, you can do it too! Created teams borrow rosters from real teams. You can set what roster your team is borrowing from, although you can change it anytime. If you import a team into a season or franchise, your team basically takes the place of another, keeping the players. For example, if you have the Colombus Comets take the place of the Washington Redskins, the Comets will keep all the Redskins' players, as if Washington simply moved. Of course, once you're in the season or franchise, you can trade and such to your heart's content. +------------------------------------+ |+----------------------------------+| ||PART 3: PLAYERS AND TEAMS RANKINGS|| |+----------------------------------+| +------------------------------------+ This section will list the top 15 players by position, ranked by the overall statistic. Also, it will list the top 10 teams by category. Please note that all these rankings are based on the default rosters that shipped with the CD. +------------------------------+ |+----------------------------+| ||13. BEST PLAYERS BY POSITION|| |+----------------------------+| +------------------------------+ Quarterbacks ============ 1. Brett Favre (GB) - 97 Peyton Manning (IND) - 97 3. Kurt Warner (STL) - 95 4. Daunte Culpepper (MIN) - 92 Rich Gannon (OAK) - 92 6. Donovan McNabb (PHI) - 90 7. Drew Bledsoe (NE) - 86 Mark Brunell (JAX) - 86 9. Jeff Garcia (SF) - 85 Brian Griese (DEN) - 85 11. Steve McNair (TEN) - 83 Doug Flutie (SD) - 83 Steve Beuerlein (DEN) - 83 14. Elvis Grbac (BAL) - 82 Brad Johnson (TB) - 82 Halfbacks ========= 1. Marshall Faulk (STL) - 99 2. Edgerrin James (IND) - 95 3. Eddie George (TEN) - 93 Fred Taylor (JAX) - 93 5. Corey Dillon (CIN) - 92 6. Curtis Martin (NYJ) - 91 7. Stephen Davis (WAS) - 88 8. Jamal Lewis (BAL) - 86 Terrell Davis (DEN) - 86 10. Warrick Dunn (TB) - 85 11. Ricky Waters (SEA) - 84 Ricky Williams (NO) - 84 Jamal Anderson (ATL) - 84 Emmitt Smith (DAL) - 84 15. Charlie Garner (OAK) - 83 Fullbacks ========= 1. Mike Alstott (TB) - 95 2. Howard Griffith (DEN) - 94 3. Sam Gash (BAL) - 93 4. Larry Centers (BUF) - 92 5. William Henderson (GB) - 90 Richie Anderson (NYJ) - 90 7. Bob Christian (ATL) - 88 Lorenzo Neal (CIN) - 88 9. Stanley Pritchett (PHI) - 87 Tony Richardson (KC) - 87 11. Jim Kleinsasser (MIN) - 85 12. Cory Schlesinger (DET) - 83 13. William Floyd (FA) - 82 Rob Konrad (MIA) - 82 15. Fred Beasley (SF) - 81 Wide Receivers ============== 1. Randy Moss (MIN) - 98 2. Marvin Harrison (IND) - 96 3. Terrell Owens (SF) - 94 4. Isaac Bruce (STL) - 93 5. Cris Carter (MIN) - 92 Keyshawn Johnson (TB) - 92 7. Rod Smith (DEN) - 91 8. Torry Holt (STL) - 89 Tim Brown (OAK) - 89 Eric Moulds (BUF) - 89 11. Muhsin Muhammad (CAR) - 88 Jimmy Smith (JAX) - 88 Ed McCaffrey (DEN) - 88 14. David Boston (ARI) - 86 15. Joe Horn (NO) - 85 Tight Ends ========== 1. Tony Gonzalez (KC) - 99 2. Shannon Sharpe (BAL) - 94 3. Frank Wycheck (TEN) - 90 Freddie Jones (SD) - 90 5. Wesley Walls (CAR) - 86 6. Chad Lewis (PHI) - 84 Jay Riemersma (BUF) - 84 8. Marcus Pollard (IND) - 83 9. Kyle Brady (JAX) - 81 Ken Dilger (IND) - 81 11. Mark Bruener (PIT) - 78 Bubba Franks (GB) - 78 Jackie Harris (DAL) - 78 Tony McGee (CIN) - 78 15. Ben Coates (FA) - 77 Left Offensive Tackles ====================== 1. Jonathan Ogdan (BAL) - 99 2. Orlando Pace (STL) - 97 Tony Boselli (JAX) - 97 4. Willie Roaf (NO) - 95 5. Jason Fabini (NYJ) - 89 Tony Jones (FA) - 89 7. Bob Whitfield (ATL) - 88 8. Brad Hopkins (TEN) - 87 Tra Thomas (PHI) - 87 10. Richmond Webb (CIN) - 86 11. Bruce Armstrong (FA) - 85 Walter Jones (SEA) - 85 Todd Steussie (CAR) - 85 14. Tarik Glenn (IND) - 84 15. Chris Samuels (WAS) - 82 Left Offensive Guards ===================== 1. Larry Allen (DAL) - 96 2. Ruben Brown (BUF) - 92 3. Bruce Matthews (TEN) - 90 4. Steve Wisniewski (OAK) - 89 Randall McDaniel (TB) - 89 6. Wally Williams (NO) - 86 7. Mark Dixon (MIA) - 83 8. Pete Kendall (ARI) - 82 9. Rod Jones (STL) - 79 10. Steve Hutchinson (SEA) - 78 11. Matt Campbell (WAS) - 77 Roy Brown (SF) - 77 Matt O'Dwyer (CIN) - 77 14. Steve McKinney (IND) - 76 15. Aaron Gibson (DET) - 75 Centers ======= 1. Tom Nalen (DEN) - 95 2. Kevin Mawae (NYJ) - 94 3. Jeff Christy (TB) - 90 4. Dermontti Dawson (FA) - 86 Frank Winters (GB) - 86 6. Barret Robbins (OAK) - 84 Damien Woody (NE) - 84 8. Olin Kreutz (CHI) - 81 9. Tony Mayberry (FA) - 80 10. Jeff Mitchell (CAR) - 78 11. Frank Garcia (STL) - 77 Tim Ruddy (MIA) - 77 Roman Fortin (SD) - 77 Mike Gruttadauria (ARI) - 77 15. Kevin Long (TEN) - 76 Right Offensive Guards ====================== 1. Will Shields (KC) - 96 2. Tre' Johnson (CLE) - 91 3. Adam Timmerman (STL) - 88 4. Dan Neil (DEN) - 87 5. Kevin Gogan (FA) - 83 6. Leonard Davis (ARI) - 82 7. Ron Stone (NYG) - 81 8. Marco Rivera (GB) - 80 9. Chris Naeole (NO) - 78 10. Brenden Stai (DET) - 77 Dave Fiore (SF) - 77 12. Brian DeMarco (FA) - 76 Randy Thomas (NYJ) - 76 13. Rich Tylski (PIT) - 74 Ben Coleman (WAS) - 74 Mo Collins (OAK) - 74 Right Offensive Tackles ======================= 1. Jon Runyan (PHI) - 93 2. Erik Williams (FA) - 89 3. Leon Searcy (BAL) - 88 Lincoln Kennedy (OAK) - 88 Adam Meadows (IND) - 88 6. Willie Anderson (CIN) - 86 7. Jon Jansen (WAS) - 85 8. Korey Stringer (MIN) - 84 Earl Dotson (GB) - 84 10. Kyle Turley (NO) - 83 11. Fred Miller (TEN) - 82 12. Ryan Young (NYJ) - 81 James Williams (CHI) - 81 14. Victor Riley (KC) - 78 15. Ray Roberts (DET) - 72 Left Defensive Ends =================== 1. Michael Strahan (NYG) - 96 2. Robert Porcher (DET) - 91 3. Kevin Carter (TEN) - 90 4. Marcellus Wiley (SD) - 88 5. Michael Sinclair (SEA) - 87 Darren Howard (NO) - 87 7. Simeon Rice (TB) - 85 Leon Lett (DEN) - 85 9. Trace Armstrong (OAK) - 84 Eric Hicks (KC) - 84 11. Shaun Ellis (NYJ) - 83 12. Chidi Ahanotu (FA) - 80 Marco Coleman (WAS) - 80 John Engelberger (SF) - 80 15. Vonnie Holliday (GB) - 79 Right Defensive Ends ==================== 1. Jevon Kearse (TEN) - 97 2. Michael McCrary (BAL) - 96 3. Courtney Brown (CLE) - 94 4. Jason Taylor (MIA) - 91 5. Tony Brackens (JAX) - 90 Hugh Douglas (SEA) - 90 7. Grant Wistrom (STL) - 89 8. Williw McGinest (NE) - 88 9. Bruce Smith (WAS) - 86 10. Kenny Holmes (NYG) - 85 11. Joe Johnson (NO) - 84 John Abraham (NYJ) - 84 13. Lance Johnstone (MIN) - 83 Marcus Jones (TB) - 83 15. Kimo Von Oelhoffen (PIT) - 82 Defensive Tackles ================= 1. Warren Sapp (TB) - 99 2. Darrell Russell (OAK) - 97 3. La'Roi Glover (NO) - 96 4. Bryant Young (SF) - 93 5. Luther Elliss (DET) - 92 6. Trevor Pryce (DEN) - 91 7. Corey Simon (PHI) - 90 8. Sam Adams (BAL) - 87 9. John Randle (SEA) - 86 Chester McGlockton (DEN) - 86 11. Norman