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    FAQ/Strategy Guide by VinnyVideo

    Version: 1.2 | Updated: 01/26/08 | Search Guide | Bookmark Guide

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    Table of Contents
    [INTRO] Introduction
    [MODES] Modes of Play
    [CONTR] Controls
    [TEAMS] Team Stats
    [SUBST] Suggested Substitutions
    [OFFPB] Offensive Playbook
    [DEFPB] Defensive Playbook
    [NOTES] FAQs and General Tips
    [REALL] Comparing with Reality
    [VERSN] Version History
    [COPYR] Copyright
    [CONTC] Contact Information
    Introduction                                                         [INTRO]
    Greetings! I've made another walkthrough! This is my eighth, which is kind of
    impressive. Before we start the applause, I have to say that this guide was the
    easiest for me to make. I've already written guides for Madden '96 and Madden
    '98, so I was able to use much of the content from those guides in this one. In
    fact, almost everything other than the Team Stats, Suggested Substitutions, and
    season review is from one of my previous guides, since this game's playbook is
    identical to the one used in Madden '98. By the way, I'm not going to be
    discussing secret codes in this guide, since the Cheats section of GameFAQs
    (and other sources, too) describe them comprehensively (By the way, I found all
    the classic teams by playing through the Super Bowls with each team - I didn't
    use the Internet or any tip books to find them!).
    Anyway, Madden NFL '97 is a really great game. In contrast to the arcade-like
    Madden '96, Madden '97's style is quite realistic. The sprite-based graphics
    weren't very innovative, but they got the job done. The music is very good, too,
    especially by the standards of sports video games, which is usually awful (and
    in Super NES games, poorly compressed). It's almost as good as the Madden '96
    music. This is enough rambling, though. In the words of that famous plumber,
    let's-a go!
    Modes of Play                                                        [MODES]
    ***Play Now***
    Here you can play an exhibition game using the teams of your choice. You can
    select the venue, weather, and quarter length, too. Some secret codes will
    even allow you to play with all-time great teams in this mode.
    ***NFL Season Play***
    Here you can play through a 16-game season, and if you're good enough, the
    playoffs and Super Bowl.
    ---New Season---
    This starts a new season. Imagine that! You can select as many or as few games
    as you wish to play. If you have a season or playoff in progress, starting a
    new season erases the previous season's data, so be careful.
    ---New Playoffs---
    Here you can start a new playoff series. Again, this erases any data from
    previous seasons or playoffs.
    ---Custom League---
    Set up a mini-league with the teams of your choice. Only available in the
    Genesis version of the game, for some reason.
    ---Custom Tournament---
    Begin a custom playoff series using the teams you select. You can control as
    many or as few of them as you like, and you can make the tournament as big or
    as small as you want. As with Custom Leagues, this is a Genesis exclusive.
    ---Season Rules---
    Here you can decide quarter length, injuries (off or on), endurance (whether
    you want fatigue or not), and whether you want the rosters to reflect
    modifications (trades and signings) you've made.
    ---League Stats---
    If you have a season in progress, this lets you check out the statistics for
    individual teams and the entire league.
    ---League Standings---
    This shows the current standings.
    ---Continue Season---
    If you have a season in progress, this is where you can go to resume it.
    ---Continue Playoffs---
    If you have playoffs in progress, you can resume them with this option.
    ***Front Office***
    The Front Office menu contains many options for changing teams' rosters and
    other related tasks.
    ---Sign Up New Player---
    Here you can create a new player. After setting physical attributes (name,
    position, height, etc.), you run a series of drills to determine the player's
    attributes. The set of drills varies depending on your player's position. You
    might want to add some of the players not included in the game, or even
    ---Practice Event---
    Here you can practice the training drills used when creating a player. Some of
    them are pretty fun, too! Keep in mind that turbo controllers help on some of
    the events.
    ---Trade Players---
    This option lets you trade players between teams. Just remember that
    transactions and player creations are limited by the game's SRAM space - and
    the space on each team's salary cap. Also, you can only trade players of the
    same position, and you can't trade two players for one.
    ---Reset Rosters---
    This nullifies all changes to the rosters you've made. Be careful when using
    this option!
    ---Delete Players---
    This option only lets you delete players you've created yourself. You might do
    this if you made a mistake, got a bad result in a training event, or are out of
    View all-time records for big plays and Scouting Combine events.
    Controls                                                             [CONTR]
    This section is similar to the content found in the manual, although I've added
    some of my own information.
    Move player - Control pad any direction
    Pause game - START 
    ---Special Teams---
    Start the power bar - B
    Stop the power bar - B (when it's near the top)
    Aim kick left/right - Control pad left/right
    Call an audible (onside kick) - A
    Line up right/left (after calling an audible) - A/B
    Return to standard kicking formation - Y
    Call for a fair catch (very important on punt returns) - SELECT 
    Control the kick receiver - Control pad any direction
    ---Before the snap---
    Set a man in motion - Control pad left or right
    Select player to control (only in multi-player mode or in a Manual Offense) - L
    or R (or X)
    Fake snap signal (HUT!) - X
    Snap the ball - B
    Select player to control - B or X
    Show blitz (move players closer to the line of scrimmage; you can press it
    multiple times to change the player combinations) - L or R
    ---Audibles (either offense or defense)---
    Call an audible - A
    Select an audible play (after calling an audible) - Y, B, or A
    Cancel audible - X
    ---After the snap---
    Burst of speed - B
    Spin - A
    Dive/QB slide - Y
    Hurdle - X
    Lateral to closest teammate - L or R
    Control player closest to the ball - B
    Jump and raise hands - X
    Dive - Y
    Power Tackle - A
    Move the quarterback - Control Pad any direction
    Bring up passing letters - B
    Pass to receiver Y, B, A, L, or R - Y, B, A, L, or R
    Throw the ball away (receiver letters up) - SELECT
    Throw to a default receiver - X
    Lateral to closest teammate (receiver letters not up) - L
    Note: The longer you hold down the pass button, the harder the throw will be.
    Don't forget that your quarterback can run, too.
    Control receiver closest to the ball - B
    Jump and raise hands - X
    Dive - Y
    Spin - A
    Fake snap signal (HUT!) - X
    Aim the kick - Control pad left/right
    Start power bar/snap the ball - B
    Stop power bar/kick the ball - B
    ---Play Calling---
    Move play selection highlight - Control pad up/down
    Flip play (Only for offense, and not available for the Goal Line or Special
    Teams formations) - X
    Return to formation select screen from play screen - L or R
    Move highlight up/down - Control Pad up/down
    Cycle through choices - Control Pad left/right
    Select highlighted option - START
    Select highlighted option if at Pre-Game or Game Pause screen - B
    Switch between home and visiting teams on Team Select screen - B
    Return to previous screen - X
    These aren't exactly controls, but there are a few settings on the Pre-Game 
    Show/pause screen that affect your controls. First select "Game Play Options."
    You can change audibles here, but I discuss that in the Q&A section.
        First, you can switch the Pass Catch Mode from automatic to manual.
    Normally, the computer controls the receiver while the pass is in the air, but
    in manual mode you take control of the receiver as soon you throw the ball
    (better for advanced players).
        Secondly, you can change the Play-Calling Mode from "direct" to "bluff."
    This is only useful against a human opponent, though. In bluff mode, you still
    select plays using the B button, but you can also make fake selections (before 
    or after the real selection) using the Y button. When you're finished, press A. 
        Third, you can Set Offense Control. This isn't a bad thing for advanced
    players, but beginners should always use the default Automatic mode. In Manual
    Mode, you can control any of the so-called "skill positions" - not just the
    quarterback. Use the L and R buttons to cycle through your players before the
    snap. On running plays it's best to select the running back, although it's also
    fun to block for a back using your fullback or tight end - or even the
    quarterback! On passing plays, you definitely want to control the quarterback,
    although you can press B while the ball is in the air to take control of the
    receiver. If you're controlling a receiver, press B to bring up the receiving
    windows and B again to call for a pass. Manual Offense Control is a lot of fun
    and is a superb addition to an otherwise less-than-innovative game.
        One more option here is totally useless: Passing Mode. Passing Mode
    determines whether five receiver letters are shown or one. Five (the default)
    is highly recommended, as the alternative is cumbersome.
    Team Stats                                                           [TEAMS]
    Some of the game's team ratings make only a little sense, but here goes anyway.
    The game doesn't provide numerical ratings for OL, DL, and DB.
