EA Sports prides itself on faithfully recreating the National Football League in its Madden series. (If we've heard the phrase "If it's in the game, it's in the game" once, we've heard it ten thousand times.) Still, there are certain elements, both fanciful and realistic, which the NFL requested/demanded that EA remove. Sports Illustrated's Extra Mustard gave us a complete rundown, starting with that infamous ambulance:
If that twangy proto-"Seinfeld" music doesn't spark your nostalgia, the gameplay certainly will. Now, you'll note that in this particular iteration of the game, the ambulance drove straight onto the field, mowing over several players in the process. That seems a short-sighted method of primary care. And the wanton crushing of players off-camera, accompanied by gruesome slopping sounds? Well, that's just plain unnecessary.
Even beyond what appears to be on-field vehicular homicide, the NFL has asked EA to downplay the glorification of injuries in the game, for obvious reasons. Players can't appear to be motionless while being carted off the field, and the designation of "concussion" has been changed to "head injury." Gone as well are the tooth-rattling hit-stick animations, and your tiny overmatched players thank you for that. Oh, and you can't level coaches, refs or photographers on the sideline, either, which is fun but yet another moral slippery slope.
In a more esoteric vein, the NFL forbade EA from letting players monkey around with team colors too much. (No neon Redskins helmets. Sorry.) And celebrations? Just like in the real game, the NFL dropped the hammer on excessive celebration. BOOOOOOOOOO.
The NFL also looks out for its owners' interests, forbidding dynamic attendance shifts (i.e. if your team stinks, nobody shows up). The reason? The Jacksonville Jaguars complained that nobody came to their virtual games either. Yes, that is true.
“We incorporated accurate attendance for all the teams, and Jacksonville always had these terrible turnouts,” one game producer told SI. “The Jags owner got all pissed off when he heard there were empty seats when you played as his team in the game. The team called the NFL and we had to fix it immediately.”
There you have it, then. Madden is close to reality, but not quite. As long as Roger Goodell doesn't start doling out real fines to those of us who like to run up the score on hapless opponents like our parents, all's good.
Check out the complete list right here.