[ Insert ASCII Title Here ] Game - Madden NFL 2003 Release Date - Aug 2002 System - PlayStation 2 Strategy Guide v0.7 [September 14th, 2002] written by Matthew Sontum (MCS) <mailto:email@example.com> Document (c)2002. All Rights Reserved. With a Vengeance! Disclaimer: The team mentioned in this document, The Boston Phoenix, has absolutely no affiliation with the paper of the same name or the radio station FNX. However, with a little corporate sponsorship it certainly could (Wink, wink, Storm and Birdsey) - QUICK FIND - To quickly find a chapter, press CONTROL-F, then type the chapter's ID# All chapter ID numbers are <ID# + the full chapter number> For example, Chapter I.A.1 is <ID#IA1>, chp. IV is <ID#IV> Also note that the chapters should be read in order, as they walk you through the process of creating a Championship team from Start to Finish. The first two steps are optional, however, they are strongly recommended. _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ T A B L E O F C O N T E N T S _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ I. Customizing Your Team II. Mastering The Basics A. Offense 1. Running 2. Passing 3. Receiving B. Defense 1. Defensive Line 2. Linebackers 3. Defensive Backs C. Special Teams 1. Kicking 2. Punting 3. K/P Return III. Writing Your Playbook A. Offense B. Defense C. The Phoenix 1. Phoenix Rising 2. Phoenix Falling D. The 'Unbeatable' Plays 1. Unbeatable O a. The Rising b. The Devil c. The $#@% 2. Unbeatable D a. The Zero b. The Gritz Blitz c. The Kitchen Sink IV. Drafting Your Team A. General Strategy B. Position Importance C. Ranking By Position (Coming Soon) D. Target Players E. Sleepers F. How The Computer Drafts V. Balancing Your Roster A. What The Positions Do A. What The Stats Mean VI. Taking It To Preseason VII. Dominating The Regular Season A. Offense B. Defense C. Special Teams VIII. Winning The Playoffs IX. Doing It All Again Next Year X. The Boston Phoenix XI. Madden-isms - PROGRESS - I just wanted to get everything out here; I haven't had as much experience playing Madden 2003 as I have had playing 2001 yet, so the a lot of the tricks were drawn from Madden 2001. However, they have all been tested, at least in practice mode, in Madden 2003. I will make updates as I go along. - COMING SOON - More General Play Strategies, Extended Player Rankings, Player Development, Extended Madden Humor Section, Basics Tutorial and More Updates on the Progress of my Team (The Boston Phoenix) - REVISION HISTORY - v0.7 [September 14, 2002] Additions: Tips and Tricks section for general play The 'Unbeatable' Plays The Phoenix Formations Revisions: A lot of formatting changes to get the guide ready for .txt A few content changes based on Madden 2003 practice mode v0.6 [August 30, 2002] Additions: Draft results + starting lineup for The Boston Phoenix, More Sleepers, New Section - Madden-isms, Revisions: Misc. Revisions, this revision section v0.5 [August 15, 2002] Every good guide needs to start somewhere. The guide will eventually cover every aspect of managing a successful franchise, but for starters it will mainly focus on the initial draft and creation of your team. If you have anything you would like to contribute, don't hesitate to email me at firstname.lastname@example.org - INTRODUCTION - This guide will teach you everything you need to know about managing a successful Madden 2003 franchise football team. Using this guide will help you take your team to the Super Bowl the first year and every year. I wrote it because I was hoping someone online would pick this guide up and accept my challenge. My roommates and friends are all terrible and the computer is predictable except on All-Madden Mode which is frustrating for different reasons (not the least of which being that the ball has a tendency to somehow morph through my defenders when I've got the computer in triple coverage.) _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Chapter One: Customizing Your Team <ID#I> _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ If you don't have a favorite team, then it's usually a good idea to create your own. Even if you do have a favorite team, if plan to do the fantasy draft you can always create a custom team and with your favorite team's colors. The reason is that during the first year the draft pick values are determined by your team's performance during the last two seasons. Also note that while the Patriots won the SuperBowl last year, their overall team rating is still only 82 (as compared to the Rams 94) Since draft pick worth is determined primarily by inverse overall ranking, this means that the Patriots picks are worth more than the Rams. This means that the new expansion team (Texans) draft picks are worth the most overall and the SuperBowl Contending Rams