One Step Forward – Madden 17’s Franchise Mode Takes Two Steps Back

It has been a rough ride being an NFL fan and having one option for video game representation.

Madden NFL has had a bit of a roller coaster existence since becoming the monopoly that it is.  Franchise Mode has been the primary victim when it comes to changes to the game.  It has also been the elephant in the room when fans are asked for feedback from EA Tiburon.  It seems that the Franchise Mode/CFM/CCM team has finally realized (for Madden 17 at least) that customized rosters and real world features are key to people enjoying Franchise Mode.  There are a couple changes new to Madden in general but the real changes seem to be the things that have been featured before or needed since the monopoly took effect.

Coaches Are The Least Important Aspect of Madden Franchise Mode - This isn't a big decision... it's a non-decision.
Coaches Are The Least Important Aspect of Madden Franchise Mode – This isn’t a big decision… it’s a non-decision.

First, the things that truly matter the most when it comes to Franchise Mode improvements.

  • Full Player Editing – This isn’t new as they might want people to believe.  It existed in Madden 12 and provided much needed customization for rosters.  The fact that this is available to online leagues is also a nice touch.  To add that any changes will be shown in the Transactions is a nice and necessary perk for league members as well.  The biggest curiosity for me is whether or not we will be able to edit Draft Classes before the draft or if we will have to draft players that are once again less than stellar prospects and edit them all to resemble legitimate rookies.
  • Practice Squads are finally entering the Franchise Mode universe.  It was always puzzling to me that EA would make claims about not having the resources to put certain small aspects into the game.  This was one of the many that was apparently a matter of time. Now we can have players on a practice squad as long as they have played fewer than two full seasons in our respective Franchise Modes.  It will be nice to know that I can take a flier on that 7th Round WR that can run like the wind but catch like Simple Jack.
  • Dynamic Development is one of the aspects that I am skeptical of when it comes to Madden.  They have tried and failed to implement all sorts of development and player growth from season to season.  Now they are putting the trait of Development into the front of how players grow in ratings.  The broken season awards system is going to play a strong role in how players are moved up and down in development traits as well.  It really makes no sense for players to be pre-rated in this way as Slow, Normal, Quick, and Superstar.  Make every player start each season with the same baseline and allow the season to determine how each player progresses.  Sure, Tom Brady is and has been a Superstar, but he isn’t too far from being done.  Then we have players like Robert Griffin III that have played up to par in their rookie year and then either fall apart or get injured.  Maybe he comes back and becomes a superstar after this season.  His slow development rating might say otherwise.

The other changes like ‘Big Moments’ and the ‘score ticker’ make me scratch my head.  I love the idea of a score ticker and believe it has been needed for years.  This doesn’t change the fact that Franchise Mode has yet to make it feel like anything more than a single team focus that misses out on an entire story outside of your own franchise.

Big Moments are rather insulting as it looks like they want to make the user think that every moment is a big moment.  ‘First Drive of the Game’ is probably the least impressive in-game ‘Big Moment’ I have read about.  The non-game Big Moments are laughable.  Injuries, Free Agents and Coach Re-Signings aren’t big moments.  Signing a coach is the least important aspect of Madden and they call it a Big Moment.  Give me a break.

Madden does seem to be making strides this year.  I am actually excited about it this season.

As jaded as I am and seem to always be about Madden, I am truly excited to play it this year.  I just wish 2K would shock the world and release a new football title.

Madden 15 – How To Keep CFM Fresh Until The Next Release

As much as I find it easy to troll EA and Tiburon for their annual cloneware – Madden 15 was the best Madden to date.  That said, it still gets to me that they don’t update rosters after the Super Bowl.  This has left many users to create roster updates and even add newly drafted players to teams in order to replicate what is happening in the league as far as rosters go.

madden-nfl-15-screen-19png-e0e9e8

If you have followed NoobTubeTV over the last few years you will know that I almost exclusively play Offline Connected Franchise Mode.  Moreover, you will know that I almost always use my Cleveland Browns.  Even after finding the perfect sliders and gameplay tweaks CFM will get rather boring after a few seasons.

It is incredibly easy to build up a team into a juggernaut.  You simply need to invest in players that are between 20-26 years old that fit your play-style and keep them to minimum contracts until they are 30.  It is a widely known fact that EA has told Madden gamers that players will start to decline once they hit that age threshold.  Knowing how easy it is to relatively deal with the age issues of players and dominate with your team after a season or two of development it won’t be much of a shock to hear about people trading Madden in while they can still get some decent credit for it or simply leave it on the shelf to collect dust.  Here are a few tips on how to keep your CFM fresh.