                               Overall  QB RB WR LB SPC
    Arizona Cardinals             63    35 82 43 49 72
    Atlanta Falcons               65    87 41 57 90 22
    Baltimore Ravens              39    63 41 20 70 72
    Buffalo Bills                 75    50 53 57 87 99
    Carolina Panthers             54    59 22 55 61 37
    Chicago Bears                 71    87 42 37 92 67
    Cincinnati Bengals            75    69 27 83 63 85
    Dallas Cowboys                99    99 91 85 90 77
    Denver Broncos                75    93 53 76 98 35
    Detroit Lions                 87    81 90 99 87 92
    Green Bay Packers             75    96 49 76 61 70
    Houston Oilers                48    59 40 41 67 27
    Indianapolis Colts            83    90 68 62 54 65
    Jacksonville Jaguars          53    63 47 44 81 45
    Kansas City Chiefs            86    66 99 26 99 80
    Miami Dolphins                50    90 42 56 65 25
    Minnesota Vikings             70    81 46 75 79 22
    New England Patriots          63    75 59 83 65 60
    New Orleans Saints            50    72 50 51 52 87
    New York Giants               20    50 39 26 20 82
    New York Jets                 51    53 47 63 27 90
    Oakland Raiders               76    50 40 75 56 82
    Philadelphia Eagles           51    35 61 60 58 97
    Pittsburgh Steelers           50    32 41 59 60 35
    St. Louis Rams                66    38 32 71 63 85
    San Diego Chargers            52    50 20 63 65 67
    San Francisco 49ers           78    90 47 91 54 60
    Seattle Seahawks              76    56 56 68 70 65
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers          49    38 40 60 52 20
    Washington Redskins           70    20 55 45 76 45
    All Madden                    99    99 94 99 90 75
                               Overall  QB RB WR LB SPC
    1975 Arizona Cardinals        45    50 93 55 99 70
    1980 Atlanta Falcons          56    75 99 67 99 70
    1986 Cleveland Browns         45    69 59 66 99 99
    1990 Buffalo Bills            67    93 78 59 99 99
    1996 EA Sports                99    99 99 99 99 99
    1985 Chicago Bears            85    59 94 44 99 99
    1981 Cincinnati Bengals       45    84 70 56 99 82
    1977 Dallas Cowboys           82    99 99 60 99 99
    1986 Denver Broncos           54    93 70 38 99 99
    1952 Detroit Lions            31    72 35 44 99 60
    1966 Green Bay Packers        64    99 64 49 99 85
    1993 Houston Oilers           75    99 77 66 96 99
    1970 Indianapolis Colts       44    81 32 52 99 99
    1996 Tiburon Gotcha           99    99 99 99 99 99
    1969 Kansas City Chiefs       89    99 82 57 99 99
    1972 Miami Dolphins           80    84 99 55 99 99
    1976 Minnesota Vikings        66    75 80 51 99 99
    1985 New England Patriots     56    41 97 24 99 95
    1987 New Orleans Saints       40    59 55 37 99 60
    1990 New York Giants          65    84 55 67 99 95
    1968 New York Jets            65    99 55 76 99 65
    1976 Oakland Raiders          89    99 89 95 99 99
    1980 Philadelphia Eagles      65    84 66 52 99 99
    1978 Pittsburgh Steelers      96    90 89 68 99 99
    1979 Los Angeles Rams         56    35 84 29 99 99
    1994 San Diego Chargers       52    84 60 37 99 99
    1988 San Francisco 49ers      87    99 98 78 99 99
    1978 Seattle Seahawks         41    81 82 66 99 75
    1979 Tampa Bay Buccaneers     54    90 86 45 99 92
    1982 Washington Redskins      66    90 99 29 99 99
    1996 NFLPA Free Agents        99    32 26 99 99 20
    Suggested Substitutions                                              [SUBST]
    Note that I assume a 4-3 defense for every team other than Pittsburgh,
    Carolina, Buffalo, and Baltimore. All substitutions should be "global"
    substitutions unless otherwise specified. I don't include suggested
    substitutions for any of the hidden teams. I base these recommendations on
    player ratings in the game, not the lineups used during the actual 1996 NFL
    season. I don't know the first names of a small number of these players. You
    may also want to manually make changes to the WR in the Goal Line formation
    (use the player with the best Hands rating) and the third cornerback and third
    safety in the Nickel and Dime formations. Also, I highly recommend that you
    adopt some form of player rotation (as discussed in the FAQs section).
    Arizona Cardinals: Johnny McWilliams (Rookie TE, #86) is probably your best TE.
    Use Aaron Graham as your LG in Shotgun and Single Back. Use Michael Bankston as
    your DLE except in Nickel and Dime.
    Atlanta Falcons: Eric Metcalf is probably your best HB except in the Goal Line
    formation. Tyrone Brown should be WR #4. Ricky Sanders is your best TE, and
    Harper Le Bel should probably be #2. Matt Willig should be your C in Goal Line.
    Baltimore Ravens: Brian Kinchen should be TE #1. The recommended WR depth chart
    is Andre Rison, Michael Jackson, Floyd Turner, Derrick Alexander, Calvin
    Williams, and Jermaine Lewis. Wally Williams should be the RT. Tim Goad should
    be the DRT in a 4-3. P. Johnson should be ILB2 and 4-3 MLB. Antonio Langham
    should be the LCB.
    Buffalo Bills: Quinn Early should be your #1 WR, Russell Copeland should be #2,
    and Eric Moulds should be #3. Corey Louchiey should be the LT. Ted Washington
    should be your 3-4 NT.
    Carolina Panthers: Bob Christian is probably the better FB. Michael Bates
    should be the #4 WR, followed by Ray Crittenden and Dwight Stone. Andrew
    Peterson should be the RT. Greg Kragen should be the 3-4 NT.
    Chicago Bears: Use Robert Green as your HB in Shotgun and Single Back. Bobby
    Engram should be WR #2, and Jack Jackson should be WR #5. Ryan Wetnight should
    be TE #1.
    Cincinnati Bengals: Eric Bieniemy should be your Shotgun/Single Back HB. Tyree
    Davis should be your #4 WR. Marco Battaglia should be TE #2. Use Alfred Oglesby
    as the DLT in Nickel and Dime. Corey Sawyer should be the LCB.
    Dallas Cowboys: Herschel Walker is probably the best FB. Stepfret Williams
    should be WR #4. Eric Bjornson should be the #2 TE. George Hegamin is the best
    RT. Randall Godfrey is recommended at RLB, and Godfrey Myles at MLB.
    Denver Broncos: Patrick Jeffers should be the #5 WR. Use Al Wallace as your DLE.
    Detroit Lions: Use Scott Conover as the center except in Shotgun/Single Back.
    Mike Johnson should be the LLB.
    Green Bay Packers: Rob Carpenter should be WR #4. Mike Flanagan (Rookie OL,
    #58) should be the center in the Goal Line formation.
    Houston Oilers: Ronnie Harmon is the recommended Shotgun/Single Back HB. The
    recommended WR depth chart is Chris Sanders, Willie Davis, Mel Gray, Travis
    Hannah, M. Seaborn, and Derek Russell. Barron Wortham is the recommended MLB.
    Rayna Stewart is recommended at FS.
    Indianapolis Colts: Roosevelt Potts is the better FB. Marvin Harrison is the #1
    WR. Flipper Anderson should be the #4 WR. Tony Mandarich is definitely the best
    LT. Bernard Whittington may be the best DLT.
    Jacksonville Jaguars: Keenan McCardell is the best receiver. Cedric Tillman
    should be the #3 WR, and Ernest Givins should be #5. Pete Mitchell should be
    the #1 TE. Ben Coleman should be the RG. Don Davey is the recommended DRT.
    Keith Goganious is the best RLB. Chris Hudson should be the FS, and Dave Thomas
    should be the SS.
    Kansas City Chiefs: Greg Hill is the best HB except in Shotgun/Single Back. Use
    Keith Traylor as the DRT in Nickel and Dime. John Browning (Rookie DL, #92) is
    the best DRE. Use Anthony Davis at LLB.
    Miami Dolphins: Use Terry Kirby as your Single Back/Shotgun HB. Irving Spikes
    is the best FB. Kirby Dar Dar should be the #3 WR, and Randal Hill should be
    #4. James Brown is the best RT. Daryl Gardener is the best DLT. Terrell Buckley
    should be the LCB.
    Minnesota Vikings: Amp Lee is a good Shotgun/Single Back HB. S. Evans is the
    better FB. Moe Williams should be the #4 WR. David Dixon should be the RG.
    James Manley (Rookie DL, #94) should be the DRE.
    New England Patriots: Kevin Lee should be WR #4, and Troy Brown should be #5.
    Todd Rucci should be the LG. Jeff Dellenbach is the recommended center.
    New Orleans Saints: Ray Zellars is the better FB in this game. Haywood Jeffires
    should be the #1 WR. Paul Green is preferable at TE #2. Craig Novitsky should
    be the RG in Goal Line and run-oriented formations. Richard Harvey is best at
    RLB. Brian Jones is a tad better at MLB. Sean Lumpkin should be the SS.
    New York Giants: Lawrence Dawsey should be WR #2. Amani Toomer (Rookie WR, #83)
    should be WR #3. Omar Douglas should be WR #4. Aaron Pierce should be the #1
    TE. Roman Oben (Rookie OL, #72) should be the RT. Lance Smith should definitely
    be the RG. Cedric Jones is the best DLE. Coleman Rudolph should be the MLB. Ben
    Talley is the best LLB.
    New York Jets: Alex Van Dyke should be WR #4. Tyrone Davis should be the #1 TE.
