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August 13, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Page 2's Patrick Hruby

Bill (Washington)

How pumped are you for the new MAdden?

Patrick Hruby
  (12:02 PM)

Moderately. For the first time in at least four years, I think the game is heading in the right direction -- but for being the premier (and only) NFL game, it has so much ground to make up.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:03 PM)

I love that EA is finally bringing presentation and little details up to speed, like post-play interaction between players and decent replay camera angles.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:03 PM)

However, I think the core game itself still needs so much work. Especially line play and WR-DB movement and interaction.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:04 PM)

Actually, all the animations need a ton of work.

Will (Detroit)

I have a friend who has every Madden going back to 96...does he have a problem?

Patrick Hruby
  (12:05 PM)

Yeah -- he's missing out on Madden '92 and '93, arguably two of the best games in the series.Also, I thought '96 was the year Madden didn't come out for the original PlayStation.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:06 PM)

There's a funny story behind that: the company that made Madden for the PlayStation that year, Visual Concepts, messed something up with memory and couldn't get the game ready to ship ... so EA dropped them. Visual Concepts went on to make the NFL 2K series, which, of course, led to EA buying the exclusive NFL rights.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:06 PM)

In a sense, EA gave Visual Concepts the boot twice. Pretty brutal. Don't step on SuperMadden's cape, I suppose.

TJ (Arizona)

Do you think we should add into our video games the ability to put the players on the juice? Wouldn't that be more lifelike?

Patrick Hruby
  (12:08 PM)

I think NFL Blitz allowed you to juice your players, but I would love to see that in a more simulation-oriented game. Of course, there would have to be some sort of Whizzinator-themed mini-game in which you press buttons rapidly to avoid flunking a drug test ... and of course, that game would have to be super easy to win. To make it true to life.

Greg (Boston)

What do you think of what Madden is doing on the Wii? I think people like Madden because it's so lifelike...with those cartoonish players on the Wii, it's not very lifelike anymore.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:10 PM)

If you look at the most popular games on the Wii -- namely, Guitar Hero, Wii Sports and everything else Nintendo makes themselves -- they all feature Pixar-ish characters. So it probably makes sense for EA to go the cartoon route. Also, the Wii is so horribly underpowered graphically, there really isn't another visual option.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:11 PM)

Wii games are all about having fun with the other people in the room, anyway. I love that about the Wii. Take Grand Slam Tennis -- the characters look like bobblehead dolls, but the game and the trash talking it encourages are too good to care.

Tim (Texas)

Better football video game - MAdden or Tecmo Bowl?

Ted (Florida)

Best team on Madden?

Patrick Hruby
  (12:13 PM)

Well, if Madden 10 is anything like every Madden before it, the real key is to pick a team with a good tight end, and every time you absolutely need to pick up yardage, run a short crossing route. It's why Ben Coates is the MVP of my Madden All-90s squad.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:14 PM)

Coates is also on my Most Overrated Video Game Athletes of All Time roster, which I'll be unveiling in an upcoming Page 2 article.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:14 PM)

Anyone want to chime in with nominees? Athletes who were good in real life, or not so good, but GODLY in video games?

Jeff (Boston)

Are you for or against professional leagues giving out exclusive gaming rights to games? I don't think there's been a good MLB game since they sold their rights. I haven't been as impressed with the 2K series. The Triple Play series was great.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:16 PM)

100 percent against it. You're right about 2K's MLB game - it's gone waaaay downhill since getting semi-exclusive rights. And I think the same is true of Madden ... NFL 2k5 was a vastly superior product (people still play it today), and Madden has been pretty stagnant over the last four years.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:16 PM)

Competition breeds innovation.

Me (denver): [via mobile]

WhT is jay cutler rating vs kyle orton

Patrick Hruby
  (12:17 PM)

I can't tell, it looks like Cutler is currently in flames. You're from Denver, right?

James (NJ)

Best soundtrack was on what year?

Patrick Hruby
  (12:18 PM)

Whatever year they added the official NFL Films music, which was also the best part of the old NFL Fever games. Oh, and never mind the remixed versions. I roll old school. NOTHING says football like "The Autumn Wind." And I don't even like Raiders.

Jay (PA)

Patrick, your wet/dry commentary in the Power Rankings was hilarious. That is all.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:18 PM)

Thank you. Figure out if that's wet or dry.

Steve (NJ)

Do you think Madden has lost its luster at all? Is it just me or does this year not seem to have as much hype as years previous?

