No one wants to be dropped into the middle of something they don't understand, after all.
I'll tell you about the basic rules of my Madden 12 Franchise, why I chose this game over the other Madden games (hint: It's because I'm cheap) and just what to expect out of this series.
Strap on your helmet and lets get to it.
I chose Madden 12 as my game partially because of ease of access, as I already own the game, and partially because of familiarity. I enjoy it, and it is the most recent of the Madden games I own. After I tried to play Madden 13, and saw how poorly done it was, I sold it and went back to 12. It was at that point I decided to simply stop supporting these poorly designed and poorly implemented games. If I wanted a roster update, I could do it manually, or head over to one of several sites with like minded individuals and download an update.
Getting into the details of the franchise, I think I need to tell you about my basic house rules and my settings. Doesn't mean I will, but if there are any curious folks out there who want the technical details on sliders and speed settings and such, let me know in the comments.
What I will divulge is the skill level (All-Pro), the Minutes per quarter (5 preseason, 12 regular season) and the Edit function (on). I leave the edit on primarily to do end of preseason tweaks to some basic stats (in my case, Stamina, Injury, Awareness, Route Running and Play Recognition) based solely on number of downs played and number of games played.
Again, for those interested in the finer details, I can provide them if requested. It isn't anything too extreme, maybe a point or two up or down depending on the players circumstances, and it only applies to rookies and second year players.
I'll be playing as the GM, which means all I'm actually doing is building the roster and dealing contracts. I'm way too good at playing this game to field anything other than a continuous 16-0 Super Bowl champ every year. I've done runs with teams made up of the worst players in the game and still gone undefeated.
It's time for something new.
Building the team
The choice of team should be an obvious one here. I chose the Saints because I grew up and am still an active fan of the team, and while I may be getting more and more ambivalent to the real life sport, I can enjoy the digital equivalent relatively guilt free (that's a whole other can of beans that I'll address in the future).
The basic rules of the franchise are pretty open.
* I must keep first round draft picks for a total of ten years.
* I can only add up to 15 free agents per offseason.
* I must sign all free agents to one year deals, unless they are my own pending free agents.
* I can only sign one 85 or better player from outside of my own team per year.
Beyond that, the contracts for draft picks and free agents breaks down as follows:
*1st Round - 5 years, 5 million, 500 k bonus
*2nd round - 4 years, 3.5 million, 350 k bonus
*3rd/4th Round - 3 years, 1.5 million, 150 k bonus
*5th-7th round - 1 year, 500 k, 50 k bonus
*Undrafted - 1 year, 500 k, no bonus
That is the standard contract for my players. Barring an exceptional player (like say, Carl Nicks, a 3rd rounder who is the best guard in the game) free agents will also follow this formula. I prefer to extend contracts in the last year of a deal as opposed to letting my own guys hit free agency, but for under performing guys and role players, they can test the market.
Again, I'm keeping my 1st rounders for 10 years, because my philosophy is to build a team through the draft. If I can't see a guy on my team in a decade, I have no business selecting him in the first round. If there isn't anyone with a 1st round grade that I want, I trade out of the round and save myself some cap room down the line.
The first move I made was to identify which guys on the the team I wanted to lock up before the season started. That was easy. I kept some of my veterans, signed some of my better guys to extensions and left the rest of the final year players alone. Heading into the actual 2011 season, the Saints had a ridiculous 25 impending free agents, almost half of the team. I eased the pain by inking extensions and identified who I needed to see play to prove they deserve to wear the Black and Gold.
Drew Brees - 4 years
Marques Colston - 3 years
Robert Meachem - 4 years
Carl Nicks - 6 years
Zach Strief - 3 years
Jabari Greer - 3 years
Tracy Porter - 5 years
Thomas Morstead - 6 years
Garrett Hartley - 6 years
Most of these mirror some of the real moves made by the team. I have the flexibility of playing with the contracts and having the foresight to not give out massive bonuses, which allowed me to keep guys who walked in the real world (Carl Nicks, Tracy Porter and Robert Meachem all left).
The biggest moves were for Meachem, Nicks, Greer and Porter. Brees proved open to a shorter and cheaper deal, but with him I did give a large bonus, because he's Drew Brees. You don't short change a hall of fame quarterback.
Aside from a few minor free agent moves, the roster is now set. I've already finished up the preseason, and next week, I'll give you a run down of the first season and the results. I should make a note here that I'll be keeping these relatively succint. I could write about all the games but considering a franchise is supposed to last 30 seasons, I think I'll write a season at a time.
Thanks for reading, and I'll see you next time.