In my opinion, what truly hurts Madden besides the obvious game-play flaws is the lack of player's real faces. NBA 2K is one of my favorite sports series of all time because every player's face is in the game and gives it an authenticity like no other.
I fully understand that there are many more players in the NFL than there is the NBA but at least get the majority of the starters. I saw some footage of a pregame video for Madden NFL 13 and they showed Darrelle Revis with his helmet off and it looked literally nothing like him and the same for a clip of Cam Newton *(links below of what I am talking about)...it completely killed it for me and took me right out of the experience.
Don't get me wrong, they have made HUGE strides this year and I am thrilled but this is something that really irks me and please let me know if it bothers anyone else as much as me.