John Madden: Concussions have to be a part of the video game

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This year’s version of the Madden video game will place a new emphasis on concussions, with any player suffering a concussion being sidelined for the rest of the game, and the game announcers (Gus Johnson and Cris Collinsworth) explaining the seriousness of head injuries.

John Madden says he approves of those changes to the game that bears his name.

“Concussions are such a big thing, it has to be a big thing in the video game,” Madden told the New York Times. “It starts young kids — they start in video games. I think the osmosis is if you get a concussion, that’s a serious thing and you shouldn’t play. Or leading with the head that you want to eliminate. We want that message to be strong.”

NFL spokesman Greg Aiello says the league is working closely with EA Sports on the proper handling of concussions in the Madden game. And Phil Frazier, the executive producer of Madden 12, called it “a teaching tool” and “a means to educate.”

I don’t know too many people who play Madden and think of themselves as being educated by a teaching tool, but there’s no question that if the Madden game is going to depict the NFL accurately, it needs to deal with concussions.

46 responses to “John Madden: Concussions have to be a part of the video game

  1. If concussions are in, so should drug tests and random positive results for steroids, not paying for jewelery to the tune of 900 large, making it rain in strip clubs, college co-eds in bar bathrooms and the occasional sexting scandal mixed in with the sexual harassment of a reporter as she comes to the locker room.

    It starts with the kids and we need to get to them young.

  2. I remember growing up as a younger kid, playing the older Madden games. As a youngster, it really did help me get a better grasp on the rules and strategies of professional football. You could consider it a teaching tool, it just all depends on what you are saying it teaches.

  3. And when the kids get bored with Madden and their “means to educate”….they can always pop in Grand Theft Auto 3 or SplatterHouse….

  4. Great. Its bad enough that every time I’m up by 21 after 3 quarters on a high level of difficulty I have to deal with Alex Smith suddenly becoming Joe Montana. Now, I’ll have to worry about random concussions to go along with random fumbles, impossible interceptions, AND my whole O-Line getting leveled on every 3rd down.

    Haven’t bought a new Madden in two years, and it looks like that’s not going to change.

  5. I think this is a good idea? If anything, it’s not a BAD idea.

    It adds to the realism of the game, and also, if it can make one or two kids question why their star player is out of the game because of a concussion, maybe they will be aware that concussions are serious.

    Who knows? Either way, it’s not like it takes away from the game at all.

  6. I don’t think it needs to be a teaching tool as much as it needs to be accurate. It’s definitely good for kids to see that a player is getting a concussion and isn’t coming back to the game and playing through it because concussions are very serious.

    At the same time, it’s very easy to turn off injuries on Madden.

  7. If EA Sports wants to make Madden completely realistic, perhaps it should also depict player suspensions for failed drug tests and criminal charges stemming from domestic assault, drug trafficking, dog fighting, racketeering, firearms misuse and sexual assault on the same level we are both amused and dismayed by every season.

    Why did they take Playmakers off the air again?

  8. This will only teach the lesson properly if they bring back the ambulance driving on the field.

  9. If Madden wants to “depict the NFL accurately”, it may also includes:
    – the Skins overpaying every FA they find
    – global drug/painkiller abuse
    – lockout simulation
    – weekly DUIs from your players
    – Recording opponents walkthrough when playing as Patriots

    Or maybe, instead of trying to simulate something as random as concussions just to be “realist”, they should let us hit-stick anyone we want in a freaking football game and try to improves a Madden franchise that has not improved for 2/3 years now (the latest version being the worst in history in terms of not bringing anything new).

  10. Really? They are really wussifying football. The players claim they take risks. What risks? You can’t hit anyone anymore. I’m not turned off the NFL yet but more and more rules are being implemented where you can’t help it. Just like the government more laws equal more problems.

  11. “..the Madden game is going to depict the NFL accurately..”

    Does that mean players won’t be allowed to hit Tom Brady in it? Will the Ravens cry after every game?

  12. No, John, it doesn’t have to be part of the game. All this does is get kids to try to give the other team a concussion during play. How about fixing the gameplay flaws instead.

  13. There are innumerable ways to make the Madden game “more realistic,” but implementing more concussions into the game as opposed to fixing a host of other problems/inadequacies shows where priorities lie. Madden loves to take the role of teacher, like when he tried to teach gamers everywhere that punting on 4th down was the “right” way to go (nearly forcing us to do so). In reality, 99% of us are aware that punting is essential to playing good football and the field position battle, but last time I checked… I play video games to escape reality, to do as I please, and to run with Vick for 14 yards on 4th and 8.

  14. I’m not much of a John Madden fan, but I’ve got nothing against what he’s doing concerning concussions in the video game. Lets face it, millions of kids spend A LOT of time playing Madden. This can only help in the awareness of concussions, and when kids get older and start playing football they will know that concussions are a serious injury that has to be taken seriously..

    man I really wish football would end this lockout, because this site kinda sucks without it.

  15. This is probably the most effective method to educate the masses…..not just the youngsters, but college and pros play this game incessantly….

  16. FAIL. The key word in the phrase is game as in video game. Concussions? Can you accurately control if a player is leading with his head? The Madden franchise AI just isn’t that good, seems like cutting off your nose to spite your face to me. This along with some of the other absurd practices by EA (like making you pay real money to buy cars after paying 60 bucks to buy a racing game), prove that company is not on an upswing. Pull your collective heads out of your posteriors EA, you’re biting the hand that feeds you.

