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How to Build a Super Bowl Champion in Madden

To achieve the pinnacle of success in the virtual football world, one must build a team with really good players and a bit of video game smarts.

The New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons took separate paths to take part in one of the most memorable Super Bowls of all time, but they both fit the mold of success.

The Patriots have been at the top of the football world for the last decade and a half. They've built a consistent winner. The Falcons, meanwhile, have took some time to get to their first Super Bowl since 1999. The Patriots have had the same general structure for many years while the Falcons have had to tweak their plans during the same span.

But the point is if you're in the middle of a franchise and trying to win a Super Bowl, you're going to need a plan. These two teams came up with a plan, and you can execute a plan if you have the right mindset in Madden.

1. You Need The Quarterback

Just like these teams need Tom Brady and Matt Ryan, you need a signal caller. A good one. And if you're lucky enough to develop quarterbacks like these two, you're almost guaranteed to be in contention right away.

Ryan's ratings have leaped since the start of the year. Going into the Super Bowl, the Falcons' franchise quarterback possessed ratings of 94 throw power, 98 short accuracy, 94 medium accuracy and 88 deep accuracy. Oh, and he has 73 speed and an 89 rating when throwing on the run, so feel free to escape the pocket when needed.

Don't forget Brady, either. Despite playing in only 12 regular season games, the four-time Super Bowl MVP posted a similar 95 overall to Ryan, but had a slight advantage in throw ratings. He still has the stellar throw power at 95, followed with a 99 short accuracy, 97 medium and 87 deep. Brady even has an 85 throw on the run, but at his age and 60 speed, don't go mental and do that.

These ratings are scary good, especially for Brady. For a game predicated on affecting ratings as players get older, Brady is still the cream of the crop. Ryan hasn't been this desired of a quarterback since 2013, and this is by far his best year ever. His Madden stock has never been higher, and these ratings are a testament to that.

Point being, your goal should not be to replicate the 2000 Baltimore Ravens by playing Trent Dilfer every week. Getting someone with near-perfect throw ratings is a good start. Make sure he has a hint of speed to get away from some of these quick pass rushers. You can do this the harder by drafting one and developing him. Or, you can play as the Dallas Cowboys and turn Dak Prescott into a superstar. I won't judge.

2. Get The Playmaker

Ryan has a 98 overall wide receiver to throw to. In real life, Jones' rating is probably a 298 because the things Jones does shouldn't be legal.

Not many receivers, even in Madden, should be 6-foot-3 and possess 94 speed, 95 agility and 97 catch to go with 96 route running. How in the world do you even stop that? Not even a double team helps that most of the time. Jones has the speed to take the top off the defense (that 98 beat press rating helps a lot) and the height to leap over any defensive back in the area (thank goodness for a 97 spectacular catch, right?). And, oh yeah, he has a 96 jump, as well.

But sometimes the receiver isn't the only playmaker. In the case of the Patriots, Rob Gronkowski does things a receiver can do -- only he's much bigger and probably scares every breathing soul covering him over the middle.

Gronkowski didn't play on Sunday, but you get the idea. He was the Madden cover athlete for a reason. Gronk held on to a 99 overall rating. That makes sense. Then you start looking at his other ratings:

-84 speed
-88 acceleration
-95 catching
-89 route running

Having the star quarterback is one thing. Having someone like a Julio or Gronk catching those passes is another animal entirely. The position doesn't matter, just the skill.

3. Have Good Depth

This is a perfect segue to the Patriots and how they got it done on Sunday. You'll need some solid depth behind your stars (James White!), and both teams possess that.

New England had gotten outstanding contributions from Martellus Bennett leading into the Super Bowl, and he was solid yet again on Sunday. Bennett leapfrogged to an 89 overall rating with 89 catching and 80 route running. His 6-foot-6 frame gives him that Gronk-like factor in the vertical game, which does wonders for his 85 spectacular catch. He's not as fast as Gronk (Marty B. has a 78 speed), but Brady is fortunate to have other weapons in the passing game to open up the field.

