From the gridiron to the gamepad: How NFL realism makes it into Madden.

A firsthand account of John Madden’s “man cave.” A rumination on the intricacies of sports A.I.. The question, “Are Sports Games Art?” It might be easier to tell you what isn’t in writer Tom Bissell’s investigation into EA’s Madden franchise. But the part that struck a chord with me is that John Madden is, in fact, heavily involved in designing each iteration, rather than just lending his name to the games.  

Someone, they said, might draw up a new play on the dry-erase board. Coach would, in turn, consider that play, explain why the tight ends would be better off doing something else, get up, uncap a marker, and amend the proposed play. That’s one of the littler ways in which Coach improves Madden. Every member of the dev team to whom I spoke maintained that Coach’s impact on the game was profound, and I don’t think they’re bluffing. Since retiring from broadcasting, moreover, Coach has had more time to engage with the dev team. “He’s more involved now than he’s ever been,” 

-Jason Johnson