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FAQ/Strategy Guide by PyroFalkon
Version: 2.0b | Updated: 11/01/03
Madden NFL 2003 (PlayStation 2) Full Strategy Guide Document Written by PyroFalkon (email@example.com) Current Version: 2.0b Last Update: 1 November 2003 +---------------+ |+-------------+| ||LATEST UPDATE|| |+-------------+| +---------------+ v2.0b (1 November 2003) It's been nearly a year, but unfortunately my site is down for the count. Luckily, IGN has decided to host my FAQs too, so it's all good. A new copyright notice is the only change. +-------------------+ |+-----------------+| ||TABLE OF CONTENTS|| |+-----------------+| +-------------------+ PART 1: INTRO ============= 1. Intro 2. Player Positions 3. Teams PART 2: HEAD COACH ================== 4. Offense a. Basic Theory b. Advanced Theories c. Beating the Blitz d. Personal Faves e. Going for Two 5. Defense a. Basic Theory b. Advanced Theories c. Personal Faves 6. Special Teams a. Kickoffs b. Field Goals c. Punts d. When to Fake 7. The End Game a. Offense, Leading b. Defense, Leading c. Offense, Trailing d. Defense, Trailing 8. Challenging Plays PART 3: GENERAL MANAGER ======================= 9. Signing 10. Re-signing a. Player Progression 11. Trading 12. Scouting 13. Drafting PART 4: OTHER MADDEN FEATURES ============================= 14. Create-a-playbook a. Offensive Formations b. Offensive Plays c. Defense d. Submitted Formations 15. Create-a-team 16. Create-a-player 17. Madden Cards 18. Export-a-team PART 5: OTHER GAME MODES ======================== 19. Mini-Camp 20. Online 21. Tournament 22. Two-minute Drill 23. Football 101 24. Practice 25. Situation PART 6: PLAYERS AND TEAM RANKINGS ================================= 26. Top 15 Players by Position 27. Top 10 Teams by Category PART 7: FAQ STUFF ================= 28. Version History 29. Copyright Info 30. Contact Info ====================================================== | PART 1: INTRO | ====================================================== This part of my FAQ holds my opening statement (like I'm on trial or something), a list of all the positions of football, and a list of all the NFL teams. The abbreviations will be listed for positions and teams, and I'll refer to those abbreviations throughout the rest of the document. +----------+ |+--------+| ||1. INTRO|| |+--------+| +----------+ Despite my promise on the last update of my Madden 2002 FAQ, I was not going to do an FAQ on Madden 2003. I don't know, maybe it was laziness or FAQ burnout or something, but I was real hesitant in doing it. However, I've had a change of heart, and now I'm going to write this one. Now, it's more of an update to my Madden 2002 FAQ than a brand spankin' new one, but it's complete. I've added things that are new to the series, and I've expanded the GM part and Challenging Plays section. If a lot of this FAQ looks familiar, that's because... well, it is. A lot of this is directly copied from my 2002 FAQ. As always, I make no apologies for plagerizing myself. +---------------------+ |+-------------------+| ||2. PLAYER POSITIONS|| |+-------------------+| +---------------------+ This section deals with what each player's position is, and what skills you want to look for when you either sign or trade for that position. Also, I'll only refer to the full name in this section... otherwise, throughout the FAQ I'll be using the abbreviations. OFFENSE ======= Quarterback (QB) - This player is the leader of the offense. He's the first one to touch the ball on any play. He'll either hand it off to a runningback, or throw it downfield for a pass. A QB needs to have good Throwing Power (THP) and Throwing Accuracy (THA) if you intend to use a lot of passing plays. If your QB has high Speed (SPD), he can run the ball himself during plays that break down, or simply to avoid getting sacked by the defense. Halfback (HB) - This player is your main runner. He'll typically just take handoffs and run downfield, although he may go out for some passing plays. He needs high SPD, Acceleration (ACC), and Agility (AGI) of course, and a high Carrying (CAR) so he doesn't drop the ball everytime he holds it. If you're going to pass to him a lot, make sure he's got a decent Catching (CTH) stat. Breaking Tackles (BTK) is very important too. Fullback (FB) - This player typically blocks for the HB if you're doing a running play, or he'll block for the QB on other plays. Sometimes he'll run with the ball, and he seldom goes out for passes. Typical FBs will have decent SPD, high Strength (STR), and good Run Blocking (RBK). Pass Blocking (PBK) is important too, although it doesn't have to be as high. Unless you're going to use him for running and passing plays, AGI, CAR, CTH, and ACC don't matter as much. The HB and FB are collectively called the runningbacks. Wide Reciever (WR) - Except for very specific plays, there's at least one of these guys on the field, with up to five total. They're the ones who go deep and catch passes. High SPD, ACC, AGI, and CTH are very important. CAR and BTK are very close seconds. Tight End (TE) - There's normally one of these on the field on each play, sometimes two, ocassionally none. TEs typically block, although they can go out for passes too. Because their primary job is blocking, try to get guys with high STR, RBK, and PBK. Center (C) - This guy is the one who gives the ball to the QB at the start of every play. That's the only thing he does aside from block, though, so STR, RBK, and PBK are the three big important stats. Guards (LG and RG) - These two flank the C on the left and right. They only block as well, so make sure they have STR, RBK, and PBK. Offensive Tackles (LT and RT) - These two flank the LG and RG. Again, they only block, so you know which three to pick. The C, Gs, and Ts are collectively called the offensive line (OL). DEFENSE ======= *Note: All defensive players obviously need high Tackling (TAK). Defensive Tackle (DT) - Depending on the formation, there will be either one or two on the field. Except for very few plays, this player (or players) will try to blast the QB of the opponent. STR is important, and AGI less so. Defensive Ends (LE and RE) - These two will flank the DT, and also try to nail the QB on every play. The DTs and DEs are collectively called the defensive line (DL). Middle Linebacker (MLB) - Depending on the formation, there will be one or two. He stands right behind the front line of the defense, trying to block short passes or tackle the runningbacks if they get past the front line. Jumping (JMP) and SPD are important here. Outside Linebackers (LOLB and ROLB) - They will stand a little ways from the DEs. They are responsible for stopping the runningbacks if they try to run to the sidelines, and they stop short passes from reaching the recievers. All the linebackers blitz ocassionally (run right after the QB, ignoring everything else), but the OLBs do so more. Therefore, they'll need decent JMP, SPD, ACC, and AGI. Cornerbacks (CB) - These guys stand near the sidelines at the edges of the formation. They are responsible for deflecting passes thrown to the WRs. High SPD, ACC, and JMP are very important. Free Safety (FS) and Strong Safety (SS) - The safeties try to block long passes, as well as tackle anyone who manages to get past the rest of the defense. They'll typically pick up WRs that outran the CBs, or they'll double-team WRs if they're not needed elsewhere. Safeties need high SPD, ACC, and JMP. SPECIAL TEAMS ============= Kickers (K) and Punters (P) - The K kicks field goals and kickoffs, while the P is only responsible for punts. In Madden, their exact position is pretty much irrelevant; if you have either a good K or P, he can take the job of the other one, too. Ks and Ps need high Kicking Power (KPW) and Kicking Accuracy (KAC), naturally. OTHERS ====== Third-Down Running Back (3DRB) - This is any of your other players, and it's usually your first HB. The 3DRB typically has the best hands on the roster, so if you do run on third down, there's less of a chance for a fumble. Long Snapper (LS) - This is the C who snaps the ball to the QB when the QB is at least a few steps back from him. It's typically your C, G, or T with the best AWR. Kickoff Specialist (KOS) - This player is the one who kicks the ball off at the start of every drive. It's usually your first K. By the way, if you ever get a safety scored against you, the kicker who does the safety punt is, logically, your first P. Your KOS only does normal kickoffs. +----------+ |+--------+| ||3. TEAMS|| |+--------+| +----------+ This section will list all the teams in the game alphabetically. I'll also list the three-letter abbreviation for each, and a little bit of strategy for them based on the default rosters. Chicago Bears (CHI) - With Brian Urlacher leading the defense, Anthony Thomas a strong HB, and Marty Booker and Marcus Robinson being decent WRs, the Bears are a very balanced team. Their only glaring weakness is the Free Safety position, so they'll give up a lot of deep passes thrown in that direction if their CBs are burned. Cincinnati Bengals (CIN) - Because of where I live, I'm supposed to like them... but, I think they suck. Anyway, Corey Dillon is one of the best HBs in the game, and Takeo Spikes is a phenomenal OLB. The Bengals have a lot of quality players in other positions, though QB is not one of them. The OL is weak, and with slow-ass Gus Frerotte as QB, there will be a ton of sacks all over the place. Their DL is not that much better, and their CBs and safeties absolutely blow. To win with CIN takes Dillon carrying the ball a million times, which makes them very predictable. Buffalo Bills (BUF) - BUF is... eh, okay. They're average at best, although their DL absolutely blows. With Drew Bledsoe leading the offense, at least they have a strong QB. Their P sucks, and their safeties will let a lot of deep ones get by, so BUF can really only win if their offense is not having a bad day. Denver Broncos (DEN) - Oh, if only Elway was back... but it's okay, because Brian Griese is not THAT bad. Terrel Davis is the HB, which is not exactly accurate for real life, but whatever. Davis is fantastic as an HB, and with Rod Smith and Ed McCaffery going deep, DEN should be able to be a strong offensive threat. Plus, Shannon Sharpe, the TE, is much better than just a blocker. He's got the skills to catch all passes that come his way, so DEN has a *very* balanced attack. It's too bad that their defense isn't as good, and with Izell Reese and Kenoy Kennedy playing safeties, the defense will have to work extra-hard not to give up big plays. Cleveland Browns (CLE) - The other Ohio team is only marginally less crappy than CIN. Tim Couch is young and good, and William Green is pretty good for a rookie. CLE's OL is not the best thing in the world, but Couch's quick release on his passes should prevent too many sacks. The only weak position on defense is Devin Bush on Free Safety, but Robert Griffith on Strong Safety is exceptional, so they may not give up too many big gains. Tampa Bay Buccaneers (TB) - The entire offense except for the WR Keyshawn Johnson is only average. As such, TB may have a bit of trouble scoring, but they're hardly hopeless, and the defense they're playing against cannot fall asleep or they'll be beat. The DL is exceptional, but most of the LBs suck, with exception of ROLB Derrick Brooks. The CBs are good, especially Ronde Barber, and SS John Lynch can deflect most deep passes. Unfortunately, FS Dexter Jackson is just not up to snuff. Arizona Cardinals (ARI) - David Boston the WR and Freddie Jones the TE are really the only ones on offense who are worth their paychecks. The OL isn't too bad, and the RG Leonard Davis (who is 6'6" and 355 lbs.) is extremely good and quite young. On defense, they really only have Duane Starks at CB and Kwamie Lassiter at FS to do any real stopping when the enemy starts passing. San Diego Chargers (SD) - Doug Flutie at QB is not entirely worthless, but he has room for improvement. He can hand off to LaDainian Tomlinson though, and trust that he'll get plenty of yards. The OL will have trouble protecting the QB though, so SD may take a lot of sacks. SD's DL is pretty good, and their OLBs are excellent with Donnie Edwards on the left and Junior Seau on the right. Orlando Ruff and Carlos Polk are terrible MLBs, but at least they're flanked by Edwards and Seau. The CBs are decent, but nothing to sneeze about. SS Rodney Harrison is one of the best in that position, and so is P Darren Bennett. Kansas City Chiefs (KC) - With Priest Holmes and Tony Richardson the RBs, the Chiefs can get a buttload of yards on the ground. Johnnie Morton is an option for a deep pass, but the other WRs are merely average. Still, Tony Gonzalez the TE is very good, so he can probably do a fine job as a reciever as well as a blocker. With Willie Roaf at LT, Will Shields at RG, and John Tait at RT (a combined 19'2" and 939 lbs.), the QB will probably not get sacked too many times. On the flip side, the whole DL is pretty good and may record several sacks themselves. The OLBs aren't that great, but Marvcus Patton at MLB is pretty good. The CBs are average at best and the safeties are crappy, so they may give up the passing game if the enemy has a good QB. Indianapolis Colts (IND) - Peyton Manning, Edgerrin James, and Marvin Harrison. Need I say more? With a fantastic threat on the ground and air, IND can gather yards on any play. Jim Finn the FB is one of the worst in that position, though, so you may not want Finn to be the lead blocker for James. Adam Meadows and Tarik Glenn, the Ts, are good, but the rest of the OL will let too many defenders come through. IND's defense is almost non-existant, so they should be scored on easily unless the coach gets extremely creative with his play calling. Dallas Cowboys (DAL) - Where's Troy Aikman when you need him? (Oh yeah, he works for FOX.) At least Emmitt Smith is still around, but he's getting old and he just doesn't have the same vigor that he used to. Larry Allen at LG and Solomon Page at RT are pretty good offensive linesmen, but the rest are not that great. On defense, the Cowboys have a good DL, but their LBs are only average. Their CBs are below average, but safeties Roy Williams and Darren Woodson are very good. K Tim Seder and P Micah Knorr leave much to be desired. Miami Dolphins (MIA) - Ricky Williams is one of the best HBs in the game, and he's young. WR Chris Chambers is good too, and should see more than his share of passes. Unfortunately, the TE and OL won't give the QB too much protection. Should they not be able to score, K Olindo Mare is very dependable and will make most field goals that he attempts. On defense, the DL is merely average, and the OLBs need serious help, though MLB Zach Thomas is one of the best (despite having an EXTREMELY cheesy smile in his pic). CBs Sam Madison and Patrick Surtain are EXTREMELY good, and with help from FS Brock Marion, the Dolphins probably won't give up too many big plays. Philadelphia Eagles (PHI) - Donovan McNabb is one of the best QBs in the league, and he's still very young. Duce Staley is a great HB, and Cecil Martin is an excellent FB. WR James Thrash can get it done. TE Chad Lewis is better suited to going out for passes than blocking. Though LT Tra Thomas and RT Jon Runyan are excellent in their positions, the middle three of the OL is far worse. The DL is good, but a little weak on the left side. LOLB Carlos Emmons is good though, but the MLB and ROLB need improvement. CBs Troy Vincent and Bobby Taylor, FS Brian Dawkins, and SS Blaine Bishop will do excellent jobs in blocking passes. K David Akers is well above average as well. Atlanta Falcons (ATL) - Michael Vick is young and developing from a good QB to a great one. Warrick Dunn will get plenty of yards on the ground. Bob Christian the FB isn't the best blocker on the force, and he may be better suited for short passes or quick runs up the middle. The WRs are average at best and the OL needs help. Defense isn't much better, with only Keith Brooking at MLB and Ray Buchanan at CB the only two who are worth their paychecks. San Francisco 49ers (SF) - Though Steve Young is gone, Jeff Garcia is a more than worthy replacement at QB, especially