Christmas in August: A Giants' Madden Review

The New York quarterback who deserved to be on the cover...When midnight struck last night, thousands of fans cried out in joy. No, not because today is my dog’s seventh birthday (happy b-day Bails!), but because Madden ’09 was released today.

Madden has altered the landscape unlike any videogame before it. The multitude of faithful gamers consists of both the home gamers and those whose likeness is depicted before them. It is widely noted how ubiquitous Madden is in the locker room. In fact, some teams are even using the videogame to teach their younger players the playbook.

Regardless of Madden’s place in the history books, what you want to know is how good the Giants are going to be. Much like the NFL pundits, Madden has underrated the Giants.

Their overall team rating is a 94. While this is a great rating, they are rated worse than four teams. The Patriots (97), Cowboys (96), Chargers (95), and the Colts (95). That’s definitely a hard pill to swallow. Luckily, the team ratings are a horrible indicator of success. Does anybody remember those supposedly stacked Dolphin teams from the mid-2000 Maddens? The ones that always made it to the Super Bowl in franchise mode, yet in reality didn’t sniff the playoffs?

Individually, the Giants look very good. On the defensive side, Osi Umenyiora leads the way with a 97 overall rating. Michael Strahan is still in the game too, boasting a 94 rating. He’ll certainly be missing from the updated rosters, but fear not: there is no drop off with his heir apparent, Justin Tuck, who also is rated a 94 overall. Other highlights include a 95 rating for new locker room leader, Antonio Pierce; a surprisingly high rating of 88 for washed-up cornerback, Sam Madison; and an encouraging rating of 80 for rookie safety Kenny Phillips.

On the offensive side, the team is highly rated also. Eli Manning, no doubt riding the wave of the play of the century, is rated a robust 93. Highlights of his rating are his 93 importance, and his 80 for celebration. Your fist pumps have not gone unnoticed Eli. They have not. Surpassing Eli are gimpy wideout, Plaxico Burress who is rated 96 (Giants, please pay him accordingly!); offensive lineman Chris Snee (93
) and David Diehl (93); and big shocker, here, Derrick Ward who is rated a 99 as a third-down running back. Now I like Derrick, he was great before he broke his leg, but to rate him situationally better than Brandon Jacobs is overall (87)? I cry foul Madden, I cry foul.

While the Giants are vastly underrated as a team in this game (they won the freaking Super Bowl…), they should be a fun team to play with. And while you will have to do a little tweaking to the roster to achieve harmony with the current roster (in addition to Strahan’s presence, Jeremy Shockey is still on the team), you should have fun pressuring the quarterback like their is no tomorrow and throwing long bombs to Plax until your computerized arm goes sore (or at least until your thumbs are sore).

I leave with you but one tip. Try doing a package with Jacobs at fullback and Ahmad Bradhsaw (82) at half back. You’ll have a tandem that actually lives up to the moniker of the thunder and lightning for once…Play on!

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