  1. Max Contacts – Figure out your favorite players on Offense and Defense and make them fixtures on your team for the rest of their career.  In my case I had to choose between Josh Gordon and Johnny Manziel.  Both players were 99 OVR by the time I got to the 2016 season and I decided to sign Johnny for the biggest amount of money and years (I believe it was 7 years, $140 million).  This will help make your salary cap management a bit tougher as you choose who to build your team around.
  2. Don’t Scout Draft Prospects – It really is this simple.  Don’t scout a single prospect during the season and you will quickly realize that what was once an incredibly easy draft process is more like real-life.  It will become more of a lottery system for your team and you won’t be able to find those ‘not so hidden’ gems in later rounds.
  3. Give The CPU More In Trades – It seems that trade logic in sports games has decided to take a nose-dive in realism.  NBA 2K actually has a trade difficulty slider (Madden needs this in the worst way!).  Do not shirk the CPU for their Draft Picks or certain players you know are franchise quality.
  4. One Draft Pick Per Round (At most) – It is far too easy (as stated in #3) to load up on 10-15 draft picks every season.  Make it a personal rule that you will not have more than one pick per round for every draft.  This will prevent you from pwning the draft year-in, year-out.  Madden has some of the dumbest draft logic in all of sports gaming, so don’t act like you really have to worry about the CPU.
  5. Coach Mode – This is something I have yet to do myself.  Simply call the plays for your team, snap the ball and let the AI take care of the rest.  This will make you look at your players in a different light and might even change the way you build your team.

Madden 25 – Choosing A Team In Connected Franchise Mode

Now that we are about six weeks into the NFL Regular Season there are many surprises in the league as far as performance and records go.  There are already many teams vying for the #1 pick in the 2014 NFL Draft while others are suddenly looking like they think they can make a surprise playoff run.  Here is a list of some teams you might want to consider using in Connected Franchise Mode with some ideas of how to build them to success.

Obviously Bad Teams

JagsThe Jaguars are among the worst teams in the NFL and we knew this before the season started.  Given the fact that their Quarterback situation is almost laughable.  When running this team it might be wise to create a new owner as well (unless you want to be the Wario look-a-like Shahid ‘Shao’ Khan.  Also, taking it upon yourself to look into trading Maurice Jones-Drew for a potential draft pick might be something to consider if throwing away the season is on your possibility list.  Another action to consider for a fun storyline would be signing Tim Tebow and trying to save the franchise in Jacksonville.  Otherwise, moving the team to Los Angeles might be the absolute best idea… even if EA doesn’t do much to make it worthwhile to move a team other than strictly in being in a new city.

BucsTampa Bay is in desperate need for an overhaul in how their team is run.  If that means you go through a season with Greg Schiano leading the way with his faux-military take no prisoners style or possibly just creating yourself as an intelligent player’s coach – the choice is yours.  With the departure of Josh Freeman there is a possible storyline to go with in using rookie QB, Mike Glennon and having him lead the Bucs to success.  Otherwise, you might want to start looking into the potential for getting someone in the draft or free agency.  You will have a decent base of skill players to use with Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams at WR on top of having the ‘muscle hamster’ Doug Martin at HB.  Tampa Bay isn’t a terrible team, but they could use some serious help and changes – starting at the top.

Surprisingly Bad Teams

SteelersThis team has been a perennial contender for the last decade and they are starting to show their age… not to mention some serious holes in personnel.  When they lost their starting Center in Pouncey it looked bad.  Now that the season has started and they have no real answer at HB, WR, OL, LB or DB it is looking like they might need more work than anyone ever thought.  Maybe it is because they play in what used to be a two-team division and they are simply falling behind the other teams.  Either way it goes, the Steelers are a team that could potentially use a huge front office change and maybe a new face for the franchise if Big Ben proves to be declining as much as he seems to be.  Do yourself a favor and revamp the O-Line before you do anything.  Try to sign a true #1 WR and hope that the defense can pick it up.  The potential for a fun rebuild is there in using the Steelers – and suddenly it isn’t so surprising.

