Madden NFL 12 box art

Once again, this review is exceptionally late. The football season is almost over, and Madden has already sold its bazillion copies for this year. So anything I say here is kind of moot when it comes to helping people decide whether or not to buy this year’s game. But maybe – just maybe – my critiques will help the developers provide us with a better game in the 7 or so months that they have left to make Madden 13.

After being thoroughly disappointed with last year’s Madden game, and not being won over by either the new demo or the gameplay in NCAA 12, I didn’t rush out to buy Madden 12 on day one. I waited till September and bought the game used. This also contributed significantly to the tardiness of this review.

Overall, Madden still just seems uninspired, even when compared to EA’s NCAA Football game. All the same gameplay enhancements go into both games each year now, but NCAA has at least taken some efforts to better represent its sport. Setting up “linked” plays is simplistic but was a start towards a better representation of football strategy. Integration of the No-Huddle offense into the game is a bit clumsy, but is a major component of modern college football, and is thusly represented in that game. Requiring the QB to “read” the defense on option plays doesn’t work as well as last year, but it’s actually an important part of the option strategy. The collegiate look and atmosphere really looks and sounds like Saturday afternoons, and the ESPN integration is actually pretty slick at times.

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Tuesday, November 22, 2011 07:51 AM

Should Chicago welcome back Kyle Orton?

in Sports | Chicago Bears by MegaBearsFan

A few weeks ago, I stressed the importance of a Bears' victory over the Detroit Lions on November 13th following their week 9 defeat of the Eagles. That win was a big one, and with that win and a victory of the San Diego Chargers last week, both the Bears and Lions are tied for the top contenders for both of the NFC wild card playoff spots with the Bears going into one of the easiest collections of four games that any NFL team has on their schedule!

But the win over San Diego did not come without its cost. The Bears suffered several significant injuries, the most prominent being starting quarterback Jay Cutler....

Kyle Orton was released from the Broncos this week

Kyle Orton (Chicago Bears)

Kyle Orton was cut by Denver this week. Could he make a return to Chicago to relieve the injured Jay Cutler?
I'd like to see it happen. But given the stinginess of the Bears' management, and Orton's starter salary, it probably won't happen.

UPDATE November 23, 2011 1:26 PM

Kyle Orton was picked up off of waivers by the Kansas City Chiefs, who were higher in the waiver order than Chicago. With Orton unavailable, the Bears have claimed Josh McCown. McCown hasn't played a game since 2009, so he will likely be an emergency option in the event that Hanie gets injured or performs poorly. The Bears also have rookie Nathan Enerle on their roster.

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The Chicago Bears played a pretty impressive all-around game against the Philadelphia Eagles on Monday night, winning 30-24 after their bye.

Bears 30, Eagles 24 - Jeremy Maclin is just short of a fourth down conversion to keep the Eagles in the game.
Jeremy Maclin catches a fourth down pass, but trips before reaching first down yardage, cementing the Bears' victory.

It's really hard for me to give MVP credit to any single player or unit on the Bears. The defense did a fantastic job of containing Mike Vick, limiting him to just a few dozen rushing yards, picking him off once, and never letting him throw it into the endzone. But the defense alone doesn't deserve all the credit, as Vick made some bad throws and his receivers dropped some wide open passes, D.J. Moore dropped two gimme interceptions, and DeSean Jackson tripped and fell short of converting a last-minute fourth down to keep the Eagles in the game. And the only reason that LeSean McCoy didn't torch the Bears for triple-digit rushing yards was because the Eagles were playing from behind for most of the game...

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Chicago @ New Orleans - Darren Sproles steps out of bounds before score, play not reviewed by booth.
The Saints' Darren Sproles stepped out of bounds prior to scoring a touchdown in a game against the Bears. This play was ruled as a touchdown on-the-field, but was not reviewed by the booth!

Last week, I offered my thoughts on the NFL's rule change regarding reviews of scoring plays. In summary, I thought the rule was stupid. It's unfair, as the rule only requires plays that are called as "touchdowns" on the field to be reviewed. It ignores plays that might have been touchdowns, but which were ruled as not a touchdown on the field. This rule bit the Dolphins in the butt last week, but was not a game-deciding issue.

This week, a new problem with the rule change was exposed: if coaches are expecting a "scoring" play to be reviewed by the booth, they aren't going to throw the challenge flag. But what if the booth doesn't make the decision to review the play in time?

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One of the NFL's new rule changes for this year is that the booth will now automatically review all plays that are called as touchdowns on the field without needing the play to be challenged by a coach.

It sounds good in principle.

Patriots 38, Dolphins 24 - Reggie Bush breaks the plane, but was called out of bounds on the field.
Reggie Bush's touchdown was ruled out-of-bounds on the field, so had to be challenged by Tony Sporano.

Make sure that teams aren't getting points put up on the board when they shouldn't be.

But what about the inverse?

The rule is that only plays that are called as touchdowns on the field are being reviewed. For plays that are incorrectly called as not a touchdown, the coach still has to use a challenge.

So the NFL is making sure that points aren't put up on the board when they shouldn't be, but they're not making sure that points do go up when they should. Why the hell not?

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Welcome to Mega Bears Fan's blog, and thanks for visiting! This blog is mostly dedicated to game reviews, strategies, and analysis of my favorite games. I also talk about my other interests, like football, science and technology, movies, and so on. Feel free to read more about the blog.

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