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How Madden's Progression System in Franchise Mode Gets Things Entirely Backwards

Madden progression system is wrong

Madden NFL 20

How Madden's Progression System in Franchise Mode Gets Things Entirely Backwards

With the release of our first glimpses of Madden 21 these past couple weeks, it’s a good time to start getting excited about how the next installment of the series might improve on its predecessor. While franchise mode might not exactly have been featured prominently in that sneak peek at the game — though any gameplay improvements across all modes will certainly be more than welcome for franchise players — there are some aspects of trying to manage a team over multiple seasons that could definitely use some attention. Specifically, the idea of how players progress throughout their careers is one that needs to be addressed in order to make things more realistic and better maintain a competitive balance within leagues.

That’s not to say there aren’t elements about how the system works now that function as they should for the most part. For instance, the biggest way that players get better in real life is by putting in the hard work in practice (cue the Allen Iverson clip), which is reflected in Madden by the weekly training that you can play or simulate in order to improve your team. By working on different concepts that target various units within your team and focusing on a few specific players to develop a little more intensely, you can work out a sound strategy for how to improve your guys and, by extension, your team the fastest.

Though there are some nuances that could further be added to expand upon the strategy component of which drills to use to help players along and which corresponding skills these will in turn impact, the entire system is at least rooted in reality. But where things start to go off the rails as far as realism goes is when the game starts awarding XP — essentially the currency upon which all player improvements are made — for achievements a player makes over the course of a game or a season. While a player undoubtedly must get reps on the field in order to get any better, the idea that a player deserves to be awarded more XP for having a fantastic game or putting together a Pro Bowl campaign absolutely flies in the face of overwhelming logic.

A player shouldn’t improve because he had a great game. Instead, the player should have a great game because he improved.

It would seem that Madden has things all backwards when it comes to how players make strides in real life.

Should someone be rewarded with XP that will make him a better player simply for having a stellar game or season? Or is the stellar game or season not already the reward itself?

One of the ways that Madden offers you a chance to improve your team throughout a season is by giving you breakout development opportunities. If you’re able to achieve certain statistical benchmarks over the course of a game with a young player on your team, you can expedite the rate by which he improves by bumping him up to a better development level. There are only three different types of development levels in players: normal, star or superstar. So if a wide receiver with a breakout development opportunity goes out and puts up certain stats on Sunday, he can go from having normal development to star development. Suddenly, we’re supposed to believe he’s a better player and his future is brighter, all because he had one good game?

This kind of progression can become even more problematic within online leagues, where maintaining a competitive balance between 32 users is a priority. Along the long and winding road to winning a Super Bowl, a typical team will likely accumulate all sorts of XP by virtue of both their statistical achievements and sustained success. This means that the best team in the league is only going to get better, making the mountain that everyone else in the league already failed to ascend the previous season that much harder to climb over the next one. To say nothing of the fact that people will naturally start to force the action to whatever player has a breakout development opportunity in any given week. You know, just like you see in real life.

There has to be a better way to do this.

Some games, as with EA NHL’s “Fog of War” drafting and scouting system, have figured out that the only way to truly re-create the crapshoot of developing players is with a healthy dose of randomness. One thing that’s for certain is that players don’t develop only at three different rates. So it would be a start to eliminate the existing normal, star and superstar developments and replace them with perhaps some sort of potential system (with an attribute out of 100 possibly that could even be hidden until a player gets more game action) that determines precisely how quickly they will improve over their career. This way, finding a player with a low overall rating in a late round of a draft (or even undrafted) who happens to have a high potential rating could mean that he’s able to become part of your lineup somewhere down the line.

No two professional athletes are exactly alike and it would be nice if franchise modes like the one in Madden started to represent and even celebrate this kind of diversity. It’s only with this kind of system in place that you can start to see unique storylines start to emerge, like a a 4th-round pick on a mediocre team emerging as an unexpected superstar or a high-round pick that peaks early and never returns to that elite form. There are all sorts of ways that a player’s career can unfold. It would be fun to even see guys whose attributes regress substantially after an injury, but they’re slowly able to improve to the point where they can become an exciting comeback narrative.

