For so many offline players, like myself, Franchise mode is the way to go, but always leaves you just slightly unsatisfied. The basic idea won’t ever change. You play/sim as the team, make trades, sign free agents, scout and draft college players.
But for some reason, I always seem to get bored after a few years as head coach. It’s always the same, especially after a couple seasons. Whether you start as a powerhouse or a cupcake, by your 3rd season your team is stacked, you only need to play playoff games and you get complacent. The longest I’ve ever gone as a coach in Franchise mode offline was 5 seasons.
While everyone is looking for different things in a franchise mode, especially as a coach, these 5 things would make the mode more meaningful, and give you reason to play longer.
1. Start as a Coordinator/Add Coordinators for Each Team/Mid-Season Firings
Okay, I’m putting three thoughts into one here, but they all combine together nicely.
This is an idea that comes from the two other EA Sports football franchises: NCAA Football and NFL Head Coach (Arena Football doesn’t count, sorry Philadelphia Soul fans). In the original NFL Head Coach game, the one with Bill Cowher on the cover, your backstory was that you were one of Cowher’s coordinators, and were getting a potential head coaching job. In NCAA Football, you could actually be a coordinator and only control that portion of the team.
I would love to be an offensive or defensive coordinator and need to earn a head coaching job. If you dominate as the OC of the Cardinals, after one year you might get an offer from the Bears to be the new HC. But if you wait and continue your dominance, once “Chad Masters” retires, the Patriots could be your new team.
Even though they can’t add real coordinators, due to licencing, the game can make coordinators that are based on the stats of the team’s performance from the current NFL season, and maybe even based on how the real-life coordinators have done with that team. This will also provide you with competition for new positions, and old head coaches who were let go might go for new coordinator positions, blocking you from moving on to a better team for the time being. But if you stick with that bad team as a coordinator, or are immediately in a situation with another new coordinator and a head coach on the hot seat, you might immediately be thrust into a HC position. Just don’t bet on it.
2. Overall/Signings Based More on Stats, than Vice Versa
Let me give you an example of why this bothers me.
I drafted an OLB #1 in a draft, and he was an 84 overall with Superstar Dev. His rookie year he had 4 sacks, 1 interception and just was not a stud. He didn’t win DRotY, and I thought I drafted a bust. But because of his trait, he went up to a 90 overall, and was unstoppable. Now, I understand sometimes a guy has a rough rookie season then figures it all out, but if that rookie does that bad, he shouldn’t get a 6+ point improvement, he doesn’t deserve it.
Real life, season-by-season overalls are dependent mainly on production. Todd Gurley II got a huge jump in his ratings between last season and this, as did guys like Devonta Freeman, Ryan Schraeder and Marcus Peters. But in the game, if a guy puts up Vernon Gholston numbers, he still progresses like J.J. Watt.
In fact, I believe in free agency, you shouldn’t get a player’s overall. You should get their play style, previous season stats and career stats. After you sign them, then you can get an overall grade. Now some like the accessibility and ease of seeing a guy as an 84 overall, but a team in real life doesn’t have that option. I’m sure the Jaguars would have loved to have seen that Laurent Robinson was actually a 74 overall with 50 injury rating, but you don’t get that luxury. You get stats, scouting and gut feelings to help in free agency if you’re an NFL GM.
In fact this could even be done in scouting as well.
My idea for scouting is this: you get the player’s stats game-by-game throughout the college season, and those recruiting points should correlate to hours watching film, and after 15 hours your scout can give you his thoughts on certain attributes. Nothing should be set in stone. Instead of an ‘A’ rating for Throw Power, you can get an NFL comparison, or a brief write up of his strengths and weaknesses.
Now this is all quite in-depth, and a casual player might not be hoping to go through with this. If not, there is an easy solution. Make these menus/new ideas simply optional.
If you’d rather get overalls, instead of choosing Advanced, choose Traditional or Casual in the Settings menu. But for those of us used to Madden, it makes the experience more real.