    Harry Boatswain should be the RG. John Bock should be the center except in Goal
    Oakland Raiders: Joe Aska is a bit better at FB. Calvin Jones should be the #5
    WR. Andrew Glover should be the #2 TE. Robert Jenkins is the recommended RT.
    Dan Turk should be the center.
    Philadelphia Eagles: It's a very close call at quarterback. Ty Detmer has a
    better arm and running ability, but Rodney Peete is more accurate. Charlie
    Garner is the best HB. Mark Ingram should be the #3 WR, followed by Phillip
    Riley, D. Burks, and C.T. Jones. Jimmie Johnson should be the second TE. Guy
    McIntyre should be the LG. Raleigh McKenzie should be the center except in the
    Goal Line formation.
    Pittsburgh Steelers: Kordell Stewart is the best QB. Justin Strzelczyk should be
    the Goal Line center. Use Kevin Henry as the DLE in Nickel and Dime. Joel Steed
    should be the 3-4 NT. Steve Conley should be the LOLB.
    St. Louis Rams: Brent Moss should be your HB in the Shotgun and Single Back
    formations. Jerald Moore (Rookie FB, #30) should be the starter at FB. The WR
    depth chart should be Isaac Bruce, Eddie Kennison, Jessie Hester, Alexander
    Wright, Todd Kinchen, and J.T. Thomas. Lovell Pinkney should be the #2 TE.
    San Diego Chargers: Use Walter Reeves at fullback if you prefer pass-catching
    over running ability. Bryan Still should be the #3 WR. Use Stan Brock at RT in
    Goal Line and as your Shotgun/Single Back LT. Dennis Gibson should be the RLB.
    You might want to use a 3-4 defense with the Chargers, even though they didn't
    use it in real life.
    San Francisco 49ers: Terrell Owens should be the #3 WR. Israel Ifeanyi should
    be the DLE in Nickel and Dime.
    Seattle Seahawks: Mike Pritchard should be the #1 WR. Ronnie Harris should be
    the #4 WR, and Robb Thomas should be #5. Carlester Crumpler is the recommended
    #1 TE. Matt Joyce should be the LG.
    Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Courtney Hawkins should be the #1 WR, and Charles Wilson
    should be #3. Definitely start Pete Pierson at RT.
    Washington Redskins: Brian Mitchell is the best FB. Bill Brooks should be the
    #1 WR.
    All Madden: Steve Young is the best overall QB. Barry Sanders is the best
    overall HB. Rodney Hampton is the best FB. Isaac Bruce should be the #3 WR.
    Herman Moore should be the #4 WR. Brent Jones should be the #1 TE. Harris
    Barton is the recommended RT. Neil Smith is the best DRE. Dan Saleaumua should
    start at DLT. Junior Seau is the best MLB. Jessie Tuggle is the best RLB.
    Phillippi Sparks is best at LCB, and Tyrone Poole should be the RCB.
    Offensive Playbook                                                    [OFFPB]
    I'm going to be assuming you're playing against the computer when I write this
    guide. I always assume that each play is NOT flipped, but the mirror feature
    (press X on the play selection screen) is good to use from time to time,
    particularly on certain plays or against a human opponent. I also assume you're
    using the "Normal" subset of each formation. Changing the set can be desirable
    but will also change the way the play works. When I use terms like "Y receiver"
    and "A receiver," I'm referring to the buttons that correspond to the receivers
    on the non-flipped version of the play. "Y receiver" can have a different
    meaning in real-life playbooks. Also, since you're playing an old football
    video game, I'm assuming you have some grasp of football theory, rules, and
    terminology; you know what a tight end or shotgun formation is. That said, I'm
    still going to explain certain terms for the less football-savvy. Remember that
    results may vary based on offense, defense, down, hashmarks, set, and other
    factors. I've tried to test each play against a variety of defenses, but
    there's still a chance I may have misjudged a few plays. Also, no play will
    work 100% of the time. Lastly, while many of these plays (or plays that are
    very similar) appear in the playbooks of today's Madden games, I don't
    recommend trying to use this guide with any games other than the Super NES
    version of Madden '97.
    For those of you who are counting, there are 109 plays on offense and 77 plays
    in the defensive playbook. Madden '96 had 92 offensive plays and 81 defensive
    plays. The offensive playbook has a few redundancies but is basically better,
    but I miss some of the unconventional defenses from Madden '96. The Madden
    formation, which appeared in Madden '96, is gone, and while the Run & Shoot
    formation is also gone, the Single Back formation now has a 4-receiver set.
    Far (Normal, 3WR, 2TE, TE Motion) (12 plays)
    The Far formation has two running backs lined up close to each other, with the
    halfback on the weak side ("far" from the tight end).
    ---FB Dive---
    This play is good in short-yardage situations, but it's also good as a general-
    purpose running play. It usually gains about four yards.
    ---HB Flat---
    Your main target on this useful passing play is the halfback (B) in the flat,
    who often goes uncovered. This can become a touchdown. If the halfback isn't
    open, look for the split end (Y) on the in route or the hooking flanker (A).
    ---FB Opt. Dive---
    Not very different from FB Dive, although this is a run off left guard.
    ---HB Dive---
    You need a fast halfback to succeed with this slightly awkward play. The
    halfback takes a pitch and then runs up the middle. Call an audible if eight
    men are in the box.
    ---Weak Flood---
    This play "floods" the weak side of the line with a trio of receiving options.
    Don't throw to the fullback (A), or you'll usually lose a lot of yards. Passes
    to the halfback (B) usually get deflected in the line. The tight end (R) is a
    pretty safe option, but your best bets are probably your wide receivers (Y and
    ---HB Off Tackle---
    This is the second-best play in the game! You may wish to use it as the audible
    assigned to the Y button. Just watch your blockers and turn when appropriate.
    This play can gain anywhere between five and 50 yards - and it's very often
    toward the higher end of that scale, although every once in a while you'll be
    tackled in the backfield.
    ---FB Screen---
    Your main option here is (obviously) the fullback. A fast fullback can make a
    touchdown, but most fullbacks will have to settle for about five yards. But
    don't ignore your wideouts here. Passes to the Y receiver are usually deflected
    in the line, but the A receiver is a very good option.
    ---Flood Zone---
    Try a soft pass to the L receiver or a harder throw to the A receiver. Don't
    bother throwing to the halfback (B), because he often catches passes intended
    for the flanker by accident. Try throwing to the fullback (Y) if the opponents
    are in a deep zone. The halfback is primarily a blocker.
    ---WR Screen---
    Here you throw to your flanker (A) while your linemen pull to block for the
    receiver. This can be effective against the blitz, but your receiver often gets
    tackled for a big loss in tight man coverage. I often prefer to pass to the
    split end (Y) or tight end (B) on the post patterns. Your backs are blockers.
    ---Quick Fade---
    There are four options here: the receivers (Y, L) on short fade routes, the
    tight end (A) on an in route, and the halfback (B) in the flat. The halfback is
    probably your best option, as you'll almost always get a completion for at
    least five yards, and good blocking can lead to a very big play. No matter who
    you throw to, you'll be happiest if you get the ball off fairly quickly.
    ---HB Trap---
    This play looks a little like HB Dive. It usually ends up gaining about five
    yards, but you'll sometimes be stopped for no gain.
    ---Deep Curls---
    Both backs stay in to block, so you should have plenty of time. Throw deep to
    one of your receivers (Y, A) if one is open. Otherwise, look for the tight end
    on the shorter pattern.
    Near (Normal, 3WR, 2TE, TE Motion) (12 plays)
    As with the Far formation, the fullback lines up right behind the quarterback.
    However, the halfback is on the side closer to the tight end.
    ---FB Dive---
    This play is very similar to the Far version of FB Dive. You may have
    difficulty if the opponents have eight men in the box.
    ---FB Flat---
    The split end (Y) runs in and the tight end (R) runs an out, but the most
    dangerous option is the flanker (A) on the streak. The halfback blocks, but the
    fullback (B) is sometimes available in the flat.
    ---HB Delay---
    Before getting the snap, your halfback freezes to confuse the defense. Run up
    the hole that develops in the middle of the line and you should get six or
    seven yards. If there are eight men in the box, call an audible.
    ---Post Stop---
    Your main options here are the receivers (Y and A) on short posts. The tight
    end (B) can also work, while the backs function solely as blockers.
    ---HB Counter---
    Here the halfback takes one step in the opposite direction before taking the
    pitch to confuse the defense. This is a high-risk, high-reward rushing play. If
    you find the hole that develops up the middle of the line, you can often gain a
    dozen yards. Because you take the ball so deep in the backfield, it's also
    possible to lose yards.
    ---Deep Post---
    Very similar to Post Stop, but the receivers run deeper routes, and the tight
    end runs out instead of in. Also, the backs are protecting against the inside
    blitz instead of the outside blitz.
    ---FB Circle---
    The fullback (B) runs a circle route that's not very useful. However, your
    receivers (Y and A) and tight end (R) can get open if you're patient. I find
    that this play is of the all-or-nothing variety; it can gain big yardage
    against some defenses but fails miserably against others.
