The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 12
Watching Jon Bois tear Madden apart with its own systems and idiosyncrasies was a joy over the course of this NFL season - I also think he has a great first name. Even when my Panthers lost in the playoffs, I still had something to look forward to - the season was still going on so there would still be more Breaking Madden features. Unfortunately, the feature was never meant to last. The season is over and Breaking Madden is complete, at least for the time being. All of the messing around Bois did with the creation engine in Madden got me thinking of ways to do the same, and I figured the perfect place to start was in a similar spot. Hopefully I'll get to branch into other games with player creation in the future.
It's the off-season, the time to resign and look ahead to the draft. The NFL is abuzz with analysts and coaches who echo the same sentiment. Today's NFL is a passing league. There's definitely support for the idea in stats and personnel. Four-thousand yard passing seasons are fairly commonplace in the modern NFL. Peyton Manning broke the single season touchdown record by a whopping five scores this year and threw for over 5,000 yards. Drew Brees also climbed over the 5,000 yard mark this passed year and in the process brought his total number of 5,000 yard seasons to four. The last six of eight total 5,000 yard seasons came since 2011.
Some of the most well known players are wide receivers and quarterbacks, and a lack of consistency has seen premier running backs shrink into a small group of ever shifting names and faces. The biggest talk in this year's draft class are the pass catchers, throwers and anyone who can counter them. The NFL is inundated with talk of prototypical players, which got me thinking: What is a prototypical player even supposed to be? In the NFL it means someone who possesses ideal traits, but in the real world a prototype is just something unfinished. It's a fancy word for a work in-progress, and doesn't denote the ideal form of anything. To me, that means it's open to interpretation.
So, what if I created a new prototype? What if I changed the face of the NFL before the league became a pass happy Drew Brees wonderland? What if - before Calvin Johnson, AJ Green, Josh Gordon or Dez Bryant - the most dominant running back in the history of the game was drafted? "Madden '09" turned out to be the perfect fit for shaping an alternate future NFL.
The rules in this case were simple. Create a running back in Superstar mode - in this case using "Madden '09" because it creates a slightly more interesting run up to the draft while also allowing Superstar created players to start immediately - and make sure said running back has the most dominant first season anyone has ever seen from any player ever. I wasn't allowed to import an old NCAA player, I wasn't allowed to create a player for the franchise mode, it had to be created from scratch in Superstar mode so I'd be playing with terrible stats for at least a portion of the season.
[Hopefully my decision to use videos instead of what would have been terrible gifs due to size limits doesn't mess anyone up here.]
Meet The Prototype, pride of Trucksville, North Dakota. At a whopping 400lbs and a stout 5' 5", he's exactly the opposite of the ideal NFL player. He's rather slow, possessing just a 75 in speed, and extremely weak for a power back, with strength in the low 50s. (To be honest, I forgot how to do those silly drills and didn't really care, because I wanted him to be terrible anyways.) He dresses like a lineman, all padded up for the inevitable piles, fingers and ankles covered in tape, gut protruding to an impressive level. Everything about him is the opposite of NFL ready and to put it bluntly, The Prototype is fairly bad at football when I'm not controlling him.
On a side note, Jon Bois spent a lot of time during his Breaking Madden pieces theorizing Madden knew he was mocking it and attempting to exact revenge. It would appear "Madden '09" is more successful than "Madden 25" at doing so, as it drafted my player to The 49ers just a few weeks after the Niners booted my Panthers from the post-season race. The draft wouldn't be the last time my favorite team's playoff loss was drudged up as the game attempted to shame me for my transgressions.
I decided to have a little fun with the preseason, and by fun I mean beat my head against the wall of All-Pro level Madden. The Prototype had a rough time of things in the preseason, with only one game over 50 yards rushing and only one touchdown. Struggles are to be expect from a rookie feeling out the NFL turf for the first time, but at least he tried. He tried so very, very hard. He failed miserably in most cases, but it's the thought of the block that counts, right?
I'm not sure what was most impressive about The Prototype's first and only preseason TD. Was it the 50+ yard length? The broken tackle on the edge? His ability to even make it to the endzone at all with his goofy little gait? I'm going to say no to all of those things. Instead, I'm going to suggest the most impressive element is The Raiders being so bad they couldn't even run down the slowest offensive player on Madden's second hardest difficulty level. Chin up Oakland, you can't possibly be bad forever... I think. Don't quote me on that.