Hand (NO) - 85 Daryl Gardener (MIA) - 85 Tim Bowens (MIA) - 85 Ted Washington (CHI) - 85 15. Chris Hovan (MIN) - 83 Left Outside Linebackers ======================== 1. Peter Boulware (BAL) - 96 2. Sam Cowart (BUF) - 94 3. Mo Lewis (NYJ) - 90 4. Bill Romanowski (DEN) - 87 5. Jason Gildon (PIT) - 86 Chad Brown (SEA) - 86 Dwayne Rudd (CLE) - 86 8. Kevin Hardy (JAX) - 85 9. Barry Minter (FA) - 79 Dan Morgan (CAR) - 79 11. Carlos Emmons (SEA) - 78 Sam Rogers (SD) - 78 13. William Thomas (OAK) - 75 Darren Hambrick (DAL) - 75 Henri Crockett (DEN) - 75 Middle Linebackers ================== 1. Ray Lewis (BAL) - 99 2. Zach Thomas (MIA) - 97 3. Marvin Jones (NYJ) - 91 4. Levon Kirkland (SEA) - 90 Jeremiah Trotter (PHI) - 90 Brian Urlacher (CHI) - 90 7. Randall Godfrey (TEN) - 89 Micheal Barrow (NYG) - 89 9. Hardy Nickerson (JAX) - 88 10. Greg Biekert (OAK) - 87 Stephen Boyd (DET) - 87 Jessie Tuggle (ATL) - 87 13. London Fletcher (STL) - 85 14. Earl Holmes (PIT) - 84 John Holecek (BUF) - 84 Right Outside Linebackers ========================= 1. Derrick Brooks (TB) - 98 2. Junior Seau (SD) - 95 3. Jessie Armstead (NYG) - 92 4. Donnie Edwards (KC) - 88 5. Chris Claiborne (DET) - 87 6. Jamie Sharper (BAL) - 86 Takeo Spikes (CIN) - 86 8. Jamir Miller (CLE) - 84 9. Dexter Coakley (DAL) - 83 John Mobley (DEN) - 83 11. Joey Porter (PIT) - 82 Mike Peterson (IND) - 82 13. Ed McDaniel (MIN) - 81 Mark Fields (STL) - 81 15. ROLB #57 (WAS) - 79 Cornerbacks =========== 1. Charles Woodson (OAK) - 98 2. Sam Madison (MIA) - 97 3. Champ Bailey (WAS) - 96 4. Samari Rolle (TEN) - 92 Shawn Springs (SEA) - 92 6. Chris McAlister (BAL) - 90 Aeneas Williams (STL) - 90 8. Ty Law (NE) - 88 Troy Vincent (PHI) - 88 Donnie Abraham (TB) - 88 11. Duane Starks (BAL) - 86 Jason Sehorn (NYG) - 86 13. Ray Buchanan (ATL) - 84 Patrick Surtain (MIA) - 84 15. Deion Sanders (WAS) - 83 Free Safeties ============= 1. Rod Woodson (BAL) - 97 2. Darren Sharper (GB) - 94 3. Brock Marion (MIA) - 92 4. Brian Dawkins (PHI) - 89 5. Carnell Lake (JAX) - 88 6. Kwamie Lassister (ARI) - 84 7. Mark Carrier (FA) - 83 Orlando Thomas (MIN) - 83 Marcus Robertson (SEA) - 83 Mike Brown (CHI) - 83 11. Shawn Wooden (FA) - 82 12. Anthony Dorsett (OAK) - 79 Eugene Robinson (CAR) - 79 Shaun Williams (NYG) - 79 Darryl Williams (CIN) - 79 Strong Safeties =============== 1. John Lynch (TB) - 96 2. Lawyer Milloy (NE) - 95 3. Rodney Harrison (SD) - 93 4. Darren Woodson (DAL) - 91 5. Robert Griffith (MIN) - 90 Blaine Bishop (TEN) - 90 7. Kurt Schulz (DET) - 89 8. LeRoy Butler (GB) - 88 9. Lance Schulters (SF) - 87 10. Victor Green (GB) - 84 11. Sammy Knight (NO) - 83 Tony Parrish (CHI) - 83 13. Henry Jones (BUF) - 81 14. Lethon Flowers (PIT) - 80 15. Sam Garnes (NYG) - 79 Kickers ======= 1. Matt Stover (BAL) - 98 2. Martin Gramatica (TB) - 97 3. Olindo Mare (MIA) - 96 4. Ryan Longwell (GB) - 94 Jason Elam (DEN) - 94 6. Mike Vanderjagt (IND) - 93 7. Jason Hanson (DET) - 87 8. Joe Nedney (TEN) - 85 Mike Hollis (JAX) - 85 10. John Carney (FA) - 81 11. David Akers (PHI) - 79 Paul Edinger (CHI) - 79 13. Kris Brown (PIT) - 78 Jeff Wilkins (STL) - 78 15. Gary Anderson (MIN) - 77 Punters ======= 1. Darren Bennett (SD) - 95 2. Scott Player (ARI) - 94 3. Mitch Berger (MIN) - 93 4. Kyle Richardson (BAL) - 89 Tom Tupa (NYJ) - 89 6. Chris Gardocki (CLE) - 87 7. Dan Stryzinski (KC) - 83 8. Craig Hentrich (TEN) - 82 Brad Maynard (CHI) - 82 Bryan Barker (WAS) - 82 11. Toby Gowin (NO) - 79 12. Josh Miller (PIT) - 78 Chris Mohr (ATL) - 78 14. Shane Lechler (OAK) - 76 15. John Jett (DET) - 74 +----------------------------+ |+--------------------------+| ||14. BEST TEAMS BY CATEGORY|| |+--------------------------+| +----------------------------+ Overall ======= 1. Baltimore Ravens - 99 2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 92 3. Denver Broncos - 90 Tennessee Titans - 90 5. Oakland Raiders - 88 Philidelphia Eagles - 88 Saint Louis Rams - 88 8. Detroit Lions - 86 Green Bay Packers - 86 Jacksonville Jaguars - 86 Offense ======= 1. Saint Louis Rams - 96 2. Indianapolis Colts - 89 3. Denver Broncos - 82 4. Green Bay Packers - 80 Jacksonville Jaguars - 80 Minnesota Vikings - 80 New York Jets - 80 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 80 Tennessee Titans - 80 10. Baltimore Ravens - 78 Defense ======= 1. Baltimore Ravens - 96 2. Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 90 3. Seattle Seahawks - 87 4. Detroit Lions - 85 Miami Dolphins - 85 New York Giants - 85 New York Jets - 85 Philidelphia Eagles - 85 Tennessee Titans - 85 10. Jacksonville Jaguars - 81 Special Teams ============= 1. Baltimore Ravens - 99 Denver Broncos - 99 Detroit Lions - 99 Indianapolis Colts - 99 Minnesota Vikings - 99 San Diego Chargers - 99 Tennessee Titans - 99 8. Philidelphia Eagles - 97 9. Chicago Bears - 96 10. Arizona Cardinals - 92 Quarterbacks ============ 1. Green Bay Packers - 96 Indianapolis Colts - 96 3. Saint Louis Rams - 93 4. Minnesota Vikings - 90 Oakland Raiders - 90 6. Philidelphia Eagles - 87 7. Jacksonville Jaguars - 83 New England Patriots - 83 9. Denver Broncos - 82 San Francisco 49ers - 82 Runningbacks ============ 1. Cincinnati Bengals - 96 New York Jets - 96 3. Denver Broncos - 91 Saint Louis Rams - 91 5. Baltimore Ravens - 90 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 90 7. Indianapolis Colts - 88 Washington Redskins - 88 9. Atlanta Falcons - 87 Jacksonville Jaguars - 87 Wide Receivers ============== 1. Minnesota Vikings - 99 2. Saint Louis Rams - 94 3. Denver Broncos - 87 Jacksonville - 87 5. San Francisco 49ers - 82 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 82 7. Carolina Panthers - 80 Detroit Lions - 80 Indianapolis Colts - 80 10. Arizona Cardinals - 78 Offensive Line ============== 1. New York Jets - 96 2. Tennessee Titans - 93 3. New Orleans Saints - 91 4. Oakland Raiders - 88 5. Saint Louis Rams - 86 6. Washington Redskins - 84 7. Cleveland Browns - 81 8. Arizona Cardinals - 79 Baltimore Ravens - 79 Chicago Bears - 79 Defensive Line ============== 1. New Orleans Saints - 96 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 96 Tennessee Titans - 96 4. Baltimore Ravens - 93 New York Giants - 93 6. Philidelphia Eagles - 90 7. Denver Broncos - 89 Seattle Seahawks - 89 9. Cleveland Browns - 88 10. Detroit Lions - 88 Linebackers =========== 1. Baltimore Ravens - 96 2. Seattle Seahawks - 81 3. New York Giants - 80 Pittsburgh Steelers - 80 5. Buffalo Bills - 78 Cleveland Browns - 78 Detroit Lions - 78 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 78 9. Denver Broncos - 75 Jacksonville Jaguars - 75 Defensive Backs =============== 1. Miami