since he's pretty young. Garrison Hearst and Fred Beasley are good RBs. Terrell Owens may be an ass personally, but he gets the job done at WR. The OL will offer plenty of protection for the offense. On defense, the DL, especially DT Bryant Young, is a threat. The LBs are only average though, and only Ahmed Plummer is not a worthless CB. Safeties Zack Bronson and Tony Parrish are going to be the ones who will have to stop most passes, and luckily Parrish is up to the task. New York Giants (NYG) - HB Tiki Barber is above average, and so is WR Amani Toomer. The OL is likely to collapse though, so plays will have to happen quickly to ensure scores. LE Michael Strahan is a major threat to opponents, though the rest of his DL is strictly average. MLB Micheal Barrow is good at MLB, and Jason Sehorn is an admirable CB with a good five seasons or so left in him. Shaun Williams at SS will protect deep, as well. Too bad K Owen Pochman is a very poor compliment to P Rodney Williams, or else the Giants would have some good special teams. Jacksonville Jaguars (JAX) - The Jags are the favorite team of one of my friends. There's good reason too: QB Mark Brunell may be getting on in years, but he's got talent coming out of both arms. He's not very fast though, so he'll need to depend on his rather average OL to keep him from getting buried. Fred Taylor at HB is good and can get plenty of yards on the ground, and WR Jimmy Smith can get it done through the air. There is no defensive player worth me typing his name, so the D will have to work hard to prevent scores. K Jaret Holmes blows, but young P Chris Hanson is worth his salary. New York Jets (NYJ) - Vinny Testaverde doesn't have too many years left, but he's still got decent skills. Curtis Martin can get it done on the ground. FB Richie Anderson is a great second option for rushes, but he can also go out for passes unlike most FBs. The entire list of WRs is filled with only average players, although I suppose Laveranues Coles is just a hair better. The entire OL is good at protection (though LG Dave Szott is on the Injured Reserve for the first season if you play with Pre-existing Injuries turned on). The Jets' DL is very good, and their LBs boarder on great. The CBs are only average though, and the safeties are below that, so they may get beat long and wide. Detriot Lions (DET) - Most of the Lions' offense is average, though FB Cory Schlesinger is decent. TE Mikael Ricks has the skill of wet fermented cheese, and the OL will let in plenty of sacks. Although the DL is all right, the rest of the defense blows. At least K Jason Janson and P John Jett are worth their money. Green Bay Packers (GB) - Excellent QB Brett Favre has a couple of years left, and he's got plenty of arm power and accuracy to get the job done, although he's not too swift and will get blasted without good protection. However, the OL is only average at best, so Favre will need to make quick decisions. Ahman Green is an excellent HB, but aside from Terry Glenn, the WRs are not as good. William Henderson is a pretty good FB, balanced between blocking and carrying. TE Bubba Franks is young but he's already shaping up to be a fantastic player. If the drive goes to hell, the Packers can count on K Ryan Longwell to bail them out. The DEs are very good, and the DTs are very bad. The LBs are average, but CB Mike McKenzie can do his part to block passes. SS Darren Sharper can assist McKenzie to block those deep ones, and FS LeRoy Butler can do a decent job too. Carolina Panthers (CAL) - They have cool jerseys, you never notice? Ahem. Although most of the offense is average, WR Muhsin Muhammad and TE Wesley Walls are both excellent receivers. LT Todd Steussie, C Jeff Mitchell, and RT Chris Terry are pretty good, but LG Jamar Nesbit and RG Kevin Donnalley need improvement. P Todd Sauerbrun can get it done if the drive breaks down, but K John Kasay is barely average. Julius Peppers the LE may be a rookie, but he's already got skills to take him far in the NFL. MLB Dan Morgan is above average, but the rest of his defense is quite poor. New England Patriots (NE) - The defending Super Bowl champions have QB Tom Brady leading the pack. He's young but has good skills already. HB Antowain Smith is very good on the ground, and Troy Brown and David Patten can get it done through the air. The whole OL offers plenty of protection, but should they fail, awesome K Adam Vinatieri can score points and P Ken Walter can send the enemy a million yards back. The DL is strong, but the LBs are average at best. CB Ty Law is excellent, and so is SS Lawyer Milloy, so there probably won't be too many long plays given up. Oakland Raiders (OAK) - The Raiders is a very old team. QB Rich Gannon can't have too many years left, and neither can HB Charlie Garner and WRs Jerry Rice and Tim Brown, but all four still have plenty of skills to get it done on offense. Jon Ritchie is a young FB though, and he's got pretty good skills in both blocking and catching. RT Lincoln Kennedy and C Barret Robbins are a force on the OL, and LT Barry Sims is above average. LG Frank Middleton and RG Mo Collins are average, making the whole OL quite effective. K Sebastian Janikowski and P Shane Lechler are very good to compliment the offense. The DL isn't very good, especially with RE Regan Upshaw on the IR. The OLBs are merely okay, but MLB Greg Biekert is worth his salary. Young CB Charles Woodson is fantastic; though he may not get too many picks, he'll rack up the tackles. FS Rod Woodson is also very good at his position, though SS Johnnie Harris is a waste. Saint Louis Rams (STL) - Kurt Warner, Marsharll Faulk, Isaac Bruce, and Torry Holt on offense guarded by Orlando Pace, Tom Nutten, and Adam Timmerman. That should tell you why the Rams' aggresive and fast-paced offense took them to the Super Bowl last season. On defense though, don't forget about DEs Leonard Little on the left and Grant Wistrom on the right. Aeneas Williams, Dexter McCleon, and Dre' Bly are all above average or better CBs. Adam Archuleta is great at SS, and Kim Herring is above average at FS. K Jeff Wilkins and P Mitch Berger are great there too, so they round out the whole roster quite nicely. Look for STL to go at least to the NFC championship game or further this year. Baltimore Ravens (BAL) - They don't have Elvis Grbac anymore, and Jeff Blake is only decent at QB. Luckily, they've got Jamal Lewis at HB to get the job done on the ground. All the WRs and TEs are average at best. FB Alan Ricard is worthless, along with LG Mike Flynn, C Casey Rabach, and RG Bennie Anderson. LT Jonathan Ogden and RT Edwin Mulitalo are the only offensive linesment worth their paychecks. Matt Stover is an excellent K who can pull the Ravens' butts out of the fire if needbe. RE Michael McCrary is the only good player of the DL. LOLB Peter Boulware is amazing, and MLB Ray Lewis is one of the best players in the NFL of ANY POSITION. Unfortunately, their fellow LB Adalius Thomas is a waste. CB Chris McAlister is young and one of the best at CB. The other CBs and both safeties are below average. Washington Redskins (WAS) - Until the Redskins get a good QB (and Shane Matthews just does not cut it), they'll have a one-dimensional offense. It's not like HB Stephen Davis is bad--he's actually quite good--but if they only run the ball, the enemy defense will keep stopping them. It doesn't help that the FB, TE, LG, and C are pathetic. At least LT Chris Samuels and RT Jon Jansen are young and good, and RG Rod Jones is above average. The K and P are average, but can do their jobs. The DL is average as well, but the LBs are exceptional for some reason, with LOLB #57 (LaVar Arrington, who for some reason doesn't have his name in the game) on the left, Jessie Armstead on the right, and Jeremiah Trotter in the middle. CB Champ Bailey is incredible, and fellow CB Darrell Green ain't bad either. Too bad the safeties both suck, or this would be a pretty potent defense. New Orleans Saints (NO) - QB Aaron Brooks is young and talented. He's not super fast, but his speed is above average (especially for QBs), and he's very accurate in his passes. HB Deuce McAllister can run it well, and WR Joe Horn is always a good option to pass to. The only weakness on the OL is RG #65 (Chris Naeole). The other four on the OL are Bubba Miller at C (average), Wally Williams at LG (above average), Victor Riley at RT (above average), and Kyle Turley at LT (extremely good), who won't be chucking Jets helmets across the field in Madden. K John Carney can be depended on, and P Toby Gowin is not worse than average. Defensively, the Saints are a mixed bag. The DL is pretty good, with RE Darren Howard and DTs Grady Jackson and Norman Hand being pretty good. The OLBs are weak, but MLB Charlie Clemons can make some plays. All the CBs are average at best. So is the FS, but SS Sammy Knight is very very good. Seattle Seahawks (SEA) - Trent Dilfer is a capable QB with quite a few years left. He can feed passes to Darrell Jackson with faith, or he can handoff to Shaun Alexander for big gains on the ground. Rookie TE Jerramy Stevens is okay, but he'll get better with time. The left side of the OL, with Walter Jones at LT and Steve Hutchinson at LG is quite strong. The other side of the OL is a little weak though, so Dilfer may take bear left when in the pocket. The offense will need to get it done, because K Rian Lindell needs a new job. At least P Jeff Feagles isn't as bad, but punters don't score points. On defensive, the Seahawks have marginal DEs, but John Randle is a fantastic DT. All three linebackers are strong, with Anthony Simmons on the left, Chad Brown on the right, and Levon Kirkland in the middle. CB Shawn Springs is excellent and can keep up with even the fastest WRs. The other CBs and SS Reggie Tongue are only average, but FS Marcus Robertson is worth his paycheck. Pittsburgh Steelers (PIT) - This is my team. I even have my lucky Steelers cap on my head as I write this FAQ. Gotta love the Steelers! WOO HOO! QB Kordell Stewart has finally found his stride. He's light on his feet for a QB, so he can make plenty of plays on his own. Jerome "The Bus" Bettis runs over every defender in his way on the way to the endzone. His best strength is to just run down the gullet of the defense, piercing the DL and blasting into the secondary. FB Dan Kreider is a very good blocker, and he's quite young. WRs Hines Ward and Plaxico Burress are young and well above average. Rookie WR Antwaan Randle El is underrated, and with time he'll become one of the most effective WRs in the NFL. Mark Bruener has five or more years left and is a phenomonal TE, able to block as well as receive passes. With Wayne Gandy at LT, Alan Franeca at LG, Jeff Hartings at C, RG #71 (possibly Kendall Simmons) at RG, and Marvel Smith at RT, Stewart should not be on the wrong end of too many sacks. New K Todd Peterson (new in the sense that PIT just got him this season) is proving himself worthy, and P Jon Miller has already established himself as one of the premier punters of the league. Defensively, the DL is formed by strong LE Aaron Smith, big RE Kimo von Oelhoffen, and super-strong Casey Hampton at DT. The fantastic LBs have Jason Gildon in left, Joey Porter in right, and Kendrell Bell in the middle, who can all make big stops and big plays. CBs Chad Scott, Dewayne Washington, and Deshea Townsend all excell in their position. FS Brent Alexander is decent, but a little below average. However, Lee (Lethon) Flowers at SS is more than fit for the position. Watch for the Steelers to go to the AFC championship game or further this year. GO STEELERS! Houston Texans (HOU) - I hate the Texans. They haven't played a single real game yet and I hate them. The name is an embarassment to those of us who are even remotely creative. WHY THE "TEXANS"? Grr... luckily, because they're an expansion team, you don't have to worry much about being a threat. David Carr is their rookie QB, and he's average at best. The only other good thing about their offense is their OL, because they've got fantastic Tony Boselli at LT, above average Steve McKinney at C, and above average Ryan Young at RT. K Kris Brown, let go by the Steelers after his hideous performance all last season, is on the Texans and stinking up the place. Their P, John Baker, is even worse. Defensively, the Texans only have four good players: Gary Walker, an above-average RE; Jamie Sharper, a great MLB; and Aaron Glenn and Marcus Coleman, both above-average CBs. The rest of their defense blows. Look for the Texans to carpet the basement. Oh, Mark Johnson (firstname.lastname@example.org) gave me a quick lesson on the Texans' name... #################################################### The new team wanted to resume the name of the Oilers but Bud Adams, the owner of the the Titans (formerly the Oilers), wouldn't release the name. As a result Houston decided to take the name of the former Dallas Texans of the AFL. The Dallas Texans had moved to Kansas City and renamed themselves the Chiefs. Just thought you might like to know that it wasn't really a lack of creativity, rather some inspired respect for the past. #################################################### Whether it's inspired respect or a lack of creativity, I still don't like it, sue me. ^_^ Tennessee Titans (TEN) - QB Steve McNair has plenty of years left and is a respectable player. Eddie George is a phenomonal HB and is even younger than McNair. FB Greg Comella is more of a rusher and receiver than blocker, but he does all three well. WRs Derrick Mason and Kevin Dyson are good. TE Frank Wycheck is more of a receiver than a blocker, but he offers enough protection. LT Brad Hopkins and C Bruce Matthews are good. Fred Miller at RT is slightly above average, and the others on the OL are mediocre at best. K Joe Nedney is slightly below average, but P Craig Hentrich can get the job done. The DL is good, especially with young Jevon Kearse at RE. MLB Randall Godfrey is very good, and so is Samari Rolle at CB. FS Lance Schulters is extrememly good, but his fellow safety Aric Morris leaves much to be desired. Minnesota Vikings (MIN) - QB Daunte Culpepper is fantastic, not to mention young. He can easily and accurately feed Randy Moss the WR. Derrick Alexander is another option, thought his skill is nowhere near Moss's. The HB, Michael Bennett, is okay, but he's young and can grow. TE Byron Chamberlain is very balanced, and he can go out for passes as well as he can hang back to block. The left side of the OL, with rookie Bryant McKinnie at LT and Chris Liwiensky at LG, are average. C Matt Birk is excellent, but the right side blows. K Doug Brien is below average, and P Kyle Richardson is average, so both are decently reliable. The Vikings have a terrible defense, with their only good player the DT Chris Hovan. ====================================================== | PART 2: HEAD COACH | ====================================================== This part of the FAQ contains information on actually playing the game. For practice, access any of the training modes in the game, like Football 101 or Mini-camp. +------------+ |+----------+| ||4. OFFENSE|| |+----------+| +------------+ Even if you can't tell Marshall Faulk from Zach Thomas, or have no idea what position Jerome Bettis plays, or what two teams actually share the same stadium, you do know that it takes points to win a game. You can't score if you don't hold the ball, and you can't score consistently if you make mistakes every five seconds. While it takes a little practice to get down your style, you should be racking up points in no time. +----------------+ |4a. Basic Theory| +----------------+ All right, when you're on offense, the basic question that poses you every single down is: run or pass? Now, let's assume for a second that all your guys are equal in strength. The basic theory of which to choose is related to three questions: what down is it; how far is it to get a first down; and what's the score. WHAT DOWN IS IT - Running plays are far better to choose in early downs, mostly because they are much safer. Because your QB is handing the ball DIRECTLY to your runningbacks, there's no chance for a turnover unless your runner's fingers are made of butter and