Patrick Hruby
  (12:19 PM)

Steve, I don't think you pay much attention to internet banner ads that expand and fill up half of the screen you're trying to read. (And thank goodness for those ads, yours truly needs to eat).

cameron (philly pa)

devin hester, two good return years, 99 speed rating in madden. he's good for an 80 yard fly route TD every time.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:21 PM)

Yep, he's on my list. A Speed Burner - the kind of player who is just faster than everyone else on the screen, and therefore deadly, since speed is the No. 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5th most important attribute in video game athletics. Pavel Bure from NHL 95 is in the same category.

Doug (Jersey)

Michael Vick stands out as #1 on the overrated list. Yes, he had flashes of greatness in real life...but he was UNSTOPPABLE in recent versions of Madden

Patrick Hruby
  (12:23 PM)

Also on the list. Classic Coverboy Syndrome. He pretty much broke Madden 2004 into little pieces. The problem is that speed and arm strength mean so much, and accuracy and decision-making ability mean so little in Madden ... couple that with broken deep ball pass coverage and Madden's historically non-existent pass rush/crappy pursuit, and Vick is the perfect Madden QB ... drop back 25 yards, scramble around without ever getting tired, then throw a 60-yard strike. Bleah.

Dylan (St. Louis)

I have a fingernail in my I, should I get help?

Patrick Hruby
  (12:23 PM)

Is it bleeding on the keyboard?

Rob (MD)

Shoot...I forget who it was, but there was a prime example of that kind of athlete in an NBA game a few years back. I want to say it was Cherokee Parks or something. He was crazy good on the game, but he was the 16th man in the real NBA.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:24 PM)

Reminds me of Matt Bullard in Live 95 -- never, ever, ever missed a three pointer. Good for 80 a game, easy.

Jeff (Canton)

Desmond Howard was a GOD the year after his Super Bowl MVP in most games. I would make him my starting RB.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:26 PM)

Ha ha, I used to put defensive backs at linebacker in Madden 95. Just for the speed cheat. Oh, and that's another gripe I have with Madden -- you can just play nickel cover 2 ALL GAME LONG, and not get punished for it. (In fact, it works better at stopping the run than the 4-3. Go figure).

Erik (Wisconsin)

What is new in Madden 10?

Patrick Hruby
  (12:28 PM)

This question is why I have hope for the game: for the first time I can remember, there isn't any BS-y hyped-up marketing gimmick back-of-the-box new feature. Like that horrible passing cone. Instead, it seems like the programmers are trying to make Madden simply play a better game of football in lots of small ways ... like having throws under pressure that actually go off target, or having fatigue that matters, or adding gang tackling.

Ryan (Buffalo)

TECMO BO!

Patrick Hruby
  (12:29 PM)

Yeah, he's on the list.

cameron (philly pa)

hey patrick what do you think of the tv offer where you get madden '10, a documentary about john madden, and a subscription to SI? you get it all for $10 less than madden would normally be.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:30 PM)

I'd like it a lot better if it cost $10 more and the subscription was to ESPN magazine. In fact, send me the $$ and I'll hook you up.

Dylan (St. Louis)

Not yet, but I feel it moving around in there. It is pretty uncomfortable.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:31 PM)

I'm just going to let this comment sit out of context, without additional comment.

Drew (Chapel Hill)

Are we going to see weekly updates of players according to their real life performance like EA's Fifa 09. It would be awesome to see teams overall rating increase with their actual performance, so a super bowl team like Arizona isn't still in the 70's

Patrick Hruby
  (12:32 PM)

I'll be shocked if they can update it that quickly. I know it's been done with Fifa, but still ... 3-4 times over the season is more likely. Sorry.

Joe (LA)

Ok, if the newest Madden I have is 07, is 10 the best option?

Patrick Hruby
  (12:33 PM)

Yes. Stabbing fingernails in your eyes is also a better option than Madden 07. Awful, awful game.

Doug (Jersey)

Did you even play with these guys though? I always feel like I'm cheating and it's never fun.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:34 PM)

The guy that makes me feel like a cheater is Earl Campbell in All-Pro Football 2k8. Because, basically, you can go through tacklers like bowling pins -- it doesn't matter if your opponent calls the right plays or is in the right position. You just truck him every time.

Arthur (MA)

Is Shane Lechler really that amazing a punter? I don't follow the Raiders so I wouldn't know, but he has been a 99 overall for a few years now.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:36 PM)

Honestly, I can't even remember the last time the Raiders were on TV out here in DC. Your guess is as good as mine. That said -- I'd love to interview Lechler and ask him to tell us. Maybe he's the first player in NFL history who thinks his Madden rating is actually too HIGH.

Austin (IA)

What is so much better with Madden 10 than Madden 09 because they always seem to be the same year to year? Besides rosters.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:38 PM)

The best and biggest changes, I think, are the new tackling system and the effort to have teams play more like their real-life counterparts.Line play still stinks, though. And the animations are a little goofy.