Dolphins - 96 2. Baltimore Ravens - 94 3. Green Bay Packers - 90 Oakland Raiders - 90 Tampa Bay Buccaneers - 90 6. Jacksonville Jaguars - 86 New York Jets - 86 8. Detroit Lions - 84 New England Patriots - 84 Philidelphia Eagles - 84 +-------------------+ |+-----------------+| ||PART 4: FAQ STUFF|| |+-----------------+| +-------------------+ This part deals with extras about this document, and has absoultely nothing to do with the game itself. +---------------------+ |+-------------------+| ||15. VERSION HISTORY|| |+-------------------+| +---------------------+ v1.1b (1 November 2003) It's been nearly a year, but unfortunately my site is down for the count. Luckily, IGN has decided to host my FAQs too, so it's all good. A new copyright notice is the only change. v1.1a (25 December 2002) No new information, but I've changed my legal info. I'm now carrying my guide on my own website; you can find the URL at the bottom of the document. v1.1 (08 August 2002) Even as Madden 2003's release is just around the corner, I've decided to update this a bit. Once the season starts, I'll definitely have an FAQ out for 2003 (even if it's just an update of this one). In the meantime, though, enjoy my new sub-section of Offense titled "Beating the Blitz." Also, I've expanded the advanced defensive theories. I've also made a few minor corrections throughout the document that you probably won't notice. v1.0a (25 April 2002, a little later) Wow, not even a day passes and I find something that can be used for updates. Added the player and team rankings, and the Version History section. v1.0 (25 April 2002) First release, and complete. Although, I'm more than willing to take corrections and additions. +--------------------+ |+------------------+| ||16. COPYRIGHT INFO|| |+------------------+| +--------------------+ This document is copyright 2002-2003 for J. "PyroFalkon" Habib. If you plan to use any of it as part of another FAQ, you need my permission first. However, if you plan to post it on a website or e-mail it to someone or whatnot, you may do so without my permission AS LONG AS IT IS NOT ALTERED IN ANY WAY. I'd like you to drop me an e-mail so I know where you're going to take it, but I will not require you to do so. You may download it or print it at your leisure. The most updated version will always be found at these sites: http://www.gamefaqs.com/ http://faqs.ign.com/ Other sites may have up-to-date versions, but check GameFAQs or IGN first. +------------------+ |+----------------+| ||17. CONTACT INFO|| |+----------------+| +------------------+ If any information is incorrect, or you wish to submit something, please e-mail me. My address is found on the bottom of the FAQ. Credit will be given where it's due. If you submit something to me, I will credit you by the name you signed in the message body or by the name attached to your e-mail. I will also post your e-mail address unless you specifically tell me not to. If you wish to be e-mailed when this FAQ is updated, send your request to me. If you have a junk mail protector on your e-mail program, make sure you put my e-mail address on the safe list, or my messages may not get through. firstname.lastname@example.org Good luck in Madden NFL 2002, and may you smite the crap out of the Houston Texans and Oakland Raiders!