    ---HB Inside---
    This play is pretty similar to HB Counter, but a little less effective. It
    doesn't lose yardage as often, though.
    ---PA Near---
    This passing play isn't for the faint of heart. Your main targets are the
    receivers downfield, but you can look for the tight end (B) if you need
    something safer. Your halfback (L) takes a while to get open but is a good
    receiver of last resort. The fullback blocks.
    ---TE Screen---
    Your linemen pull out on this play to block for the tight end (B), the intended
    recipient of the pass. You can also throw deep to one of your wide outs (Y or
    A). This play is very effective if you have an agile RG and RT and a speedy TE.
    It's a pretty easy and reliable way to earn 5-10 yards.
    ---HB Toss---
    What a great play this was in Madden '96! However, the players are a bit slower
    now, so this is best used as a sweep. This high-risk play usually gains 50 or
    loses six.
    ---Roll Out---
    This play is pretty useful if you have a mobile quarterback. If no one's open,
    try scrambling for the first down. Look for the halfback (Y) in the flat, the
    tight end (B), or your flanker (A). The split end (L) runs an out.
    Single Back (Normal, 3 WR, TE Motion, 4 WR) (18 plays)
    The default set of Single Back formation has two wide receivers, two tight
    ends, and a running back.
    ---HB Dive---
    This was one of the most useless plays in Madden '96, but it's now a good basic
    rushing play. Run behind your left tackle and left guard to pick up an easy
    five yards.
    ---Square In---
    This would be a pretty play to watch from the upper deck. Your receivers (Y and
    A) head in, while your tight ends (B and R) run out patterns. The tight end is
    probably the most dependable option.
    ---HB Dive (2)---
    Just like the other HB Dive play from the Single Back formation: follow your
    right guard and right tackle to pick up four or five yards. You could try
    running up the middle or even off tackle if the opponents are using an
    unconventional defensive alignment.
    ---Quick Slant---
    Your main option is your split end (Y) on the quick slant. The flanker (A) also
    runs a slant, while the second tight end's (B) slant usually encounters too
    much congestion to be useful. Also consider trying a quick pass to your #1
    tight end (R) on the streak pattern.
    ---TE Quick Out---
    Both tight ends (Y and B) run outs, which are fairly reliable short patterns.
    You can also go for the home run with your receivers (A and L) on streaks. I
    like this play a lot and sometimes use it as my A-button audible.
    ---WR Screen---
    This play is intended to be a screen pass to your flanker (A), but I get better
    results by throwing to the streaking split end (Y) or tight end (B). If you go
    with the screen pass, release the ball as soon as possible and try running to
    the outside of cornerback.
    ---Drag Right---
    If you like the West Coast Offense, you'll like this play. I don't have much
    luck with any of the receivers except for the flanker (A) on the streak, who
    usually draws single (or no) coverage. You can also try the split end (Y).
    ---Circle Pass---
    Your L receiver should get open pretty quickly. Throw a touch pass to him for
    the score! The flanker (A) is another good choice. The halfback (B) can often
    get a lot of yards after completion, while the tight ends (Y and R) are
    slightly less useful. This play receives an official VinnyVideo Seal of
    ---HB Screen---
    A screen pass intended for the halfback. Don't get rid of the ball too quickly.
    Let the blockers block and you might just wind up in the end zone. There are
    other receiving options here, but I wouldn't pay much attention to them. This
    play works well as an audible.
    ---Slot Reverse---
    Here your quarterback hands off to the halfback, who then hands off to your
    slot receiver. It's best to use the 3-receiver set when you select this play,
    or else you'll be handing off to a lumbering tight end who won't be able to
    pick up as much yardage. Also, set the receiver in motion by pressing Right
    just before you snap the ball. You want him to be where the tight end is in the
    2-TE set. This way you can get the ball off more quickly than you could if he
    were in the slot. Don't press any buttons or move the control pad until the
    receiver has the ball, unless you want to use this play as a conventional
    halfback draw/fake reverse. No matter what, this play is very effective.
    ---Flea Flicker---
    The riskiest play in the playbook! This play begins as Slot Reverse does, but
    at the end the receiver pitches out to the quarterback. If your wide receivers
    (Y and A) aren't open deep, try throwing to the safer tight end (B). It's
    usually easiest to not press any buttons and allow the computer to control the
    entire play. Also, this play occasionally doesn't work right and becomes an
    ordinary running play or reverse. As with Slot Reverse, it makes sense to use
    the 3-WR set with this play.
    ---HB Toss---
    This is a standard run up the middle, except there's a slot receiver faking a
    reverse. You can usually gain 5-8 yards with this nice play.
    ---Slot Screen---
    This is a screen pass to the slot receiver. If you use a 3-WR or 4-WR set, you
    can try using this more as a conventional pass to the slot man. Also try
    throwing to the streaking wide receivers (Y and L) or the tight end down the
    ---HB Counter---
    This counter play is almost like a delay. There are two ways you can run this.
    You can run up the middle, following your blockers. Get past the line of
    scrimmage and you should get about 10 yards. Alternatively, you can run off
    right tackle and go for the home run. The latter is usually more effective, but
    it also depends on the defensive set your opposition is using.
    This is what smart prisoners do. The wide receivers (Y and A) run a deep out
    pattern that frequently results in a touchdown. You can also throw to one of
    your tight ends (B and R) for a shorter gain. This play works well against most
    ---Quick Fade---
    Your main options are the tight ends (Y and A) on short fade patterns, while
    the wide outs (L and R) run in patterns. The halfback (B) isn't too useful.
    This play isn't much good on first down, but it can work if the opponents are
    sitting back in a deep zone.
    ---Post In---
    Your best target on this play is the split end (Y), who fakes an out and runs a
    deep post. Other options are the tight end (B), flanker (A), and slot receiver/
    second tight end (L). The back blocks.
    ---In + Out---
    I'd probably look first for the flanker (A) on the out pattern and the
    streaking slot receiver/TE #2 (Y). You can also try the tight end (B), while
    the split end (L) runs a less useful route.
    Pro Form (Normal, 3WR, 2TE, TE Motion, H-Back) (15 plays)
    The Pro Form formation, alternatively known as Split Backs or other names, is
    similar to the Far and Near formations. It's good for both running and passing.
    It's the formation I use most frequently.
    ---FB Sweep---
    Most outside running plays are geared toward speedy backs, and most fullbacks
    aren't fast. However, this play is very effective, especially against standard
    4-3 sets. Follow your blockers and you can easily gain 25 or more yards.
    A good all-purpose passing play. The halfback (Y) in the flat is almost like a
    sweep. Other options are the tight end (B) on the post, the flanker (A) on the
    hook, and the split end (L) on the deep in route.
    ---HB Off Tackle---
    I think this is the best running play in the game. This is always my Y audible.
    This play simply shreds standard 4-3 sets. If there are eight men in the box,
    you may want to call an audible or run closer to the center of the line. I've
    gotten many a touchdown with this play.
    ---HB Toss---
    This isn't a very good play. It usually ends up losing about five yards.
    However, you can occasionally make a big play if you can reach the sideline and
    ---HB Toss Pass---
    This play is almost identical to HB Toss, but this is MUCH better. For one
    thing, you have a good chance of earning decent yardage on the ground and a far
    lower chance of being stopped in the backfield. Better yet, you have the option
    of pressing B to bring up the receiver windows and throw a pass! If you throw
    to the Y receiver, he'll probably be open and will usually score a touchdown.
    Another nice thing about halfback passes is that they keep human players
    guessing. If you're playing the computer, bring up the passing windows as soon
    as your halfback gets the ball so the receiver can get downfield. Against a
    human, you may want to wait until it looks like you're running.
    ---HB Counter---
    The quarterback spins before delivering the handoff here. This isn't a good
    play for beginners, but an experienced player can get a decent gain. You'll
    have to guide your halfback through a barrage of defenders, and it's often hard
    to tell exactly what gap you should run through. It's easiest and safest to run
    up the middle, but if you want to increase your chances of a big play, you can
    try running between right guard, who pulls to the left, and the left tackle (as
    shown on the play diagram)
    ---FB Inside Run---
    This play isn't very well designed; you usually end up running into the
    quarterback and losing all your momentum! I don't recommend using this play,
    although you can get four yards with it if you're lucky.
    Your main options are your wide receivers (Y and A), who run curl patterns,
    which are similar to hooks. The halfback (B) in the flat is also effective,
    while the tight end (R) doesn't get open very much.
    ---FB Dive---
    This play is pretty self-explanatory: a fullback run up the middle. However,
    you can often gain six or seven yards with it if you have good blocking. It's
    also effective in short-yardage situations.
    ---Quick Out---
    This play is designed to facilitate very quick passes to the WRs, who run short
    out patterns. The tight end is also a viable option. This is a pretty good play.
    ---HB Middle---
    Look for the split end (Y) on the corner route, the tight end (A) on the out,
    and the streaking flanker (L). The halfback (B) on the deep curl gets open less
    ---FB Screen---
    A typical screen pass to the fullback. Make sure not to release the ball too
    soon. Also consider throwing to the Y receiver on the deep post, the streaking
    A receiver, or the tight end (R) on the post pattern.