GmenThe Giants are in trouble.  This is a team that just a few years ago won two Super Bowls.  Now they are looking similar to the Steelers in almost every way.  The Giants have started to look like an aging team and Eli Manning is starting to look like the player he was early in his career throwing INTs like they are going out of style.  This compounded by the fact that they are a team without a true HB threat.  Bringing back Brandon Jacobs was surprising after he had been released by the team rather recently.  Their defense was once one of the most feared in the league and now it has more holes than a block of swiss cheese.  Taking over ownership of this team could be a lot of fun if you want to get rid of Manning and start fresh.  Although, that could be a long road ahead.

 

Surprisingly Decent Teams

BrownsCleveland is a team that looked like they were destined to go 0-16 after two weeks and suddenly they are tied for first place in the AFC North.  While they are a team on the rise, they are also a team without a true answer at QB or HB.  While Josh Gordon seems to be a legitimate threat to be a Top-10 WR in the league and Jordan Cameron is one of the better TEs this season the Browns need some serious help in offensive skill positions.  On defense, the Browns are among the best in the NFL and this is largely due to the aggressive approach they have taken under Defensive Coordinator, Ray Horton.  You might want to look into getting some help for Joe Haden on the other side of the field at #2 CB.  Otherwise, this is a team that simply needs a couple pieces before they become a true contender.

ChiefsKansas City is starting to look like a serious contender with new coach, Andy Reid.  If you were to take this team to a 5-0 record in your first season in Madden it suddenly isn’t too far-fetched.  However, this doesn’t mean that they are a perfect team that doesn’t need any help.  They have some good pieces to play with in Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe and even Alex Smith at QB.  This goes with a defense that is rather dangerous and can hold their own against virtually any team in the league.  It could be fun to take over the Chiefs and make some moves to make this a team to compete with the Broncos for the AFC West.

Madden 25 – The Hype Train Is Leaving The Station

Now that we are getting ready to start football season in the minds of most NFL fans with the coming NFL Draft this Thursday there are a few things we can start sorting out when it comes to what Madden 25 will be pushing from the marketing end of the annual title.

The first thing we can plan on is the inclusion of some sort of ‘interview interface’ when it comes to CCM.  This is primarily due to the fact that NHL 13 is taking up where NBA 2K has been for a couple years now.  The idea of interacting with the media and having a simulation experience

It has been twenty-five years since John Madden demanded a true simulation football game. We are still waiting on EA Sports to provide us with one.

isn’t really new but EA is starting to take more of 2K’s features to heart.  My personal hopes are that Madden’s CCM (which is still going to be in the next iteration) will feature an interaction for people that prefer to be a ‘coach’ rather than a single player.  This will add depth to a mode that was off to a decent start last year.

Better physics and refined tackling are something that people have been clamoring for ever since the 360/PS3 released.  Last year we got the Infinity Engine and got to see some interesting animations play out (a lot of Gumby motions, especially).  Regardless, we can be almost certain that Madden 25 will have more refined player physics and tackling animations assuming they keep working with the same engine.  This leads us into one of the more intensely discussed topics on hardcore Madden forums – OL/DL interaction and blocking in general.

While it is highly unlikely that we will ever see a true end to ‘suction blocking’ it has been mentioned for NCAA 14 that there has been serious work put in towards improving blocking decisions and interactions.  This has been highlighted in discussing the inclusion of a deeper CPU intelligence that focuses on second-level blocking.  What is ‘Second Level Blocking’?  Second level blocking is basically any blocking that occurs after an initial block has been made.  So, if the Right Tackle blocks the defensive end and then starts running up the field – they will actually look for the next opponent to block rather than running blindly past a defender that will be looking to bring down the ball carrier.  Sounds like something that should have been in the game for years, right?  EA Sports isn’t exactly on top of things to pay attention to what seems like fundamentals sometimes.  Hopefully they will make good on the improvements in blocking for Madden 25 as this will be a positive direction for the direction of the gameplay in general.

 

EA Sports and Madden Exposed – Former Developer Vents On Twitter

Madden NFL has been scrutinized more by hardcore fans over the last few years of the XBox 360/PS3 era than at any other point.  This is largely because the ability to communicate over the internet via forums and social media has taken off, but it isn’t just because of the ease of communication. However, there are some things that are said that come straight from people ‘on the front’ that can’t be ignored.

