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NFL Head Coach 09 Preview

Many thought the negative reception of the first NFL Head Coach would mean there would be no follow-up, but here we are.

What has EA Sports learned from the original version? Let’s say just about everything. The last edition was pretty much a model of what not to do when beginning a new franchise.

This year EA is making sure to keep the player immersed in the world of being a coach. They are doing their best to get rid of the hold-ups and the repetitiveness by keeping the action continuous.

If you don’t want to do pre-season stuff because you think it’s boring and want to get right to the play calling, you have that option now. Didn’t like the tedious calendar navigation for scheduling practices and drills? It’s fixed.

The new system gives you a clipboard and keeps the game moving along at all times. Every decision is made from a new menu scheme regardless of what point of the season it is. This means scouting, training, practices and even picking plays all happen from one convenient user interface.

What has EA Sports learned from the original version? Let’s say just about everything. The last edition was pretty much a model of what not to do when beginning a new franchise.

The game also has a countdown leading to the next moment the coach has to make a decision. If a decision isn’t made in time, a default one is made for them, allowing the game to keep moving and feel more realistic. It’s a nice feature and one that will be welcomed by many that don’t like feeling bogged down.

A welcome option is the ability to start from the 2008 off-season beginning after the Super Bowl. So if your team didn’t draft the player you hoped for, you can change history and make it happen.

You want to draft Matt Ryan with the first pick for the New York Jets, trade up with the Falcons. You want Miami to trade down in the draft and get more value, go ahead. The choices are yours and yours alone. Not that you won’t have the help of your staff to aid in the process, but you get the final say.

 


Head Coach 09 hopes to improve drastically upon the original Head Coach.

No need to worry about the draft this time either. The AI has been revved up like crazy and is hopefully going to make the decisions much more realistic. Stars that surely would go in the top five in real life will not drop to the middle of the 1st round anymore. Teams will also make realistic trades with each other if they feel their guy is going to be taken ahead of them. Let’s just hope they can make this work, because the draft is one of those crucial components that if done right will give reason to come back time and time again.

If your team still has needs after the draft, free agency will be your friend. There’s a new system where teams have to outbid each other on a specific player as if he’s being auctioned off. When a team wins the bid they then get to negotiate a contract, but if both sides are unable to come to terms the free agent returns to the market to be bid on again.

One thing that constantly aggravates people in Madden is the tacked on off-season mode with no true training camp or the ability to make cuts.

Hiring coaches is nicely reformulated as well. You have the ability to hire coaches from the college game who bring with them playbooks from their previous teams, granting the ability to expand on your team’s playbook.


Now many new players will join a team’s roster yearly and their ratings information will be limited. As cut days approach more information will be given to the head coach in order to make the appropriate decisions. At the end there will be an extended roster with 53 total players to have some extra reserves for the grind of the season.

Hiring coaches is nicely reformulated as well. You have the ability to hire coaches from the college game who bring with them playbooks from their previous teams, granting the ability to expand on your team’s playbook.

Also, GMs and coaches hired from within the league will be bid on by offering them more control in attempt to meet their demands. They may want to make changes to the playbook, or roster, or evaluation process. Whatever they want, you better meet their needs or you may find them making a name for themselves with your closest rivals.

What about on the field?
Not all the details have been revealed but the coaches you hire will definitely influence the style of play and the options at your disposal. Subbing players in and out will also play an important strategy in the game by keeping players fresh on the field and creating a need for depth at many positions. Take a note from the Giants’ defensive line last year and you’ll get the drift.

 


While the on-field action is being tuned, the majority of your time will be spent off of the field.

There will even be specific instances during the game where you as the head coach have to make a key decision that will impact your approval rating with the organization and with the team. Success could mean legendary status, but failure could mean demise. These moments will be more apparent and will be a big influence on whether or not you see a big W next to your teams’ name for the week.

Injuries have been revamped as well. The body parts of players have been broken down into group sets that have health ratings. When players make contact with each other they lose health points to specific areas depending on the severity of the contact. The lower the health points the higher the risk of injury. Recovery is dependent on the skill of a team’s trainer as well, so it’s worth spending the cash for a better medical team.