Needless to say, Madden’s franchise mode has only scratched the surface of what is possible, and the flawed progression system that’s been in place for quite a few years now is the sort of rotten foundation that’s really holding it back from taking any meaningful steps forward.

Yes, in a grand irony of sorts, progression itself needs an overhaul in order for any progress to made here at all.

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  1. XP based progression was the worst idea ever.
    In essence, Madden makes it so EVERY PLAYER goes up constantly until they hit 28 or 29, then EVERY PLAYER regresses in the same arch (based on dev of course, but theres only 3 dev levels)
    Players dont stagnate, regress, you can't have late bloomers, early burnouts etc. This complete ruins franchise after a few seasons. If I have a superstar dev player he is guaranteed to become a 90+ overall. Devs no longer drop, theres a million breakout scenarios per season that inflate dev level. It is a huge part of the joke of a franchise we have been given by this company.
    “It would seem that Madden has things all backwards when it comes to how players make strides in real life.“
    This is something I desperately liked changed in franchise. I don’t think about it much though because out of all the improvements and changes I’d like to see in Madden, the way progression is handled will probably be the one aspect that’s here for eternity.
    XtremeDunkz
    XP based progression was the worst idea ever.
    In essence, Madden makes it so EVERY PLAYER goes up constantly until they hit 28 or 29, then EVERY PLAYER regresses in the same arch (based on dev of course, but theres only 3 dev levels)
    Players dont stagnate, regress, you can't have late bloomers, early burnouts etc. This complete ruins franchise after a few seasons. If I have a superstar dev player he is guaranteed to become a 90+ overall. Devs no longer drop, theres a million breakout scenarios per season that inflate dev level. It is a huge part of the joke of a franchise we have been given by this company.

    I have never been a big fan of the last few progression systems EA has tried with Madden, but I absolutely hate the XP system. Players perform better because they get better. They do not perform better in order to get better. It makes no sense.
    Before this system, though, we had the potential ratings that were A, B, etc. I hated those as well because you knew a guy was practically guaranteed to progress to a certain point. You also knew if a player was a bust or worth investing into immediately or not. A 5th round draft pick may have a killer per-season, but when you see D Potential, you cut him because why would he be worth keeping around?
    I've wanted a system that is much more organic and customizable by the user for years now. Simply look at what Out of the Park Baseball does with its system and try and recreate it.
    Players have current ratings and potential ratings. These potential ratings are not all-knowing, unless you set your game up to where they are. You can customize the game to where the potential ratings are 100% accurate, highly accurate, accurate, not very accurate, etc. It is up to the user.
    Players also are not guaranteed to ever reach their potential, they are also not guaranteed to stop progressing when they reach that potential. They are also not guaranteed to grow as set ages. A guy can enter the league and be the same player from 20 to 28 then randomly blossom. That guy could never grow as a player in another save. He may enter the year at 20 years old, regress at 21 and 22, then explode into an all-star at 23.
    No franchise is the same, no players follow the same progression paths. Some guys peak at 24, others at 34. It feels natural, no GM, you or the CPU, ever truly knows how good or bad anyone will be in a year from now or 10 years into the future, unless you set the settings up.
    You can also customize how ages affect progression and regression. You can make hitters regress quicker than pitchers, you even have the ability to make it to where the progression between years is more random or more streamlined in your franchise. You can just about eliminate the randomization, take all the organic feel away, and make the game's system act as static as Madden's if you really wanted.
    This is one of the major reasons OOTP is as popular and replayable as it is. In my most recent Braves franchise, Ozzie Albies was a star for me in the first two years. He performed like he did in real life. In most people's franchises he is a perennial all-star and potential HoF player. Well, after my first two season, he got hurt and missed a couple of months. I rushed him back with no rehab assignment. Ozzie Albies came back and slumped.... or so I thought. His slump never ended. He performed poor all year. He performed poor into the postseason. Then after having my scouts run multiple reports on him it turns out that he's not in a slump, his injury may have been coincidental, or it may have completely derailed his career. He still had decent fielding ability, but he could no longer hit at all. He lost all ability at the plate. He turned into a hole in my roster that I didn't want to get rid of because 1) I love Albies, and 2) he was one of the most popular players in my franchise with the fanbase, and 3) he had a clubhouse presence that was worth keeping around.
    In the majority of franchises, Albies would not regress so hard. He would have continued to get better and probably does have a HoF career based off of his first couple of years for me. Instead, I got the playthrough where he regressed in his mid-20's and it felt completely natural and not like the game was screwing me over. The same type of thing happens the the AI teams as well. I traded away Sonny Gray after he had an all-star year. I didn't want to do the trade at first, but I couldn't pass up what I was getting offered in return. I traded him away. I followed his career closely. I won the trade 100%. Sonny Gray had a great 1st half of a season after I traded him away. Then his career declined and he became a journey man who was lucky to hold a place in a rotation for most clubs.
    That kind of organic randomness is what helps separate an average franchise mode with an elite one.
    There isn't a right answer here; it comes down to how one perceives sports games holistically.
    Two points of view:

