Just want to take a minute and recognize the thousands who play in online Madden leagues and communities. We're all brothers (and sisters) in arms when it comes to lacing up our virtual cleats and taking the field. Disclaimer... This article focuses on a few franchises our staff and myself have participated in and in no way a knock on the countless others not mentioned. Space only allows for so much.
Instead I will focus on three I've been in for years: G4R Madden, True 32 Sim and Fantasy Madden 281. Each has a multi-commish staff for checks and balances and I like the diversity, structure, discipline and leadership they provide. They run year round (since M'13), stay full and advance on time if not early. Some have tried them and found it not to their liking while others revel in them. All good, people have different perceptions of what a credible league is and I'm not here to judge. Let's jump in shall we and get to what makes these 3 stand out for us.
G4R: It's considered the entry point of the 3. It has guidelines in place to keep the hardcore guys challenged and friendly enough to introduce newcomers to franchise play. With live post game conferences by coach G-Love himself what's not to love? Some call it the most sim of the trio but that term is overused in my opinion. No two people will 'ever' agree on what sim is. Its one of the few lgs that has had a female player since 'M25. Over 1/4 of it's original members since day 1 are still here. A cpl members vow this is the 'only' lg for them.
True 32: Rules are a little more loose than G4R and you 'must' be able to take a beating. In fact many have jumped in this league gung-ho only to leave after a brutal initiation by a fellow opponent. It's not lobby by a long shot but you can let your hair down and air it out more. Consider it a cross between G4R and 281. True 32 is one of my personal faves.
Fantasy 281: Some call this the flagship of the 3 and no mercy is shown whatsoever. With limited rules its a notch short of EA's anything goes Madden Tournaments. Picture MUT in franchise mode where teams are full of superstars, some players 99 overall. League has a 'hot seat' where you must win a minimum amount of games each season to stay onboard. It's a refreshing twist and makes you weigh every game heavily. Of course exception to the rule are staff and contributing members who put in countless hours to help keep lg flowing. Get ya weight up fellas, only thing harder than playing in this lg is trying to get in. Members tend to stick around for the long haul.
Note: Article is not a ranking of leagues nor debate forum for what is and what isn't sim. Only an insane person would go down that road. Adjusting rules and sliders does not make a lg sim, neither does having members who are ex football players. They bring a different approach to the game and though insightful is not a be all end all. Its a topic for another day. In short its a video game and meant to be entertaining sim or otherwise. When it ceases to do so no label on the planet will keep you around. Look for other featured lgs in the future.
The latest edition is finally here! Ratings for this game has been all over the charts from impossible to kick field goals to death of the nano-blitz. One thing's for sure EA has done their homework and brought a more complete package to the table on launch day. Oh did we forget to mention we may have a new cover athlete for G4R?... Ron Baylor!
G4R hasn't had a chance to put game through all of it's paces but early indications show new mechanics and engine. I'm going to go on a limb and say guys/ gals who take the time to do training skills (yes that pesky thing we all overlook each edition) may give them an edge over guys they normally would not have. I've watched a few streamed gms last 48hrs and saw numerous upsets. Guys who couldn't get over the hump are there now. For gang busters who are in the playoffs every year... get use to sitting on the sidelines once in awhile this edition. Most of ya skim over basic mechanics b/c game doesn't vary much year to year. Well that all changes and if ya don't have a solid game plan kiss your playoff streak goodbye.
Back to G4R's potential cover athlete. One of our members, Ron Baylor, picked up game a day ago and is already ranked #21 worldwide. In fact when we started writing this story he was ranked #35. He's beaten numerous online guys even the #1 ranked guy by a score of 31-0. We're glad to have him in our lg and he's even started one of his own, Madden 17 Bully league. His true love is basketball and we see him gracing the cover of a NBA franchise down the road. Article is 2 days behind schedule and he's probably in the top 10 now. Lace em up gents as we dive into a new season! -James