    ---Cross Pass---
    Both backs protect the quarterback here. The most effective target is the tight
    end (B). Passes to the split end (Y) on the slant are good against a Nickel and
    weak against standard 4-3 schemes. The A receiver runs a post pattern. This
    really isn't my favorite play in the Pro Form, but it's not terrible.
    ---Circle Pass---
    Your main target is the streaking split end (Y). If he's tightly covered, look
    for the A receiver on the out, the tight end (R) on the post, and the halfback
    (B) in the flat.
    ---All Streaks---
    This is a Hail Mary pass, with the fullback staying in to block. You can use
    this play to get a big gain in a desperate situation, but feel free to use it
    any time you like, because there's a good chance someone will get open against
    a standard 4-3 scheme.
    I Form (Normal, 3WR, 2TE, Broken, H-Back) (15 plays)
    The fullback lines up between the quarterback and halfback here, producing an
    "I" shape. There's no TE Motion set, though.
    ---Belly Weak---
    In this play, the fullback runs up the "belly" (middle) of the offensive line.
    Even with eight men in the box, you can get a decent gain - three or four
    yards. You can gain even more against a normal 4-3.
    ---FB Hook---
    The fullback (B) runs into the line, blocks, and then runs a hook pattern.
    However, your other options are much more useful, from the split end (Y) and
    tight end (R) to the halfback (L) in the flat. The flanker (A) runs a medium in
    route that works pretty well against double coverage.
    ---Belly Strong---
    This is the same as Belly Weak, except that the fullback runs between the right
    guard and right tackle (instead of the left). You'll get similar results.
    ---HB Wham---
    This is another run up the middle, except this one goes to the halfback. Watch
    out for the defensive right tackle and right end and you're good for five or
    six yards.
    Your main target should be the split end (Y) on the deep in route. If he's
    double-covered, try the flanker on the hook (A) or the tight end (B) on the
    short out. The tight end is very effective against deep zones. Both backs
    block, so you should have plenty of time.
    ---HB Draw---
    Draw plays are a little unusual for the I-Form, but this play is moderately
    effective. It should gain 5-7 yards.
    ---Power Weak---
    This play is a run off left tackle and should gain at least four yards. A few
    good blocks can produce a touchdown. More rebellious players can try running up
    the middle against certain defenses.
    Both receivers (Y and A) fake quick outs and then streak downfield. If both are
    tightly covered, your tight end (R) or halfback (B) should be wide open.
    ---HB Strong---
    HB Strong looks a little like Power Weak, but this play is a sweep instead of
    an off-tackle. You'll occasionally suffer a big loss (five or six yards), but
    this risk is offset by the fairly high probability of making a very big play.
    You can try turning to either the right or left of the cornerback.
    ---HB Toss---
    This play is pretty similar to HB Strong.
    ---Quick Slant---
    Everyone except the fullback runs a slant pattern here. You can usually get a
    satisfactory result by throwing quickly to any of your receivers, but be more
    patient before throwing to the halfback.
    ---HB Counter---
    Like most counter plays in Madden '97, the back takes the pitch deep in the
    backfield, so there's a chance of sustaining a big loss. Another problem is
    that it's tricky to run between the left guard and pulling right guard without
    bumping into your quarterback. Still, this play generally works pretty well.
    ---Post Corner---
    Your receivers (Y and A) fake a post and run a corner pattern, while the backs
    (L and B) are available in the flat. Try the tight end (R) against deep zones.
    If you're throwing to the WRs, release the ball a little after they begin to
    cut inside for the post.
    ---FB Streak---
    Here's what a West Coast Offense looks like. Everyone runs a pretty short
    pattern. Your halfback blocks. Your receivers and tight end will usually be
    able to catch the ball, although passes are sometimes deflected in the line.
    This isn't a horrible play, but I prefer throwing deeper in Madden '97. It is
    pretty effective against deep zones, though.
    ---TE Out-N-Up---
    This is another West Coast-style play, but this is more practical. The split
    end runs a streak, while the tight end and flanker cross. Both backs are
    blockers, so you may have enough time to throw deep to one of your receivers.
    Shotgun (Normal, 4WR, 2 Back, Gun, 5 WR) (15 plays)
    The shotgun formation is good for passing because of its "shotgun" snap - the
    quarterback gets the ball several yards behind the line of scrimmage instead of
    from right under center. It isn't great for running, though. A good pass-
    blocking line helps. The Madden '97 version of the shotgun formation normally
    has three receivers, one tight end, and one running back.
    ---HB Draw---
    On a draw play, the linemen take a step backwards before blocking for the run
    to make the defense think you're passing. You can frequently get 10 yards with
    this play, even against a 4-3. It usually works better against a Nickel than a
    Dime, since you're running up the middle. A fast back also helps.
    ---HB Draw PA---
    This play action is supposed to trick the opponents into thinking this is a
    draw play. Your exterior receivers (Y and A) run deep posts. The tight end runs
    an in route that gathers too much traffic against non-Dime defenses. Don't
    overlook the slot receiver (R) on the curl. The back serves as a blocker.
    ---HB Trap---
    The key to success on this play is to run between your right tackle and the
    defensive left end. If you succeed, you can earn five or six yards. If you
    don't do it right, the end will tackle you for a loss of several yards. Against
    a few defensive sets, a massive hole will open in the middle and you'll be able
    to run for a big gain. However, HB Draw is generally more effective and less
    ---HB Qck Toss---
    The key to success on this outside rushing play is to patiently follow the
    pulling right guard. Don't get ahead of him! Once he's made his block, go for
    the score. This play usually works pretty well.
    ---HB Shovel---
    This pass is intended as a shovel pass to your halfback (Y) - a relatively safe
    and easy way to gain seven yards or so. Your tight end (B) and flanker (A) run
    a crossing pattern. Both the split end (L) and slot receiver (R) run streaks,
    and there's a decent chance one will be open downfield if you're willing to
    take the chance on the long bomb.
    ---HB Off Tackle---
    This play is usually run off left guard. Anyway, it's a pretty decent way to
    earn about five yards from the Shotgun.
    ---Quick Hitch---
    This is what people do at shady Vegas wedding chapels. All four receivers (Y,
    B, A, and R) go deep, while the back stays back to block. Your wide men (Y and
    A) have a good chance of making a very big play. This play is very dangerous
    against unsuspecting computer opponents who aren't in deep zones.
    ---Curl Drag---
    Your best option is the split end (Y) on the slant, who can make a surprisingly
    big play. The tight end (B) runs a deep curl, while the flanker (A) and slot
    receiver (R) run corner patterns. Not a bad play.
    ---Quick Slant---
    Your slot receiver (Y) and tight end (A) are on quick slants, and your wide
    receivers (L and R) head downfield on streaks. The halfback (B) sneaks through
    the middle and can beat a passive defense.
    The main threats are the split end (Y) and slot receiver (B) on posts. If he's
    open, go for the flanker (A) downfield for the touchdown. Throw to the tight
    end (R) if you want something safer.
    ---Post Corner---
    The Y receiver runs a post fake/corner route, the slot receiver (R) runs a
    conventional post, the flanker (L) runs a medium in route, the tight end (A)
    runs a short out, and the halfback (B) is dangerous down the middle on a
    ---Post Flag---
    Both the split end (Y) and slot receiver (B) run post routes, but they
    eventually cross if given enough time. The tight end (R) runs a post down the
    middle, and the flanker (A) is the home-run option. The halfback (L) sneaks
    into the flat and is often overlooked by the defense.
    ---QB Waggle---
    The quarterback rolls out to the right on this play. Your best bet is the
    flanker (A) on the out route. Your other receivers (Y, B, and L) run post
    patterns, and the back blocks. Because the flanker route is consistent and is
    strong against deep zones (and can get out of bounds easily), this play is good
    in a two-minute drill.
    If you want to gain yards in a short and safe way, throw to either wide out (L
    or R), who run short hook patterns, as soon as you take the snap. The tight end
    (A) and slot receiver (Y) run deep corners, and the halfback streaks through
    the line. This is a good play to use as an audible.
    ---Double X's---
    All four receivers run fairly short crossing patterns. Someone should get open.
    The halfback (B) in the flat is your safest option. This play has some trouble
    with short zones from the Nickel and Dime, but you can still get a completion
    if you're patient.
    Goal Line (Normal, Wide) (15 plays)
    This formation is full of plays that are useful only in short-yardage
    situations, especially near the goal line. The plays can't be flipped, for some
    reason. There are two backs, two tight ends, and a receiver, ideally the one
    with the best "hands" rating. On the play-calling screen, the B-button play is
    always a pass and the Y and A plays are always runs.
    ---HB Dive---
    The halfback runs up the middle, with the fullback lead blocking. What more can
    you say? Nonetheless, it's a pretty effective play in Goal Line.
    Your second tight end (Y) runs a curl pattern, and your tight end (B) and
    receiver (A) cross on slant routes. Both backs guard against the inside blitz.