Julian Edelman is New England's top wide receiver, but has attributes tailored more to being a slot threat. The 86 speed isn't alarming, but he's quick with 91 agility, 88 elusiveness and can catch a lot of passes with that 90 catch rating. Then there's Chris Hogan, who is now an 82 overall with 88 speed. He even has the best hands on the team with 92 catching after his three-touchdown day in the AFC Championship. And buried down at No. 5 on the depth chart is Michael Floyd -- the tallest receiver on the roster, capable of making absurd catches in Madden. The names don't jump off the page, but Brady makes them better. Give a good quarterback some depth and see what damage you can do.

The same goes for the Falcons. Behind Julio stands Mohamed Sanu, a perfect Roddy White replacement; and Taylor Gabriel, who may emerge as one of the best slot receivers in football. Sanu is 6-foot-2 with 88 speed and 89 catching. He's also a four-year pro, so that ceiling is going to get higher (much like that 90 spectacular catch, am I right?). Gabriel is fast, quick and can catch. That 93 speed/86 catch combo coming out of the slot, and only as a two-year pro, is salivating (ENDLESS DROOLING).

Depending on your offense, one of these styles is possibly the perfect mold for you. Having an abundance of route runners sounds appealing, but so does having speed and guys who can jump over anybody. Depth is key, whether a star is hurt or another star is commanding a lot of attention.

4. Stick To A Plan On Defense

This plan has no substance if you're building like the Patriots because I'm sure New England doesn't even have a clue what they do half the time with its defensive personnel.

They traded Jamie Collins and the Patriots are still a collection of football cyborgs that do no wrong most of the time. The reason being is the work the Patriots do in the secondary. Malcolm Butler has gone from unknown Super Bowl hero to a 91 overall with 90 man coverage and 93 zone coverage. His press may be standard at 83, but Butler can still snag interceptions in this game like he's the second coming of Darrelle Revis. Logan Ryan can also hold his own with 84 man coverage and 87 zone. Sometimes, having good corners is more than enough to offset a lack of a pass rush. Unfortunately, Chris Long at 78 overall isn't enough to get constant pressure in Madden.

The Falcons don't have the star power on defense...yet. There's so much youth on this squad, it's scary, and they're led by the league's sack leader Vic Beasley. Not many 82-overall players at 24 years old can command a 91 finesse move rating and record double-digit sacks while playing outside linebacker in a 4-3 base defense. Dan Quinn's defense is so schematically perfect for Beasley that he moves to defensive end in nickel packages, and his overall goes up to an 84. That's just unfair.

Atlanta's secondary may in time become the second coming of the Legion of Boom. Jalen Collins, the Falcons' second-round pick last year, has bumped up to an 85 man coverage corner in his second season with 90 speed. Robert Alford is more tailored to be a slot corner with his 93 speed, but his 81 man coverage is the best Atlanta can do. He's also just a three-year pro so he'll probably get better.

And we need to talk about Keanu Neal, the first-round pick in the 2016 NFL Draft. He's an 83 overall with 87 speed, 78 pursuit and 87 zone coverage.

He's a dang rookie. Come on, now.

The Falcons' approach is to build defense through the draft, and that seems to be working. That also goes to show that might not be the worst route if you're trying to build a contender from the ground up. You're one good draft pick from snagging a Beasley or Neal in the early-to-mid first round. If that's your plan, stick with it and don't deter from it.


Member Comments
# 1 maafla1 @ 02/10/17 11:04 AM
Points well taken...but having a great QB when PLAYING Madden doesn't mean anything if you are not a good player to begin with - like me!
 
# 2 KingV2k3 @ 02/10/17 11:09 AM
Most of the default rosters have "less than" offensive lines to begin your first season with...

As a result, the quickest, easiest, way to build a winner is to focus on the OL...

You can have straight up "roadkill" at the skill positions if you have all day to pass the ball and giant holes to run the ball through...