In The Prototype's only other spectacular preseason moment, he turned Lance Briggs, one of the leagues best linebackers for most of the past decade, into a sack of potatoes. I doubt anything even close has happened to Lance Briggs in his NFL career, but what can I say? The Prototype takes no prisoners. This was the first of many, and I wish I had enough storage and time to capture every moment when The Prototype leveled another player. I don't though, so you get this and a couple others, and we all walk away as happy as collectively possible. I swear, I'll clear some space for the next one.
When the regular season opener versus the Cardinals rolled around, it was time to open up the flood gates; to unleash a year in which a small, rotund man scored 48 rushing touchdowns, snagged 7 receiving touchdowns, racked up 3,500 rushing yards, and hauled-in 600 yards worth of catches; by which I mean I turned the difficulty down to rookie, transforming every player into a blubbering fool barely worth his own weight in manure from The Prototype's small-town Trucksville farm. His 380 yard start against the Cardinals was especially surprising, considering the only stat buffing Superstar "role" available to me for the first third of the season was Rookie - which gives a boost to toughness and stamina.
Madden tried desperately to stop me from amassing a 75% completion rating on the Superstar mode's Hall of Fame index in just one season, it really honestly did. To start off with, the '08-'09 49ers were the same team that floundered under Alex Smith. He unsurprisingly played like a giant pile of turd in Madden, with the most common bad play being the often immediate decisions to run on passing plays culminating in Smith's inability to reach the line of scrimmage To top that off, my starting center went out of the first game with injury and was replaced by a guy with a 75 in the "run blocking" category. The game also took advantage of a lack of saving on my part to freeze my PS3 and cost me 3 games worth of progress, knowing if I were to sim those games I would lose any chance of a perfect season thanks to The Prototype's mediocre abilities. All of this came along with a coach who absolutely refused to let The Prototype run the football in goal-line situations, choosing instead to run play action and take a sack every time.
Over 1,500 of The Prototype's 3,500 rushing yards came after the 89 tackles he broke during the season, and it's not hard to see why when he runs people over so convincingly. I'm not sure it's fair to count yards after contact when he's so clearly just baiting them into hitting him though. Despite a low strength rating, The Prototype flipped other players around like rag dolls the whole season - including resident massive human-being DeMarcus Ware of The Dallas Cowboys. In case you were wondering, yes, he can take the hits he dishes out. It's remarkable the Rams player survived having such a dense human being on top of him. Not all were as fortunate though, and more than one defender broke upon the walls of the human fortress that is The Prototype - 4 to be exact.
Remember when I suggested Madden might be attempting to exact revenge upon me? Well, it won a small victory when The Prototype's unstoppable gold and red train steamrolled my Panthers in the divisional playoffs. At least in Superstar mode I didn't have to watch how impotent my favorite team's offense was in the playoffs for a second time. Naturally, I had to do something special for this so I lined up the two most ridiculously awful plays The Panthers' defense made - which ironically happened within a couple downs of each other - and set it to a slowed version of The Panthers' obscenely terrible 1995 inaugural season fight song. The result was a hauntingly accurate representation of the Madden match-up and it's real life counterpart from almost a month ago.
After handily winning their divisional round match-up, The Prototype and company made The Cowboys look like, well, The Cowboys. After dismantling "America's Team," The 49ers headed to wherever it was The Super Bowl was held in '09 and stomped on The Steelers. There Madden got it's last shot in, mysteriously transforming Troy Polamalu into one of the world's fastest human beings. It seemed like it didn't matter what mistakes Polamalu made, he always managed to stop me from scoring on big runs - he ran completely past me on several occasions but still caught The Prototype, even after Madden's role system allowed me to boost the chubby back's speed to 99. The Steelers in general seemed rather adept at tackling the league's unstoppable man when he otherwise would have scored. The result was a Super Bowl MVP unjustly stolen away from the league's best-worst player.
All in all, as a big guy myself, I was inspired by the rough and tumble play of The Prototype. He wasn't in any way marketable or skilled, but he put up more numbers than a lot of players put up in their entire careers. I don't know what the future holds for The Prototype - Madden '09 makes it a pain to simulate things - but let's all just assume he becomes the greatest player to ever live. It would be almost impossible for him to not waddle his way into the Hall of Fame anyways, and it's not like anyone could stop him if he tried.