    The tight end should be your first option. It's very tough to pass with any of
    the plays in the Goal Line formation. I usually get the best results by keeping
    the ball on the ground.
    ---HB Dive (2)---
    The same as the other HB Dive, except this is to the strong side.
    ---FB Smash---
    A pitchout to the fullback, who runs off left tackle. This play is awkward and
    ineffective, especially if you don't have a quick fullback. The pulling left
    tackle doesn't help this poor play.
    ---Flat In---
    Both tight ends (Y and A) run in routes. However, your best options are the
    fullback (B) in the flat and the receiver (L) in the corner.
    ---FB Dive---
    The fullback runs up the middle. A very good way to gain two yards.
    ---HB Power---
    The halfback takes the pitch and runs off left tackle. Watch your blockers to
    avoid getting slammed by a lineman.
    ---Pwr Slant---
    The RG and C pull to the left in a strange way here, usually causing a sack.
    The tight end (B) and wide receiver (A) cross, while the second tight end runs
    an out pattern. Look for the tight end in the corner.
    ---HB Power (2)---
    The strong-side version of the HB Power play, discussed earlier. It usually
    fails if there are eight (instead of seven) men on the line of scrimmage (the
    80 or 81 defensive set).
    ---HB Counter---
    The counter move might fool the defense, but I prefer to just run straight up
    the middle with HB Dive.
    ---Play Action---
    Everyone runs slant patterns on this play. The receiver (A) is your main
    option, but you can also try your tight ends (L and B) or halfback (Y).
    ---HB Sweep---
    This is the best running play in the Goal Line formation, with the possible
    exception of the HB Dives. However, I should warn you that because this is a
    sweep, there is a chance (about 15%) that you'll be tackled in the backfield
    for a loss. It's a sure touchdown the other 85% of the time.
    ---QB Rollout---
    A bad play. This is supposed to be a quarterback sweep, but you'll usually get
    squashed in the backfield for a big loss. You'd need a former Falcons
    quarterback who will go unnamed here for this play to work.
    The last of the five passing plays in the Goal Line formation. This is designed
    to be a rollout to the left. Your best odds are with the Y tight end on the
    out. You can also try the tight end (B) on the end or the slanting receiver
    ---QB Sneak---
    The ultimate in short yardage. It will consistently gain 0.5-2 yards. The
    chance of losing yardage is practically nil, and the odds of gaining more than
    two yards aren't much higher. Use this on the 1.
    Special Teams (7 plays)
    This formation contains special teams plays (like Punt) and miscellaneous plays
    (like Kneel Down). Worthless note: You can't "mirror" these plays.
    ---Fk. Punt Run---
    This play looks like a punt... but it isn't! Your running back takes the snap
    directly and runs through the line. It's good at getting a couple of yards, but
    it can't get much more, so it's best on 4th and 1 and similar situations.
    ---Fk. Punt Pass---
    This is the passing version of the fake punt. Your best bets are the receivers
    (Y and A) on the outside, but the end (B) is also an option. Be careful,
    because the punter isn't the most accurate passer in the world. If you're an
    advanced player, you might want to press B while the pass is in the air to take
    control of the receiver.
    When it's fourth down and too far to kick, you will usually want to punt. And
    this is the play to select when you wish to do so. I wonder if anyone noticed
    that the exact same description appears in my Madden '96 guide.
    ---Field Goal---
    This play lets you kick a field goal. What a surprise! This is also the play to
    select when you want to kick an extra point after a touchdown. Don't try to
    kick a field goal unless you're inside the opposition 30 or so, though.
    ---Fake F.G.---
    This play isn't really a field goal! The passing routes are the same as the
    Fake Punt Pass. There's no Fake F.G. Run play, although you can take off
    running if you want to. Just remember that the kicker can't throw as well as
    your regular quarterback.
    ---Stop Clock---
    This play is designed to stop the clock quickly, but at the cost of a down. It
    can be useful in two-minute drill situations, but in Madden '97 it's easiest
    just to get a play off instead, especially if you use a hurry-up offense.
    ---QB Kneel---
    Use this play when you need to run out the clock without risking a fumble. I
    still don't fully understand why they always line up in the funny V-formation
    on kneel downs.
    Defensive Playbook                                                    [DEFPB]
    I'm not going to be as verbose on the defensive plays. Instead, I'm just going
    to give a few details about each play; you can tell a lot just from the names
    and diagrams.
    4-3 (21 plays)
    The 4-3 defense is the defensive set used by most teams in most situations.
    ---Read Right---
    In John Madden Football '93, "read" plays were designed to contain the run,
    "attack" plays were blitzes, and "cover" referred to zone defenses. It's no
    different in Madden '97; Read Right is a balanced defense that's slightly
    oriented toward stopping the run.
    ---Man Left---
    This balanced man-to-man scheme includes a stunt on the left side of the
    defensive line.
    ---Corner Blitz---
    The right cornerback blitzes here. The left linebacker also blitzes, while the
    defensive end covers the short zone. This play is vulnerable to the long ball
    to the flanker, so you may want to control a safety and play him deep.
    ---43 Crash---
    The cornerbacks and a safety cover a fairly deep zone, while both the LLB and
    MLB blitz.
    ---SS Blitz---
    Your strong safety blitzes here. This increases the chance of a sack while
    leaving a possible weakness in coverage that can be exploited for a big gain. A
    long ball could be trouble.
    ---Cheat Left---
    All of your linemen rush toward the left side of the defensive line. The idea
    is to block the left tackle and allow the blitzing RLB to come around for a
    sack. It'll take some time for this to happen, though, especially if you don't
    have a fast linebacker. I recommend that you control the RLB if you want a
    sack. The receivers and tight end will be matched up in single coverage.
    ---Jam Middle---
    Both outside linebackers blitz, while the linemen rush toward the middle of the
    line. This play is good at stopping the inside run but is weaker against
    ---Cheat Right---
    The same as Cheat Left, only to the right. Consider taking control of the LLB.
    Even if you don't get the quarterback, you might be able to tip his pass.
    Not very different from Outlaw, but this is slightly more effective at stopping
    the run.
    ---Cover 3---
    Almost identical to 43 Crash.
    ---Man Zone 2---
    The cornerbacks tightly cover the cornerbacks, while the safeties patrol a
    deeper zone. This play is slightly more pass-oriented than the previous plays
    in the 4-3 formation.
    ---Cover 2---
    The RCB's main job here is to jam the split end, while the rest of the
    secondary is in zone coverage.
    ---Tuf Bronco---
    I've always liked this play's name, despite its sub-par spelling. Your DRT and
    DRE are on a stunt, and the RLB blitzes. Again, you might want control the RLB.
    ---Jet Blitz---
    Basically a strong-side version of Tuf Bronco.
    ---Short Zone---
    This play is exactly what it says it is - a short zone. You could control a
    safety to help protect against deeper passes.
    The RLB blitzes, while the safeties will be ready to stop off-tackle runs.
    ---Outside Loop---
    Both outside linebackers blitz inside, but they're too far away from the
    quarterback to make a sack unless you control one of them.
    ---SS Fire---
    A safety blitz.
    The last three plays in the 4-3 formation put eight men in the box to help stop
    the run. Six men rush, making life uncomfortable for quarterbacks.
    As with Monster, this play is almost like a 4-4. This is a very good way to
    contain the outside rushing game, although you'll have to look out for
    streaking receivers.
    ---Inside Out---
    Your linebacker and safety both blitz. It won't be easy to run up the middle.
    3-4 (21 plays)
    The 3-4 has three linemen and four linebackers, whereas the 4-3 uses four
    linemen and three linebackers. The 3-4 is similar to the 4-3 in many aspects,
    but there are differences. The primary advantage of a 3-4 is it allows teams to
    put more pressure on the quarterback in unpredictable ways. The disadvantage is
    it requires specialized personnel, such as a massive nose tackle. A real team
    may have some difficulty regularly switching between a 3-4 and a 4-3, but you
    can do it as much as you want in a video game. The only teams that regularly
    used the 3-4 in 1996 were the Steelers, Panthers, Bills, and Ravens.
    ---523 Tough---
    The 523 is a special form of 3-4 where a safety is "in the box" to help stop
    the run. Also, the outside linebackers line up right next to the linemen. The
    linebackers cover the short zones, while the cornerbacks and other safety
    patrol the deep zones.
    ---525 Angle---
    The outside linebackers blitz, while the linemen rush at an angle.
    ---Wildcat Fire---
    Another form of the 523 set. A linebacker and safety are blitzing.
    ---533 In---
    Yikes! An eight-man rush. All four linebackers and the safety are blitzing. The
    only disadvantage is this forces the cornerbacks and other safeties to play
    rather passively.
    ---533 Out---
    As with 533 In, there are eight men in the box, and all of them are rushing the
    quarterback. The only difference is that they're blitzing at different angles.
    ---533 Split---
    Very similar to 533 In and 533 Out.
    ---Zone Blitz---
    Both inside linebackers and the ROLB blitz, while the DRE covers the short
    zone. This is what a zone blitz looks like.