The generated draft classes have 75+ OL thought out all rounds of the draft, who are cheap and can be quick to progress...

Over a couple of drafts, you can easily turn your line into something akin to DAL's and have similar results...without having to find, draft, or pay the "Triplets"...

While that process is ongoing, target the positions on D that the AI values most: SS / MLB / FS / OLB.

Lastly, make sure you have players that can generate a more than respectable pass rush...

The key to "coverage" in this title, is forcing the ball out ASAP...
 
# 3 threattonature @ 02/10/17 04:24 PM
For me QB is the last position I worry about since the difference between great QBs and bad ones are negligible. Even bad QBs can make the majority of the throws at a high percentage. I focus on building offensive and defensive lines first and foremost with playmakers at WR and TE.
 
# 4 JoshC1977 @ 02/10/17 07:19 PM
I tend to focus on the following:

On Offense:
1. O-line...absolutely critical to have a good O-line
2. Once established on the O-line, a solid QB is vital. There is such a HUGE difference between using a great QB and a bad QB in this game.

On Defense:
1. Pass Rush
2. Great cover corners
 
# 5 timhere1970 @ 02/11/17 07:00 AM
As there are many ways to skin a cat there are many ways to build a super bowl team. I sim a lot of games so my team can't just win based on my madden abilities. I am not saying I am great at madden but I can take the Browns to the super bowl on all madden in the first year if I played all the games. That is why I sim most games to force me to build a team. A great qb is a must in the sim engine, without one you are not going to win a lot of games. That has to be number one priority. I also make sure he has the clutch trait.
 
# 6 SpyPirates @ 02/11/17 10:51 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by threattonature
For me QB is the last position I worry about since the difference between great QBs and bad ones are negligible...
Quote:
Originally Posted by JoshC1977
I tend to focus on the following:

...
2. Once established on the O-line, a solid QB is vital. There is such a HUGE difference between using a great QB and a bad QB in this game...
It's great how we can play the same video game with the same engine, calculations, etc. and have such drastically different opinions, isn't it? :-)

I think the QB is important in Madden, but not as important as in RL. Unless you're using the sim engine, you can still move the ball pretty effectively with average QBs. My CFM team has Aaron Rodgers, but he has frequently been injured, so I've observed the difference in how my team plays with and without him on a few occasions:

Year 1: Rodgers went down when I was the hot team in the league and I replaced him with Drew Stanton. I couldn't win a game to save my life using either play the moments or playing the whole game. Accuracy was a minor issue--it just seemed like even when throwing accurately into favorable matchups, I wasn't getting good "dice rolls". I think QB accuracy affects catch chance regardless of how accurate the pass seems to be thrown on the screen, creating a hidden advantage for high-tier QBs.

The next couple of years Rodgers went down, I was able to replace him with a high caliber QB on a rookie contract I drafted (~80 OVR). The drop off was noticeable, but he was much better than Drew Stanton, and my team had improved a bit since the Stanton Era, so we more or less didnt miss a beat. In fact, one year Rodgers was out from ~week 10 through the conference championship, so my new QB had to lead us to the Super Bowl--and I promptly benched him for Rodgers in the big game. We lost. I could only imagine the hot takes calling for Rodgers's head if that had happened in RL!

Apart from the QB position, I think the WR-CB matchups are very important in Madden, so using draft capital/cap space on those are the best strategy IMO. But I still like to build up my team at all positions just for the fun of it, so I've got a mean DT (he's a beast but does not impact the game as much as a 94 OVR player should), a good OL, and even good special teamers.
 
# 7 NewscasterNews4 @ 02/11/17 10:55 AM
The saying is, defense wins championships. In my Detroit Lions franchise, my first priority was to build up a great defense and go from there.

I began by building up the secondary. With a lockdown corner in Darius Slay in place, I drafted CB Teez Tabor #5 overall in 2017 (who honestly isn't that good lol), SS Malik Hooker #6 overall in 2018 (a stud) and FS Brandon Jones in the 2nd round in 2019. These 4 players anchor a defense that has a lackluster pass rush and help mask that.