Doug (SC)

Equalizer is a better choice than The Autumn Wind, imho

Patrick Hruby
  (12:39 PM)

I disagree. But only with the utmost respect. NFL Films music -- NFL Films in general -- is indisputably awesome, even for a cynic like myself. If I ever run for president, I'm hiring them to do my haiographic convention bio film.

ANTHONY C (NYC)

Bad karma will get you... Shane i like the Phillies... but when you kick a ball girl out the game before the all star break in a blow out win, you hit a ball down the line. she mess up and gave the ball to a fan. you got a ground rule double.what did you want a inside the park home run get over it. there was no need to kick her out. then you wave your arms around crying about balls and strikes and get ejected a few weeks later. It karma Shane. There no crying in baseball. and don't piss off the baseball gods, we like cold beer, hot girls and the hanging curve ball, the wild card, we believe there ought to be a constitutional amendment outlawing Astroturf. we believe in the sweet spot. be a man. don't cry about it be about it.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:40 PM)

Wow, I guess it is late enough for bars to be serving.

President OBAMA (White House)

Will the Dolphins have their WILD CAT in their playbook???

Patrick Hruby
  (12:41 PM)

Yes. Now please do something about health care, thanks.

Aaron (K.C.)

I wish there were bigger hits, and when you kill TO over the middle he outta go sit down for a while. Another thought what happened to the injury cart?

Patrick Hruby
  (12:43 PM)

Amen, brother. My two biggest wishes for the sports world are oddly similar: 1) bring back the Bullpen Car; 2) bring back the Madden Ambulance. Honestly, I don't see why they can't include the Ambulance as some sort of cheat code. Probably a legal thing with the NFLPA and the NFL. They're HUGE sticklers about what can and can't go in the game. That's another article I've always wanted to write, but none of the programmers will ever agree to talk on the record.

Doug (SC)

okay, now I'm on playlist.com checking out what they have for nfl films. I believe you would get elected with an NFL based platform and Steve Sabol managing publicity

Patrick Hruby
  (12:44 PM)

I'm telling you -- they are the modern masters of propaganda. And I mean that in a good way. Seriously, if they can make last year's Detroit Lions season in review play like something out of the Iliad, they could put me in the White House. Or at least in Congress.

SteveFitz (Cicero, IL)

For me, the thing that bothers me about Madden is tacklers hitting the QB. If he drops the ball when you hit him 10 times out of 10 it's an incomplete pass.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:45 PM)

That's a tough animation to code right. It would probably take real-time physics-based animations to pull it off, and we don't have the computing power. Think XBox1440.

Riley (KS)

Do you think my kansas city chiefs will be better this year with the addition of todd haley and the likes of Matt Cassel?

Patrick Hruby
  (12:46 PM)

Well, they can't be worse, can they?

Ray (Peekskill NY)

So the question everybody wants to know. What system do you play Madden on? 360 or ps3?

Patrick Hruby
  (12:47 PM)

360. But I have no particular allegiance, it's just a promotional freebie.

Craig G. (Fairfield, CA)

Picks for the NFL preseason games tonight?

Patrick Hruby
  (12:48 PM)

HA HA HA HA HA HA. No. Please tell me you're not putting any money on the preseason. Please.

Aaron (K.C.)

I liked the 2K series much better.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:50 PM)

I did as well. It has some issues with defensive player momentum and defensive back animations, but everything else in the game -- blocking, route-running, timing, the overall physics, and espeically animations -- is still the gold standard. On the field. The off the field stuff was pretty crummy (the Crib! Ack!).

Patrick Hruby
  (12:50 PM)

Well, unless you like pretending to play against David Arquette and Carmen Electra.

Doug (SC)

I see that Lendale White is trending upwards on the power poll. Anything he can do to help V Young get his game back?

Patrick Hruby
  (12:50 PM)

Maybe they can quit Tequila together.

Christian Okoye (Nigeria)

I was awesome in Tecmo Super Bowl.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:52 PM)

No argument here. It must grate to be constantly overshadowed by Bo Jackson, though. You're the Patrick Ewing to his Michael Jordan.

Gavin (Princeton, NJ)

Looking at the ratings, would JaMarcus Garcia be a top 3-4 quarterback in the NFL? It's a shame the Raiders can't just mold their best features together

Patrick Hruby
  (12:53 PM)

No doubt. Maybe someday the same technology that created Serpentor will be available in the NFL ... we can dream, right?

Arthur (MA)

Haha Anyone remember the early games where you could tackle the Refs and get penalized for it? You could argue that that was the most realistic part of the game.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:53 PM)

Even better was the bribe the ref option in mutant league football.

Brett Favre (Hattiesburg, MS)

What is Madden going to do without me?