draft picks are worth the least. If you plan to do the fantasy draft then you should customize your team and make them take the place of the Texans (unless of course your favorite team happens to be the Texans.) If you do not plan to participate in the fantasy draft I would strongly suggest using your custom team to replace the Rams. Not only is their team, without question, one of the most dominating franchises in football today, but if you replace the Rams you can guarantee that no one else will control Marshall Faulk or Kurt Warner because you will already have both of them. Try to pick team colors that will make you look good and intimidate your opponent. Towards this end blue, black, white, red and gold usually work for the best effect. Unfortunately, since Madden will only allow you to select bright red and bright blue, your primary color will probably have to be black. For example, my team, the Boston Phoenix, have black as their primary, blue for their shoulder stripes and brown/gold for their helmet and everything else. The overall effect is an extremely cool cross between the Raiders and the Rams. _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Chapter Two: Mastering The Basics <ID#II> _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ This is a placeholder to remind myself that I need to add this section for the sake of completeness eventually. For now, I assume that you already understand the basics of the game from the manual and other FAQs, and you mainly want to concentrate on improving your play. _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Chapter Three: Writing Your Playbook <ID#III> _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Writing an effective playbook is an important part of creating a successful franchise team. It's best to start with existing playbooks and use them to mix and match a winning one. Since football has been around for a long time, the most effective formations have already been thought up. However, since this is, after all, a video game, it's still a good idea to take the liberty to create two unique formations that I've outlined called The Phoenix. A. Offense <ID#IIIA> The four most useful offensive formations that you will utilize the most often are the I-Form, Shotgun, Goal Line, and Offset-I (these should be countered with the 4-3, Dime, Goal Line and 3-4 defenses respectively) You can certainly get by with just these formations, but since you have room in your playbook, why not mix it up with the Split and Singleback formations. 1. Passing <ID#IIIA1> All good passing plays should have these characteristics. 1. There should be enough offensive linemen to protect the QB 2. Both WR should begin the play running straightforward, and either keep moving straightforward (fly) or pull to the inside (post) or outside (out) 3. There should be at least two more options to pass, ideally the Halfback and the Tight End, Fullback or another Wide Receiver. 2. Running <ID#IIIA2> There are no good running plays. Ha ha, seriously though, if anyone out there in Madden Land knows how to run write me and I will update this section. For now, here's how NOT to run: 1. Don't try the inside run, it will only bring shame to you and your family. 2. Don't try the outside run for the same reason. 3. Any lead blocking runs are straight out. 4. In fact, don't use blocking altogether; it will only break down when you need it most. 5. Since you're going to get tackled -- Sprint (so you will get tackled faster!) 6. The off-tackle and halfback counter runs are ok, but there are still the shame, short yardage issues. 7. Do not, under any circumstances, try to use any clever jukes/stiff arms to get out of the way, you will only fall down and look stupid (Shame... SHAME!) 8. In fact, just to be safe, no running plays period, throw it to your back if it's that important he get the ball. 9. Spin around a lot. As you've guessed, the majority of that last bit was sarcasm aimed at the Madden 2003 staff. In real life there are many effective running plays, in Madden there are only two. So the DO list is pretty simple: 1. Always run an Off-tackle or Counter play. 2. Always sprint (unless your RB is tired) 3. Always feed it to your HB in the open field. 4. Only use the dive, hurdle, sprint and spin moves. B. Defense <ID#IIIB> The most useful defensive plays come out of a modified Dime formation called The Phoenix, which is discussed in the next chapter. If you do not wish to take the time, for all intents and purposes, all of the plays will work with the original Dime, my formation just makes it more effective vs. the Short Pass and Side Run (at the expense of the Long Pass.) Every good defensive play follows three basic principles: 1. There is enough pressure on the QB to force him to pass early. 