Immerse me!
Adam Schefter of the NFL Network will be making sure you know what’s going on around the league, giving you the latest news with a sports recap show. He even gives updates on rookies throughout the year, many having unique back stories and skills so they don’t feel like some generic character with a couple numbers next to their name. Another impressive feature one can only hope finds its way into other sports games alike.

One thing that is bothersome about Madden games of past has been the static players on the sideline. There seem to be bunch of similar looking camera guys kneeling or standing alongside a bunch of lackadaisical looking players. These guys are commencing in warfare out there on the field; they should be emotional and interacting with each other off the field.

 


Head Coach 09 hopes to be the game its older brother wishes it was.

NFL Head Coach ’09 intends to fix that issue with 300 added animations for the sideline, including kickers warming up, trainers diagnosing injuries, and players chatting away. EA is really trying to make the player feel like they are truly on an NFL Sideline.

They also seem to be implementing the new weather effects into the NFL Head Coach ’09 engine to create a crossover effect between the game and Madden ’09. Just because it’s a text simulator at heart doesn’t mean the graphical interface and look of the game will be lacking.

There is even more synergy between both games with the ability to create plays in Head Coach and import them into your profile for Madden. Not to mention that both versions can be had together in one nice package with the Madden ’09 Collector’s Edition. These are all nice features and really give a reason for gamers to dabble in both games rather then feeling the need to choose one over the other.


NFL Head Coach 09 Videos
Member Comments
# 1 mwjr @ 07/11/08 12:37 PM
I'm actually looking more forward to this game than Madden.
 
# 2 hail2thevictors @ 07/11/08 03:10 PM
Yeah, seems like a good change of pace game for people who like to watch CPU vs. CPU games while still ebing able to influence each and every aspect of a team.
 
# 3 ahunter5 @ 07/11/08 03:36 PM
I honestly can't remember being more excited for a sports game. This, if it's done correctly, will get much more play than Madden or NCAA.
 
# 4 TCF @ 07/11/08 04:05 PM
i ordered the CE version of madden just because i want to get this game before the regular release date. i really am stoked about this game and if it is better than madden then madden gets placed on the shelf

and if it succeeds would be great to see them have the ability to import ncaa rosters.
 
# 5 Bodsy_lol @ 07/11/08 04:58 PM
Loooking forward to it more than madden great game

looks great

feels great.
 
# 6 SPTO @ 07/11/08 05:05 PM
Nice article and the game sounds like it'll be much improved over the first Head Coach. I'll definitely be playing this a lot.
 
# 7 SHAKYR @ 07/11/08 06:30 PM
So are we going to be able to transfer our players from the college game?
 
# 8 ahunter5 @ 07/12/08 01:45 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by SHAKYR
So are we going to be able to transfer our players from the college game?
No. Head Coach uses an entirely different set of ratings than NCAA or Madden. According to the devs, if this game succeeds, they will most likely try to implement this feature in the future.
 
# 9 ahunter5 @ 07/12/08 01:51 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by marktg30
This just feels like the biggest waste in the world. What did they really add Madden this year? Nothing! They fixed presentation, but the franchise feature is still bare bones and we had to buy ANOTHER game to get a Franchise feel... and only for 15 seasons... give me a break.
Um, this isn't Madden. This is a simulation game that deals entirely with the cerebral side of football. There's no button mashing, cheesing, or money plays. HC has an entirely different development team than Madden. If you're upset about the franchise mode in Madden, I'm sure there's some posts on the Madden boards about this.

As far as the 15 year career mode, I was disappointed about this initially, as well. The devs stated that they wouldn't have been able to put as many features in if the game went longer. They actually developed each player for each draft class -- nothing random other than the names. The statistics and ratings for each draftable player are pre-made. They couldn't have done this for a 100 year career. If the game is great for the 15 years that it lasts, I'm completely fine with it. There's also 4 different sets of 15 year draft classes, so the game has replay value.
 
# 10 Step2001 @ 07/12/08 05:58 AM
This game should be really good based upon all the info that has been put out there.

Looking forward to the release!
 
# 11 ahunter5 @ 07/12/08 11:34 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by deepen03
"NFL Head Coach 09 intends to fix that issue with 300 added animations for the sideline, including kickers warming up, trainers diagnosing injuries, and players chatting away. EA is really trying to make the player feel like they are truly on an NFL Sideline."