he drops the ball every time. However, because you probably won't get more than 3 to 5 yards per run, you'll need to pass if the down count is getting too high. HOW FAR IS IT TO GET A FIRST DOWN - If you ever need more than 10 yards, you'll need to pass. Passing will oftentimes get you worlds more yardage than runs, although throwing too deep too early will cause problems. The Pass Defense AI is much stronger this year than in 2001 and 2002, and while it's not perfect, you'll not want to risk giving up an early lead. WHAT'S THE SCORE - If you're leading, don't bother with passing plays. After all, there's no reason to risk the lead to get a few extra points. If you're behind, you'll want to go deep, since that may be your only chance to get away with a win. Here's the basic theory list, assuming the score difference is 7 or fewer points either way... 1st Down: Run. 2nd and less than 7 yards: Run. 2nd and more than 10: Pass. 3rd and less than 2: Run. 3rd and more than 5: Pass. 4th and less than 1: If you're feeling confident and you're past the 50 yard line, try a run. 4th and anything else: Punt or Field Goal. Notice that I didn't cover every single yardage situation. The reason is simple: your team's strengths and weaknesses, as well as your personal playing style, should dictate the list also. If you've got a fantastic runner like Bettis, George, or Faulk, run more. If you have a good passer with good recievers, like Culpepper/Moss or McNabb/Thrash, pass more. +---------------------+ |4b. Advanced Theories| +---------------------+ WHEN TO PASS ============ On all passing plays, the WRs have definite routes that they run. If they cut (quickly change directions) or curl (come back toward the line of scrimmage after running a set distance), you'll want to time it so they they recieve the pass as or soon after they make the move. For example, let's take a play in which the WR cuts inside. The moment he plants his foot and turns directions, the enemy defender is still going to be travelling the same direction. The defender must REACT to the action, which might buy that extra split second you'll need to hit your reciever when he's free. Another tip for passing to get your timing so you throw BETWEEN defenders. Take a look at this... R------------N-----------> X X =========================== Q R=Reciever X=Defenders Q=Quarterback You'll want to throw the ball so your reciever will catch the ball at the N mark. Now, you'll not want to throw when he's AT the N mark. You'll want to throw the ball while he's a few steps away. Basically, you'll want to throw the ball where the defender SHOULD be in two steps, not where he's currently at. If your timing is good, you can make the play and burn the defense to get a few extra yards. Practice your timing in Football 101, that's what it's there for. RED ZONE ======== The "Red Zone" is the area between either 20-yard line and the closest goal line. If you are inside either Red Zone, the strategy changes a bit. First of all, if you're in your own Red Zone, you need to be careful. An interception or fumble could quite easily turn into a defensive touchdown, even if you're against a team with below-average defenders. Besides, even if you manage to stop the enemy before they score, he'll be in a beautiful position when they take over on offense. Getting out of your Red Zone has two schools of thought. Some play as if their tails are on fire, and they chuck the ball deep every time to get out quickly. Others go the safe route and call runs, although they may be stopped soon. I play a mix, and alter my play depending on the situation. If your team has better running or passing, or the defense is weak against one or the other, exploit it. Say you've got a phenomenal QB and WRs. Passing to get out is probably your best bet. If you've got great blockers and runner, try a running play designed to get you to the sidelines, then turn up and head downfield. If you're in the enemy's Red Zone, it's a whole other ball of wax. 20 yards is not too far from a touchdown, and you're definitely in field goal range. Again, you'll want to exploit your team's strengths and the enemy's weaknesses, but it's not nessecery to go insane with risks. I personally run my standard offense until I hit about the 7 yard line. The one problem with being in the enemy's Red Zone is that you can no longer use really deep passes. Short and medium passes are typically what are blocked unless your QB has a lightning-quick release (which is more up to how well you play personally). On the other hand, the enemy may use their best DTs and DEs to stuff the line and give little to no hope of running. What I typically do when I get that close is run my best running play and see how the defense reacts. If they blitzed, I throw a pass on the next down. If they hung around looking for a pass, I run again. Typically, they will run about the same play for the first two downs, then change for the third if they think it will help them. PLAY ACTION PASSES ================== Play action passes are plays that have the QB pretend to hand the ball to a runningback, but then he'll drop back to pass. If you use too many of these, or you seldom call runs, the enemy will not be fooled. For example, I typically run PA Passes on the second down about 3/4 of the way to the enemy's goal line. Except for the hardest difficulty, the computer is pretty fair. If you generally call running plays, then throw in a PA on the same downs, the computer will generally go for it. There's a science to using this play, though. The defense will only react to it for a split second, and typically only the LBs are thrown off. After all, the WRs and TEs will be running their routes, so the CBs and safeties won't be distracted since they're only looking at the guys they're supposed to be covering. Also, the fake handoff takes about a second or two, which is enough time for a sack if enough of the enemy is blitzing. Basically, you shouldn't run a PA unless you know exactly how it's going to go and who you're going to throw to. I'm not saying you'll have to pass immediately after the fake, but because the PA is nothing more than a deception pass (and is therefore only as good as the deception itself), you'll need to find a target quicker than a normal pass play. Because the MLBs and OLBs react more to PA plays than anyone else, try to choose one in which you'll pass to someone going in the middle. QB SNEAKS ========= A QB Sneak is when the QB takes the ball himself and runs it. This typically won't get more than a few yards, but it could throw the entire defense into confusion. There is only one "set" QB Sneak; it's under the Goal Line formation of all the playbooks. However, that doesn't have to be the ONLY QB Sneak. If you watch real NFL games, you'll notice that when severe pressure is applied to the QB, sometimes he'll just give up trying to throw it and run. This works VERY well in-game, although you're going to need a very speedy QB to pull it off with any sort of sucess. One of my favorite plays was to call a Hail Mary, which sends five WRs (and therefore all the CBs and safeties and LBs after them) deep. With most the defense 30 yards downfield, and the rest tangling with my front line, that gave my QB the chance to just walk around the scuffle and haul butt downfield. The defense covering my WRs would have to take the time to turn around, plus my WRs would try to block them. Also, the front line of the defense would have trouble breaking away from the front line of my offense. By the time all the defense figured out what was going on, my QB was several yards downfield already and still running. When it was executed correctly, I could get upwards of 20 yards. This is a VERY dangerous play to try all the time, however. QBs tend to drop the ball when they're hit, and you'll have to be slightly lucky to get a QB with the SPD to pull this off right. Also, if only one CB or LB hung back to watch my QB, I could not get more than a few yards. I only used it in times of crisis, or when I needed to throw variety into things. HURRY UP OFFENSE ================ At the end of each half, you should hurry to get your plays off. You may elect to choose the same play and not enter a huddle by issuing a No Huddle command. Once the play is done, hold Triangle, and everyone will reset to the line of scrimmage with the same play chosen. You can call an audible there to mix up your offense. This has other uses than the end game, however. The defense gets tired faster than the offense, and by continually hurrying the play, you can make them tire out fast. This will lead to them being at quite a disadvantage by the time you get to their Red Zone. This also disrupts the tempo of the game if you start it during the second or third quarter, and you can severely throw off a human opponent at the same time. While the computer doesn't get completely confused, they tend to fall asleep on the first few plays if you run a Hurry Up Offense at an unexpected time. +---------------------+ |4c. Beating the Blitz| +---------------------+ First, I would like to thank Juan Little (email@example.com) for inspiring me to write this... The blitz is definitely a threat. However, there are a few things you can do. First of all, if the blitz always comes from the middle, and the CBs just cover receivers, consider a sweep. If only the LBs are blitzing, you can actually run AROUND them. If the blitz comes from the sides, there are a few things you can do. If you want to try your luck, you can try to run the other way from the blitz, but it's a little hard to guess that (and the blitz could come from BOTH sides anyway). Running up the middle is also risky all the time, blitz or not. If the enemy blitzes from the sides, then, you'll need to use your receivers creatively. If you insist on running, then use a man in motion and put him on the side of the run (if you run right, move the left-most WR as far right as he can go). The other thing you can do is set your WRs to BLOCK. To do that, select the play. Then, before the snap, hit Triangle, then the button of the receiver, then R2 or L2. He won't be an eligible receiver for that play, but he might be able to stop whoever is blitzing. Remember the basic rule of fighting against the blitz: for every man blitzing, that's one less they have in the backfield. If his CBs are blitzing, then your WRs are openb for a SPLIT-SECOND after the play stars. If your enemy is consistantly using blitzes, especially from the sides, try passing only a moment after snapping. It's risky, but he may not expect it. +------------------+ |4d. Personal Faves| +------------------+ Because my team has an all-around running and passing offense, and because I run about two-thirds of my plays as runs, I needed a playbook with mostly run plays but a good selection of passing plays as well. I settled on Mike Martz's Saint Louis Rams playbook. Here are my favorite plays from that playbook... SPLIT BACKS-NORMAL > HB OFF TACKLE - This is a perfect play to establish the running game early. My HB takes the ball on a handoff from the QB and runs right. The FB gives him a lead block, and the TE and offensive line block any oncoming traffic. The sole WR on that side helps out too. I can get about 4 to 8 yards on average. WEAK I-NORMAL > FB POWER - When I only need a few yards, such as a third-and-short situation, I go to this play. The FB takes the ball and pounds it up the middle while the HB goes to the right, hopefully making some of the defense watch him. While I never get more than 2 to 4 yards with this one, sometimes that's all I need. SINGLEBACK-SLOT STRONG > PA HB CURL - This is a basic Play Action Pass play. The HB fakes the handoff, runs up the field five yards, then curls back toward the line of scrimmage to get a pass. The reciever on the left side of the field is mimicing those motions, although he curls back after about 15 yards. The TE runs up a few yards then breaks diagonally to the left, and he's normally the one I'll pass to. Meanwhile, I have another reciever who is hanging around near the right sideline, and another who's going deep. That gives me two short, two mid, and one deep options for my pass. SPLIT BACKS-3 WR > FLATS - This play features both runningbacks going shallow for short passes. Two of the WRs are also running short routes, though one is going deep. I use this play if I only need about 4 or 5 yards. SPLIT BACKS-NORMAL > POST CORNER - This play has the two WRs going deep, but they cut twice in the process. If the defense is napping or playing a zone defense, the second cut normally loses safeties and CBs. The FB goes shallow, but I try not to pass to him unless I have no choice. The TE goes forward five yards, then cuts right, giving another option for a short-yardage gain. SINGLEBACK-EMPTY 5 WR > HAIL MARY - 4 WR and my HB line up, and they just run deep. My HB is normally who I throw to, and I favor the right side over the left since there are more recievers there. Of course, if everyone's covered and no play is possible, I drop it and tell my QB to run. +-----------------+ |4e. Going for Two| +-----------------+ If you're behind by a large margin, you can elect to go for a two-point conversion after a touchdown. That means you decide not to kick a field goal and simply try to make a touchdown from the two-yard line. If you suceed, you get two points instead of the usual one. It's risky, but sometimes it's the way to go. If you're ahead, don't bother. When you're in the lead, you'll want every point you can get, so there's little reason to risk getting none in order to get one measely additional point more than the sure thing of the one-point field goal. If you're behind, again you'll need every point you can get, and again there's little reason to risk it. The time to try it is in the fourth quarter, when that one point can mean the difference between a win and a loss. Some people like to try it when they're one point down. That means they will either be ahead or behind after the play, taking a gamble either way. I personally don't do this, and I prefer to send a game into overtime with a field goal than to risk a two-point conversion, especially during the playoffs. It's really up to you, and you may want to use them more if you think you can get those two yards easily. Just remember, though, that you only get one chance. If you have to take your extra-point attempt farther away for some reason (say, an offsides or delay of game penalty on the first attempt), don't bother trying a two-point conversion. It's hard enough to get 2 yards downfield on one play, it's even harder to get 7 yards or more. +------------+ |+----------+| ||5. DEFENSE|| |+----------+| +------------+ Defense is somewhat harder, because the play is entirely controlled by the offense. You have to react, and you'll need a little luck on your side as well. However, once you have the basic formula down, you should do well. +----------------+ |5a. Basic Theory| +----------------+ The biggest thing you need to do, especially if you're actually playing one of your defenders, is know what your player's responsibility is. Generally, you'll not want to pull your DTs back to block passes, and you'll not want to bring in your safeties to blitz (although there are plays written for those). Beyond remembering what you're supposed to do, also know what you've been ordered to do. The defensive plays are written so each player has their own area or player to watch and defend. When a player steps away to help another too early, it can result in problems. For example, let's say that you're playing as your MLB. You see a WR burn your CB, so you decide to go and help. That leaves the entire middle open, and if a WR is running that way, he'll have an easy reception. You'll have to have the mindset and will to keep your guys where they should be. After all, in this example, one of your safeties should be picking up the stray WR. It's not the job of MLBs to clean up trash. Obviously, the DTs and DEs (along with anyone else who's blitzing) have easier missions. Their jobs are to kill the QB with disregard for everything else. If the play you picked assigns your guy to blitz, ignore all rules and tendancies of where defenders are supposed to be. Yes, having your MLB blitz will leave the middle open, but hopefully you'll get a sack before the QB can pass there. You may be asking, "What's the difference between telling my guy to blitz and picking a play that has him doing it? He's blitzing either way!" There's a problem with going on your own. Plays in which non-linemen are blitzing are DESIGNED to compliment the open area. For example, if you're running a 3-4 formation, in which you have two MLBs, and one of those two blitz, then the one who hangs back will take a half-step to the center as well, trying to cover both areas. You see, the "problem" is that the computer will control your other 10 guys as the play dictates. So if you do something that the play did not intend to happen, then your other guys won't try to help out with the open area. If you take that MLB and have him blitz on a play that wasn't designed for him to, the other MLB will not attempt to cover your guy's area until it's too late. Once the ball has been thrown or handed off, it's a whole other story. The moment you know that the enemy has thrown or handed off, your job, no matter what your position, is to run over the ball carrier. It doesn't matter if you're on the other side of the field, hold that sprint button down and get to the ball. To block passes, you'll have to first make sure you're between the ball and WR. That seems obvious, but you have to realize that blocking passes is not the only way to play defense. If you're ahead of the WR, you can wait until he actually touches the ball before planting his face into the ground. That alone may jar the ball loose, and even if it doesn't, it won't get them any additional yardage. Of course, blocking passes gives you a chance to intercept, and unless you're one of the safeties, there is at least one man back to help you should something go wrong. As the ball nears the target, simply hit the Triangle button. Your player will try to catch it, although if he can't, he'll do his best simply to knock it away. To tackle a player, make sure you're close enough and jam the Square button. Keep tapping it as you make contact to better you chances of taking him down. Just remember not to blast the QB after he's passed, or the K or P after he's kicked, or you'll get a penalty. Defensive plays are mainly formation based... 