    • Sports games are simulators
    • Sports games are RPGs

    If one views sports games as simulators, then yes, this article is not far off the mark.
    If one views sports games as RPGs, then the current system (while flawed) makes sense. I personally consider sports games like Madden to be RPGs. You have an avatar, you make decisions that influence the story, you have NPCs, tasks/quests/challenges to overcome, and character development. Even in franchise mode, you ARE playing a role (as an owner or coach/GM) and in-game, are playing the role of a player. The typical trapping of an RPG is that you characters accrue XP for successfully completing tasks.
    But there are two aspects of interest here with Madden's system:
    - "Leveling up" is heavily biased towards in-game outcomes. From an RPG perspective, this is spot-on, you gain the XP for "defeating enemies" and "completing quests" (often with bonuses for how effectively you do so). The "quest completion" gains also vary depending on the nature/duration of the quest (so in Madden terms completing a game vs a season). However, as alluded to, this almost puts the "cart before the horse" - and a system where training the character as the predominant XP gainer makes more sense.
    - Unique to sports games, characters have finite lifespans that do not encompass the entirety of the storyline. In most RPGs, you see a snippet of a character's life; you don't see the effects of age and wear/tear that degrade your skillset. This is the other area that needs a fair bit of effort. Adding in a semi-randomized growth curve that varies for each character would make a ton of sense.
    Now, another franchise mode that I enjoy is MLB: The Show's. It takes more of a 'simulator' pathway to player development and it does it well (if one uses a good roster - another topic for another day w/r/t Madden). But it too acknowledges the RPG aspects of sports gaming by allowing for attribute gains to occur based on character output (though a far greater emphasis is placed on the aging curve - which is out of the hands of the user).
    IMO, it seems that Madden has gone all-in on an RPG model for their franchise mode. I personally have no issues at all with this, but I 100% acknowledge that the user-facing XP gains ARE done to excess. However, I do not believe it is appropriate for a Sports RPG to go entirely to a model that ignores user input and drives progression entirely under-the-hood (a model more suited for a text simulator).
    As with most things in life, it comes down to moderation...too much of a good thing...etc, etc.
    Perfect article.  I've HATED the XP system for the exact reason stated.  It's completely backwards and leaves me trying to force a young player into a game and try to get stats to improve which makes no sense at all.  
    XtremeDunkz
    In essence, Madden makes it so EVERY PLAYER goes up constantly until they hit 28 or 29, then EVERY PLAYER regresses in the same arch (based on dev of course, but theres only 3 dev levels)
    Players dont stagnate, regress, you can't have late bloomers, early burnouts etc. If I have a superstar dev player he is guaranteed to become a 90+ overall. Devs no longer drop, theres a million breakout scenarios per season that inflate dev level.

