Fumble Dimension is a new video series from Kofie Yeboah and Jon Bois. Our mission is to use the universes within video games to conduct experiments that, in the real world, would be impossible. And, ideally, break as much stuff as possible along the way.
This episode is titled “THE QUEST FOR THE ULTIMATE NFL PLAY”, it’s a two-parter, and it’s a barn-burner. In Part 1, we used NFL Head Coach 09 to attempt to design the perfect offensive play entirely from scratch. Jon, Kofie, Banner Society football expert Richard Johnson, and Madden champion Young Kiv each designed plays of their own.
How do you test the effectiveness of a play? How about running that play, and only that play, for the entire season? And not just any season, but the infamous 0-16 Detroit Lions season of 2008? Can we save them with just one play?
Since we designed these plays ourselves, there’s a conflict of interest here, and we felt it would be inappropriate to decide which one to run for all over 2008. As such, we’ve decided to put it to a public vote.
Before we introduce the nominated plays, a couple quick notes:
- The offense will have to run this play, and only this play, at every opportunity. No punting. No field goals. No flipping the play.
- We’re not altering the defense at all, nor are we calling any defensive plays. We’re leaving all that up to the Lions’ virtual defensive coordinator.
Here are the nominations.
Kofie decided to call a combination of every route he’s used over time in Madden. There are some automatic money routes throughout the years of Madden and Kofie wanted to exploit the AI. Kofie decided to use double corner routes, a slant route and a wheel route to overwhelm the computer. After consulting with Richard and Kiv, he decided to change the slant route to a drag route and move Calvin Johnson off the option route and over onto the bunch side.
Kofie’s results after one game: 30-15 W
This play led to a Lions’ win, but not in the way Kofie intended for it to. For one, Johnson didn’t get the ball as often as he wanted and the option route was targeted the most. Jon Kitna opted to go for the shorter routes, because he would get sacked otherwise if he waited for the wheel route and corner routes to develop. Kitna would hold the ball for too long and ended up getting sacked nine times.
Despite all of this, Kitna threw for four touchdowns and only one interception with a pretty high completion rate.
Young Kiv’s play:
Madden pro Young Kiv gave us a play that he thought would specifically work with the EA AI. Now, while he had the AI from the modern games in mind he still gave us a fairly popular concept. It’s a variation of Four Verts, where the receiver on an island runs a drag and the running back runs a wheel route. Kiv thinks that the AI will always choose the quickest option instead of waiting for plays to develop. You can see the changes to the play below.
Kiv’s results after one game: 50-31 W
Jesus Christ, Kiv.
So putting Johnson on that middle route worked immensely. No matter what the defense threw at it, the Lions were unstoppable for this play. Johnson caught 17 passes for 476 yards. Yes. He was unstoppable, and it didn’t matter what coverage the defense was in.
The only negative about this play was when Kitna would hold onto the ball for way too long and throw dangerous passes.
However, when you throw eight touchdowns and only two picks, it doesn’t really matter, does it?
Being the college football expert that he is, Richard decided to go with a counter run play instead. The logic behind this was to run the clock, get yardage and prevent mistakes. Sounds good in practice, right?
Richard’s results after one game: 28-20 L
While the theory makes sense and does work at times, we’re dealing with the winless Detroit Lions here. You need a lot of good blocking to let this play have a chance at working. The Lions don’t have good blocking. Every so often they’d have plays like this.
But more often than not they’d just be plays like this.
Now it all comes down to Jon.
Jon’s Breaking Madden expertise lead him to create this play.
His idea is to give Jon Kitna as much protection as possible until Calvin Johnson gets open.
Jon’s results after one game: 60-36 W
The overall score benefitted from two defensive touchdowns, but Kitna still went off for seven touchdown and two interceptions. Like with Kiv’s play, Johnson also went off, this time for 474 yards instead of 476. However, this is great for just calling one play. The difference with this play is that Johnson’s yards after catch stats were very low compared to Kiv’s. This is due to Kitna airing the ball out long all the time.
This also led to tons of risky passes into double and triple coverage.
Despite this, Jon’s play was very successful. Jon said this play only had to work for 25 percent of the time.
Now that we have tested all four plays, it’s up to you to vote on which one you want to see for the entire season. The winning play is the one we’ll run for an entire season in our Part 2 video, which is coming soon.
Fumble Dimension is for the people! Let your voice be heard!