Over the last couple years we have seen some of the top names at EA Tiburon (Madden’s development group) leave for greener pastures.  When Madden 10 was in development it was one of the first times Madden Fans got the chance to truly interact with the developers.  Ian Cummings opened a lot of doors for the fan-base to openly communicate have have a voice (even if just the illusion of a voice).  By the time Cummings left EA and Phil Frazier took over as one of the primary HNICs (he was already one of the top guys on the team) there were people from the Madden community hired by EA to help make the game better… or were they?

Mr. Dembroski was/is a tremendously informative hardcore football fan with valuable input for the Madden team during community days that were largely started by Cummings.  He was eventually hired to work on Madden in an official capacity.  If you take a look at the chain of posts he has recently made and many of the comments from other past Tiburon developers; you have to wonder if the complaints we are seeing are simply because communication is easier or because the game’s quality and innovation is truly being held back.

It was interesting to read about the people getting lied to in such an open manner.  After reading that tweet I had a moment of clarity.

We (hardcore gamers and corporate consumers) already know we are being lied to by the companies in question. 

It doesn’t matter which game you are talking about.  By the time your favorite game goes ‘corporate’ or ‘mass market’ it is no longer a question of how to make the game better.  It is a question of how to sell more games to more people every. single. year.  The worst part about this is the fact that the consumer always loses when companies start using statistics and metrics to determine the development of any product – especially video games.

While some people might look at the comments from past developers of any game as ‘sour grapes’ (which would be easy to do); it should be understood that when it is one person leaving under bad circumstances it is highly probable.  On the other hand, when you have multiple people leaving EA’s development studios on all fronts with bad things to say about the company – it isn’t just sour grapes.  It is a sign that something is terribly wrong with the company.

The biggest sign I saw that EA Sports was going the wrong direction was when they started pushing Ultimate Team.  This is one of the biggest cash-hoarding schemes I have seen in gaming.  It isn’t too dissimilar from Call of Duty or any other shooter releasing map packs other than the fact that with Ultimate Team you are sinking money into created players that expire after using them for so long.  So in reality – it is totally different!  EA Sports is not a company focused on giving the gamer a better experience or a new direction for sports gaming… it is a company dedicated to making money and putting out annual cash cows that can be patched between two and four times because it is easier (more cost effective) to put out a half-finished piece of software and fix major issues than it is to release a quality (and slightly more time consuming) product.

The Best of The Worst – Teams to Turn Around In Sports Gaming

Now that we are well over half-way through the NFL season and the NBA season has already put some fans in the mind of ‘maybe next year’ there are quite a few teams to choose from when it comes to wanting a challenge or simply some sort of revival story to build a team around in a sports game.

Madden 13 –

Kansas City – Romeo Crennel has made Brady Quinn the starting QB in KC.  Can you take this team of terribad from laughing stock to the playoffs?  You will have plenty of youth to build around such as Eric Berry, Jamaal Charles, Dwayne Bowe and even Glenn Dorsey.  Your first goal should be finding a decent QB to help this team achieve greatness.

Cleveland – The Browns are a perennial sad sack.  While this is a team that has consistently under-performed there are multiple ways for you to take Cleveland to the next level.  There are a lot of great young players on this team, but you will need to make a quick decision on whether to keep Brandon Weeden or move on in one of the upcoming drafts.

Arizona – Once again, you are getting ready to take a team that needs a QB answer (and fast)… see a theme here?  The Cardinals have a couple decent players to build around, but you will have to take your time and figure out how to answer some tough questions – including whether or not you want to keep Larry Fitzgerald around if you don’t have a QB to throw him the ball.  That could result in a lot of decent trade offers if you decide to put him on the trade  block as well.  While it may sound crazy, it is something to consider.

New York Jets – The Jets are a mess.  One of the best things that could happen to this team is to get rid of their QBs… all of them.  Then make a few decisions about how you want to build this franchise from the ground up.  There are some players like Stephen Hill at WR that could be nice projects to build around, but then you have players like Darrelle Revis, Santonio Holmes and Shonn Greene that could be moved for draft picks so that you can build a team made to last rather than a team built to make headlines for publicity stunts (see Tim Tebow).

Jacksonville – More than just a team that has no real talent, they are constantly a threat to be moved to Los Angeles.  Since EA Tiburon took the option to move your team to another city out of the game (they enjoy taking features away) you have to make moves and stay in Jacksonville to make this team better.  If you win three games in your first season you can consider it a somewhat successful year.  Get a new QB, trade away MJD and do your best to find some talent for this team that seems to be the biggest laughing stock of the NFL.