    All of these very legitimate critiques - the overarching theme of that collection being that player progression in Madden 20 franchise mode is uniform and one-size-fits-all - are each addressable without removing the idea of players earning XP in practices and on game day to indirectly increase their ratings. But that's a separate topic.
    I agree that madden and sports games in general have this feedback loop problem where if a player plays well his rating increases causing him to play even better (to be fair this happens with real players too). But the big roadblock here is that in all of these games a players overall rating is directly tied to how valuable that player is. Until you find a way to unbundle those two things (overall & value) you really can't effectively change to the system proposed in this article without pushing the game to an even worse version of reality where the game doesn't properly reward players for their stats and accomplishments. I guess madden does have a way to do this via the legacy system.. it would be interesting to see.
    Does anyone know any other games that have successfully made that change?
    To the article - yeah, how player progression works in Madden is backwards compared to real life.
    That said, sim isn't always better with respect to making a more engaging video game. Based on conversations I've had with people in and around professional football scouting, most "player progression" that ever occurs for a player in real life happens during his first pre-season training camp, and any production follows out of that. On top of that, those same people have told me the idea of "regression" isn't anywhere near as pronounced as video games make it out to be; more often than not it's economics dictating whether veterans get second and third contracts, and it's dirt-cheap young labor which forces older replacement-level players out more often than not. A football video game franchise mode where every player's rating remain basically static for almost every player's entire career (except for each player's rookie season training camp) probably wouldn't make for a very engaging team-building mode, but that is what would be the most realistic - the most "sim" - based on conversations I've had with real football people.
    Regardless of any conversations I've had or any opinions any of us post annually, this debate remains a rather pointless exercise. Tiburon has doubled and tripled down on XP player progression every year since the concept was introduced in Madden 13, and they've celebrated their increasing player engagement and retention numbers each passing year. Player progression in the manner Franchise handles it now has been so successful that the idea was adapted to Madden Ultimate Team, of all things. That alone ought to be telling. No amount of saying "this idea isn't sim" is going to make XP progression and skill points go away. This is how Madden works now and, unless Tiburon wildly surprises us all with a bleeding-edge innovation - y'all know I love Madden, but I wouldn't exactly call Tiburon or any AAA an industry leader with respect to innovation in video games - this is how it is going to work for the foreseeable future.
    Way way back, Pro Evolution Soccer had this system of ability progression curves.
    Some players would start at close to their best, then quickly regress.
    Some would gradually improve over time.
    Some would have a more rounded progression and regression.
    The ages where progression changes would vary by player.
    This would be hidden from you.
    Madden should incorporate something similar, with some adjustment by position. We've seen those RBs who have a great season and get worse every year, and the opposite: QBs who don't start early yet continue to improve through their career, as examples.
    CM Hooe
    To the article - yeah, how player progression works in Madden is backwards compared to real life.
    That said, sim isn't always better with respect to making a more engaging video game. Based on conversations I've had with people in and around professional football scouting, most "player progression" that ever occurs for a player in real life happens during his first pre-season training camp, and any production follows out of that. On top of that, those same people have told me the idea of "regression" isn't anywhere near as pronounced as video games make it out to be; more often than not it's economics dictating whether veterans get second and third contracts, and it's dirt-cheap young labor which forces older replacement-level players out more often than not. A football video game franchise mode where every player's rating remain basically static for almost every player's entire career (except for each player's rookie season training camp) probably wouldn't make for a very engaging team-building mode, but that is what would be the most realistic - the most "sim" - based on conversations I've had with real football people.
    Regardless of any conversations I've had or any opinions any of us post annually, this debate remains a rather pointless exercise. Tiburon has doubled and tripled down on XP player progression every year since the concept was introduced in Madden 13, and they've celebrated their increasing player engagement and retention numbers each passing year. Player progression in the manner Franchise handles it now has been so successful that the idea was adapted to Madden Ultimate Team, of all things. That alone ought to be telling. No amount of saying "this idea isn't sim" is going to make XP progression and skill points go away. This is how Madden works now and, unless Tiburon wildly surprises us all with a bleeding-edge innovation - y'all know I love Madden, but I wouldn't exactly call Tiburon or any AAA an industry leader with respect to innovation in video games - this is how it is going to work for the foreseeable future.

