Spittin' Game

NFL Head Coach
EA Sports
PS2, Xbox, PC

Madden NFL 07
EA Sports
PSP, PS2, Xbox, Xbox 360, GameCube, GameBoy Advance, Nintendo DS, PC
For every cool thing you get to do in Head Coach (draft players, create plays), you spend two hours reviewing statistics and checking your email. Since Head Coach is more about using a planner than a playbook, I’ve recreated the five days I spent playing the game as an itemized list.

Day 1
After a barrage of pointless questions, my coach is hired by the Dallas Cowboys. Now I begin the long, thankless task of selecting my coach’s outfit.

Day 2
I spend several hours checking my email and reading information. Throw in a cramped cubicle and the creepy guy who’s always offering me a back rub, and I would be playing a video-game version of my actual job.

Day 3
The draft is only 60 virtual days away, so I begin scouting prospects. Actually I have a meeting with my scouting director and tell him to do it. Also, I change my coach’s baseball cap to a visor.

Day 4
The draft. After a lot of debate, I decide to have my coach wear shorts and a knit shirt.

Day 7
Madden 07 comes out.

Since EA bought exclusive rights to the NFL, Head Coach and Madden are the only two football titles coming out this season. Without any actual competition, Madden’s not exactly coasting, but it seems to be running out of ideas.

The main addition this year, lead blocking, is more frustrating than fun. You switch to a lineman or fullback on a run play, open a hole with a crushing block, and switch back to your runner. Unfortunately, the computer controls the running back while you’re blocking, and it often chooses to eat turf instead of following you. The one complaint the game draws year after year, the horrible commentary, has yet to be improved. Still, it is Madden, and it’s the only real choice. You probably already have it.