    ---Jam Middle---
    Seven men, including all four linebackers, rush here, so the quarterback won't
    have much time. However, a quick pass could turn into a touchdown if the
    opponents deliver a crunching block or two. This play should crush the inside
    ---Man Zone 1---
    No one blitzes here. With all the linebackers in coverage, it's going to be
    tough to find someone open, especially in the short zones.
    ---Jet Blitz---
    The DLE and NT stunt, while the LLB blitzes. Essentially a 3-4 version of Tuf
    ---Weak Storm---
    Both right-side linebackers blitz, along with the RCB. Manually control the RCB
    if you want to reach the quarterback and not just jam the split end. The other
    defensive backs take the deep zone.
    ---Strong Bndt---
    Both left-side linebackers and the safety blitz. I think the abbreviation is
    supposed to be Strong Bandit.
    This form of the Prevent isn't nearly as passive as the varieties found in the
    Dime formation. The defensive backs play a deep zone, while the linebackers
    stuff the short middle zone. A pass in the flat could be trouble, though.
    ---Safety Fire---
    Both outside linebackers and a safety blitz. I suggest controlling the safety
    and moving him a little closer to the line.
    ---Short Double---
    Short Double is very strong against the run, but it could have trouble with the
    long ball up the middle.
    ---Short Zone---
    This play is designed to defend against short passes, especially to the flats.
    ---Man Left---
    Your DLE and NT are on a stunt, but this is just basic man coverage.
    ---Man Zone 2---
    Very similar to Man Zone 1, although the linemen rush at a different angle.
    ---Man Right---
    This is standard man coverage.
    ---Wide Zone---
    This play is designed to clog up the short zones. Good against two-tight end
    ---Inside Heat---
    I like this play. Both inside linebackers blitz, and the split end should be
    Nickel (9 plays)
    The Nickel defense is best used in passing situations, as there are five
    defensive backs instead of four.
    ---Crash Man---
    This is a good man coverage form of the Nickel, with each defensive back
    covering a receiver and the safety playing center field. One outside linebacker
    blitzes. This is a good way to defend formations with three or four receivers.
    ---Crash Man 2---
    This is basically a mirror image of Crash Man. It might also remind you of
    Cheat Right from the 4-3.
    ---Double Gold---
    Both linebackers blitz here. A draw play could earn a pretty big gain, though.
    ---3 Deep---
    The cornerbacks and a safety play deep, with everyone else playing a shorter
    zone. This is probably the most normal form of the Nickel.
    ---2 Deep---
    I think this play's diagram was accidentally mirrored by the game designers.
    The RLB and SS both blitz.
    ---Double Out---
    A man-to-man version of the Nickel that works best against multi-receiver
    Weird. In the 50 set, a defensive tackle plays linebacker, and one of your
    linebackers switches places with your nickel back. This isn't a bad play,
    especially if you have agile linemen, but it's very strange. Here the defenders
    seem to rotate counter-clockwise.
    ---50 Sky---
    A zone version of the 50 that's pretty good against the pass.
    ---50 Man---
    Five men are rushing the quarterback on this more aggressive form of the 50.
    The unconventional alignment can certainly confuse the offense.
    Dime (12 plays)
    The Dime formation is even more pass-oriented, with six defensive backs and
    just one linebacker. Since it's weak against most running plays, especially the
    inside run, the Dime should generally be reserved for prevent situations.
    ---Short Zone---
    A pyramid-shaped short zone defense. The DRE and DRT stunt.
    ---Double Blitz---
    The free safety and linebacker blitz.
    ---Double SE---
    The opposing team's split end will face double coverage. A good way to shut
    down a particularly dangerous receiver. 
    ---Dbl Flanker---
    This double-teams the opponent's flanker. The defensive tackles stunt.
    ---3 Deep---
    Three defensive backs play deep, while the rest control shorter zones.
    ---Prevent 1---
    All six defensive backs head deep here to protect against the bomb. Prevent
    defenses are best against the Hail Mary pass. Because of its passive nature,
    don't get carried away with using this play.
    ---Prevent 2---
    Very similar to Prevent 1.
    ---Black + Tan---
    One of your defensive backs blitzes here, and the slot receiver is double-
    teamed. This is usually a weird thing to do, because the slot receiver is most
    often not at the top of the depth chart.
    ---2 Man Free---
    As with Black + Tan, your sixth defensive back blitzes, but here the safeties
    play deeper instead of double-covering the slot receiver.
    The cornerbacks play deep, and the tackles stunt. This is a general-purpose
    Dime play.
    ---Double Tight---
    This play is supposed to double-cover the tight end. However, that's a fairly
    strange way to use a Dime defense.
    ---4 Deep---
    A whopping four defensive backs are in deep zones. This should only be used
    when expecting a long pass. It's pretty much a prevent defense.
    Goal Line (9 plays)
    The Goal Line formation counters the offensive version of the Goal Line. This
    should only be used near the goal line or possibly in certain obvious short-
    yardage situations.
    ---Read Left---
    This is very good at stopping passes to the left flat.
    ---Zone Man---
    This is good against the goal line pass.
    ---Read Right---
    Similar to Read Left, this stops passes thrown to the right side of the
    backfield and sweep right plays.
    ---Attack Mid---
    An aggressive bull rush.
    ---Attack Left---
    Similar to Attack Mid, but everyone rushes toward the left. It may remind you
    of the 4-3 Cheat Left.
    ---Attack Right---
    The same as Attack Left, only to the right.
    ---81 Blaze---
    The last three plays in the Goal Line formation have eight men on the line
    instead of seven. The linebackers rush aggressively.
    ---80 Zone---
    You won't have any success running against this play, although a fade route
    could score.
    ---80 Str Crash---
    80 Straight Crash is an aggressive blitz, including a safety. A pass up the
    middle to the tight end will score if it's not deflected, though.
    Special Teams (5 plays)
    These plays are designed to defend against punts and field goals.
    ---Punt Rush---
    Use this play to increase your chances of blocking a punt. You'll probably have
    to call for a fair catch, though.
    ---Fake Punt---
    Use this play if you think the opponents might be planning on attempting a fake
    ---Punt Return---
    This play is designed to maximize your chances of making a big play on the punt
    return. You probably won't be able to block the punt, though. Because punt
    blocks are extremely rare, this is probably better than Punt Rush.
    ---FG Block---
    This is the play you'll normally use when the opponents are kicking a field
    ---FG Cover---
    This is a less aggressive version of FG Block. Use this if you're not sure
    whether the opponents will kick a field goal or go for the first down. It's
    most useful near the goal line.
    FAQs and General Tips                                                [NOTES]
    Q: What plays are the best audibles?
    A: Here are the audible selections I most frequently use.
    [Y] A run (Far HB Off Tackle)
    [B] A short pass or screen pass (Single Back HB Screen)
    [A] A long pass (Single Back TE Quick Outs)
    [Y] A balanced defense (4-3 Read Right or 3-4 Man Left)
    [B] A play that covers the pass (Nickel 3 Deep)
    [A] A blitz (4-3 43 Crash or 3-4 Wildcat Fire)
    Make sure to change your offensive audibles if you're using a hurry-up offense,
    or your defensive audibles if your opponents are in a hurry-up. Against a
    human, you should change your audibles periodically to keep opponents on their
    toes. In case you didn't know, you can change audibles from the "Set Audibles"
    option on the Game Play Options subscreen of the Pre-Game or pause screen. Most
    importantly, select plays as audibles that work well for you.
    Q: How do I use a hurry-up offense?
    A: Hold the A button right before the play selection screen would ordinarily 
    appear. You'll bypass the play selection screen and run the play you last run,
    unless you call an audible. A no-huddle offense is useful if you need to get 
    points fast, but it can also be useful for confusing your opponents, especially
    a human player.
    Q: How do I kick an onside kick?
    A: As in real life, onside kicks are very difficult to execute properly. First
    press A to call a kickoff audible, and then press A or B to change your team's
    alignment. Press B to start the power bar, and hold left or right on the
    control pad to angle the kickoff (preferably toward the side where all your
    players are). You want to stop the power bar when it's on the way down. It
    takes a lot of practice to do this right. By the way, make sure to call a
    kickoff audible yourself if your opponents are attempting an onside kick.
    Q: How do I call a timeout?
    A: Select "Call Timeout" from the pause screen if you have one or more timeouts
    remaining. As you probably know, timeouts stop the game clock, so they're
    useful in a two-minute drill or when you're about to get a delay of game
    penalty. Calling a timeout also restores all of your players' energy levels to
    Q: How should I manage fatigue?
    A: If endurance is turned on, players will tire the more they play. The lower
    the player's fatigue rating, the slower and less effective he will be. The best
    way to keep players fresh is by spreading the ball around to many different
    players. Don't throw to the same receiver over and over again, and (more
    importantly) don't hand off to the same back 40 times in a game. There isn't a
    "Spell HB" set like in newer games, but you can set up a back rotation system
    using the Substitutions menu. For example, start fictitious back Andy A. at HB
    in the Near, I-Form, and Goal Line formations, use Bobby B. in Far and Pro
    Form, and install Chris C. (a fictional back with a high Hands rating) in
    Single Back and Shotgun. You might want to rotate players at some of your other
    positions, as well - maybe even quarterback. If players are exhausted after a
    long drive, you can call a timeout to set all energy ratings to 100.