2. Every potent WR on the other team draws at least single coverage. 3. Your opponent can never break a run play for a big gain. 4. You play aggressively enough to generate turnovers. Luckily there happens to be one defensive play that does all that and then some. A defensive play that even if you know is coming you cannot defend against. A defensive play that ... Is discussed in the next chapter :) C. The Phoenix <ID#IIIC> Well by now you knew it was coming, the ultimate defensive and offensive formations. The Panacea of the Pigskin, the Triumph of the Turf, the Deus ex Machina of the ... Well anyway, these sets are awfully good. The offensive formation sets up nicely for Hail Mary type plays, the defensive formation is a modified version of the Dime that stuffs EVERYONE, provided you have the right defensive personnel and they don't have any standout WRs (Moss, Owens, Harrison, etc.) Don't worry, if you follow the guide you should already have the right defense set to make this work, and you should call it on every play (the computer never learns) 1. Phoenix Rising (Offense) <ID#IIIC1> This is you basic Hail Mary setup, five receivers, all spread out equally on the line and across the field. From left to right, we have WR2, HB1, TE1, WR3, WR1. The point of this formation is that if they blitz you, someone should be open for a quick pass. If they hold back, you should have enough time in the pocket to hit someone for a big gain. Sadly, this formation is still not better than the simple I-Form (the bread and butter of our offense) so no specific plays will be mentioned here. All plays that I like to call from this formation are either long passing plays or short dumps to my Running Back. ii. Phoenix Falling (Defense) <ID#IIIC2> This is a modified version of the Dime defensive set. All of the positions used are exactly the same as the Dime, so all you will need to do is to move them around a bit. From the Dime set, move the slot (inner) Cornerbacks two squares forward. This is to allow them to blitz more effectively. Next move the two outside Cornerbacks one square in. This will cause them to lineup on the inside of the WRs they are guarding. Now, for the biggest change, move the two safeties three squares forward and two squares out. This will allow them to cover the short pass and side runs plays more effectively. As you may have guessed this defensive set has only three potential weaknesses: The long pass, the short possession pass and a run up the middle for a big gain. The first is negated by your two dynamite outside Cornerbacks (you do have two dynamite outside cornerbacks don't you ;) The second is negated by your two dynamite safeties, you do have ... The third is negated by ^$!@$y Madden inside run dynamics (no one ever gets a big gain from an inside run, the longest one I've gotten was 60 yards and that was a fluke created by a big pileup and about 20 missed tackles.) D. The 'Unbeatable' Plays <ID#IIID> In real life, no play is unbeatable, which is good because it would definitely take the fun out of the game. In real life, players adapt (eventually) and in time all but the best plays become passé once people know they are coming. Even the once mighty Gritz Blitz, which lead the 1977 Atlanta Falcons to a historic 129 points allowed over a 14 game season (yes, this is less than 10 points per game!) Was eventually abandoned in favor of more conventional tactics. However, the great thing here is, the computer never adapts, if it beats the computer once, it will beat them one thousand times, which brings us to: i. Unbeatable O <ID#IIID1> Unbeatable simply means that you should score on 90% of your drives, if you have the balls to go for it consistently on 4th down, this should go up to 95%. a. The Rising <ID#IIID1a> Also known as: The only offensive play you will ever need. Seriously, I tried this 20 times in practice mode, and I have yet to see a situation where there isn't a wide open target for a 10 yard+ gain. If not the WR, then the TE. If not the HB then the FB. The only real problem I see with this play is defending against a strong blitz or if your offensive line breaks down. Otherwise: WR1: 25 yd fly WR2: 25 yd fly TE: Hard Inward slant off the line FB: Hard Flats Arc FB: Soft Flats Arc b. The Devil <ID#IIID1b> Called the devil because it looks like a set of horns. Slight variant on Rising: WR1: Custom route – Inward slant, fly, outward slant, fly WR2: Same TE: Block FB: Hard Off-tackle Arc HB: Hard Off-tackle Arc c. The Shit <ID#IIID1c> Also known as, the only running play you'd use but didn't because you don't like running plays. Actually, this is really just the I-form off-tackle run, but works much better for some reason. My guess is that for some reason the WR blocking style messes the computer