Eight features the NFL made EA remove from Madden over the years

by: Nathan -

Madden celebrated its 25th anniversary last year and while the series has gotten a number of new features over the years, there have also been many series that have been removed from the game as the series has evolved. Did you know that some of those features were removed at the request of the NFL? ExtraMustard.com reached out to a number of current and former producers on the Madden team to get the scoop on what features the NFL made them remove over the years.

  • The Ambulance - This one is kinda obvious. In early versions of Madden an Ambulance would come on the field if an injury took place. Most people however remember the Ambulance for its comic relief as it would almost always plow over other players on the field as it came in. 
  • Anything related to concussions - Another obvious request. If you are an NFL fan, you have noticed the NFL try their hardest to reduce concussions like dishing out penalties for helmet to helmet contact and forcing players who may have concussion like symptoms to sit out games until they are cleared. Since in real life, injuries aren't diagnoses until players go under and MRI, the language of injuries has been changed from something like "Back sprain, out 6 weeks" to just "head injury".
  • Hit Stick Violence - Simply put, the NFL didn't like that this feature could be used to make players heads snap back. They requested it be toned down so animations didn't look like it would cause injury to another player.
  • De-Helmeting - A feature that hasn't been seen since Madden 2005. In earlier games, extra hard hits on opponents could cause their helmet to fly off. Considering how much attention the NFL pays these days to head injuries, it's no surprise this hasn't made its way back into the franchise. 
  • Freehweeling owner mode - This one I have a problem with. I understand the NFL wants to keep the product true to life but these are the kinds of freedoms I feel should be present in videogames. Years ago, Madden let you customize the entire team, from their logos to uniform colors. The NFL wanted to make sure that the Oakland Raiders or the Cleveland Browns weren't running around in pink helmets. 
  • Celebrations - Of course Touchdown celebrations have been a staple for the Madden and the NFL for years, but just like real life, any celebrations that would cause a penalty in real life won't be seen in the game. 
  • Attacking Bystanders - Another feature from previous games was the ability to take out coaches, referees and field staff that were standing on the sidelines. EA did create animations for photographers on the side lines being taken out by players flying out of bounds, but sadly, it never made it into the final game.
  • Stadium Attendance - EA wanted to keep the product as faithful to real life as possible, so they thought it would be a great feature accurate turnouts for home teams. No one shows up to Jacksonville Jaguars games, so EA made it so no one would show up in the game. Well the head coach of the Jacksonville Jaguars heard about this and was none too pleased. With one call to the NFL, EA was forced to make the change. While not every team will have sellout stadiums, they won't be half empty either.  

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