    Q: What's the best way to put pressure on the opposing quarterback?
    A: Select the middle linebacker. Charge past the center and squash the 
    quarterback! Even better, start running toward the line of scrimmage before the 
    snap to get a running start.
    Q: Why is the computer controlling my quarterback?
    A: If you don't press any buttons after the snap, the computer takes control.
    The same goes on defense. You can usually generate better results than the
    computer, though.
    Q: What penalties appear in this game?
    A: Basically, you can get a delay of game penalty if you take too long to call
    your play on offense, and on defense you can get called for encroachment by
    moving past the line of scrimmage before the snap. These can't be turned off,
    though. Other penalties, such as pass interference and facemasking, appear
    randomly and can be turned off or turned down on the Game Play Options menu. A
    few other penalties are very rare, like illegal procedure (kicking the ball out
    of bounds on a kickoff).
    Q: What should I choose when I win the toss?
    A: It doesn't matter, although it's more fun to receive first. If you're 
    deciding the goal to defend, you might want to have a tailwind on the kickoff. 
    But it doesn't matter at all.
    Q: How do you perform touchdown dances?
    A: After scoring a touchdown, hold Y, B, or A and press any direction on the
    Control Pad. Different combinations will produce different moves! Groove on,
    baby. Also try pushing different buttons (not in combination) to produce horn
    and whistle sounds.
    Q: What other tips do you have?
    * This is common sense, but if you have a good running back and a weak passing 
    game (like Arizona), run the ball a lot. Likewise, if you pass well but can't 
    run (like Miami), you'll want to keep the ball in the air.
    * Hard throws take just a little longer to get off than touch passes.
    * When you get hit, keep pressing Up on the control pad to try to break the
    tackle and get an extra yard or two.
    * Run straight if you want to keep going fast; zig-zags slow you down.
    * Blitzes don't just increase the chances of a sack; they also make it easier
    to deflect passes.
    * Remember you can move your defenders a little past the line of scrimmage
    before the snap, making it easier to sack the opposing quarterback.
    * Don't get into a play-calling rut, especially against a human opponent.
    Madden '97 has a massive playbook loaded with well-designed plays.
    * If you're just starting out, stick with simple plays like FB Dive. Wait until
    you're more advanced before trying advanced plays like Flea Flicker.
    * Your split end (on the left) is usually the Y receiver, while the flanker (on 
    the right) is generally assigned the A button. The B button is usually a tight 
    end or halfback, while backs or slot receivers are usually L and R. However,
    you should refer to the play diagrams for the information specific to each
    play; this isn't the case on all plays, especially if you press X to reverse
    the diagram.
    * Don't forget to check out the Instant Replay feature (found on the pause 
    menu); it's pretty cool for 1996.
    * If you're playing on an emulator, assign the Y, B, and A buttons to the X, C, 
    and V keys, respectively, to ease play-calling.
    * A controller with a turbo button may make certain training events easier.
    Q: What are the actual names of the players who don't have names in Madden '97?
    A: I was able to figure out most of them:
    ARI #86 TE    Johnny McWilliams
    ATL #75 DE    Shannon Brown
    BAL #26 CB    DeRon Jenkins
    BUF #98 LB    Sean Moran
    CAR #81 WR    Muhsin Muhammad
    DAL #56 C     Clay Shiver
    DAL #50 DT    Mike Ulufale
    DEN #37 CB    Tory James
    DET #81 WR    ???
    DET #24 S     Ryan Stewart
    GB  # 2 QB    Kyle Wachholtz
    GB  #88 TE    Keith Jackson
    GB  #77 T     John Michels
    GB  #58 C     Mike Flanagan
    GB  #27 FS    Chris Darkins
    HOU #30 HB    Eddie George
    KC  #10 QB    ???
    KC  #92 DE    John Browning
    KC  #24 FS    Reggie Tongue
    MIN #94 DE    James Manley
    NE  #89 TE    Chris Griffin
    NYG #83 WR    Amani Toomer
    NYG #70 T     Roman Oben
    NYJ #83 WR    Keyshawn Johnson
    PHI #87 TE    Jason Dunn
    PHI #58 MLB   Ray Farmer
    STL #30 FB    Jerald Moore
    SD  #82 WR    Charlie Jones
    SEA #21 SS    T.J. Cunningham
    TB  #84 WR    Nilo Silvan
    WAS #69 T     Andre Johnson
    Q: What other notes do you have for the game?
    A: Just a few miscellaneous tidbits:
    * You might enjoy slamming into opposing players after the whistle blows. You
    won't even get called for unnecessary roughness.
    * You can't set the weather for teams that play indoors.
    * In Madden '97, all players with surnames of less than eight letters have an
    initial for the first names. In screenshots in the manual, no players have an
    initial for their first names; only their last names are mentioned. Obviously,
    the manual was produced before the final version of the game. There are some
    other differences, too. For example, John Taylor (who hadn't yet announced his
    retirement) was shown as still playing for the 49ers.
    * The pre-game commentary usually contains an error or two in spelling,
    grammar, or usage (such as a "fiesty" defense).
    Comparing with Reality                                               [REALL]
    This is a pretty familiar section if you've read my Formula One walkthroughs. 
    This is just a brief summary of the 1996 NFL season. More in-depth information 
    can be found at NFL.com, Wikipedia.org, and assorted other Internet and print 
    The Cleveland Browns moved to Baltimore to become the Ravens, although the NFL
    promised Cleveland a revived Browns franchise to begin play in 1999. Pete
    Rozelle, NFL commissioner from 1960-1989, passed away December 6. The second-
    year Jaguars and Panthers both reached the conference championships. The
    Jaguars' 30-27 win over the Broncos in the divisional round of the playoffs is
    still one of the biggest upsets in NFL history. QB Brett Favre led the Green
    Bay Packers to a 35-21 victory over the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XXXI
    in New Orleans for their first Super Bowl title in 29 years.
    Version History                                                      [VERSN]
    Because Madden '97's playbook is identical to the one used in Madden '98, I was
    able to use the same information from my Madden '98 guide and construct this
    guide very quickly.
    0.7    Began guide on 1/24/08. (76 KB)
    1.0    Completed Suggested Substitutions on 1/25/08. (82 KB)
           Submitted guide to GameFAQs.com and Neoseeker.com on 1/26/08. (81 KB)
    1.1    Finished making a few adjustments on 9/29/09. (82 KB)
    1.2    Added a note about two modes only available in the Genesis version.
           Thanks to Corey Strantz for telling me about that. (12/29/10) (82 KB)
    Copyright                                                            [COPYR]
    (c) 2008-2010 Vinny Hamilton. All rights reserved.
    All trademarks mentioned in this guide are copyrights of their respective
    You can print this guide out for your personal use.
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    You can post this guide on your Web site as long as you give proper credit to
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    Remember that the latest version will always be available at GameFAQs.com, but
    don't count on there being many (if any) updates.
    You can translate this guide into a foreign language and post the translation
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    You can't post this guide on your Web site and say you wrote the guide
    You can't post this guide on Web sites that contain (or have links to sites
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    If you don't comply with these guidelines, your hard drive will be reformatted
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    Contact Information                                                  [CONTC]
    If you have any questions or comments about this guide, send an e-mail to
    VHamilton002@gmail.com. Remember that not all e-mails will be read. Please
    follow these rules:
    Do include "Madden '97" in the subject line.
    Do send polite suggestions about ways to make this walkthrough better.
    Do tell me about any errors or omissions you find.
    Do ask any questions you have about Madden '97 gameplay. I will answer them
    eventually if you follow all of these guidelines.
    Do make a reasonable effort to use decent spelling, grammar, usage,
    punctuation, and capitalization so I can understand what you're saying.
    Do use patience. I check my messages rather sporadically.
    Do not send spam, pornography, chain letters, "flaming," or anything that
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    Current list of VinnyVideo guides available on GameFAQs.com and Neoseeker.com:
    F1 ROC: Race of Champions FAQs/Walkthrough
    F1 ROC II: Race of Champions FAQs/Walkthrough
    SimCity 3000 Walkthrough/Strategy Guide
    Nigel Mansell's World Championship Racing FAQs/Walkthrough
    Kyle Petty's No Fear Racing Strategy Guide/FAQs
    Madden NFL '96 (SNES) Strategy Guide/FAQs
    Madden NFL '97 (SNES) Strategy Guide/FAQs
    Madden NFL '98 (SNES) Strategy Guide/FAQs
    Proposed future guides:
    Donkey Kong 64 FAQs/Walkthrough
    The Legend of Zelda: Link's Awakening Spoiler-Free FAQs/Walkthrough
    The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time FAQs/Walkthrough
    The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time Master Quest FAQs/Walkthrough
    The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess FAQs/Walkthrough

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