Saturday, August 15, 2009

Michael Vick signs with Eagles: huge Madden '10 implications to follow

Examiner Bio
Michael Vick signs with Eagles: huge Madden '10 implications to follow
August 14, 12:56 PMNY PS3 ExaminerMario Mergola

You can say whatever you want about Vick’s actions or his ability on the football field, but one thing is undeniable: Michael Vick is the best virtual football player in the history of Madden football games.

Regardless of how you feel about the situation, Michael Vick has signed a one-year contract (with a team option for a second year) with the Philadelphia Eagles. At the time of Vick’s signing, Madden NFL ’10 was already shipped to stores, without Michael Vick.

Coinciding with the release of Madden NFL ’10, EA Sports’ Donny Moore preemptively stated on Twitter, “Michael Vick NOT in Madden NFL 10 Roster Update #1…once he signs with a team, we will work to get him in there ASAP.”

Time to get to work. ASAP.

Luckily, EA Sports agrees, and no more than 24 hours after the announcement of Vick's signing, Kotaku is reporting that as long as the NFL and the NFL Players' Association approves, Vick will be added to the game via the next roster update, currently slated for August 19. The evident addition of Vick to the virtual Eagles does pose a few problems.

No one really knows the playing ability of Vick after two years in prison. EA probably already has a basic set of attributes predetermined for Vick, but they might go the safe route and wait until he actually plays a few games before settling on the final numbers.

Also, the NFL’s commissioner, Roger Goodell has not yet announced if there will be a suspension for Vick. The most we know of Vick’s playing status is that a decision will be announced by week six of the NFL season. This basically means that Vick could still be suspended (or not) for any amount of time, but with the announcement of a suspension (coupled with a newfound home for the troubled star), the best estimate is that Goodell will reinstate Vick around week four of the NFL season (Philadelphia’s bye week).

The NFL may force EA to wait until Vick is fully reinstated to add him to the game for realism purposes. Hopefully, public pressure forces their hand earlier, since people that want to start a franchise right now get to play in a league including Michael Vick for seasons to come. If he gets reinstated after your franchise begins, Vick will never exist in your league.

Once Vick dons a green jersey on someone’s HDTV, the landscape of Madden football will be drastically changed. Think back to Madden 2004, when cover athlete Michael Vick was basically unstoppable. Everybody used Michael Vick in Madden ’04. Online, franchise, exhibition. Any game you played, one team was the Falcons.

The irony of this is, the best way to pester someone who continuously tortured you with the elusive Vick was to counter with a) a stellar, fast defense, or b) the second best running quarterback who actually had some throwing accuracy. Both these answers typically led to the Philadelphia Eagles.

Now Philly will be the team with which to play in Madden 2010. In every Madden game for the next year, this play could be a distinct possibility: Vick, the backup for Donovan McNabb, faking a handoff to Brian Westbrook, then throwing a deep pass to DeSean Jackson, who burnt his receiver for a long touchdown. It might actually be scarier on your Playstation 3 than on Sundays at Lincoln Financial Field.

Michael Vick being back in a Madden game is truly a unique situation. If EA lowers his overall ratings enough, every team could easily trade for Vick in their franchise. If he is rated too highly, he will be, once again, unstoppable. The balance is tricky, but most of us (myself included) just want Madden’s most exciting football player ever in the game now.

Get ready to run some QB contain plays. Or corner blitzes. Or Cover 2’s. Just get ready to be frustrated.

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