    Who’d you speak to? Most things I’ve read from NFL coaches say it’s the SECOND training camp where most progression occurs, because the player is no longer spending mental energy on learning the ropes of being on a professional team, doesn’t come to camp late because of school (like west coast colleges used to end up forcing until the NFL rule change), they know the system, have been exposed to professional techniques, prior to being drafted they change their bodies to do well in the combine rather than football, they have an off-season to self-scout (you can’t really do that during the season), and by their second season they usually get a bit more grown man strength.
    Regardless, it is definitely position dependent. RBs probably are at their peak year one or two; wrs 3 or 4; qbs 5 or 6.
    https://www.pro-football-reference.com/articles/des.htm
    I started having this conversation with Josh on twitter yesterday but I'll bring it here. I think you can keep XP and still do development correctly. The issue is that currently laying development on the same track as gameplay through XP rewards treats development as a reward to gameplay versus its own skill (which player development should be). This puts bad users at a player development disadvantage which I refer to as the compounding effect.
    The fix here is to diverge the two from each other. Development should be done through more in-depth training mechanics, I laid those out somewhere else, with critical decisions that have risk and reward tied to them. I think you can still offer morale as a gameplay reward mechanic for short term stat boosts, however all long term gains should come inside of an in-depth training mechanic.
    CM Hooe
    To the article - yeah, how player progression works in Madden is backwards compared to real life.
    That said, sim isn't always better with respect to making a more engaging video game. Based on conversations I've had with people in and around professional football scouting, most "player progression" that ever occurs for a player in real life happens during his first pre-season training camp, and any production follows out of that. On top of that, those same people have told me the idea of "regression" isn't anywhere near as pronounced as video games make it out to be; more often than not it's economics dictating whether veterans get second and third contracts, and it's dirt-cheap young labor which forces older replacement-level players out more often than not. A football video game franchise mode where every player's rating remain basically static for almost every player's entire career (except for each player's rookie season training camp) probably wouldn't make for a very engaging team-building mode, but that is what would be the most realistic - the most "sim" - based on conversations I've had with real football people.
    Regardless of any conversations I've had or any opinions any of us post annually, this debate remains a rather pointless exercise. Tiburon has doubled and tripled down on XP player progression every year since the concept was introduced in Madden 13, and they've celebrated their increasing player engagement and retention numbers each passing year. Player progression in the manner Franchise handles it now has been so successful that the idea was adapted to Madden Ultimate Team, of all things. That alone ought to be telling. No amount of saying "this idea isn't sim" is going to make XP progression and skill points go away. This is how Madden works now and, unless Tiburon wildly surprises us all with a bleeding-edge innovation - y'all know I love Madden, but I wouldn't exactly call Tiburon or any AAA an industry leader with respect to innovation in video games - this is how it is going to work for the foreseeable future.

    When they were speaking of player progression where they speaking in just vague terms or did they break down what they meant by player progression. As others have said, I could see the physical player progression being done at year one or two. But for the mental skills I could see those continuing to improve throughout the years. That's why they have most players prime years around 27-30 as they are close to their physical prime while the mental learning of the game kicks in. The reason older players are able to hang on is that they've upped their mental skills to make up for the decline in physical skills.
    My big issue is that physical skills are too much of a factor. There should be much more of a risk/reward of playing a younger player with less mental skills. I would like to see the young players maybe out of position more on defense or running routes more sloppily compared to a veteran.
    Madden is the only game in town. Player retention does not mean it's been a loved model just good enough to keep people around. I do agree there is a large amount of fans on both sides of handling player progression. I see it anytime it's brought up in the forums. A large number of players want that control to be rewarded for big stats. A large number on the other side want the randomnesss and for more dynamic player progression. I personally find it more fun and realistic and engaging to have random players fall off and I have to react. But I am weird as I would also like for it to not show in ratings. I would love if there was almost an expected rating at the start of the season. And it's not until the season plays out that we start to see the real ratings and discover that our players are playing up or down to that rating.
    T4VERTS
    I started having this conversation with Josh on twitter yesterday but I'll bring it here. I think you can keep XP and still do development correctly. The issue is that currently laying development on the same track as gameplay through XP rewards treats development as a reward to gameplay versus its own skill (which player development should be). This puts bad users at a player development disadvantage which I refer to as the compounding effect.
    The fix here is to diverge the two from each other. Development should be done through more in-depth training mechanics, I laid those out somewhere else, with critical decisions that have risk and reward tied to them. I think you can still offer morale as a gameplay reward mechanic for short term stat boosts, however all long term gains should come inside of an in-depth training mechanic.