For offense, I started by drafting HB Samaje Perine in the 1st round in 2017, and over the next couple of seasons I built up the o-line. My receivers are a bunch of later round picks with elite speed but they can't catch lol. But, when they catch the ball, they can take any pass to the house. These guys fit in perfectly with my rookie QB, who has lackluster arm strength but is extremely accurate on short passes.

I'm currently in year 4, and the Lions are 10-3, a win away from winning the NFC North for the first time since 1993 and making the playoffs for the first time since 2014.

Feel free to check out every game from the series so far here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?lis...t8WhyUSu8w1Ntf
 
# 8 Splice @ 02/13/17 11:29 PM
Rebuilding the OL through the draft is the only way to go. You can find quick/superstar development lineman in all rounds of the draft, and get their run blocking up to 90+ within 2-3 seasons, then focus on awareness and other blocking attributes. I don't really care about pass block ratings because I user the QB anyways and my custom playbook is full of quick passes.

Having a star HB is also key. You don't need a 90+ overall halfback, but traits matter a ton with breaking tackles and establishing a productive run game. I personally draft somebody with 90+ speed, upgrade all the traits, then focus on carrying and ball carrier move attributes then awareness/ball carrier vision last just to boost overall rating.

I personally don't bother too much with WR/TE positions, because I hardly notice a difference in ratings, besides having a "star" receiver with all of the catching traits and 90+ attributes that you can just throw the ball up to when you're desperate, but that type of player isn't needed. Same thing for TE. I don't really know if it's coverage mechanics or run routing animations, but pass defense is just terrible this year. You can have a 74 speed 65 route running blocking TE get 5 yards separation on an out route against elite safeties and corners.

On the DL, I actually prefer linemen with low block shedding attributes, because I want my linebackers to get more tackles for statistics purposes. I run 4-3 and typically fill the line with fast agile pass rushers.

For the LB, I like fast backers with 80+ zone coverage and block shedding/pursuit.

For DB, it doesn't really matter, because as I said either pass coverage or run route animations just ruins everything, regardless of how good or bad your secondary is. The best thing I do for these positions is upgrade traits to get more interceptions, but I've really seen no difference since year 1 of my Saints CFM to my season now with 85+ overall safeties, a 89 CB1, 83 CB2, and 81 CB3, all with 80+ zone coverage and play recognition.
 
# 9 Ruben2424 @ 02/17/17 12:06 AM
I usually build my team through the draft with a couple of free agent additions to key positions. This year though, I picked up 3 hidden gems during the preseason of my 1st year in my Dolphins franchise. I picked up a very fast and dependable running back in Keith Marshall (released by the Redskins), TE Darren Waller (released by the Ravens, this dude is special!!! He's tall and runs like an elite receiver. His speed and acceleration is too much for any linebacker in the league. He lead my team in receiving yards, receiving TD's AND catches! His only downside is his low pass and run blocking attributes. I use him as a TE/WR hybrid so he fits my offensive scheme perfectly!), and WR Dezmin Lewis (releases by the Bills) this guy is a nightmare for any defense in the red zone. He's also a very tall/fast receiver with a high spectacular catch rating...so it's basically lob it up there and he'll go get it. Period. These 3 additions helped me get Ryan Tannehill into the Pro Bowl as well as a reaching the AFC championship game. Although I lost to the Chiefs 41-45, these 3 players shined as they did all season long. The only reason I lost the game was because of the amount of injuries on defense. We couldn't stop anything! In the off-season, I was able to sign all 3 guys to long term contracts due to their "low overall" ratings basically for free! I then focused on reloading a defense which already had a monster D-line (Williams, Phillips, Suh, Wake). I drafted a speedy linebacker who could cover with my first pick, drafted a stud CB with my second pick, and added some depth to the o-line with the later picks. I won the Super Bowl the following season. The future looks bright for this team!
 