up: WR1: Outside block WR2: Same TE: Block FB: Off-tackle block HB: Off-tackle sprint 2. Unbeatable D <ID#IIID2> Unbeatable D means you stuff your opponent 90% of the time. Stuffing means that they gain less than 5 yards per play and are unable to convert on 3rd down effectively. Note: Every unbeatable D is from the modified Dime formation (The Phoenix.) In addition, every play blitzes with the defensive line and uses the outside CBs for man-to-man coverage. a. The Zero <ID#IIID2a> Also known as: The only defensive play you will ever need. Seriously, you will be calling this play 90% of the time and kicking yourself you didn't make it 95%. Despite all football logic that says defensive plays must be strategic, unless you are CERTAIN your opponent will run or CERTAIN that your opponent will attempt a long pass, then please call this play: Safeties: Cover 3 Outside CBs: Cover 1 ROLB: Watch QB Inside CBs: Inside Blitz Defensive Line: Straight Blitz It's just that easy ... b. The Gritz Blitz <ID#IIID2b> This is included for historical purposes, but is effective none-the-less. Use if you know your opponent is going to Run (Or you need to take out the QB ;) Safeties: Straight Blitz Outside CBs: Cover 1 ROLB: Watch QB Inside CBs: Inside Blitz Defensive Line: Straight Blitz c. The Kitchen Sink <ID#IIID3c> For completeness, use this if you know they are going to throw a deep pass. IE they need to get within field goal range on the next play. Safeties: Cover Deepest Outside CBs: Cover 1 ROLB: Drop Zone Inside CBs: Cover 3 Defensive Line: Straight Blitz _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Chapter Four: Drafting Your Team <ID#IV> _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ The Fantasy Draft could very well be the most important part of creating your new team, be sure to get a good one. Don't be afraid to try it over if you don't get what you want the first time. You'll only be doing this once, so you need to make it count. A. General Strategy <ID#IA> The overall goal of the draft is to get as many top players at their respective positions as possible. Always be sure to pick up a #1 person at any given position (with the exception of K and P) over a lesser-ranked person in another position. In general it is a good idea to redo the draft until you can get either Kurt Warner or Marshall Faulk as a first pick. You will want both of these players eventually and trading for either of them can be extremely difficult. Always be sure to draft your starting lineup before any backups. B. Position Importance <ID#IB> While positions like MLB might be important in real life, this is a football game. As such, you need to focus your picks, especially on defense, as you may have guessed, MLB is ranked low here because you will primarily be playing out of the Dime defense set (which has only one OLB and no MLB) Here is the general order you should draft your positions in. It reflects both the importance of these positions to your team as well as the order you should pick players in order to beat the computer. As a general guide for the first three rounds of drafting, simply pick the #1 player that is the highest ranked in this order: Overall (cont) Offense Defense ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ QB WR QB DT HB OLB HB CB WR FS WR CB OT G OT SS DT CB C DT CB DE G DE C FB OT OLB CB CB WR FS SS TE G CB DT WR FB DE G MLB TE CB OT WR WR MLB DE MLB WR MLB Also be sure to remember that the computer will start picking kickers around the 18th round or so. While a good K and P are not essential to the success of your team, you will need to draft them 19th and 20th to ensure that you get them (remember, the computer is not allowed to trade K/P, so you can only get them off the draft) Jason Elam and Darren Bennett will do nicely. C. Ranking By Position <ID#IC> (Coming Soon) D. Target Players <ID#ID> Aside from the player rankings, there are a few players that are absolutely crucial to the success of your team for various reasons. Not only are they the top players at their respective positions, but they also have that certain special something that puts them ahead of the pack. 1. Marshall Faulk – A #1 Running Back and a #2 Wide Receiver in one. This guy schools the other RB by so much it's not even funny. 2. Kurt Warner – Get this guy. You'll never need another QB 3. Randy Moss – Size, speed and the ability to produce after the catch 4. Orlando Pace – This is the guy guarding Kurt Warner in real life 5. Warren Sapp – Easily the #1 DT in the game and on the field 6. Sam Madison – An interception/touchdown machine! You can count on him to shutdown the opposing team's number one receiver every time. 7. Rodney Harrison – #1 at a very important defensive position. 