3. Previous Season Stats
For Pete’s sake, and I’m not talking Carroll. Why can’t I see previous Super Bowl winners? Or MVPs? Or who led the league in rushing? Stats, leaderboards and standings should be available for each season in your Franchise.
How cool would it be to not just tell people about your rags-to-riches story of rebuilding the Browns, but be able to show them? Look at how we started 1-15, and our starting QB threw for 11 TDs and 19 INTs, and now the rookie that I got at #1 overall is putting up 4,500 yard seasons like he’s Nate Grunhard, and we’re taking 14-2 records into our dominant playoff runs.
It gives an added feature to Madden, where you can see the history years later, and it helps you see the history you’ve created as a Head Coach.
4. Season Goals Set By Owner
This is something I’m stealing from NBA 2k. In this game, your job as a General Manager (and let’s face it, that’s what you are as a HC in Madden) depends on the Owner’s trust in you to do your job. If he tells you to beat your rival, make the playoffs and re-sign the team’s biggest star, and you don’t do that, you’ll be fired. This means that sometimes it’s not just good enough to be good.
Each owner is different in NBA, and Madden could be the same. The owner of the Bears, Ted Phillips, might not expect you to win a Super Bowl year one, but if you don’t make a profit, don’t expect a job.
This also gives you something to continuously strive for. These goals can change from year-to-year, and can come up at random times when you’re on a week. It might be to draft a franchise QB in the draft, or to replace the overpaid defensive lineman with a cheaper option. The surprise of when they will show up could make the franchise more fun, and almost give it an RPG feeling for people who are just getting into the game, but also keep hardcore football and Madden fans interested longer into a career mode.
5. Legit Free Agency/Trade Negotiations
This ties in to a few other points from before. But the negotiation system, bluntly, sucks.
I actually like the fact that now players will re-sign when they’re ready. But why can’t free agents sign when they’re ready?
This is my plan to fix it, but obviously there are many others.
I would put a 1:00 timer on each day, that will continuously run even if you leave the signing screen and can’t pause for the week. Each week will be 5 days, Monday-Friday. Players will have a set day that they will want to sign by. For example, if Aaron Rodgers hit Free Agency, he would want to sign by Wednesday. This gives you two days to bid against the other teams interested in him, all the while also trying to sign others. This seems tough, but it also keeps you from just signing EVERY big name free agent. I had a free agency where I signed Desmond Trufant, Drew Brees and Odell Beckham Jr. That’s so excessive.
Maybe to make it easier you can give a set number of preliminary offers, and then go to the “My Negotiations” tab when you start the first week. This real-time gives you more of a challenge, as you won’t see the point system and just be able to put in 10 different offers to get to “88 points”, we might see the point system, but when you get to that 88 point threshold, the Texans or Falcons might jump up to 90 points with their offer. And if the player wants to sign on Tuesday of Week 1, you better get a better offer in the last few seconds, otherwise that player will be gone.
Trade offers can be the same. I like what NFL Head Coach 09 did, where you would have a bunch of pre-determined offers. It could be as many as 40 possible offers, ranging from a 7th round pick to a 1st round pick and a good player. And you can offer any of those, and the other team will either accept it, give you a different offer that you can haggle from, or if they’re upset with the offer shut down trade offers.
Another 2k idea is GM trust. Other GMs will take lesser trade offers if they trust you. Think about it. If a random person offers you $20 for your copy of Madden 16, and a friend says they only can give you $15, you’d take your friend’s $15. What’s $5 to make a friend happy? Same with GMs. If you offer a GM you’ve had a great relationship with in the past a good package, you might get a player that a GM you haven’t worked with wouldn’t give you for the same offer. This also keeps people from spamming trade offers to teams, which isn’t a major deal, but takes away from the realism.
This was definitely a longer write-up, but I wanted to add a little note thanking everyone who has read the first two posts for the blog and up-voted me for visibility on Reddit. I definitely appreciate the support, and it makes it even more worth the effort I put in, even though it’s not a ton. So, thank you all, I hope I can continue piquing the interest of your Madden brains.
Also, be on the lookout for my 5 ideas to change Owner mode and player mode on Franchise. Those two should be coming very soon.