  17. Kids play video games and kids play football, even if its just a video game, concussions will be in there mind and I know as an assistant defensive coach on a young men football team(8 and 9 y/o’s) we are going to try to really emphasize the right and wrong way to hit players this season. We had a kid get knocked out cold last year in one of our last games that scared us. And in the end, if the NFL wants the game to be changed, they need to invest in youth leagues and teach us how they want it coached. I think it is a little unreasonable to expect a player like Harrison to change the way he plays, overnight….but if the NFL invests in youth leagues and high school football and tells defensive coaches how they would like to see it coached, they can change things in some years but I think what they did last season, changing rules overnight was a bit unreasonable. This is something that will take years, and in the end the game of football is going to have to change a bit. We’ll never see a Ronnie Lott in this league again, but maybe that is a good thing for the NFL. I like hard-hitting football as much as the next guy but if it causing brain injuries(it does seem related) then maybe the game does need to change.

  18. I don’t care. I’m still playing Madden 2003. They have all been downhill since then.

  19. sterilizecromartie says:
    Apr 3, 2011 9:46 AM
    I don’t care. I’m still playing Madden 2003. They have all been downhill since then.

    In the pre-2007 Madden’s, if you check very closely, you will see Belichick has a visor-cam on it.

  20. Madden games are not teaching tools, they are entertainment and that is OK. I am sick and tired of the “what about the children” argument. It is time to accept that some things don’t need to be be catered toward kids. The best way for a kid to grow up is to not treat them like kids. They know concussions are serious because any kid who watched football has the issue drilled into their head durning EVERY telecast. Why can’t the VIDEO GAME be just a video game?

    If EA is so concerned with children then they should stop making games that make kids sit on their asses all day becoming anti-social little fatties.

  21. Great, now that’ll mean every quarter of Madden 12 will have at least one player per team sidelined with concussion.

  22. This is a good time to mention the monopoly the NFL and EA have created on video game football with their exclusive contract.

    When you compare a game like Madden to practically any video game out there today it shows they are years behind in graphics and gameplay. It is a very poor simulation and deal breaking gameplay issues never seem to be addressed.

    If other companies were allowed to use NFL teams and players it give EA the competition they need to create a quality product, or simply put an end the the game all together when it is replaced by a better one.

    Madden football is not available on the PC because EA said so. If you want to play video football, you need to buy a console.

  23. Apparently when you play the new version as the NY Jets the game immediately ends.

    You’ve already won the SB before any games were played.


  24. i guess concussions are on the rise now because the current generation NFL player learned to tackle using the truck stick……

  25. EA should stick to making the game play better. They haven’t done that since they gained their monopoly on the NFL rights. I guess the next addition after concussions will be labor negotiations.

  26. we’ll always have our whiners about the no matter how much they do to it. people just cant be happy, but what if they took madden away or if they get bought out bc they arent trying anymore, like what happened to triple play/mvp baseball! THE BEST BASEBALL GAMES EVER!!! SO I DONT WANT TO SEE THIS HAPPEN TO MY FOOTBALL GAMES!

  27. Will it show the Jets tripping on the sidelines? The Pats videoing the opponents teams? T.O. and Ocho throwing tantrums on the sidelines? Random drive bys? Spousal abuse? and so on and so on

  28. thedirtybird91 says:

    If EA is so concerned with children then they should stop making games that make kids sit on their asses all day becoming anti-social little fatties.

    Excellent point!

  29. sterilizecromartie says:
    Apr 3, 2011 9:46 AM
    I don’t care. I’m still playing Madden 2003. They have all been downhill since then.
    I still play NFL 2K5 to this day

  30. The best football game was espn football and it was 10 to 20 dollars less then madden. Then Madden went an bought out espn and now has all the rights. I’m not going to play Madden or watch the NFL because I’m tired of all the rules an bullcrap.

  31. So if it’s realistic, are we going to get a press confrence after every Ravens game complaining about how the refs screwed them?

  32. concussions have always been a part of the video game, as well as random, b.s. reasons to have a player exit the game. the only difference is instead of a canned response that vaguely refers to all injuries, the anouncers will now specifically get soapboxy about concussions.

    and to those who say players should get arrested: they do that too already

  33. “I don’t know too many people who play Madden and think of themselves as being educated by a teaching tool”

    Judging by some of the comments that I’ve seen on message boards, I think quite a few people see Madden as an educational tool.

  34. I’m also guessing the term “he got his bell rung” and “boom” is also gone, circa the early Madden Games (Sega Genesis FTW).

    +1 for the return of the ambulance screaming out on the field, ironically knocking over 8 players to get to the injured one.

  35. This game sucks they worried about depicting players tats instead of depicting all of the game play flaws…and now to add insult to injury they are throwing in a Collinsworth public service announcement……all the more reason to save that $50 for lap dance

  36. We can all make jokes and say “if concussions need to be in the newest Madden, so does players breaking the law,” but, in reality, this is a good idea. The game is already unrealistic enough in many ways- they can at least make it realistic in the sense that no player returns to the game after having his brain rattled into a concussed state. This isn’t to say those jokes about virtual players getting in trouble for “making it rain” in the virtual strip club aren’t funny – they certainly are, lol.

  37. A concussion is just another injury, and one that’s been in the game for as long as I can remember, at that. Adding commentary relating to concussions and calling it a “new feature” doesn’t do anything for me. Let the parents, Pop Warner coaches and actual teachers deal with the teaching. Just make me a better football game.

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