8. Larry Allen – Large and in charge 9. Jevon Kearse – Not as dominant as he was in Madden 2001, but still a QB sacking machine. 0. Derrick Brooks – Every good defensive set needs at least one OLB. E. Sleepers <ID#IE> These are the standout players ranked between 80 and 90 at their respective positions. Not good enough to be taken 1st round by the computer, these players make excellent picks and should still be there later in the draft. In no particular order: Name Position Score Reason ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Daunte Culpepper QB 89 Can double as a RB, tough Aaron Brooks QB 84 Pretty good right now, will improve Tim Couch QB 81 Like Brooks but less agile Shaun Alexander HB 89 Fast, breaks tackles, will only improve Priest Holmes HB 88 Good open field RB LaDainin Tomlinson HB 86 Good all around, will improve w/ age Tiki Barber HB 82 Another good open field RB Richie Anderson FB 87 A good possession FB Cecil Martin FB 84 A good blocking FB Troy Brown WR 89 Speedy receiver + KR James Thrash WR 83 Tough, speedy + KR Derrick Mason WR 82 A great WR and a KR as well Laveranues Coles WR 80 Max speed, decent KR Marcus Pollard TE 87 Good possession TE Bubba Franks TE 83 Good blocking TE, as young as they come Jason Fabini OT 90 Why is this guy only rated 90? John Tait OT 86 Strong, good pass blocker Randy Thomas G 87 Good all-around as well as tough Dave Fiore G 85 Good, strong guard Jeff Christy C 86 Versatile for a center Justin Smith DE 89 Great speed but possible injury risk Julius Pepper DE 83 Kearse on a smaller scale Chris Hovan DT 90 Deadly fast off the blocks Gerard Warren DT 84 Decent now, will get better Jamie Miller OLB 89 Decent all-around Kendrell Bell MLB 87 Fastest Sleeper MLB Ronde Barber CB 89 Interception, TD machine Deltha O'Neil CB 85 Feel the need –> for speed Nate Clements CB 84 Decent speed, like O'Neil Darrell Green CB 80 Extreme speed, but poor all around Brock Marion FS 89 Speed + KR potential Mike Brown SS 89 Fastest of the strong safeties Shaun Williams SS 86 Good against the pass Martin Gramatica K 90 Auto-matica, the sentimental favorite Shane Lechler P 88 You shouldn't be punting often ... F. How The Computer Drafts <ID#IF> Every computer-controlled coach will draft the player with the highest score where the score for a player is: Player's Overall Rank + Importance of the Position + Random # between 1 and 10 Here are the rankings the computer assigns to each position. It is unclear whether every coach drafts using the same settings, but these are the settings a new coach gets by default. I've also included what they should be ranked. Offense (c.rank) (my.rank) Defense (c.rank) (my.rank) ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ QB 47 48 DT 39 40 HB 43 44 CB 38 40 WR 42 42 SS 36 37 OT 40 40 DE 35 36 C 36 35 OLB 36 36 G 35 35 FS 32 34 FB 35 33 MLB 40 33 TE 30 31 Well there you go, everything should be ranked about the same as the computer rankings except that I've ranked MLB considerably lower because the defensive sets we will most often (Dime and 4-3) include zero or one MLB. _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Chapter Five: Balancing Your Roster <ID#V> _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ At the end of the draft you should have an overall team rank of around 88 if you did it well. All of the computer teams will be around 80. Don't worry, after you get some trades out there it is going to be well over 95. By the time you finish your trades you should have every starting player rated above 80 and every important positional player rated above 90. While this is not always possible during the first year, it is certainly something to shoot for. Through careful trading you should be able to pick up five key players as well as get rid of all your draft picks. Getting rid of all your draft picks is important, since you should expect to win the SuperBowl the first year making them worthless for the next season. For example, in my first year I picked up a #1 HB, WR, OT, FS and CB (Faulk, Moss, Pace, Dawkins and Madison respectively) The key to improving your team is trading away all of your highly rated backups to teams that have deficiencies at those positions. If a computer's highest rated QB is ranked 65, and your highest rated QB is rated 70 they will often give you a huge number of draft picks for yours flat out, even if your backup QB would never play on your team. Trade three lower rated draft picks for one higher ranked one. Trade high rated draft picks for the players you want – It's that simple. A. What The Positions Do Position Abrev. Important Stats ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Quarterback QB THP,THA,AWR,ACC,AGI,SPD Halfback HB SPD,ACC,BTK,CTH,CAR,AGI Fullback FB SPD,RBK,CTH,CAR,BTK,AWR Wide Receivers WR SPD,CTH,JMP,AWR Tight End TE CTH,RBK,PBK,STR,SPD,AWR