4-3: A classic formation to stop runs up the middle and short passes. 3-4: A modified formation to stop short passes, especially in the middle. 46: A new formation to stop runs. Passes, especially deep ones, tend to eat up this formation. Nickel: Stops most passes to receivers, though it's a bit weak if the opponent throws to a HB or FB. However, Nickel can also stop some runs. Dime: Weak against runs but stops most passes to anyone. Quarter: Stops all passes in theory, but a lack of defensive pressure on the QB tends to give the receivers time to get open. Goal Line: Stops most runs and almost all short passes, but medium or deep passes (or an excellent runner) will destroy the defense. Beyond the formations are plays that can make one formation act like another. For example, if you have a blitz with a 3-4, the formation almost becomes a Nickel because of how many people are running forward. Generally, blitzes put pressure on the QB, but every man who goes after the QB is one less who is covering a receiver. Also be on the lookout for Double X and Double Z plays (3-4, 4-3, Nickel, and Dime formations). Those command a saftey to double-team one reciever. If you pick Double X, the receiver on the offense's left will get double-teamed. Double Z will double-team the receiver on the offense's right. Also, in Dime, you'll see Double Slot and Double Wide. Double slot will double-team the receivers who are NOT on the edge. Let's say the front line looks like this... WR1 WR2 O O O O O WR3 WR4 Double Slot will make WR2 and WR3 double-teamed while WR1 and WR4 are single-teamed (WR2 and WR3 in that formation are slot receivers, hence "Double Slot"). Double Wide double-teams WR1 and WR4, also dubbed the Wide Outs. You have to understand though that it takes a LONG time to figure out defenses. No offense intended, but any idiot can figure out offesive plays ("Player A runs this way, Player B runs that way, and Player C stands there and blocks," etc.). Defensive plays take a great deal longer to practice and figure out. It took me about 7 years of playing football video games to get a firm grasp on it. +---------------------+ |5b. Advanced Theories| +---------------------+ LINE SHIFTING ============= Before the ball is snapped, you can shift your DL and LBs. Hitting R1 activates an LB shift, and hitting L1 activated a DL shift. Hitting left or right makes those people slide a few steps that direction. Hitting up makes them spread out, and hitting down tightens them up. If you see a weakness in the offensive line, or you see a strength of the offense that you need to block, shifting your lines may make the difference between a 20 yard gain and a 5 yard loss. You basically want to look for a situation in which the offense has more WRs on one side than the other. You'll want to shift your LBs to the side that has more WRs to cover them better, for example. Note that you don't need to shift your lines as long as the number of recievers match your CBs. For example, if there are 2 WRs on the left and none on the right, your RCB will move over to the left before the play even starts. No line shifting is necessary in that case. DEFENSIVE COVERAGE ================== Before the snap, you can perform a coverage audible to tell your secondary where to go and how tight they should cover the WRs. Bump & Run coverage (Triangle, Down) tells your men to jam the receivers at the line and stick with them closer than jockstaps as they run down the field. This prevents quick passes, and increases the liklihood of an interception. Also, should the WR actually get the ball, he should be planted soon after it. However, if the offense is using their WRs creatively, with odd cuts and the like, your CBs will get burned easily. If you use a lax coverage (Triange, Up), your men will hang about five to seven yards away from the LOS. That way, they can read and react a little better, which more or less defeats the weird cuts the offense may try. But, that leaves you open to short passes, quick passes, and absolutely BURNS you with runs. If you know that he'll do a pass (say, late in the game with you leading), it's safe to do a lax coverage. You can also hit Triangle, Right to rearrange your men a little better. For example, safeties typically stay back behind the middle. However, if the offense is running a Singleback/Empty 5 WR set, then hit Triangle, Right to send your safeties to the sides, where they'll cover the receivers MUCH better. Or, if they run a Pro Form and send one of the runningbacks left or right, hitting the Triangle, Right combo sends the closest safety at him without moving the other. Of course, this affects more than just the safeties. Creatively using Line Shifting and special Defensive Converage, especially together, gives your defenses a bit of a flavor that the offense may not expect. Mix it up to keep them guessing. PREVENTING A TD =============== Sometimes, towards the end of the game, all you'll want to do is prevent a touchdown. If there's only time for one more play, for example, and you're ahead, running a standard defense is not necessary. Definitely put your defensive players in a lax coverage. You should also manually take one player back deep, and have him be the last line of defense. I'll go on more about that in a later section. +------------------+ |5c. Personal Faves| +------------------+ There are now four defensive playbooks. Although most have the same plays, there are a few differences between them. I use the 3-4 playbook. NICKEL > MAN LOCK - This play has the four defensive linemen charging forward. The three CBs will tag and follow WRs. The MLBs will follow the runningbacks if they go on passing routes, or they'll cover the middle area of the field. The safeties go back toward the closest sidelines, preventing a Hail Mary or other deep pass. This is a great balanced passing defense when you know that the enemy will go to the air, but you're not sure where exactly the target will be. 3-4 > CB BLITZ - If you know that the enemy will run, this play will annihilate them. The three defensive linemen charge the QB, and the CBs curl in from the outside. With pressure from both sides, it's very hard to pull off a running play against this defense, and offensive sweeps and tosses are most susceptible. However, if the offense decides to pass, it leaves BOTH WRs open for a very fast bullet. 3-4 > OLB BLITZ - This is a less risky version of CB Blitz, because the CBs still cover the WRs, but with OLBs crashing the line, most runs will fail. NICKEL > UNDER SMOKE - Both MLBs and one CB will blast through the line and try to blast the QB and stuff the line in case they run up the middle. This defense is weak against sweeps and shallow passes. DIME > DOUBLE WIDE - Each of the CBs and the MLB will cover the five eligible receivers. The safeties will cover the widest WRs. DIME > UNDER MAN - Similar to Double Wide, but a little more variable. 4 CBs cover four of the eligible receivers, and the safeties go deep. The MLB watches the QB in case he takes off, but the MLB can also just cover the area against short passes in the middle. QUARTER > MAN LOCK - When you know that they're going to pass, like if it's 3rd and long, you can't go wrong with this play. Each CB covers one of the eligible receivers. The safeties go deep. The MLB watches the QB, but can break off like Under Man. QUARTER > 3 DEEP - Both safeties and the CB closest to the middle go back. Two more CBs and the MLB cover zones about 7 yards wide. The end CBs cover the areas they're standing in, preventing short passes. If the offense runs, you're screwed. But if it's a shallow pass, though, you'll probably stop it. GOAL LINE > SLANT STRONG - When you're within your own seven yard line, you'll want to be very careful. If you make your defense too compact, you'll leave a large open spot somewhere for a quick run or pass. If it's too sparse, then you won't be able to help someone in time if they get into trouble. This play is a healthy balance. Four defensive linemen charge the offense, making runs up the middle nigh impossible. The men flanking them fall back and step to the sidelines to deflect passes. Behind the front line is two men who can cover the middle. On the sidelines are two CBs to stop quick passes, and to tag and follow the WRs. This play is weak against a sweep. +------------------+ |+----------------+| ||6. SPECIAL TEAMS|| |+----------------+| +------------------+ Special teams are the guys who are on the field during any kind of kick. They're comprised mostly of your best defenders, although the linesmen are taken out of the equation due to their low speed. +------------+ |6a. Kickoffs| +------------+ Kickoffs usually feature your kicker on the 30 yard line. Kicking it out of bounds will cause a penalty flag to fly, and the enemy gets the ball on their own 40. If the kicking team kicks it into the endzone, the receiving team can kneel, taking the ball on their own 20. Otherwise, once a member of the receiving team gets it, everyone else will block while the ball carrier tries to get as far downfield as he can. The first goal of both teams rests on the 20 yard line of the receiving team. If the receiver can get to his own 20 or farther, he "wins" the kickoff and puts his team in a good position. If the kicking team stops the receiver before his own 20, the receiver "loses" the kickoff, putting his team in a rather bad position. In the event of a safety, the scoring team will get the ball back. When this happens, the kickoff is replaced with a safety punt by the kicking team's punter. This kick will definitely not go as far, because the punter won't get a running start. Safeties are bad for whoever is scored against for many reasons; the nasty safety punt afterwards is part of it. In a non-safety kickoff, you can attempt what's called an onside kick. Here's the deal: technically, the moment the ball passes the kicking team's 40-yard line, it's really anyone's to grab. So if you kick the ball at least 10 yards and your guys get it, you get the ball back. This is what everyone does late in the game if they're trailing. This is EXTREMELY risky though. For example, if the ball goes less than 10 yards and one of your guys grab it, you get flagged for illegal procedure (never mind that the ref doesn't say anything, that's what the penalty is called). This is a five-yard penalty, but you can re-kick. If you mess up again, the opponents will simply get the ball on your 40. Also, if the opponents get the ball at all on an onside kick, they get to start their drive from wherever they get it, whether it went 10 yards or not. That means they can start on the edge (or closer) of field goal range... of course, if you're attempting an onside kick, it's probably because you're extremely far ahead or behind and can take the risk. There's no easy way to perform the onside kick. 99 times out of 100, it will fail. So, before attempting one, practice it to death in Practice Mode. That's what the mode is there for anyway, and if there's any play that needs a tremendous amount of practice, it's the onside kick. +---------------+ |6b. Field Goals| +---------------+ Field goals feature the kicker trying to boot the ball between the uprights that lay against the endline of the endzone. Before I go any further, I offer a quick explanation on how field goal distances are calculated. The kicker is 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage, and the uprights are 10 yards from the goal line (due to the endzone). So, whenever field goal distances are calculated, take the yardage from the line of scrimmage to the goal line and add 17. For example, if a team is on the 30 yard line and attempts a kick, the kick is a 47-yard field goal attempt. Field goal range is from around the enemy's 35 yard line to the goal line, although 52 yards is stretching it. The safe distance is from the 20 yard line. Despite the range, you can command your team to kick a field goal from anywhere on the field if you so desire. If the kick is made, the scoring team gets 3 points and kicks off to the opponent. If the kick misses, the defense gets the ball where it was KICKED (that is, 7 yards behind the line of scrimmage). Patrick Lim (Neuropat@aol.com) has sent a way to block FGs, especially extra points... #################################################### hey ive found a glitch i guess that almost guarantees a successful block against field goal formation (field goals and extra pts which can REALLY be useful). First of all, you must be in punt block, pull the guy that goes back to recieve to the line of scrimage, line up DIRECTLY behind the guy on the ball snapper...see the diagram below.... and HOLD down on the analog stick....basically the only thing stopping him from running down and into the other team member and getting an offsides call is this guy your lining up behind... When the ball snaps, a guy off the kicking team will pull over to block you, thus a man is free to break through the line and block the kick. It is almost always the guy that is 2 or 3 men down (can't remember) but once you get it, go into replay, look at his number (or name) and substitute him with the fastest defensive player on your team, usually a safety or linebacker. It works just about everytime, except when the cpu takes control and jumps into the kicker...... initial position.......before snap.......the block d d dddddddd dddddddd ddddd dddddd oooooooo oooooooo ooooo oooooo d h h h k k k o=offense d=defense h=holder k=kicker #################################################### +---------+ |6c. Punts| +---------+ Punting is the way to launch the ball downfield when it's fourth down and you have no hope of getting a first. You should only punt when you're too far away from the endzone to attempt a field goal. Punts are done by the punter, who stands 15 yards behind the line of scrimmage. Unlike field goals, punt distances