Carolina – The Panthers are one of the few teams on this list that have a QB in Cam Newton.  On the other hand, they have a lot of other places on their team that need vast improvement.  While they have a great MLB in Luke Kuechly they are pretty much limited to having just those players to build around.  Make use of the trade block and build this team around future picks that you can get from trading away players like DeAngelo Williams, Steve Smith, Jonathan Stewart, Chris Gamble and any other player you can do without.

Dallas – Talk about a team that makes you scratch your head.  The Cowboys are consistently picked to be a playoff team but in the end it is their egotistical owner that really makes the worst decisions for the future of this team.  Make a new story for the Cowboys that will allow them to make smart personnel decisions.  This means getting rid of the most overrated QB in the NFL – Tony Romo.  Also, you may want to consider getting what you can for DeMarcus Ware.

Oakland – The first step in this team growing was the death of the Crypt Keeper, Al Davis.  The next step is building this franchise to be more than glorified Speed Ratings.  Make a decision on how you want to build the offense and defense – that means possibly taking a chance on Terrelle Pryor or going in a totally new direction.  Then start building the defense into something to be feared like it was in the 1970s.

 

NBA 2K13 –

Cleveland – The Cavs are a young team that has a cornerstone in Kyrie Irving but that isn’t enough as they need to work on getting this talent to be more than potential prospects.  They need to grow up fast and that could mean a lot of work for you in Association Mode.

Washington – The Wizards are laughingly bad.  Sure, John Wall is amazing – but really they are flatout awful.  Get ready to trade a lot of your best players like Okafor just to get some prospects.

Detroit – Only a few years ago the Pistons were powerful and feared.  Now they are hilarious to watch on the court.  They look more like a team getting ready to face the Globetrotters than an NBA team at times.  This is a team built around unwanted journeymen and bad trades.  It will take you a few seasons to turn them around – but it will be worth it.

Sacramento – Considering the fact that the Maloofs are looking to move this team to Las Vegas, you can tell that they are in need for some improvement.  The Kings were once one of the best teams in the west, but now they are often forgotten when people talk about NBA teams.  I forget they exist half of the time.  I call them the Wizards of the west.

New Orleans – This team got the equivalent of a bailout from the NBA.  Chris Paul said bye-bye and now they are being built around the unibrow of Anthony Davis.  New Orleans needs more than yet another Kentucky product with an IQ less than his scoring average to turn this team around.

Orlando – Dwight Howard is gone.  This move was similar to that of LeBron James leaving Cleveland.  How will you bring the magic back to Orlando?

 

MLB 12 –

Cleveland – Talk about a team with a chance to make big strides with a new manager.  Terry Francona is the new skipper and you will have to make a few moves to bring some pitching and power to this lineup.

Houston – Do something… anything.  Even if it means creating a steroid infused Roger Clemens to come back and pitch this team to at least 20 wins.  It is a bad time to be an Astros fan, but now that they are moving to the American League it could make for a fun journey… albeit – a long and tough one.

Colorado – They made an incredible run a few years ago, but this team needs pitching in the worst way.  Take it upon yourself to manage the thin air and find a way to make Denver cheer for a team not called the Broncos.

Miami – They just fired Ozzie Guillen and now they are selling off their players.  This is a team that will take a lot of patience to build into more than a one-year wonder.  Do it the right way and you will have something to be proud of in the end.

Pittsburgh – This team was on the cusp of making the playoffs in 2012.  Take the power in the steel city and bring this team back to their past glory.  They have a great ballpark and with players like McCutchen to build around it could be a lot of fun.

Oakland – One of my favorite movies of the last few years was Moneyball.  Billy Beane took a chance in using stats and fantasy baseball type of projections to build his team.  Take it to the next step and help them win it all.

Seattle – My favorite player of all-time is Ken Griffey Jr.  When I saw him go back to Seattle to finish his career it was bitter-sweet.  I would love to see this team be more than just a great pitcher like Felix Henandez – they need better players and that starts with you making the moves to bring the talent back to Seattle.

NHL 13 –

Who cares?  The NHL season is dead and the sport of hockey on its way out of almost every person’s consciousness.

Pick any team you want – but the best of the worst would be the Columbus Blue Jackets.

Increasing The Longevity of Your Franchise Mode In Sports Games

In any sports game it is often the most desired game mode but it is also one of the hardest to have any sort of real longevity with – Franchise/Association/Connected Careers Mode.

