Franchise Tricks from TheElitist

Everyone has had their fantasies about running a major organization. Imagination is what keeps the human mind sane. Luckily in 1998, EA sports began letting the average person coach, manage and even own their own NFL franchise. The mode evolved to the amazing fantasy role playing mode that is in Madden 11. This is a game mode that takes a day to learn and at least a few months to master. This week I will give you some tips on how to run your franchise efficiently so you can hear Gus Johnson call your team’s name after annihilating your opponent in the super bowl.

At the very beginning you must decide what type of franchise you want to do. Do you want to run a team like the Saints or the Colts that are almost guaranteed a playoff spot every year even after horrible mismanagement? Would you like to take a team like the Lions or Rams and turn them into a dynasty? EA gives you the ability to do just about anything including these scenarios and even moving a team to Mexico City if that is what you want. Before you can do any of that you need to build a team that fits your style of play. Because my strong and proud Buffalonian loyalty can’t be broken we will use the Bills as an example.
Now we all know that the Bills are at the bottom of the pack this year so your best options are either rebuilding from the start or turning the fantasy draft option on and making all the teams pretty equal. For this scenario we will stick with current rosters. The first thing to do is search free agency to fill the holes in your lineup. For example, the Bills have weak linemen and they play in the 3 – 4 defense which means you need bigger linemen and bigger linebackers. The trick for this is finding outside linebackers that are rated in the 70s that weigh close to 275 pounds. Luckily the bills have two decent specimens already in Chris Kelsay and Aaron Maybin. Go to the player edit page and switch their primary position to one of the defensive end spots and their ratings will magically jump close to 10 points. This takes a crappy linebacker and turns them into above average rated linemen. Then make sure you have the right roster breakdown and sign some offensive linemen (try to get them as cheap as possible, I will explain why later) and linebackers to replace them.

To win games early it is wise to play them yourself but for this scenario we will simulate the games to give that general manager/coach feeling. At the end of the season, because 9 times out of 10 the bills won’t make the playoffs that first year, resign only the players worth keeping. Try to stay as young as possible because experience doesn’t matter in the game and players always get better until they start reaching 8 years pro. The offseason is the most critical point. Dump the higher paid players that aren’t any good and get as many draft picks as possible. Also look through the free agent market for high rated veterans because they will come cheaper than a younger top rated player and if you make the right trades you can get those high quality youngsters for pretty cheap. At this point remember not to worry about roster breakdown so much. There are position changes that can make your team better without even having to sign the higher rated players. For example, cornerbacks become higher rated when moved to free safety, offensive tackles become better guards, tight ends become better fullbacks, faster running backs can be changed to wide receiver, fast quarterbacks can be changed to running back and of course the aforementioned outside linebacker switch. Some players to look for trading or signing are Bryan Orakpo, Tamba Hali, Mike Wallace, Kenny Britt, Dwayne Bowe and Jamaal Charles. These players, although young, either become very good very fast or can be moved to increase their 80s rating to a 90s rating.

Drafting become crucial too. Get the best rated player you possibly can for the position you need the most. The Bills usually require a quarterback, offensive linemen or defensive linemen. When signing players offensive linemen for some reason require a lot of attention wanting millions more than they are worth. Sadly, you have to give it to them because a team with a bad offensive line usually places last in the standings. Find the quarterback that fits your style. My Bills were a three-headed monster of running power so I needed a quarterback that could scramble but also have a powerful arm to get ahead of the defenders who would cheat up to stop the run. I personally would try to trade for a Matt Shaub or Aaron Rodgers type quarterback who could do all these things, and it helps they are young and will further develop. Also look for big receivers that are 6 foot 3 inches or taller that have speed. Calvin Johnson Jr. is a player that fits this description. You should always have at least two running backs. One that can be used for every down and a speed demon that can catch passes out of the backfield on third down.

Sadly this process will take a couple seasons before you will be Super Bowl bound. Luckily this will allow for you to get better coaches and better stadium upgrades that will help your team improve faster and stay healthy. After the second season recently retired players will become coaches. For example the legendary T.O. (Terrell Owens) will become available to coach adding bonuses to your wide receiving core. Other former players like linebacker Mike Vrabel and wide receiver Derrick Mason can be hired and give ratings boosts to your teams that no other coach can. If you are lucky you will get a coach like Bill Belichick or Jeff Fisher that can add even better boosts (or in some cases film the other teams practices. . . just kidding).

If you follow these simple rules you will have a super bowl dynasty in no time. Just watch out for those pesky injuries and make sure you have some depth to your team. If your all-star quarterback drops with an ACL tear then make sure you have someone who can competently pass it or consider yourself done.

These rules will help you become the best general manager imaginable. And if the team isn’t making any money remember Toronto and Los Angeles are looking for franchises and it only costs hundreds of millions to move the franchise. What does it matter? It’s not like the money is real right?

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