Offensive Line OT,G,C PBK,RBK,STR,AWR Defensive Line DE,DT STR,TAK,AWR,SPD,ACC Safeties FS,SS SPD,AWR,TAK,CTH,ACC Cornerbacks CB SPD,AWR,CTH,JMP,ACC,TAK Linebackers OLB,MLB TAK,SPD,AWR,STR,ACC Kick/Punters K,P KPW,KAC,AWR B. What The Stats Mean Unfortunately, since I have been unable to find an authoritive source for this anywhere, I have decided to give my own take on each of the stats and which ones are important to which positions: Overall - Overall player ranking at their position Importance - Overall player's importance to your team Awareness - Overall player performance due to soft skills Speed - Player's top speed Acceleration - How quickly the player reaches their top speed Agility - How quickly the player changes direction, uses evasive moves Strength - How strong the player Is Pass Block - How well the player blocks during passing plays Run Block - How well The player blocks during running plays Catching - How well the player catches and intercepts throws Carrying - How well the player holds onto the ball when hit Jumping - How high the player can jump Break Tackle - How well the player can evade tackles Tackle - How well the player tackles Throw Power - How hard the player can throw the ball Throw Accuracy - How accurately the player can throw the ball Kick Power - How hard the player can kick the ball Kick Accuracy - How accurately the player can kick the ball Kick Return - How well the player can catch a kicked ball Stamina - How long the player can play before tired Injury - How likely the player is to get injured during a game Toughness - How short the player will be out if injured Stat Abrev. Useful For Crucial For ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Overall OVR All All Importance IMP All QB,HB,WR Awareness AWR All WR,QB,CB,SS,FS Speed SPD All CB,WR,HB,FS Acceleration ACC All HB,CB,DE Agility AGI QB,DT,DE,CB HB Strength STR HB,SS,OLB OT,G,C,DT,MLB Pass Block PBK HB,FB,TE OT,G,C Run Block RBK HB,TE OT,G,C,FB Catching CTH SS,FS,HB,OLB WR,CB,TE,FB Carrying CAR WR,TE,QB HB,FB Jumping JMP SS,FS,TE,HB CB,WR Break Tackle BTK WR,TE HB,FB Tackle TAK All Defense DT,DE,SS,MLB,OLB Throw Power THP K,P QB Throw Accuracy THA K,P QB Kick Power KPW QB K,P Kick Accuracy KAC QB K,P Kick Return KR CB,WR None Stamina STA All DT Injury INJ All CB Toughness TGH All QB,HB _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Chapter Six: Taking It To Preseason <ID#VI> _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Preseason is a good time to get a feeling for the controls of the game and what your players are capable of. Don't be afraid to try things out and take chances; just don't get anyone injured for the regular season. This is a good time to discover your strengths and weaknesses as well as balance your roster. After the first season, pre-season will also help your players to 'grow' their stats. If you've already played Madden before, you could always skip this part, and check back at the end to see if anyone was injured. Personally, I wouldn't recommend this, if you don't play it a key player virtually always gets injured, plus there is always a chance you might lose a game. I have no idea what types of pre-season activity cause which stats to grow, however, I would imagine given the quality of the game that it's a fairly logical progression. The players get better at what they do, and extra playing time helps them to get good at everything. Unfortunately for the first pre- season, only a few players grow substantially. These are typically the rookie – 2nd year players. Also, most of the players that grow substantially (L.Tomlinson, A.Brooks, S.Alexander) are all well know players, which suggests to me that their growth is somewhat programmed in. If anyone knows what causes certain stats to go up or down, please email me. _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Chapter Seven: Dominating The Regular Season <ID#VII> _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Above all, it's important to set goals for yourself. Goals that are lofty but still realistic. Goals that drive you towards your dream. For example, my regular season goals were to win every game. To outscore my opponents by an average of 14 points, to generate an offensive player of the week every week (except for my bye week) and to get first place in over 66% of all relevant team stat categories. Unrealistic goals, which I tried and failed during preseason were: Limiting my opponent to 6 points per game, limiting my opponent to 0 TDs per game, outscoring my opponent by over 28 points per game, etc. No matter how solid your game-play is, there is still a bit of randomness that makes the play unpredictable. That one time your cornerback is 10 ft behind Terrell Owens is the same time that their QB completes a