Sports gamers often have to deal with a few different issues that keep them from playing more than one season (or even just one season).  If you are one of the many gamers that suffer from these issues we will supply you with a few different solutions for giving you a more successful and longer lasting personal career/franchise mode.

Winning Too Much, Too FastMost of the typical elitists out there will get on your case if you are winning ‘too much’ and tell you that you need to turn your sliders up a few notches.  While this might be the case (and often is) there are other means of making your game a bit more challenging.

The first is playing the game in a manner that takes your superior decision-making out of the equation and allowing the game to provide a decent challenge.  In football games you will often see either an ‘Ask Madden’ or ‘Suggested Play/Pitch’ option – use that to the utmost and avoid making any changes to that play in order to keep the AI functioning.  You will often notice that the CPU ‘cheats’ as you change plays on the fly.  This is often a function of the game trying to challenge you.  The AI doesn’t have the complex decision functions that you have in your head (yet), so be sure to let the game give you the challenge it is trying to give you.

Secondly, you may want to stop turning off the system before you lose a game.  Losing sucks but you know what sucks more?  Playing and winning every game, every season and then losing interest because your team is ‘so amazing’ that it is boring now.  Do yourself a favor and be honest about your infatuation with winning every game.  No NFL team since the 1972 Miami Dolphins has gone undefeated and one the Super Bowl.  No Major League Baseball team has ever gone undefeated and the same can be said for pretty much every other league and sport around.  Build your team and allow for the game to challenge you.

Thirdly, turn up the difficulty (there I said it).  If this means turning the human sliders to ‘0’ because you are the greatest Madden gamer of all time, do it.  Really the only person you have to answer to is yourself and it is mind-boggling to me how many people will say the game is too easy when they really aren’t challenging their gaming abilities past what they feel is ‘fair’.

Broken ProgressionThis was and is an issue with the hardcore Madden community as well as every other sports game.  No one is ever happy with the way players grow in sports gaming – ever.  It is much like anything else with people – you can’t make everyone happy all of the time.  The best approach can be found in 2K Sports games and Madden 12 where you can go and edit the ratings of any and every player in the game to your heart’s content.  Yet, there are still people out there that want to complain about that even being an option because they expect some sort of magic progression system for players.

Sadly, outside of the option to edit every rating for every player you will have to take it upon yourself to learn how the progression system ‘works’ and make it work for you.  Madden 13 is largely dependent on production and XP growth based on what your players are doing on the field.  While this makes a lot of sense to people it is totally wrong in the eyes of others that think some sort of mythological ‘potential’ rating is the way to go.

Too Easy To Build TeamDo yourself a favor and unleash your inner Billy Beane.  Start building your team as if you’re on the strictest of budgets.  Limit your potential contract offers to a set amount and you will quickly find that quality players are much harder to come by.

Another direction is to build in the exact opposite manner – spend big money on big players.  A good starting point is to determine/find a franchise player.  Whether it is a quarterback in football or a cornerstone like Albert Pujols in baseball, put your money where your hopes are and make it a big contract.  This will help limit your spending in other parts of your roster.

Can’t Pick A TeamThis is something that most people find to be a common problem and it is often the primary reason why a single-player career mode/franchise mode ends within the first three seasons.  You have a few options that can help you in this journey to finding longevity in franchise mode.

The first option is finding a team that needs a lot of work.  Often you will find the most fun in building one of the worst teams in the game.  In Madden, you will often find that a team like the Browns needs quite a bit of help.  In that same breath, you can use teams like the Indians, Marlins or Astros in a baseball game or a team like the Sacramento Kings in basketball games.

The second option is changing your team after a few seasons.  Thankfully, in most sports games this is an option after every season.  If you win a few championships with a team and you want a change of pace, quit that team in the off-season and take the worst team in the league and try to build them into a contender that will last long after you leave.  The best way to see if you have truly built a great team is to build them up and then find a new job.  Track the progress of your old team and it will be like watching a Chia Pet grow wild.

Yet another direction you can go with a team in franchise mode is setting up an online story for people to follow.  This will allow you to have a deeper connection to the team you are using and a bit of ownership to keep other people updated on what’s going on.  In many cases, you will find that it gives you the ability to become a better storyteller.  Also, you should take this as an opportunity to completely change the team to your liking.  While this is certainly something that most people think when going into their career mode they usually let their interest go by the wayside.