Why doesn't EA add some of that to Madden and make it more realistic??
The games have completely different development teams. It isn't like EA decided that 'we're putting active sidelines in HC, so we're not going to put it into Madden.' Each development team makes their own decisions.
 
# 12 TCF @ 07/12/08 12:52 PM
15 seasons is enough for me. i normally don't even get past 5 in madden and ncaa.
 
# 13 Mhancock @ 07/12/08 01:11 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by mwjr
I'm actually looking more forward to this game than Madden.
Well put!
 
# 14 DLaren @ 07/12/08 03:27 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahunter5
Um, this isn't Madden. This is a simulation game that deals entirely with the cerebral side of football. There's no button mashing, cheesing, or money plays. HC has an entirely different development team than Madden. If you're upset about the franchise mode in Madden, I'm sure there's some posts on the Madden boards about this.

As far as the 15 year career mode, I was disappointed about this initially, as well. The devs stated that they wouldn't have been able to put as many features in if the game went longer. They actually developed each player for each draft class -- nothing random other than the names. The statistics and ratings for each draftable player are pre-made. They couldn't have done this for a 100 year career. If the game is great for the 15 years that it lasts, I'm completely fine with it. There's also 4 different sets of 15 year draft classes, so the game has replay value.

Well said.

I have no idea why some people blame Maddens shortcomings on the existance of the Headcoach series.

On-topic, this is one of the most ambitious sports titles I've ever seen. I've played a handful of sports games with ambitious intentions, but often times they fall just short of pulling it off. I hope everything comes together successfully for this title...
 
# 15 thesimulator @ 07/12/08 07:23 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by ahunter5
As far as the 15 year career mode, I was disappointed about this initially, as well. The devs stated that they wouldn't have been able to put as many features in if the game went longer. They actually developed each player for each draft class -- nothing random other than the names. The statistics and ratings for each draftable player are pre-made. They couldn't have done this for a 100 year career. If the game is great for the 15 years that it lasts, I'm completely fine with it. There's also 4 different sets of 15 year draft classes, so the game has replay value.
I was more surprised then dissapointed regarding the 15 years, however if shortening the years makes for a better overall product I am all for it.

The positives are it will give me a chance to have 15 years redoing the 08 draft, and then ill give it another 15 years with the correct draft run. For my third run, I going to take on Miami, and after the whipping we saw them take againts NE, well it will keep me busy for awhile. It will keep the game fresh.

In the future I am sure we will see 30 year careers. Of course if we are going to talk about 30 year careers, then we also have to consider a change of ownership in the interim. That would bring an interesting mix wouldnt it?
 
# 16 CMH @ 07/13/08 11:26 AM
The only football game I'm buying this year except for maybe a PC text-sim.

Really looking forward to this title.
 
# 17 TCF @ 07/13/08 11:43 AM
Quote:
Originally Posted by DLaren
Well said.

I have no idea why some people blame Maddens shortcomings on the existance of the Headcoach series.

On-topic, this is one of the most ambitious sports titles I've ever seen. I've played a handful of sports games with ambitious intentions, but often times they fall just short of pulling it off. I hope everything comes together successfully for this title...
its EAsports that is why some people will blame Madden for the short comings.

i played the first one of NFL HC and it was just bad. but what do you expect when it was a first shot at something. the game had a huge upside and this game has me more hyped.
 
# 18 ralphsundin @ 07/13/08 01:16 PM
Quote:
Originally Posted by mwjr
I'm actually looking more forward to this game than Madden.
Me too
 
# 19 Azmodeus @ 07/14/08 03:56 AM
If this game can build on the ideas of the first one and implement them. It's gonna be a great game that I can finally play and not say after about a month. "There's always next year." Playing Coach Mode in Madden is a pathetic attempt at getting the feel of being the coach. 15 years may not seem long, but since you have to probably put in at least twice the work in as you would with Madden (You are the coach and the GM) then it'll last just as long as a 30 year in Madden and I personally NEVER made it that far.
 
# 20 Step2001 @ 07/14/08 05:33 AM
I have never played 15 years. But that was based on the CPU teams being so screwed up depth chart wise.
The CPU drafting wrong, releasing players they should not have.

It became uncompetitive!

The way the Head Coach 09 team has this set-up. This game should be very interesting.
 

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