sweet TD pass to him. A. Offense <ID#VIIA> Producing on offense is absolutely crucial to winning the regular season. Personally, I like to put the ball in the air as I have considerable difficulty getting any big (20 yard +) gains on the ground. More often than not, when I want to move the ball on the ground I pass it to the HB using a flats play. Passing is generally preferred to tossing since you can always hold up and pass to someone else if you don't like the coverage. The only real running plays that I call are either up-the-gut short yardage or the Singleback Halfback Counter (for some reason this really messes up the defensive set and if no one reaches you in the backfield it's usually good for 10-20 yards with a speedy running back.) It's important to get a good mix of run and pass, however, I tend to pass it roughly 70% of the time (see above) Whether you should run or pass is primarily determined by the down you are on and how far you need to go. The first down is always up to you -- so mix it up. Here is a good rule of thumb: Play Down To Go ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Outside Run 1 0 - 10 Up The Gut 1 0 - 10 Short Pass 1 10 Long Pass 1 10+ Outside Run 2 0 – 2 Up The Gut 2 2 – 5 Long Pass 2 5 – 8, 12+ Short Pass 2 8 – 12 Up The Gut 3 0 – 2 Outside Run 3 2 - 4 Short Pass 3 4 – 10 Long Pass 3 10+ Up The Gut 4 0 – 2 Short Pass 4 2 – 5 Punt/FG 4 5+ Once you're comfortably ahead (17+ points) be sure to 'feature' a player so that they get player of the week for that week. Also remember that once you are comfortably ahead, the computer will expect to cover the run. You can use this to your advantage in two ways. One, if you want to run out the clock, just keep running it up the middle consistently using a HB lead play. However, I am of the opinion that your opponent doesn't need to just be beaten, they need to be humiliated. If they call a 4-3 defensive set you should be guaranteed single coverage on one of your WR. Take a little time and let it rip. You wouldn't believe how many TDs you can score during the final two minutes using this. B. Defense <ID#VIIB> One of the most important points on defense is learning how to call the defensive set. This is primarily based on whether you expect the offense to run or pass. Here is a guide: % Chance Opp. Will Pass % Time Defensive Set ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ 0 – 5 5% Goal Line 5 – 35 30% 4-3 35 – 45 10% Nickel 45 – 95 50% Dime 95 – 100 5% Quarter Well there you go, 50% of the time you should be using the Dime set, so plan your team accordingly and be sure to stock up on CB during the draft. You should NEVER use the 3-4! This is a terrible defensive set and you will be burned consistently for either short yardage up the middle or a big gain from your opponent's wide receivers down the side. You can use the 46 to mix things up but I would use it sparingly. The reason I pick Dime so often is because 90% of the time an opponent actually scores on me it is because of a big passing play (remember, this is madden so runs over 20 yards are unusual) If you stick to Dime you should limit your opponent to short yardage, punts and field goals. Also remember that the more an opponent is down by, the more likely they are to put it in the air. C. Special Teams <ID#VIIC> When kicking the ball off, be sure to aim for a spot touching your opponent's front end-zone and about five yards in from either the left or right side of the field. Jason Elam can make this kick consistently and the computer will usually try to run the ball out. Next, take control of the closest CB and run him diagonally towards the center of the field. This will cause the kick returner to run full speed into about 4 of your guys. With any luck you should be able to force a fumble or injury. At the very least you should stop him somewhere between the 15 and the 20 every time. Never kick field goals when you are further than 50 yards back or closer than 10 yards in. Unless you really want the Madden points and the wind is blowing your direction, 50+ yard field goals are really unusual, it's better to punt it away. Likewise, you might as well go for it if you are within 10 yards. Try the I-Form flats play and hit your HB right as he's crossing into the end-zone. At worst you'll have incredible field position on your opponent and a chance for a safety (If your opponent will pass out of the end-zone, pick the Dime: Zero Blitz. If your opponent is likely running, choose the Goal Line: Gaps Fire) _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Chapter Eight: Winning The Playoffs <ID#VIII> _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Winning the playoffs is much like winning the regular season, however, you need to adjust your stategy a bit because 1. Only