# 10 Xpider @ 02/17/17 01:59 AM
It's very straightforward:

1. Offensive line first and foremost, unless you're in the position to draft a potential surefire superstar QB

2. Defensive line next. If you play a 4-3, scout the 4-3 run stoppers or balanced DE. Those with decent strength can be converted into DTs.

3. Start with one good CB, then 2 good LBs for 4-3. You don't need a 3rd (he doesn't play in nickel and dime packages)

4. Get a good coverage FS. They are abundant in the draft, and CB with B+ zone coverage in the later rounds can also converted to FS. Make sure they have decent tackling and pursuit skills.

5. Avoid drafting 24-year-olds unless they are REALLY good to begin with. That is because once they hit age 26, the cost of upgrade increases substantially.


If you're starting your franchise with crap teams like Cleveland or 49ers, just do the above and your team will be dominant in 2-3 years. The CFM, unfortunately, is VERY easy once you get a hang of it. NEVER waste your early picks on HB and WR unless you run into a freak. You can sign short term FAs for those positions. I can even forgive someone for picking a TE with a late first or 2nd round pick, since a good one with decent speed and acceleration can absolutely destroy LBs and safeties covering him.

If you want a more challenging experience, do the following:

1. Disable trading altogether. CPU draft logic is atrocious. No hoarding draft picks.

2. Reduce your own salary cap. I usually keep at least 30 mil of cap space left every year. This forces me to draft well, and more importantly let some of my FAs go in later years to prevent having a stacked team.

3. Force sim at least half your games during the season.

4. No gold medal in training. Silver at most.

5. No signing FAs with rating 85 or higher. Do it the Patriots way.

Last but not least, do go lobby ball vs the AI... play sim. There's no point of playing CFM if you're gonna exploit the game.
 
# 11 timhere1970 @ 02/17/17 08:02 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by Xpider
It's very straightforward:

1. Offensive line first and foremost, unless you're in the position to draft a potential surefire superstar QB

2. Defensive line next. If you play a 4-3, scout the 4-3 run stoppers or balanced DE. Those with decent strength can be converted into DTs.

3. Start with one good CB, then 2 good LBs for 4-3. You don't need a 3rd (he doesn't play in nickel and dime packages)

4. Get a good coverage FS. They are abundant in the draft, and CB with B+ zone coverage in the later rounds can also converted to FS. Make sure they have decent tackling and pursuit skills.

5. Avoid drafting 24-year-olds unless they are REALLY good to begin with. That is because once they hit age 26, the cost of upgrade increases substantially.


If you're starting your franchise with crap teams like Cleveland or 49ers, just do the above and your team will be dominant in 2-3 years. The CFM, unfortunately, is VERY easy once you get a hang of it. NEVER waste your early picks on HB and WR unless you run into a freak. You can sign short term FAs for those positions. I can even forgive someone for picking a TE with a late first or 2nd round pick, since a good one with decent speed and acceleration can absolutely destroy LBs and safeties covering him.

If you want a more challenging experience, do the following:

1. Disable trading altogether. CPU draft logic is atrocious. No hoarding draft picks.

2. Reduce your own salary cap. I usually keep at least 30 mil of cap space left every year. This forces me to draft well, and more importantly let some of my FAs go in later years to prevent having a stacked team.

3. Force sim at least half your games during the season.

4. No gold medal in training. Silver at most.

5. No signing FAs with rating 85 or higher. Do it the Patriots way.

Last but not least, do go lobby ball vs the AI... play sim. There's no point of playing CFM if you're gonna exploit the game.

One thing I have figured out in this year's game through a few different franchises is that ten years down the road safeties are a dime a dozen and everybidy has good ones. In Week ONE Of My curRent Season IN A FRANCHISE That Has Players IN THE 70'S STartING ThroughOut The League, Of About 25 Free Agents With overalls above 75 all but one are safeties. I have also noticed when upgrading with xp their overall goes up quickly.
 
# 12 burth179 @ 02/20/17 02:42 PM
1. A QB with a strong arm
2. Speed

That's it.
 

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