1. Run a team into the ground
Presumably, the goal of Franchise Mode is to turn a team into a long-term contender. But why not try to do the reverse: create an absolutely horrible team that’s bad enough to go 0-16. It’s not hard to make a team bad in the first year of a Franchise; all you have to do is cut every talented starter. The resulting cap penalties from doing so, though, could make the team pretty much unusable in year two. Instead, try creating a bad team that’s financially stable. Simulate all your games and see how long you can make their losing streak go.
2. Create some impossible players
Think of the way you prefer to play the game and then create some fictional players that fit your style perfectly. Try out some fun player profiles like 6’10” wideouts with 99 jumping ability or 350 pound bowling balls at halfback. Push the limits of the game’s physics and see if you can create the most dominant player ever.
In Madden NFL 12, Tim Tebow is still a Bronco after all.
3. Win a game without passing then without running an offensive play.
By this point, if you’re still playing last year’s Madden, you probably can beat the CPU with little or no effort. But what if you remove half your playbook and don’t let yourself throw the ball? All of a sudden, it’s not so easy, as the CPU (or your human opponent) begins to pick up on the patterns you’re using and to realize that there’s no need to defend the pass. For an even greater challenge, try winning without running a play from scrimmage – you’ll need to rely on your defense and return teams to generate points, or hope that you gain possession of the ball in field goal range.
4. Conduct a fantasy draft with a theme
The fantasy draft at the beginning of Franchise Mode is a little-used feature that offers some entertainment potential. Try drafting only rookies or the oldest available player at the position you’re drafting. Tallest, shortest, heaviest, lightest – use your imagination, come up with a fun drafting criterion, and see what kind of team you can put together.
5. Play an even older Madden game
Every used video game store should have a large stack of old Madden games that cost no more than a dollar or two. For the same price as renting a movie, you can get a few hours of entertainment out of exploring Madden’s past. Find an old version with the maddening (no pun intended) weightlifting mini-game, or go back to when Jamarcus Russell was still useful. Plus, it’s a good reminder that as much as we complain about a lack of progress in the series, things do change.