the best teams get to the playoffs 2. The computer AI steps it up a notch during the playoffs and SuperBowl Basically what this means is that you have to start playing a little more conservatively. Focus more on winning the game rather than blowing out the stats sheet. You should expect to punt at least once during the playoffs and SuperBowl. Also, I would estimate that the difficulty is one step higher during the playoffs, which means you should expect all the really ridiculous stuff you see happen during the regular season in All-Madden mode to happen during the playoffs in All-Pro mode. Not that you can do anything about it, just don't get frustrated when you see your opponent's QB somehow connecting with a receiver that's facing triple coverage (I swear if the ball phases through my defender on more time.) _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Chapter Nine: Doing It All Again Next Year <ID#IX> _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Right now I don't have any specific strategies for you besides what I told you for the first year. The first year should be the toughest, anything after that is gravy. Just keep filling out your defense (your offense should already be unstoppable right now) For my second year I have my sights set on another #1 CB, a #1 DT, a #1 DE and a #1 TE (Woodson, Sapp, Kearse and Gonzalez respectively) _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Chapter Ten: The Boston Phoenix <ID#X> _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ This section is all about my team, The Boston Phoenix. Hopefully the Boston Phoenix will have a great season once I get my PS2 online. I'd love to do a fantasy draft/league with the full 32 people playing. Also, if anyone knows of an NFL team in a bad division that would sell for less than $100 million write me an email, I'd love to do this for real and bring the team to Boston ;) A. My Draft I feel I did a pretty good job in my draft, I've seen a lot of them and it looks like I got about what I expected. My only bad pick was probably picking a center as my 4th pick, the rest were fine. My Draft ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ K.Warner M.Rivera M.Jones J.Allen J.Tuman L.Allen B.Brokermeyer W.Rainer C.Batch J.Pyne B.Young S.Adams R.Proehl T.Mathis S.Dotson M.Birk B.Mitchell A.Zereoue C.Watson J.Holmes M.McKenzie D.Carswell W.Jackson G.DiNapoli J.Harris L.Schulters B.Schroeder D.Davis T.Jackson T.Morabito A.Winfield R.Wilson S.Matthews M.Lane S.Williams J.Ritchie B.Gardner C.Sanders D.Green J.Elam T.Fair L.Moore D.Mason D.Bennett L.Atkins J.DeVries After the draft my overall team ranking was 86. I decided that I needed to make a few key trades, trading away players and draft picks for: Marshall Faulk Randy Moss Orlando Pace Sam Madison Brian Dawkins B. 1st year starters Name Position O.Rank Name Position O.Rank ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ K.Warner QB 97 B.Wilson LE 77 M.Faulk HB 99 B.Mitchell RE 75 D.Bennett FB 75 B.Young DT 95 R.Moss WR 98 S.Adams DT 81 D.Mason WR 82 J.Nelson LOLB 59 D.Patten WR 77 B.Gardner MLB 71 D.Carswell TE 80 J.Armstead ROLB 86 O.Pace LT 98 S.Madison CB 98 S.Hutchison LG 82 A.Winfield CB 84 M.Birk C 93 D.Green CB 81 D.Neil RG 95 B.Dawkins FS 98 B.Brock RT 79 V.Green SS 84 J.Elam K 95 D.Bennett P 95 Overall 95 Offense 99 Defense 95 Special Teams 99 It looks like a good start for my team. _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Chapter Eleven: Madden-isms <ID#XI> _______________________________________________________________________________ ¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯¯ Eventually this will probably turn into a generic Madden Humor section, but for right now, here are some classic Madden setup lines (Note: All of these are actual dialog I have heard in the game) I'm Listening - Summerall: With the clock winding down, it looks like the kick team is going to come on to the field. Madden: Yeah, there's nothing left here but to kick it away and start the second half. Madden: Touchdown! Summerall: It looks like the defense was expecting something completely different on that play. Madden: Yes, the defense is going to have to do a better job of play recognition than that, nothing makes you look worse than being caught out of position. Two Liners – Summerall: I can safely say that I don't we'll be seeing any blitzes from the defense from here on out. Summerall: And he reaches the Quarterback and hauls him down! [3rd and goal] Madden: They don't have to run any type of a play here. Summerall: So he takes the handoff and crosses the Goal Line. - Conclusion - Have fun with Madden 2003! Copyright 2002 Matt Sontum If you want to reproduce this document as a whole or in part in any form you must first beat me in a game of Madden.