are determined by the line of scrimmage, not the punter's location. So, if the line of scrimmage is on my own 30, and I punted the ball to your 40, it would only be a 30-yard punt. Because the punter stands 15 yards behind the line, he cannot give full power to his punts if he's standing any closer. That means that if you're on offense, and you haven't even gotten past your own 5-yard line, your punter will not be at full strength. Of course, if you can't get past your own 5, you have more problems than a weak punt. If a punt goes out of bounds, then the receiving team gets the ball from where it went out of bounds. This can work in favor of the kicking team; if you manage to kick the ball out of bounds at the enemy's 1-yard line, then that's where they have to start their drive. Punts are subject to touchback rules if one is kicked into the endzone. +----------------+ |6d. When to Fake| +----------------+ You can call fake field goals and fake punts whenever you wish. The computer is not stupid, but it doesn't cheat either. If it's conceivable that you would make a play from a certain distance, they will set up to defend it, whether you're faking or not. For example, if you select a fake field goal when you're on your enemy's 20-yard line, they will probably defend against a field goal, not knowing it's a fake. Of course, if you call a fake field goal from YOUR OWN 20-yard line, they'll know something is up. Faking isn't that important, and it's certainly not needed if you're in the lead. Also, if you're more than just a few yards away from getting a first down, it's too risky to try it. I never call fakes if I'm more than 5 yards out, and I seldom call fakes unless it's less than 2 to go. You'll want to take your field position into consideration when you decide to call a fake. If you're nearer to your own line than the enemy's, you shouldn't fake. Screwing up would just put the enemy that much closer to getting a score. Also, remember that your special teams are not supposed to be used on offense. Your punters and kickers are worthless when it comes to passing, and you probably won't have your best WRs there either. An effective fake field goal is the run, in which the guy who's kneeling will take the ball and run to the right immediately. It's not perfect, and will in fact fail most of the time, but it's still not a bad option if you need it. Punters are even worse, although an RB Direct Snap may be the solution. In that play, the C simply snaps the ball to the runningback, and he tears up the line. The man there is normally the FB though, and he may not have the speed to get far enough for a first. If you're far behind, don't bother faking, just run a normal play on fourth down. You'll lose any element of surprise that you may have had, but at least your normal offense is out there making the play instead of crappy kickers and punters. I'd say that the best time to fake would be if you're near the opponent's 40-yard line. That's a little too close to punt, and a little too far to kick a field goal, so a fake punt may actually be a better option. +-----------------+ |+---------------+| ||7. THE END GAME|| |+---------------+| +-----------------+ Strategy is more important in the final 5 minutes of each half, and especially more important in the final two minutes of the game, than in the rest of time. Games have been won or lost depending on the coaches' decisions and the players' mistakes during those critical seconds before the final gun. +--------------------+ |7a. Offense, Leading| +--------------------+ If you are in the lead, then your mission is to burn time off the clock. Timeouts only serve to freeze the clock, so don't bother calling any. Remember that the clock only runs after a play if someone actually had control of the ball before hand. That means that incomplete passes and runs out of bounds will freeze the clock and buy the defense a few precious seconds. In order to milk the clock, only call running plays that go in the opposite direction of the hash marks, or go right up the middle. For example, if you're on the left harsh mark, run right. If you're on the right, go left. After a play is over, quickly select your next play, and just sit there on the line of scrimmage until the play clock reads 1 second. Defensive offsides penalties are your best friends, since those will run the clock and reset the play clock in the process. If the clock stops for some reason, such as a timeout or the two-minute warning, just select the next play like normal. Remember, avoid passes unless it's 3rd down and at least 5 to go. Of course, if you complete the pass, all the better. If it's 4th down, don't hesitate to kick. Kick a field goal only if you're SURE you'll make it. Otherwise, punt as close to the enemy's goal line as you can. In the special teams formation, you can select the QB Kneel play. In that play, your QB will immediately take a knee when he gets the ball, resulting in a 2-yard loss, but it moves the clock along. Here's how you can determine if you should kneel. If the enemy is out of timeouts, multiply your remaining downs by 40, and compare the solution to the remaining game time. Here's a little chart... 1st Down: 40s 2nd Down: 80s (1:20) 3rd Down: 120s (2:00) So, if there's less than two minutes left, and the defense has no timeouts, and it's first down, you can just kneel to move the clock all the way to 0:00. If you can't kneel the clock all the way out, just run running plays until you can. +--------------------+ |7b. Defense, Leading| +--------------------+ If you're winning by only 3 points in the 4th quarter, you're hardly out of the woods. A field goal will send the game into overtime, and a touchdown will put you down. Opponents get desperate if they're losing as the clock runs out. They will try mostly passing plays, and most of those will go medium or deep. Set up Dime and Quarter defenses, which are designed to stop those range of passes. You need to do your best to keep the enemy out of field goal range, which again is about to the 35 yard line. If you fail in that, you need to be on the highest alert to stop them from getting any farther. If you're leading by more than 4 points, but less than 7, things get just a smidge easier. With that difference, the enemy is forced to get a touchdown, so they can't settle on a field goal. What that means is you simply have to stop them before getting to the goal line, which you should be doing anyway. Just remember that they'll go for yardage on their fourth down, and you'll have to be ready for anything. If you're up by at least 4 and there's only time for one more play, and the enemy is a rather large distance away from the goal line, then you need to invent your own defensive play. Go to Quarter, and pick the play called Prevent. This sends all eight of the backs deep to prevent any touchdown, but you can do two better. First, hit Triange, Up to send all your backs back in a lax coverage. Second, take manual control of a guy and send him ALL THE WAY BACK before the play comences. Leave him there; he's the absolute last line of defense when the offense does their play. While this leaves an area or person open to be hit with a pass, you can immediately rush whoever has the ball to cream them to the showers. That one guy in the endzone serves as the mopup crew, ready to floor whatever fool happens to try to score, no matter where on the field they are. +---------------------+ |7c. Offense, Trailing| +---------------------+ Mistakes are bad, very bad. Chucking a ball into the hands of a defender will seal your coffin, as will a fumble that turns to the guys in the other shirts. You need to run plays that you're very comfortable with. Deep passes are preferred, although running the same play over and over will fail eventually, because the enemy will learn your actions. Running plays are dangerous, but almost necessary when you get to the enemy's Red Zone. Pick a play you're comfortable with and run it, issuing a No Huddle command every time by holding Triangle after the play stops. Running out of bounds will freeze the clock, so do that as often as you can. Even if you think you can gain an extra yard or two by running forward, break to the sideline. You NEED to save every precious second you can. Call timeouts if you need to, but try not to unless you have no choice. If you hold Square instead of Triangle after a play, your QB will spike the ball on the next play, stopping the clock, although it will cost you a down. Still, that's the only way to freeze the clock if you're out of timeouts. Defensive penalties are your best friends. THE GAME CANNOT END ON A DEFENSIVE PENALTY. If you throw the ball, and there's 0:00 on the clock, but the defense gets called for pass interference, you'll get to run ANOTHER play. Also, you'll get to run the point-after attempt after you score a touchdown, whether or not there's time remaining on the clock. Remember, you need to get your plays off as quickly as possible. The other advantage to hurrying is that the defense will tire, and they may not even be in a set position when you snap it. That will give you a slight advantage. If all else is failing, use a Hail Mary. That play alone has saved my hide many, many times. +---------------------+ |7d. Defense, Trailing| +---------------------+ Hoo boy. This is the worst situation to be in. The offense controls the clock, and they will do so without mercy. They will only run running plays, so you can set your defense accordingly. The only time they'll pass is during 3rd down if they need yardage (although I've seen them pass on 2nd down before to throw me off). What you need here is an interception or fumble recovery. Try your hardest not to cause a penalty, since that will keep the game clock running if it already is, and reset the play clock either way. This is the time to burn your timeouts if you have them. Use them whenever you can, but remember that the two-minute warning will stop the clock as well. If there's 2:01 left on the clock, don't bother calling a timeout since the clock will freeze in only a play or less. Just keep those fingers crossed and pray that luck is a lady this night. +----------------------+ |+--------------------+| ||8. CHALLENGING PLAYS|| |+--------------------+| +----------------------+ Unlike in 2002, challenging plays is actually a HUGE part of the game. There are bad calls every game or so, and you have to be ready to challenge! To challenging a play, pause the game and select it from the menu. You cannot challenge plays if the call results in a dead ball. For example, let's say there's a play where you think it's a fumble, but it's called an incomplete pass. You can't challenge it because the call results in a dead ball. Now, if it happens the other way around, where it's a fumble but you think it's an incomplete pass, THAT can be challenged. You get two challenges per game, but if the game goes into overtime, you'll lose all remaining challenges. Also, you cannot challenge a play within the final two minutes of either half; however, the booth (the refs in the press box in the stadium) can challenge any play within those last two minutes. If you challenge something and you're wrong, not only will you waste that challenge, but you'll lose a timeout. That's why you should only challenge if you're totally sure. If you challenge and are right, you lose one challenge, but you keep your timeouts and the play becomes the way it should be. Also, you need to know when to challenge. For example, let's say you're on offense, and you fumble, but you recover. Whether you fumbled or not, don't challenge the fumble. There's no reason to, because since you recovered it, challenging would not put yourself into any better of a position. By the way, you cannot challenge penalties. You also cannot challenge a play after accessing instant replay mode. That would be cheating! I'm going to go over a couple rules of football here. WHEN YOU'RE DOWN A player is down when his knee, elbow, shoulder, or butt hit the grass. The MOMENT he's down, the play dies, and the ball is spotted where he held it at the time. So, let's say there's a called fumble, but he dropped the ball AFTER his knee touched the ground. If the offense challenges the play, the fumble will be reversed, because the moment he was down, the play was really dead. That is, you cannot fumble the ball if the play is already over. Also, if you dive forward, you again won't be down until your knees or elbows hit the ground. So, if you are at the five yard line, dive and land, and the ball is at the three-yard line once you land, that should be the spot. Sometimes the refs won't spot the ball correctly, which could affect whether you get a first down. Challenge if you think the ball was spotted at the wrong place. CATCHES In order for a catch to be complete, the receiver must catch the ball and have BOTH FEET IN BOUNDS. The only exception is if he would have stayed in bounds, but is pushed out. Under standard circumstances, if the receiver had a foot out of bounds when he caught the ball, then it's no catch. ====================================================== | PART 3: GENERAL MANAGER | ====================================================== You may be the greatest coach in the universe, but if your team plays like 1st-grade girls, you won't be seeing too many Super Bowl rings. Luckily, not only are you the coach, but you're also the General Manager, in charge of players, their salaries, and their fates. For this entire section, I'm going to assume you have the Salary Cap option set to On. If not, you can pretty much ignore this, since you can make your team into anything you want. +------------+ |+----------+| ||9. SIGNING|| |+----------+| +------------+ The Free Agent Pool may be what you need to round out your team. If you have a particular weakness at one position, or you want a good backup for an already strong position, you can sign someone to a yearly contract worth a particular amount of money. Most players want to be signed for only a few years, although the older players want long-term contracts. Getting the perfect deal is easy, because the players have infinite patience. When you're first presented with the sign screen, the amount of money listed is what the player wants. The secret is that he'll normally settle for a LOT less. The first thing you should do is cut the money in half, then select the number of years you want to hire him for, then submit the offer to him. Depending on how many years he wants, he'll respond in different ways. If he says that the years are right, but he wants more money, that's a good thing. If he says that the whole deal stinks, then slowly adjust the years and NOT the money. Basically, you want to establish how long he wants to play for you. Once you've got that figured, move the money offer up slowly. Work one tick at a time. He'll accept the moment you get within the range, and he'll normally make some comment about that he should have held out for more. He's now on your team, for as cheap as you could get him, and for the number of years that you set as well! Don't worry about making any bad offers. They don't have attitudes, so you don't have to worry about a player getting mad and just leaving your offer, no matter how high, to go somewhere else. +----------------+ |+--------------+| ||10. RE-SIGNING|| |+--------------+| +----------------+ You have the opportunity to re-sign your players to alter their contracts, which is very important at the end of seasons. Players with zero years remaining will be released to the Free Agent Pool if you don't resign them, which is trouble if they're stars. If you're dealing with an older player that's been in the league for awhile, especially if he's carrying a high price tag, you may not want to sign him for too many years. His skills may just decay for the rest of the time you've got him, and his price will hurt your salary cap. On the other hand, youngsters that have high skills need to be signed longer than they want. If you have a star rookie, you may want to pay him an obscene amount of money so he'll stick around for 7 years. Of course, the problem is if he ends up sucking, you're stuck with a black hole of money. Carefully