    OK, so I agree but disagree here.
    This ostensibly makes a statement that players learn nothing while playing. I don't agree with this; many people learn from DOING not by practicing. We see it every game, players/coaches teaching young players - where he messed up, where his reads went awry, etc.
    So here is how I'd balance it...
    Training: XP gains using whatever mechanism
    In-game: XP gains based on snaps. For uniformity and game-balancing, I'd recommend normalizing it based on the NFL number for snaps per game. This would accommodate all quarter lengths and eliminate people cheesing with fast tempos to get more total snaps to glean more XP.
    In-game stats: this would be strictly for morale (which needs to be re-adjusted...Sabo has had some incredible ideas for re-balancing on Twitter). Awards would not factor into things AT ALL.
    I'd still weigh training a bit more heavily for XP gains BUT, I'd add a twist, I'd add player traits to the mix where you have some guys who gain more from practice (but less from live games) and others who are the opposite.
    (As an aside: if you move away from XP entirely, then you could assign it so that only certain ratings could be boosted in training and others (like awareness or play recognition) that could only be boosted by playing in-game).
    -------------------
    That said, while it is more realistic, this sounds way more dull to me. There was a fun, almost addictive, element to seeing your players "Level Up" in M20. It was enjoyable to watch a 65 OVR 5th rounder have a chance to climb the ladder. I've already said it in a previous post, it IS flawed in M20, but it is still a heckuva lot of fun.
    But, for the online CFM guys, stat-focused training clearly does not work well. There needs to be an alternative. IMO, the best solution is to add an option for 'training driven progression' as a franchise option as an alternate to the current system. Both systems CAN work but neither solution alone will make both audiences happy.
    JoshC1977
    OK, so I agree but disagree here.
    This ostensibly makes a statement that players learn nothing while playing. I don't agree with this; many people learn from DOING not by practicing. We see it every game, players/coaches teaching young players - where he messed up, where his reads went awry, etc.

    While you may learn something playing, you master it by continuing to practice it going forward. Mastery comes from repetition and while you may learn from DOING, that doing in terms of repetition is still going to occur between games simply because of the amount of opportunities to do it in practice situations versus games.
    I just want some sort of regression slider. It's way too age dependant. I want to tweak when players start to decline and by how much. You don't really see career fluctuations at all in ratings. There's breakout scenarios. But the amount of xp gain is minimal once you get past a certain age. Cool my 27 year old WR got a breakout scenario or won an award. 3,000 xp. Only 12,000 more to go. And not to mention traits can't be upgraded. I would like to see a system where training has positives and negatives. A player that puts on weight gets stronger. But also loses a bit of speed for an example. I just hate how static everything is.
    Sent from my LM-Q720 using Tapatalk
    T4VERTS
    While you may learn something playing, you master it by continuing to practice it going forward. Mastery comes from repetition and while you may learn from DOING, that doing in terms of repetition is still going to occur between games simply because of the amount of opportunities to do it in practice situations versus games.

    I agree with this. Look at practically every Hall of Famer. How many of these guys became the player they were because they learned so much from playing in games? How many of them are always talked about as being the first guy in the gym and the last guy out? Guys like Michael Irvin and Ed Reed are known for training from sun up to sun down. Peyton Manning and Tom Brady spend more time watching film than they do breathing. Ray Lewis watched as much film and trained as hard as anyone else in the history of football. Legends are when nobody is watching and they are still training more than anyone else, not because they legend that much quicker in game.
    Preach. They made progression work the same way they update stats in real life. That makes no sense. If a guy is putting up gaudy stats he’s already got the ratings he needs to do that.
    stinkubus
    Michael Irvin? He's better known for hookers and blow than working out hard.

