When it comes to the realm of sports video games it’s about art imitating life. In the case of Madden ’18, gamers will have an opportunity to create their own NFL experience. Essentially, gamers will accept the virtual role of general manager or head coach to alter the fate of their favorite teams and players.
Last Thursday, at a town hall gathering for season ticket holders, Colts owner Jim Irsay made some bold declarations about multiple Super Bowl titles in the team’s future:
“I’ve said it before – we’re into plural Lombardis,” Irsay said. “That’s what our goal is. And I’ll be damned if we don’t go out and get them.”
That’s a statement one expects from Irsay, one of the league’s more candid owners. But he says this as the Colts star quarterback Andrew Luck recovers from surgery to his throwing shoulder. The procedure took place in January and Luck has yet to throw a football.
Obviously, the team is being cautious with Luck’s recovery. They can’t risk their franchise quarterback suffering any setbacks before the regular season.
However, when Luck does return, he’ll lineup behind the same offensive line that allowed 44 sacks (5th most in NFL) and 128 quarterback hits (worst in the NFL).
If Luck can’t be kept upright, the odds of him leading the Colts to multiple Super Bowls wins are slim to none. That’s where Madden gamers can step in.
They can act as owner or general manager of the Colts and assemble a better offensive line. That’d give them a greater chance of backing Irsay’s boast than Irsay himself.
Iconic video game publisher Electronic Arts (EA) held their EA Play 2017 event this past weekend. The three-day convention showcased EA’s 2017 lineup of games which included Madden ’18. This year’s edition of Madden introduces a new cinematic story mode entitled “Longshot”.
The story’s main character is Devin Wade, a former high school football star with NFL aspirations.
Longshot is a divergence from the norm in sports gaming. Typically, gamers create a character of their own who they develop over the course of a professional career. In Longshot, they will step into Wade’s shoes and make decisions that will alter the story’s outcome.
There was mixed reaction to EA’s announcement. Some gamers view Longshot as a waste of resources. Meanwhile, others are intrigued and view it with an open mind. Regardless, Longshot is a refreshing addition to sports gaming and draws some parallels to the experiences of real-life NFL players.
Jaylon Smith has been one of the NFL’s more intriguing storylines ever since the Dallas Cowboys drafted him 34th overall in 2016.
Smith, a former two-time All-American linebacker at Notre Dame, was the consensus top defensive prospect in the country in 2015. Unfortunately, against Ohio State in the 2016 Fiesta Bowl, Smith tore his ACL and LCL , suffering nerve damage in a catastrophic left knee injury.
Following successful surgery to repair the ligaments, a different timetable began – the wait for his peroneal nerve to regenerate. Without the nerve firing, Smith was unable to lift his left foot. However, with the aid of a brace, he was able to perform limited drills before the 2016 NFL draft.
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 23, 2016
Still, the uncertainty surrounding Smith’s recovery hurt his draft stock. Analysts speculated on just how far he’d fall. Nonetheless, on Day 2 of the draft, surrounded by family and friends, an emotional Smith received a call from the Cowboys:
Though Smith sat out his entire rookie season, reports in recent months indicate remarkable progress. Last Wednesday, Smith participated in a public practice for the first time with teammates.
Whether or not he plays in 2017 is unknown. He remains in a brace until the Cowboys medical staff deems otherwise.
Until then, an avid gamer can control the Cowboys in Madden ’18 and put Jaylon Smith into the starting lineup. In a virtual world, he can be what he was originally on track to becoming – one of the NFL’s best defensive players. But based on the sheer will of this young man, reality will soon catch up.