weigh whether you need a player before paying him large sums for long-term contracts. If he's failed to live up to your expectations, then there's no shame in not re-signing him. Players may hold out if they don't think you're paying them enough. While they will remain on your roster, they will not play in any games until they get however much they think they deserve. +-----------------------+ |10a. Player Progression| +-----------------------+ I've had a lot of questions lately about player progression, so I'll put my findings here in a new subsection. A lot of people think that player progression seems totally random, but I assure it's not. While randomness is certainly a part of it, you can seriously tip the balance one direction or the other. The first big factor is age. Old players will decline in skill, and young players will gain in skill. Look at Michael Jordan (I know, different sport): he's friggin' old in sports talk, and he's starting to suck. Then again, we could look at Jerry Rice, who is older than Jordan and is still showing no signs of slowing down. That leads me to the next big factor: playing time. Maybe if Jordan hadn't retired twice, he would still be that good today despite the age. Jerry Rice is in every game for his team, so he stays strong and fit. If you don't play your players, they will get worse and worse as time goes on. The next factor is past performance. For example, I have Blaine Prior, a guy I drafted forever ago. In his rookie season, I didn't trust him yet (I had a better runner in my MLB, Nick Grant), and he only ran about 25 yards for the season. However, he did gain stats because I used him now and then, and he had no past performance, being a rookie and everything. In his second season, Grant was injured for a few games. Prior started, and he managed to get about 350 yards in 6 games. Prior gained more stats, because according to past performance, he did much much better. In his third season, I trusted him to start. He ran for about 1100 yards. For the next SIX seasons, his yardage was always +1200 (I use A LOT of running plays), and in his eighth season, he managed 1798 yards. He had grown to a 98-rated HB, with 88 SPD, 99 BTK, 99 AGI, 99 ACC, and 80 CTH. In his ninth, I changed my playbook, got a new quaterback, and passed a bunch. Prior only ran 560 yards despite starting and not giving me a reason to hate him. After the season, his overall score dropped EIGHT points. Because, based on past performance, he had run so many seasons not just +1000 yards, but +1500 yards or more. Suddenly he only runs 500, and he decays... Teaches me not to ignore an all-star. Anyway, I still have him, but for his last few seasons, he's been getting worse and worse... I run him as much as I can, but now that he hit that massive drop, he's losing about a point or two overall per season. The point is that past performances seem to really affect players, and offensive and defensive linemen are very streaky, especially if you traded for them. Those are the hardest positions to raise, so I reserve my cash in the off-season to sign 'em. Another big factor to progression is injuries. If a player is injured, his stats will go down based on the severity on the injury. The game is realistic: a QB's throwing power won't drop if he has a hurt knee, but it will plummet if he shatters his wrist. Even if the rest of the season went well, a player's attributes may be shot to hell with a bad enough injury (Terrell Davis comes to mind). After all that, the player's stats are what determine progression. Simply put, the better the season, the better the gain. A QB who throws for 3000 yards will gain many points; a QB who gets sacked a dozen times will get worse. +-------------+ |+-----------+| ||11. TRADING|| |+-----------+| +-------------+ If a player becomes dead weight, or another team got someone you wanted, you may want to trade. You can trade up to 3 players, 3 draft picks, or a combination to one other team (no triangle trades here). The CPU values draft picks relatively highly, so you can use those as bargaining chips to get what you want. If your team is very old, you may want to save your draft picks or even trade to get more to get youngsters. You can have up to 10 picks for the next draft, and those can be distributed to any round however you see fit. Players that are injured, players that are holding out, and players that have zero years left on their contract cannot be traded. Joe Fritz (firstname.lastname@example.org) gave me a tip that I actually have always used, but I never bothered to write it in my guide for whatever reason... #################################################### Early in the season the computer is silly about trading draft picks. Play through week five and see who looks like they're going to have the worst year. Then simply trade them pick for pick. If you trade around for picks you can put yourself in a good position no matter how well you finish. I once traded picks until I had two first, two second and two third round picks. I didn't have any fourth through seventh rounders but who needs 'em. And they were from teams like the lions. #################################################### I'll elaborate a bit on Joe's tip. The trading deadline is week 6, but you can't trade if you've played a game that week. In other words, the moment ALL games on week 5 are done (all user games are played and all CPU games are simmed), you need to resolve your trades then. Using Joe's (and my) tip, after week 5 is in the books, click Play Week from the main Franchise menu, then hit Standings. Look at the team with worse records; they're the ones who will probably have the best draft picks. Now, the computer does not think that far ahead, so a team that's 0-5 will value its draft picks just as much as a team that's 5-0. The theory is that if you know you'll do reasonably well that season, try to trade your picks so you end up trading up. If you are lucky enough to get the worst team's picks, that means you'll have really GOOD picks at the end of the season. RJ McKay (email@example.com) submitted this... #################################################### The computer over values draft picks. On several occasions, when going into preseason, I've traded my 1st round draft pick (assumed to be the 30th or so overall) for the top player in the draft, a second and a fifth round draft pick. Of course, you have to drop them and re-sign them for a correct number of years, but you can get the top player every year and get some great value for that first round pick that may would be consistently be worse than the player you would have drafted. #################################################### +--------------+ |+------------+| ||12. SCOUTING|| |+------------+| +--------------+ During the draft, you will not be able to see the actual attributes of the rookies. So, what you have to do is scout up to 15 players. Once they are scouted, you'll get a scouting note that reveals a few of the stats. Example: the scouting note may read, "He does his best to stay healthy." That means his INJ rating is really high, and he stays uninjured most of the time. There are three scouting rounds. If you scout a player for only one round, you get one scouting note. If you get scout the same player a second time, you get three notes. If you scout a player through all three rounds, then you get five notes. Don't just scout guys who are projected to go in the first round or two. You'll have to draft (and therefore should scout) guys who are projected to go late. +--------------+ |+------------+| ||13. DRAFTING|| |+------------+| +--------------+ At the end of each season in Franchise Mode, you get to draft rookies from the colleges around the country. When you draft, you need to keep several things in mind. First of all, you'll want to make sure that you're not drafting for a position that you know is already filled. If you're the Bengals, there's no reason to get a HB since you've already got Dillon. Drafting is more or less like signing a free agent. You want to compliment your team's strengths by filling holes in its weaknesses, or at least get backups for your players that are already established. The draft order is determined by your position in the previous season. The Super Bowl winner will pick last, with the Super Bowl loser picking just before them. The worst team will pick first, and the records determine most of the other picks. Of course, you can trade up; I once won the Super Bowl, but traded a bunch of picks and players and eventually got first pick. You have to pick on each round, but you don't have to SIGN anybody. Once you make all your picks, you can sign whoever you want. You can sign them all, or none, or whatever combination you feel you need to. Like signing free agents, you can slowly manipulate your target to get the best deal possible. Mick (firstname.lastname@example.org) sent me a fantastic essay on getting high draft picks... #################################################### First of all, the computer rates teams differently prior to pre season and afterwards. Before Starting pre-season, I usually devote 15 - 30 minutes to trading draft picks. Trade your 1st round pick for a 1st, 3rd, and 5th round pick. If you can get a 2nd or 4th in there instead of the 3rd or 5th, don't. You'll get more ground out of progressive trades. After the first trade, trade your new 1st, old 6th and 7th for a 1st, 3rd, and 5th. Trade your 3 5th rounds for a 4th, and your 3 3rd rounds for a 1st (if possible) or a 2nd, 4th and 5th. Continue trading you 1st round picks for 1st 3rd and 5th until no one will trade with you. Trade your 3rd and 5th round picks up when necessary to maintain the 10 pick limit. After preseason is complete, go back and do it again. The computer will value trades differently. In the first season especially, the rams 1st round pick is valued low before the preseason, but increases in value before the regular season. Repeat at the end of week 5. Just doing this, I usually go into the draft with 5 first round, and 5 2-4th round picks. Prior to the regular season, if you have gotten 3 2nd round picks and at least 2 first round picks, trade your most expensive useless player along with 2 1st round picks for a cheaper better player. Then go back and trade your 3 2nd round picks for the 2 1st round picks you just traded. You can usually get them back. After the first draft, there will be several free agents who are pretty good in the free agent pool. If you have the salary cap available, you can sign the free agent, the turn around and trade them for draft picks. A good way to pick up a 3rd or 4th round pick easy to help you trade up. The draft picks are listed in order of merit from top to bottom. So, if you have (for example) 5 5th round picks, they will list the order of merit, with the ones at the top being the most valuable. Some correlation between the teams you've already traded with will tell you which teams have the most valuable picks. When you have 3 good draft picks, you can trade up 2 levels. So 3 good 4th round picks can get you a 2nd round pick. However, 3 average 4th round picks will only get you a 3rd and a 5th round pick. Never trade for a 6th or 7th round pick unless you are freeing up space on the other teams trade roster. The best I've ever done is 8 first round picks and 2 third round picks. #################################################### ====================================================== | PART 4: OTHER MADDEN FEATURES | ====================================================== There are a million things you can do aside from just straight-up playing football. +-----------------------+ |+---------------------+| ||14. CREATE-A-PLAYBOOK|| |+---------------------+| +-----------------------+ Several games on several systems have had modes to let you create plays, like Troy Aikman Football on the SNES (anyone remember that game?). This, however, is the richest play creator in the business, especially considering the fact that you can make your own formations! You can't attach a created playbook to a user name or team like you could in the 2002 version (with any luck, EA Sports will get around to making that a little more user-friendly in 2004). You *have* to select the created playbook manually before every game. However, you CAN attach audibles to it. Select your playbook prior to a game, then once the game starts, pause it. Select "Coaching Strategies" from the pause menu, and you can change your audibles. Once you do, you are prompted to save your playbook. See, when you make audibles for a real playbook, the audibles save on your profile. However, when you make audibles for a created playbook, the audibles save on the playbook itself. All you have to do is overwrite your playbook once you set your audibles, and they'll stick until you change them. +-------------------------+ |14a. Offensive Formations| +-------------------------+ There are a few things you have to remember if you're making an offensive formation. The QB has to be behind the center, and any RBs you have have to be BEHIND the QB. Take a look at this example... O=OL Q=QB R=RB OOOOO Q R *correct* OOOOO Q R *correct* OOOOO Q R *correct* OOOOO R Q *wrong* OOOOO QR *wrong* You never HAVE to have runningbacks at all. Don't forget about the two real formations called Singleback-5WR and Shoutgun-5 WR, where there is no RB at all. Of course, if you choose to do that, then you can only make passes for the formation. That's not bad if you've got the Steelers or Vikings, but it may not be so hot with the Texans or Browns. You can have as many WRs, TEs, and RBs as you want so long as the total is five. Although most formations feature two RBs or less, you can make formations with three. Here's one I made... W=WR Q=QB O=OL R=RB W OOOOO W Q RRR The final restriction on offensive formations is that there must be seven (no more, no less) people on the line of scrimmage. Now, since you already have your offensive line and they're unmoveable, you just need two more. You can use two TEs, two WRs, or one of each. Any other TEs and WRs on the play need to be at least one tile from the top. The game will tell you that you made an invalid formation if you make a mistake. Also, the two guys aside from the OL have to be balanced on the sides. That is, you have to have one TE or WR on the line on the left, and one TE or WR on the line on the right. You can't both players on one side or the other. You CAN have different positions, so like you could have a TE on the right and a WR on the left, but they both have to be on the line. Here's a sample list of some formations I made. Q=QB H=HB F=FB W=WR T=TE O=OL W OOOOO W W W Q H (Name: Four Up) TOOOOOT W W Q H (Name: Lean Left) TOOOOOT Q W W H (Name: Lean Right) W OOOOO W QF W H (Name: RB Flankers. If you notice, the FB is ineligible for rushes; that's not a mistake, I intentionally desgined it that way.) W OOOOO W W W W Q (Name: Shotgun Spread) TOOOOOT Q W F H (Name: Tight Strong) TOOOOOT Q W F H (Name: Tight Weak) W OOOOO W Q HFH (Name: Trio Left) W OOOOO W Q HFH (Name: Trio Right) Kristofor Newman (email@example.com) gave me a crapload of info for this section. Among other things, he's mentioned how to actually take a created formation and just alter it to a better version... #################################################### I noticed the other day that you can modify an existing formation. It seems that when you do this, all the pre-created plays in that formation remain (but with the players in different positions)... #################################################### The rest of that first e-mail is pointless, because he sent a follow-up e-mail which gives a VERY informative piece of info. Check out the next subsection. +--------------------+ |14b. Offensive Plays| +--------------------+ There is no good or bad formation. Success is based on how creative the plays those formations have are. Madden 2003 gives you the power to make your own receiver routes. Just don't go too nutty if you do, because though you may throw off the defense, you may throw off your pass as well. Also, remember that you don't have too long in the pocket when you pass, so if you run an extremely complex