    I get you were attempting humor, but Irvin was always known as one of the hardest workers when he played.
    fballturkey
    Preach. They made progression work the same way they update stats in real life. That makes no sense. If a guy is putting up gaudy stats he’s already got the ratings he needs to do that.

    you say that but what would the solution be? Static stats where players never get better or worse?
    that might solve one thing and create more problems.
    Madden has always been bass-akwards in progression. They've always been stats driving progression instead of progression driving performance.
    I have absolutely no faith at all that they will ever get something realistic.
    ForUntoOblivionSoar∞
    Who’d you speak to? Most things I’ve read from NFL coaches say it’s the SECOND training camp where most progression occurs, because the player is no longer spending mental energy on learning the ropes of being on a professional team, doesn’t come to camp late because of school (like west coast colleges used to end up forcing until the NFL rule change), they know the system, have been exposed to professional techniques, prior to being drafted they change their bodies to do well in the combine rather than football, they have an off-season to self-scout (you can’t really do that during the season), and by their second season they usually get a bit more grown man strength.
    Regardless, it is definitely position dependent. RBs probably are at their peak year one or two; wrs 3 or 4; qbs 5 or 6.

    Not at liberty to say, unfortunately.
    I speculate if the difference of opinion between what you have read and what I was told might be because my guys were talking about any and all players who might get onto a 90-man training camp roster going down to 53, as opposed to players who actually make it onto regular season kickoff rosters and stick around. I can easily imagine that second offseason being particularly important for exactly the reasons you describe for the players who do make it that far.
    CM Hooe
    Not at liberty to say, unfortunately.
    I speculate if the difference of opinion between what you have read and what I was told might be because my guys were talking about any and all players who might get onto a 90-man training camp roster going down to 53, as opposed to players who actually make it onto regular season kickoff rosters and stick around. I can easily imagine that second offseason being particularly important for exactly the reasons you describe for the players who do make it that far.

    Good point. Clearly guys who don't make the 53 are not going to experience the same growth factors as guys who do.
    bucky60
    Madden has always been bass-akwards in progression. They've always been stats driving progression instead of progression driving performance.
    I have absolutely no faith at all that they will ever get something realistic.

    I'd prefer it was automatic to an extent, based on coaches and assistant coaches, and player development trait or awareness (automatic in a sense that it happens automatically, but by choosing scheme and coaches you can influence what particular abilities increase the most, assuming they increase at all).
    I would love for a game to have an under the hood rating system that drives gameplay and fluctuates based on training/work ethic/coaching, and a separate, observable rating system that fluctuate based on stats.
    Use the observable system in franchise to show how player "ratings" can fluctuate wildly early in a players career, then steady as they play more and you get a bigger sample size of stats. While the underlying system would reflect actual talent and progression/regression on the traditional ratings that we have now.
    This could easily replicate superstars that break out as rookies, guys that struggle in one system then succeed in a system more tailored to their strengths, free agents busts and booms, stronger vs weaker scouts/evaluators etc. and help replicate the percentage of error when it comes to player evaluation.
    Every game I've played, you know exactly what a player is because the ratings are 100% accurate. It makes roster building fairly easy.
    This would also help with contact structures in franchise. Instead of having a 68 OVR player that you dominate with sign cheap, they would get a contact commensurate with their stats rather than their underlying "talent".
    For instance, I signed S Troy Apke in my online CFM and usered him to a 11 INT, DBOY season because he has 95 speed. I then signed him to a 1 year 950K contract because he's rated like 65 OVR. A system that has a franchise rating system based purely on stats and your team's scout eval would allow that player to have a more realistic (in terms of how a player would be valued after a season like that in real life) value in terms of the next contract.
    Sent from my SM-G970U using Operation Sports mobile app

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