Best console football game?

I don’t watch football and only barely keep apprised of NCAA and NFL current events. However, I really enjoy the game, especially the strategic/statistical side, and in my teenage and college years, I played Madden on the genesis (original, madden 93, and madden 94) to death. Later, I got hooked on Jim Gindin’s excellent Front Office Football and The College Years series.

I’ve watched the console market improve visually and aurally to such an immersive level that I yearn to relive my old madden days. Moreover, I’m intrigued by the strategic/statistical components that all franchises have incorporated (to a greater or lesser degree).

I recently rented Madden for my newly acquired XBox 360, and I’m blown away. Although the game is a blast to play, I’m a very disappointed with the limited strategic elements (apparently watered down in the 360 version).

So, I did a little research on the available franchises, and it appears that the highest rated franchise in recent history is NFL 2k5. I understand that this franchise has been eliminated due to EA’s exclusivity with the NFL. What I wonder is whether Madden 2006 on ps2/xbox or madden 2006 on the xbox 360 are considered superior games. What say you? Is NFL 2k5 still the pinnacle of console football? If so, should I get it for the ps2 or xbox?

As an aside, numerical ratings for annual releases of a sports game are very misleading. What we really need to know is if a newer release is a better game. If it is, does it make sense to rate it lower than the previous version? If not, why would anybody buy it? Updated rosters? If so, aren’t updated rosters marginalized by the availability of a long term franchise mode?

Gamespot’s recent rating of Madden are a good example. Madden 2004 was rated 9.1, Madden 2005 a 9.0, and Madden 2006 a 8.2. Does that imply that 2004 is superior to 2006? And is the xbox version truly a 7.4 (whatever that really means)?

Madden '94
Blood Bowl

Fuck the roster updates.

Madden 94 was indeed awesome (although I like '93 on the genesis better). And the gameplay probably still holds up today (if it was fun 12 years ago, it’s still fun now). However, it lacks a substantial franchise mode, since, as I recall, you could only play a single season. Moreover, going back this far tends to hurt my eyes. For example, I was disappointed with old school Utimas because of blocky graphics and clunky interfaces.

The last football game I purchased was NFL 2k5. I still play it to this day. Heck, I just played two onlines games today (and won them :D ). Best football game ever made, no ifs ands or butts.

I second that on NFL 2k5. If you have an Xbox obviously get that version -purely for the graphical upgrade. Just be prepared to remap the white and black buttons to the triggers since, at least for me, it was difficult to get a stiff arm in and still be able to pull off moves with the default controls.

I’m still pissed the NFL sold out to EA. We really got screwed on that one. The least they could have done is allow for roster updates for 2K5 since that would have made every Madden in the foreseeable future irrelevant to me.

I played a lot of 2K5 - it was the first football game I’d really gotten into in about a decade. Very fun.

Picked up this year’s Madden (2006?), and was disappointed - only played with it for an hour or so. The controls just seem too complex, and the passer vision cone thing is just un-fun.

Tecmo Bowl.

Everything has been downhill since.


Tecmo bowl was a blast.

Madden, any of them, is always fun against another human. Never played NFL2K5 but heard good things about it.

NFL 2k5 is tops, hands down.

Madden 2006 for XBox/PS2 is neat if you like the Create-a-Superstar Mode, but 2k5 plays better, IMO.

I still have fond memories of Mutant League Football for the Genesis, though.