Patrick Hruby
  (12:54 PM)

Probably leave the planned lawn-moving minigame on the cutting room floor of Tiburon Studios.

Jason (Boston)

Montana to Rice in Tecmo Super Bowl.. he could be quad-covered, but he'd come out of the pile and push everyone away if you were clicking the button fast enough.. oh the realism of Tecmo, I miss it....

Patrick Hruby
  (12:55 PM)

Good call. Not even LT could break that up.

Jesse (Roanoke, VA)

Biggest gameplay complaint for me is how your defensive AI guys rarely get sacks. For example, last year I'm using Dallas and I like playing the LOLB (Greg ellis). On the other side of comp-controlled DeMarcus Ware, the best pass-rusher in the NFL. He got ZERo sacks in five straight games. That's junk.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:56 PM)

Like I said, the line play in Madden has been crummy for years. Especially the pass rush. You basically have to cheat and figure out ways to break the game in order to generate one. I hope they improve that in Madden 11.

SteveFitz (Cicero, IL)

Has there ever been a bad snap in Madden on a FG or punt attempt? Just curious, because I never seen one.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:58 PM)

No! Never! I did a story about Ethan Albright being the lowest-rated player in Madden a few years back, and this was his first suggestion. I have to agree with him. You'll see these once in a while in All-Pro 2K8, along with players just slipping and falling in bad weather. Hopefully, EA will add that in the future. Give long snappers their much-delayed due.

Gavin (Princeton, NJ)

On the pass rush note, there's always the old "bring the end around to the other side", or the DB Blitz. I remember getting 20-sack seasons with Terrell Suggs and 10-sack seasons with Terry Fair that way on Madden '05. But it can burn you on the running game.

Patrick Hruby
  (12:59 PM)

That's what I mean -- you have to cheat and do things that would never, ever work in real football. Can you imagine if the Ravens did that stuff in real life? They'd give up 500 yards a game rushing.

william (syracuse)

did EA pay espn to have a chat dedicated only to their game?

Patrick Hruby
  (12:59 PM)

I wish! However, I think you should read over the transcript.

Jesse (St. Louis)

Everyone hates the cowboys, but how badly do you want to go play madden on that big screen they got in their new stadium?

Patrick Hruby
  (1:01 PM)

I'd be really surprised if EA Sports doesn't have some sort of PR thing involving that already set up.In general, that's a sweet idea for any video game. I think I'll call the Cowboys.

william (syracuse)

You were totally correct about beckham, he is slowly turning heel. He is now even dissing the english who criticizes him.

Patrick Hruby
  (1:02 PM)

Seriously? That's great news. It's the only road open to him. I'm not sure he should be a trans-Atlantic heel, though. If the British dislike him enough, Americans are going to start embracing him by default. Note: the same thing worked for Bush (the band, not the President).

Jesse (Roanoke, VA)

Game-breaking play... 4 WR spread offense with single back like Westbrook or Slaton... HB Dive. 10-15 yards every time as long as your offensive line is semi-decent. And if the defense doesn't adjust your WRs, just audible for the deep pass and send a slot guy on a slant route for an easy pass. The game is too easy to beat.

Patrick Hruby
  (1:05 PM)

Drives me crazy. You know why most pro teams don't use a run n' shoot offense most of the time? BECAUSE IT DOESN'T WORK. (I'll leave slow, crappy college players and their toy chest Spread offenses out of this). On the other hand, I understand why Madden is programmed the way it is ... no one wants to pick up a controller and spend a half going three and out en route to a 13-10 victory.

Aaron (K.C.)

May the Madden card rest in peace. Thank GOWD.

Patrick Hruby
  (1:05 PM)

Can Aaron get an amen?

Patrick Hruby
  (1:08 PM)

Okay all, my time is up. Enjoy Madden, come back for my Power Rankings -- feel free to send suggestions to my ESPN inbox, I'd like to create some reader interaction on them going forward -- and be on the look out for upcoming articles on the Most Overrated Video Game Athletes Ever, Why Steroids in the NBA Make Sense, a Night with an MLB Ballhawk and how in terms of pure sweat, Tennis is the grossest sport on Earth.

Patrick Hruby
  (1:08 PM)

And yeah, I'm selling myself a little. In this economy, who has a choice?

Gavin (Princeton, NJ)

What about the reverse of your list, the players who really aren't very good in Madden but are much better in real life? I guess the obvious choices are defensive tackles and possession receivers, but who are the names that stand out to you?

Patrick Hruby
  (1:10 PM)

Bonus answer: any really good guard or center. Absolutely crucial to a good running game, irrelevant when running is all about who gets to the edge fastest on a HB toss.

Patrick Hruby
  (1:10 PM)

So long, everyone. Thanks for stopping by!