play, it may not get done before your QB gets blasted. And trust me, that's never a good thing. You can also set up runs, but you have a little less control over the intricacies for a reason. Just like real NFL plays, the moment the HB has the ball, all plans go out the window. A play may start with, "Run left and the QB will toss you the ball." That's fine, but the second the HB has run left and has control of the ball, he needs to go and do whatever is needed to score. Typically when you make a run play, you'll need a lead blocker, which is normally the job of the FB. You can also tell your WRs and TEs to block, and you can send your OL one way or another if you're running a sweep. By the way, before you start making plays, take a look at some of the real plays. Any idiot can make good passing plays and routes, but running plays take a bit work when it comes to the linesmen's blocking schemes. Previously, I stated that it is impossible to create trick plays like draws, reverses, and play actions. However, Kristofor Newman (firstname.lastname@example.org) has said a way to do it! #################################################### I created a "new" formation by taking an existing formation and moving people around. As it turns out, any plays that you have already included in the formation prior to modifying it remain, as do the "routes" that all players follow. Using this property, it is possible to have Delays and Play Action passes in a user-created formation. In addition, you can put players in motion (even in brand-new plays, not just in modified existing ones) but some strange things can happen. In one instance I had two WR's going in motion at the same time from left to right (an obvious glitch, not to mention an Illegal Procedure even though you won't get flagged). There's definitely some room for abuse here by unscrupulous players. #################################################### Kristofor, you absolutely rock. +------------+ |14c. Defense| +------------+ Defensive plays are a little trickier, because as you know, they can only react, they can't control where the offense goes. As such, making formations and plays becomes less detailed. A good defensive play is one where either all receivers are covered or all probable zones they will pass to are covered. A good run defense play is one where your DL plugs all holes and your CBs prevent sweeps. But, of course, you don't know what the enemy is going to do play to play. They may surprise you with a Hail Mary on first down or run it when it's 4th and 15. As such, you need to make most of your defensive plays at least moderately balanced. Unlike the offense, there are no restrictions to your formations. +-------------------------+ |14d. Submitted Formations| +-------------------------+ Okay, so this is a new subsection as of v1.1, and it's here to let everyone see formations that other players have made. +--------------------+ |Offensive Formations| +--------------------+ 1. 3-Wing Back Submitter: Raymond (Gungnir@rocketmail.com) TOOOOOT Q F F H 2. Receivers Left Submitter: Chrisky20m (Chrisky20m@aol.com) W OOOOOT W Q W H 3. Bookend-Normal Submitter: Kristofor Newman (email@example.com) W OOOOOT W Q T H 4. Stack-4 Wide Submitter: Kristofor Newman (firstname.lastname@example.org) W OOOOO W Q W W H 5. 3 Backs-2 Wide Submitter: Kristofor Newman (email@example.com) W OOOOO W Q F T H 6. Empty BF-4 Weak Submitter: Kristofor Newman (firstname.lastname@example.org) W OOOOOT W WW Q 7. Maryland Submitter: Stephen Laurence (email@example.com) TOOOOOT Q F F H 8. 3RB Submitter: Stephen Laurence (firstname.lastname@example.org) W OOOOO W Q F F H 9. Tivy Slot Submitter: Stephen Laurence (email@example.com) TOOOOOT Q TF H 10. [no name] Submitter: Stephen Laurence (firstname.lastname@example.org) W OOOOO W Q W W H 11. [no name] Submitter: Bgmac417 (Bgmac417@aol.com) TOOOOOT Q R R R 12. Diamond Shotgun Submitter: JumpingDeer2002 (JumpingDeer2002@aol.com) W OOOOO W Q F F H 13. The T Submitter: RJ McKay (email@example.com) W OOOOO W Q F R R 14. Flood Submitter: RJ McKay (firstname.lastname@example.org) W OOOOOT W W W Q 15. Dart Submitter: RJ McKay (email@example.com) W OOOOOT W F Q R 16. Overload Submitter: Steve Cummings TOOOOOT FFQ H 17. The Diamond Submitter: RJ McKay (firstname.lastname@example.org) TOOOOO W W W Q W +--------------------+ |Defensive Formations| +--------------------+ 1. 614 Submitter: Chrisky20m (Chrisky20m@aol.com) S S C L C D D D D D D 2. 5-2 Submitter: Steve Cummings FS SS CB LB LB CB RE DT NT DT LE 3. 44 Stack Submitter: Steve Cummings CB LB LB LB LB CB RE DT DT LE +-------------------+ |+-----------------+| ||15. CREATE-A-TEAM|| |+-----------------+| +-------------------+ You can build a team from ground up, choosing their uniform style and colors, as well as a logo. You can customize a stadium and choose to play on turf or grass and adjust the seating capacity as well. Let me say upfront that the stadium changes you do are strictly cosmetic. Players get no more injured on turf than they do on grass unlike real life, and the stadium capacity won't affect the in-game graphics or crowd noise. But, this way you can keep current on changes if you own the game that long. Also, you can import your team into any mode you desire. You could, say, make 16 fantasy teams and shove them into your own tournament for ultimate customization. You can also import your new team into Franchise Mode and have them replace any of the real teams. For example, because I hate the Houston Texans, I creacted the Houston Phoenixes and put them in. Damn, I hate the Texans. Created teams borrow rosters from real teams. You can set what roster your team is borrowing from, although you can change it anytime. If you import a team into franchise mode, your team basically takes the place of another, keeping the players. For example, if you have the Colombus Comets take the place of the Washington Redskins, the Comets will keep all the Redskins' players, as if Washington simply moved. Of course, once you're in the season or franchise, you can trade and such to your heart's content. +---------------------+ |+-------------------+| ||16. CREATE-A-PLAYER|| |+-------------------+| +---------------------+ Ever wanted to be an NFL quarterback? Now you can. Back from last year's version (and a million other versions for that matter) is Create-a-player. There's a few new equipment pieces you can select, but that's not the new big draw. Now, despite whatever your player's weight and height and all that is, you can adjust the attributes to any level. So, you can have a 415-pounder able to run the 40 in 3.5. Or, you can have a skinny little 5'6" 160 lbs. guy able to pick up and throw those cornerbacks and linemen. Just remember that the more your stats are, the higher their salary. Of course, if you're a wuss and play without the salary cap, that doesn't matter. +------------------+ |+----------------+| ||17. MADDEN CARDS|| |+----------------+| +------------------+ Returning from last year's edition, the Madden Challenge awards you tokens for reaching milestones in the game, such as 3 sacks by one player, or kicking a 50+ yard field goal. For every 100 tokens you get, you can buy a pack of Madden Cards. Each pack contains 15 cards, and range from current players to cheerleaders. You can activate most of the cards during a game. Some boost the stats of players, while others let you "cheat" by fudging the rules a bit. For example, there's a card called 5th Down, which allows you to have an extra down on a play. Some cards are automatic, such as the stadium cards, which unlock old stadiums like the Pittsburgh Steelers' old turf bowl. Others need to be activated, such as the historic player cards, which put an old vet into the Free Agent Pool. Part of the fun of the game is collecting all the cards in their gold format, although, just like real life cards, you may have to buy 100 packs before you get that one last card. Cards can be traded between users as well, in case you have friends that play Madden and want to help each other complete your collections. Some cards are locked until you get gold on drills in Mini-camp. Others are locked unless you own other EA Sports games. I hate it when games do that... I mean, I understand locking cards until you complete challenges, that's what video games are all about, but why lock cards unless you have other games? Sheesh. I've had a few questions about how to get the cards that are locked unless you have other games, so I'll answer it here. From what I can tell, you have to have the 2003 version of games. I tested it over the last weekend with NASCAR Thunder 2002, and it failed. That means, among other things, that you can't possibly unlock all the cards yet. Once you get/rent those games though, I think all you have to do is get the settings file on the same memory card as your Madden file. Then, once your Madden game loads, it'll check the memory card for settings files for the other games, and if you have them, boom, the card is unlocked. +-------------------+ |+-----------------+| ||18. EXPORT-A-TEAM|| |+-----------------+| +-------------------+ For the first time in the series, you can take a USER-CONTROLLED team from Franchise Mode and export it to your memory card. Then you can use that team in other modes, like Practice and Tournament. This is a great idea... see, I'm anal enough to practice with my team between seasons (especially now that I've lost the Super Bowl to the Eagles. Damn, I hate the Eagles.). The option is under Features in the Franchise menu. You can't really export CPU teams to a card, but if you wanted to, you could simply add enough users and put them in control. ====================================================== | PART 5: OTHER GAME MODES | ====================================================== In addition to the basic Exhibition Game and my favorite Franchise Mode, there are several other ways for you to play. +---------------+ |+-------------+| ||19. MINI-CAMP|| |+-------------+| +---------------+ If there was only one change from last year's version, this would have been my second choice after the new scouting engine. In Mini-Camp, you compete in eight drills ranging from pocket passing to pass coverage. If you do well, you'll get a trophy, and you'll unlock a game situation. If you manage to get a gold trophy, you'll unlock and win a cheat card. If you beat the game situation, you'll unlock and win a cheerleader/pump up the crowd card (and I love those cheerleader cards). Trust me, you should spend some time here. You'll REALLY improve your in-game skills. For example, I always play MLB, but I could never deflect passes. I practiced that drill for about an hour and a half straight, and once I got in game, I was able to read receivers and intercept passes with more ease. I still need practice in several areas, especially because I lost my second Franchise Super Bowl to the Eagles (damn, I hate the Eagles), and I'm going to be staying in Mini-Camp for a LONG time. +------------+ |+----------+| ||20. ONLINE|| |+----------+| +------------+ With the right stuff for your PlayStation 2, you can take your Madden skills online and challenge other players across the country. I haven't tried it myself (don't have the network adapter, and don't really want one), so I'm depending on you readers to get me a report. If you do, you'll be properly credited as always. My first note come from guhoya323 (email@example.com) who reports that you can download new roster files almost every day. That's certainly worth the price of admission if you're a purist who constantly updates his roster with the real one. It's far easier this way than to deal with it manually. +----------------+ |+--------------+| ||21. TOURNAMENT|| |+--------------+| +----------------+ You can select 4, 8, or 16 teams to participate in a tournament ladder. The games can either be single- or double-elimination. You can also accept an option to conduct a fantasy draft prior to the tournament, the draft composed of all the players in the league. +----------------------+ |+--------------------+| ||22. TWO-MINUTE DRILL|| |+--------------------+| +----------------------+ This is perhaps one of the most fun modes in the game. You select a team for yourself and a team for your oppoents. You then have two minutes to score as many points as you can. You can earn tokens to buy cards, and you have a numerical score that you can enter into memory. Challenge your friends! (Yeesh, I sound like a commercial.) +------------------+ |+----------------+| ||23. FOOTBALL 101|| |+----------------+| +------------------+ This is a fancy name for Training Mode from last year. John Madden will be the annoying man who teaches you timing and such on offensive plays. Football 101 does not cover defense, which is fine, because Madden's voice is so repetative and irritating in these voice overs that I wanted him to shut up as soon as possible. This mode also allows you to earn tokens for cards. +--------------+ |+------------+| ||24. PRACTICE|| |+------------+| +--------------+ You can select one team and run any offensive, defensive, or special teams play as many times and from anywhere on the field that you want. This is a perfect place to go to learn the ropes and timing of plays, especially when you switch playbooks. +---------------+ |+-------------+| ||25. SITUATION|| |+-------------+| +---------------+ You select two teams and a situation for the game to be in. You can recreate famous drives from the past, like the New England Patriots' game-winning final drive in last season's Super Bowl. As the Rams, can you stop them this time, or will reality repeat itself? You can also set up a standard game but handicap one player by spotting his opponent a touchdown or two. The possibilities are endless. ====================================================== | PART 6: PLAYER AND TEAM RANKINGS | ====================================================== This section will list the top 15 players by position, ranked by the overall statistic. Also, it will list the top 10 teams by category. Please note that all these rankings are based on the default rosters that shipped with the CD. If a player is marked with an asterisk, that means he's on the Injured Reserve, which means he can't play that first season in Franchise. Of course, if you turn off Pre-Existing Injuries, it doesn't really matter. +--------------------------------+ |+------------------------------+| ||26. TOP 15 PLAYERS BY POSITION|| |+------------------------------+| +--------------------------------+ +------------+ |Any Position| +------------+ 1. (99) Ray Lewis (MLB, BAL) Marshall Faulk (HB, STL) Michael Strahan (LE, NYG) Larry Allen (LG, DAL) Warren Sapp (DT, TB) 6. (98) Randy Moss (WR, MIN) Jonathan Ogden (LT, BAL) Orlando Pace (LT, STL) Terrell Owens (WR, SF) Brian Dawkins (FS, PHI) Sam Madison (CB, MIA) Junior Seau (ROLB, SD) 13. (97) Matt Stover (K, BAL) Kurt Warner (QB, STL) Aeneas Williams (CB, STL) +------------+ |Quarterbacks| +------------+ 1. (97) Kurt Warner (STL) Brett Favre (GB) 3. (92) Jeff Garcia (SF) Donovan McNabb (PHI) Peyton Manning (IND) 6. (91) Rich Gannon (OAK) 7. (89) Daunte Culpepper (MIN) 8. (86) Mark Brunell (JAX) 9. (84) Aaron Brooks (NO) Tom Brady (NE) 11. (83) Steve McNair (TEN) Drew Bledsoe (BUF) 13. (82) Kordell Stewart (PIT) 14. (81) Tim Couch (CLE) 15. (80) Trent Dilfer (SEA) +---------+ |Halfbacks| +---------+ 1. (99) Marshall Faulk (STL) 2. (93) Curtis Martin (NYJ) Edgerrin James (IND) Corey Dillon (CIN) 5. (92) Ahman Green (GB) 6. (90) Ricky Williams (MIA) 7. (89) Eddie George (TEN) Shaun Alexander (SEA) 9. (88) Jerome Bettis (PIT) Priest Holmes (KC) 11. (87) Stephen Davis (WAS) Fred Taylor (JAX) 13. (86) LaDainian Tomlinson (SD) 14. (85) Garrison Hearst (SF) Terrell Davis (DEN) +---------+ |Fullbacks| +---------+ 1. (93) Larry Centers (BUF) 2. (90) Tony Richardson (KC) 3. (89) Lorenzo Neal (CIN) 4. (87) Richie Anderson (NYJ) 5. (86) Bob Christian (ATL) 6. (85) Cory Schlesinger (DET) 7. (84) William Henderson (GB) Cecil Martin (PHI) 9. (82) Greg Comella (TEN) Jon Ritchie (OAK) Fred Beasley (SF) 12. (81) Rob Konrad (MIA) 13. (79) James Hodgins (STL) 14. (78) Marc Edwards (NE) 15. (77) Zack Crockett (OAK) +--------------+ |Wide Receivers| +--------------+ 1. (98) Randy Moss (MIN) Terrell Owens (SF) 3. (97) Marvin Harrison (IND) 4. (95) Rod Smith (DEN) 5. (93) Jimmy Smith (JAX) 6. (92) Torry Holt (STL) Isaac Bruce (STL) Keyshawn Johnson (TB) 9. (91) David Boston (ARI) 10. (90) Tim Brown (OAK) 11. (89) Troy Brown (NE) Eric Moulds (BUF) 13. (88) Joe Horn (NO) 14. (85) Hines Ward (PIT) Muhsin Muhammad (CAR) +----------+ |Tight Ends| +----------+ 1. (97) Tony Gonzalez (KC) 2. (92) Shannon Sharpe (DEN) 3. (89) Frank Wycheck (TEN) 4. (87) Marcus Pollard (IND) 5. (85) Wesley Walls (CAR) Chad Lewis (PHI) 7. (84) Freddie Jones (ARI) 8. (83) Bubba Franks (GB) 9. (81) Mark Bruener (PIT) 10. (80) Byron Chamberlain (MIN) Anthony Becht (NYJ) Dwayne Carswell (DEN) Desmond Clark (DEN) 14. (79) David Sloan (NO) 15. (78) Todd Heap (BAL) +------------+ |Left Tackles| +------------+ 1. (98) Jonathan Ogden (BAL) Orlando Pace (STL) 3. (94) Tony Boselli (HOU) 4. (92) Walter Jones (SEA) Tra Thomas (PHI) 6. (91) Kyle Turley (NO) Tarik Glenn (IND) 8. (90) Chris Samuels (WAS) Jason Fabini (NYJ) Willie Roaf (KC) 11. (87) Wayne Gandy (PIT) Derrick Deese (SF) Bob Whitfield (ATL) 14. (85) Brad Hopkins (TEN) 15. (83) Todd Steussie (CAR) +-----------+ |Left Guards| +-----------+ 1. (99) Larry Allen (DAL) 2. (96) Ruben Brown (BUF) 3. (93) Alan Faneca (PIT) 4. (87) Pete Kendall (ARI) 5. (85) Dave Fiore (SF) 6. (84) Wally Williams (NO) Mark Dixon (MIA) 8. (83) Kerry Jenkins (TB) 9. (82) Steve Hutchinson (SEA) Dave Szott (NYJ)* 11. (81) Tom Nutten (STL) 12. (80) Mike Compton (NE) 13. (79) Rex Tucker (CHI) 14. (77) Brian Waters (KC) Matt O'Dwyer (CHI) +-------+ |Centers| +-------+ 1. (97) Kevin Mawae (NYJ) 2. (95) Tom Nalen (DEN) 3. (94) Olin Kreutz (CHI) 4. (93) Matt Birk (MIN) 5. (92) Damien Woody (NE) 6. (87) Bruce Matthews (TEN) Jeff Hartings (PIT) Barret Robbins (OAK) 9. (86) Jeff Christy (TB) 10. (85) Steve McKinney (HOU) 11. (84) Jeff Mitchell (CAR) Jeremy Newberry (SF) 13. (80) Tim Ruddy (MIA) 14. (78) Casey Wiegmann (KC) Mike Gruttadauria (ARI) +------------+ |Right Guards| +------------+ 1. (97) Will Shields (KC) 2. (95) Dan Neil (DEN) 3. (94) Adam Timmerman (STL) Ron Stone (SF) 5. (90) Leonard Davis (ARI) 6. (86) Randy Thomas (NYJ) 7. (83) Rod Jones (WAS) 8. (82) Marco Rivera (GB) 9. (81) Chris Villarrial (CHI) 10. (80) Leon Searcy (MIA) 11. (79) Chris Naeole (JAX) 12. (78) Tre' Johnson (CLE) 13. (77) Rich Tylski (NE) 14. (76) Joseph Andruzzi (NE) 15. (74) Mo Collins (OAK) +-------------+ |Right Tackles| +-------------+ 1. (95) Lincoln Kennedy (OAK) 2. (90) Adam Meadows (IND) 3. (89) Jon Jansen (WAS) James Williams (CHI) 5. (88) Willie Anderson (CIN) 6. (87) Jon Runyan (PHI) 7. (86) John Tait (KC) 8. (85) Victor Riley (NO) 9. (83) Edwin Mulitalo (BAL) 10. (82) Marvel Smith (PIT) Solomon Page (DAL) 12. (81) Ryan Young (HOU) Scott Gragg (SF) 14. (80) Luke Petitgout (NYG) Mike Williams (BUF) +---------+ |Left Ends| +---------+ 1. (99) Michael Strahan (NYG) 2. (93) Marcellus Wiley (SD) 3. (91) Robert Porcher (DET) 4. (87) Trevor Pryce (DEN) 5. (85) Leonard Little (STL) 6. (84) Aaron Smith (PIT) Greg Ellis (DAL) Eric Hicks (KC) 9. (83) Julius Peppers (CAR) 10. (81) Kevin Carter (TEN) Vonnie Holliday (GB) Shaun Ellis (NYJ) 13. (80) Marcus Jones (TB) 14. (77) Marco Coleman (JAX) 15. (76) Tony Bryant (OAK) +----------+ |Right Ends| +----------+ 1. (94) Jevon Kearse (TEN) Hugh Douglas (PHI) Jason Taylor (MIA) 4. (93) Courtney Brown (CLE) 5. (92) Joe Johnson (GB) 6. (91) John Abraham (NYJ) 7. (90) Michael McCrary (BAL) Grant Wistrom (STL) 9. (89) Justin Smith (CIN) 10. (86) Simeon Rice (TB) 11. (84) Tony Brackens (JAX) 12. (83) Willie McGinest (NE) 13. (82) Darren Howard (NO) Andre Carter (SF) 15. (80) Gary Walker (HOU) +-----------------+ |Defensive Tackles| +-----------------+ 1. (99) Warren Sapp (TB) 2. (96) Bryant Young (SF) 3. (93) John Randle (SEA) 4. (92) Corey Simon (PHI) 5. (91) La'Roi Glover (DAL) 6. (90) Chris Hovan (MIN) 7. (88) Ted Washington (CHI) 8. (85) Richard Seymour (NE) 9. (84) John Parrella (OAK) Luther Elliss (DET) Gerard Warren (CLE) Pat Williams (BUF) Keith Traylor (CHI) 14. (83) Casey Hampton (PIT) Grady Jackson +------------------------+ |Left Outside Linebackers| +------------------------+ 1. (93) Peter Boulware (BAL) 2. (92) Jason Gildon (PIT) LOLB #57 (WAS) 4. (89) Jamir Miller (CLE) 5. (88) Mo Lewis (NYJ) 6. (88) Donnie Edwards (SD) 7. (85) Rosevelt Colvin (CHI) 8. (82) John Mobley (DEN) 9. (81) Anthony Simmons (SEA) Carlos Emmons (PHI) Keith Newman (BUF) 12. (78) Bill Romanowski (OAK) 13. (75) Julian Peterson (SF) 14. (74) Kailee Wong (HOU) 15. (73) Ted Johnson (NE) +------------------+ |Middle Linebackers| +------------------+ 1. (99) Ray Lewis (BAL) 2. (96) Brian Urlacher (CHI) 3. (94) Zach Thomas (MIA) 4. (92) Jeremiah Trotter (WAS) 5. (90) Marvin Jones (NYJ) London Fletcher (BUF) 7. (89) Earl Holmes (CLE) 8. (88) Brian Simmons (CIN) 9. (87) Randall Godfrey (TEN) Jamie Sharper (HOU) Kendrell Bell (PIT) Levon Kirkland (SEA) 13. (86) Michael Barrow (NYG) 14. (84) Greg Biekert (OAK) Keith Brooking (ATL) +-------------------------+ |Right Outside Linebackers| +-------------------------+ 1. (98) Junior Seau (SD) 2. (96) Derrick Brooks (TB) 3. (91) Takeo Spikes (CIN) 4. (90) Joey Porter (PIT) 5. (88) Chad Brown (SEA) Sam Cowart (NYJ) 7. (86) Jessie Armstead (WAS) 8. (85) Dexter Coakley (DAL) 9. (83) Dwayne Rudd (CLE) 10. (81) Tommy Polley (STL) Warrick Holdman (CHI) 12. (80) Mike Peterson (IND) 13. (76) Patrick Kerney (ATL) 14. (75) Nate Wayne (GB) 15. (74) Roman Phifer (NE) +-----------+ |Cornerbacks| +-----------+ 1. (98) Sam Madison (MIA) 2. (97) Aeneas Williams (STL) 3. (96) Champ Bailey (WAS) Charles Woodson (OAK) 5. (93) Shawn Springs (SEA) Ty Law (NE) 7. (92) Troy Vincent (PHI) 8. (90) Bobby Taylor (PHI) 9. (89) Patrick Surtain (MIA) Ronde Barber (TB) 11. (88) Chris McAlister (BAL) 12. (87) Samari Rolle (TEN) Dewayne Washington (PIT) Chad Scott (PIT) Mike McKenzie (GB) +-------------+ |Free Safeties| +-------------+ 1. (98) Brian Dawkins (PHI) 2. (92) Rod Woodson (OAK) Kwamie Lassiter (ARI) 4. (89) Brock Marion (MIA) 5. (87) Lance Schulters (TEN) 6. (82) Marcus Robertson (SEA) Roy Williams (DAL) 8. (81) LeRoy Butler (GB) 9. (79) Ronnie Bradford (MIN) Kim Herring (STL) 11. (77) Edward Reed (BAL) 12. (76) Zack Bronson (SF) 13. (74) Jay Bellamy (NO) Tebucky Jones (NE) Deon Grant (CAR) +---------------+ |Strong Safeties| +---------------+ 1. (97) Rodney Harrison (SD) 2. (96) Lawyer Milloy (NE) 3. (95) John Lynch (TB) 4. (94) Darren Sharper (GB) 5. (93) Darren Woodson (DAL) 6. (90) Sammy Knight (NO) 7. (89) Mike Brown (CHI) 8. (88) Robert Griffith (CLE) 9. (87) Lee Flowers (PIT) 10. (86) Shaun Williams (NYG) 11. (82) Adam Archuleta (STL) 12. (81) Tony Parrish (SF) Blaine Bishop (PHI) 14. (79) Sam Shade (WAS) 15. (77) Mike Minter (CAR) +-------+ |Kickers| +-------+ 1. (97) Matt Stover (BAL) Olindo Mare (MIA) 3. (95) Jason Elam (DEN) 4. (92) Sebastian Janikowski (OAK) David Akers (PHI) 6. (91) Adam Vinatieri (NE) 7. (90) Mike Vanderjagt (IND) Martin Gramatica (TB) 9. (88) John Carney (NO) Jeff Wilkins (STL) Ryan Longwell (GB) 12. (86) Paul Edinger (CHI) 13. (84) Jason Hanson (DET) 14. (83) Phil Dawson (CLE) 15. (81) Mike Hollis (BUF) +-------+ |Punters| +-------+ 1. (95) Darren Bennett (SD) 2. (92) Mitch Berger (STL) 3. (91) Todd Sauerbrun (CAR) Scott Player (ARI) Brad Maynard (CHI) 6. (89) Ken Walter (NE) 7. (88) Shane Lechler (OAK) Tom Rouen (DEN) 9. (87) Chris Gardocki (CLE) 10. (86) Josh Miller (PIT) 11. (84) Rodney Williams (NYG) 12. (83) Craig Hentrich (TEN) Jeff Feagles (SEA) Chris Hanson (JAX) 15. (82) Sean Landeta (PHI) +------------------------------+ |+----------------------------+| ||27. TOP 10 TEAMS BY CATEGORY|| |+----------------------------+| +------------------------------+ +-------+ |Overall| +-------+ 1. (94) Saint Louis Rams 2. (88) Pittsburgh Steelers Philadelphia Eagles 4. (84) Seattle Seahawks San Francisco 49ers Green Bay Packers 7. (82) Oakland Raiders New York Jets New England Patriots Tampa Bay Buccaneers +-------+ |Offense| +-------+ 1. (98) Saint Louis Rams 2. (88) Indianapolis Colts San Francisco 49ers 4. (85) Oakland Raiders 5. (83) Pittsburgh Steelers Green Bay Packers Philadelphia Eagles 8. (81) Denver Broncos 9. (79) Kansas City Chiefs Tennessee Titans +-------+ |Defense| +-------+ 1. (97) Pittsburgh Steelers Philadelphia Eagles 3. (95) Seattle Seahawks San Diego Chargers 5. (93) Saint Louis Rams Tampa Bay Buccaneers Cleveland Browns 8. (91) Miami Dolphins New York Jets +-------------+ |Special Teams| +-------------+ 1. (99) Detroit Lions Philadelphia Eagles Carolina Panthers Saint Louis Rams 5. (98) Denver Broncos Indianapolis Colts 7. (97) Tennessee Titans 8. (95) Oakland Raiders Cleveland Browns San Diego Chargers +------------+ |Quarterbacks| +------------+ 1. (97) Green Bay Packers Saint Louis Rams 3. (91) Indianapolis Colts San Francisco 49ers Philadelphia Eagles 6. (90) Oakland Raiders 7. (88) Minnesota Vikings 8. (85) Jacksonville Jaguars 9. (83) New England Patriots New Orleans Saints +------------+ |Runningbacks| +------------+ 1. (96) Saint Louis Rams 2. (91) Cincinnati Bengals 3. (90) New York Jets 4. (89) Green Bay Packers 5. (86) Miami Dolphins Indianapolis Colts 7. (85) Kansas City Chiefs Tennessee Titans Seattle Seahawks 10. (84) Pittsburgh Steelers +--------------+ |Wide Receivers| +--------------+ 1. (95) Saint Louis Rams 2. (93) Denver Broncos 3. (90) Minnesota Vikings Indianapolis Colts 5. (87) Oakland Raiders San Francisco 49ers Tampa Bay Buccaneers 8. (83) Pittsburgh Steelers Arizona Cardinals Buffalo Bills +---------------+ |Offensive Lines| +---------------+ 1. (96) Kansas City Chiefs San Francisco 49ers 3. (92) Pittsburgh Steelers 4. (90) Saint Louis Rams 5. (89) New England Patriots Oakland Raiders New York Jets Chicago Bears 9. (87) New Orleans Saints 10. (85) Arizona Cardinals +---------------+ |Defensive Lines| +---------------+ 1. (96) Tampa Bay Buccaneers 2. (92) Philadelphia Eagles 3. (91) San Francisco 49ers 4. (89) Saint Louis Rams Cleveland Browns San Diego Chargers 7. (86) Dallas Cowboys New York Giants Miami Dolphins 10. (85) Pittsburgh Steelers +-----------+ |Linebackers| +-----------+ 1. (96) Pittsburgh Steelers Washington Redskins 3. (94) New York Jets 4. (93) Chicago Bears 5. (91) Cleveland Browns 6. (88) Seattle Seahawks 7. (85) Cincinnati Bengals San Diego Chargers Baltimore Ravens 10. (84) Buffalo Bills +---------------+ |Defensive Backs| +---------------+ 1. (96) Philadelphia Eagles 2. (88) Saint Louis Rams New England Patriots Miami Dolphins 5. (87) Green Bay Packers 6. (85) Pittsburgh Steelers 7. (84) San Diego Chargers Tampa Bay Buccaneers 9. (82) Oakland Raiders Seattle Seahawks ====================================================== | PART 7: FAQ STUFF | ====================================================== This part deals with extras about this document, and has absolutely nothing to do with the game itself. +---------------------+ |+-------------------+| ||28. VERSION HISTORY|| |+-------------------+| +---------------------+ v2.0b (1 November 2003) It's been nearly a year, but unfortunately my site is down for the count. Luckily, IGN has decided to host my FAQs too, so it's all good. A new copyright notice is the only change. v2.0a (26 March 2003) Removed one tip because enough people told me that it wasn't working right. v2.0 (18 February 2003) I've added a bit of info on trading due to a submission, and I've got a submitted offensive formation as well. v1.9 (06 February 2003) Added information on defensive formations. Check out section 5a for the specifics. v1.8 (09 January 2003) Added information on player progression. Check out the new 10a section. v1.7 (07 January 2003) I've had a couple of reader contributions about salary caps and drafting. Also, I added a bit of info on created playbooks. So, I've got updates in sections 10, 13, 14, and 14b. v1.6a (25 December 2002) No new information, but I've changed my legal info. I'm now carrying my guide on my own website; you can find the URL at the bottom of the document. v1.6 (24 December 2002) Added a bunch of formations. v1.5a (19 November 2002) Added one offensive formation. v1.5 (12 November 2002) One new offensive formation has been added, and a reader contributed a way to block field goals. v1.4 (23 September 2002) Four new formations have been added, all of them offensive. v1.3 (21 September 2002) My birthday is tomorrow, so I'm taking it off as far as my FAQ writing is concerned. Today though is a medium-sized update. I've got several formations, and someone offered a tip for trading that I actually use but never wrote in the guide. Finally, Nlfr123 (Nlfr123@aol.com) was kind enough to correct a bit of my grammar and spelling mistakes. For future reference, if you think I'll ever be offended by getting spelling/grammar corrections, trust me, I won't be. I actually like people editing my work to pick out those swapped letters or wrong tenses, just don't be rude about it. ^_^ v1.2 (17 September 2002) I have a few things to add. First, NIKEBURE10 (NIKEBURE10@aol.com) confirmed my theory of how to unlock those blasted Madden Cards of which you need another EAS game. I've had a couple of formations that were submitted, and I've got a small history lesson on why the Texans are named the Texans. You can find the story under the Texans' part of the team list. v1.1 (13 September 2002) Friday the 13th? Oy... well, I've added a new subsection: 14d, which is submitted formations. Speaking of that, I've added a few notes to the Offensive Plays subsection. I've answered the question "How do I unlock the cards that need other games?" in section 17. I've added a few notes on online play in section 20. Lastly, I've added Onside Kick to section 6. And please, I'm begging you, don't send me about any e-mails about how the Texans won and the Steelers lost in week 1. I'm still bitter. v1.0b (05 September 2002) Two more corrections. The first comes from Mike Hickok (firstname.lastname@example.org), where he corrects what KOS stands for. The other comes from both Joe Shmoe (email@example.com) and DoubleLimit28 (DoubleLimit28@aol.com) for correcting me in saying that the Redskins' LOLB #57 is LaVar Arrington, not Donte' Curry. That's the last damn time I use Yahoo! Sports for a source. v1.0a (03 September 2002) Someone told me that I had the teams for two players wrong, so I've corrected that. When I made the player lists, I kept mixing up the logos for the Eagles and Seahawks for some reason, and I ended up putting Tra Thomas and Troy Vincent in Seattle, not Philly where they belong. v1.0 (30 August 2002) First release. +--------------------+ |+------------------+| ||29. COPYRIGHT INFO|| |+------------------+| +--------------------+ This document is copyright 2002-2003 for J. "PyroFalkon" Habib. If you plan to use any of it as part of another FAQ, you need my permission first. However, if you plan to post it on a website or e-mail it to someone or whatnot, you may do so without my permission AS LONG AS IT IS NOT ALTERED IN ANY WAY. I'd like you to drop me an e-mail so I know where you're going to take it, but I will not require you to do so. You may download it or print it at your leisure. The most updated version will always be found at these sites: http://www.gamefaqs.com/ http://faqs.ign.com/ Other sites may have up-to-date versions, but check GameFAQs or IGN first. +------------------+ |+----------------+| ||30. CONTACT INFO|| |+----------------+| +------------------+ If any information is incorrect, or you wish to submit something, please e-mail me. My address is found on the bottom of the FAQ. Credit will be given where it's due. If you submit something to me, I will credit you by the name you signed in the message body or by the name attached to your e-mail. I will also post your e-mail address unless you specifically tell me not to. If you wish to be e-mailed when this FAQ is updated, send your request to me. If you have a junk mail protector on your e-mail program, make sure you put my e-mail address on the safe list, or my messages may not get through. firstname.lastname@example.org Good luck in Madden NFL 2003, unless you're playing as the Texans, in which I hope you lose and your PlayStation 2 explodes! HA HA HA!