PS2 Walkthroughs: Madden NFL 2004 Walkthrough

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Madden NFL 2004 Walkthrough

                          MADDEN NFL 2004
                        FAQ/Strategy Guide
                       For Microsoft X-BOX
                           Version 1.0
                         By Chris Zawada
                         User: antseezee
                         Created: 11/01/03
                       Last Update: 11/04/03
                    Copyright 2003 Chris Zawada

Author's Note
I'd just like to say that this is one of my first "major" FAQs ever, so please
bear with me. This FAQ/Strategy Guide is a general way of helping you understand
how Madden 2004 works. It is not some in-depth guide full of roster names, or
historic teams. This basically tells you how to successfully operate the game to
full efficiency. Just like to say thanks for reading it, and hope that you gain
the missing knowledge you were looking for in Madden 2004.

If you have any contributions, feedback, or strategies you'd like to have added
to the guide, contact me via e-mail or on GameFAQs. I'll be more than content to
add your segment of information, and will also provide credit. If you have any
questions you'd like added to the Common Questions section, ask. I simply don't
have the time to sit around thinking of questions. Provide me with what you want
to know!

=11/04/03= v1.0
Finished most of the guide. It's not actually 100% complete, but really only a
few key elements are missing (Rookie Scouting Tests). Most of these will be
finished in the next update. Enjoy the official first version.

=11/01/03= v1.0
Started the basic outline of the FAQ. Main goal is to provide a more general
understanding of Madden to the beginning, and advanced player.

-    Table of Contents     -
1) Introduction
2) Controls
3) Game Modes
   > Description of each with partial strategies
4) Offense
   > Formations/Ratings
5) Defense
   > Formations/Ratings
6) Key Strategies
   > Passing
   > Rushing
   > Defense
   > Special Teams
7) Franchise Details
   > New Additions
   > How to manage
8) Common Questions
9) Special Features
   > Madden Cards, EA Sports Bio, Custom Soundtracks, Sliders
10) Copyright/Distribution/Reproduction Guidelines
11) Proper Credits


- 1) Introduction          -
Madden NFL 2004 is one of the most popular football video games ever, revived
for yet another year in action. Originating back in the early 90s, Madden has
continued to dominate mainly for its realistic gameplay, and mass amount of
options available to the player. The entire game takes place in the NFL, where
you can control up to 32 different teams, and hopefully lead them to the
Superbowl. However, Madden 2004 is more than a simple football game. It's a
masterpiece of strategy and management. Players are given the ability to take
control of a franchise, literally signing players to extensive contracts,
firing/hiring coaches, and ultimately building the great dynasty.


- 2) Controls              -
Thankfully, this year's Madden fits perfectly to the X-BOX controller. Unlike
last year's scheme, players have quick and easy access to pump fakes, spins, and
the stiff arm which can be used for heavy gains. Also, please note that the
control pad is the flat, 4-way button on the X-BOX controller. The left and
right joysticks are the prongs that stick out. Just don't get confused with
/Menu Controls/
Up/Down Pad - highlights items
Left/Right Pad - changes items
A or start - selects
B or back - cancels
X - help menu
X + L/R trigger - changes to next music track

Start - pauses game
Back - calls timeout
Control pad - cycles formations
A, X, or B - selects designated play
Y - cancels the formation or play selected

A - starts and stops kicking meter
Control pad - allows for change in the path of the ball

*Hit A once to start the kicking meter. Hit it again as far up as possible (for
more power). The bar will then reset downward. Hit it a third time to stop it
for accuracy. The more red you hit in the power, and yellow in accuracy, your
kick will hit dead on. Please note that wind, weather conditions, and muffled
snaps can affect where it goes. By changing the path of the ball, you can cause
for lower, farther kicks. Also pushing a punt upward will cause it to have more

*The meter gets faster on each difficulty, and the bar moves extremely fast if
you hit the button in heavy red.

Kick/Punt Returning
A - highlights control of the returner closest to the ball
Y - calls for fair catch (while ball is in air)

*After the ball is caught, all rushing buttons take effect of the returner. Use
them accordingly.
A - Snaps the ball
B - calls a fake snap (useful for pulling defense offsides)
X - calls an audible (press another button afterwards to change the play)
Y - calls a hot route (allows you to select a receiver, and press a direction to
change his receiving route)
Right Joystick - move it left or right to make use of the playmaker feature
Control Pad - Press up or down to cycle between eligible players in motion,
press left or right to move that receiver in the designated direction
White button - Coach's cam
Black button - Coach's cam w/ routes

*Fake snaps can cause for both false starts and offsides, so be weary of its
use. The use of the right joystick (before a play) allows you to change the play
without calling an audible. For example, on a run, if the play is designated to
run left, you can press the joystick to the right. This will cause the run to go
to the right, allowing you to avoid a blitz, or something of the sort.

*When using a hot route, press Y once. Next, select the button of one of your
receivers. Press a direction of how you want to change his receiving route. If
the receiver is going to make a curl back to the line, you can hot route him,
and press up so he'll go for the deep bomb.

*The coach's cam is basically a super zoomed out view which shows all your
personnel on field. It gives you a general overview of the defense, and is
perfect for anticipating what the opponent is going to do.

Left Joystick/Control Pad - moves QB
A - toggles the passing icons on the screen (allows you to pass to a receiver)
A, B, X, L/R triggers - passes the ball to that designated receiver
White button - throws the ball away (out of bounds)
Black Button - pump fakes
Y - disables passing icons (after enabled), allows for QB to rush

*The passing mode must be set to NORMAL for passing icons to work. If the mode
is set to QUICK, your receiver icons will pop up immediately after the snap.
Thus, make sure you don't accidently throw the ball to receiver A, when you
actually mean to speed burst.

*All buttons are pressure sensitive. Lightly tapping a passing icon will cause
for a deep bomb, rather than a speeding bullet. Press according to how you want
the ball thrown.

Left Joystick/Control Pad - moves player
A - speed bursts
X - dives (press lightly to slide with QB)
B - spins
Y - hurdle/jump
R trigger + left or right - juke steps left or right
L trigger - stiff arm

*Pressing the R trigger to a greater degree will cause your player to side step
to a greater extent. Speed bursts restrict your movement for a limited amount of
seconds. You basically cannot turn while speed bursting.

A - take control of intended receiver
X - dives
B - sprints
Y - catch/leap for pass

*Dive can be very useless, especially on catching drills. It has to be timed
precisely, and also be in range of the jump. There's also an extremely slow
recovery time after you dive. It's almost essential that you press Y to catch
the ball (unless you let the CPU do it for you).
A, B - cycles through your defenders
Control Pad/Joystick - allows you to move players
L trigger + direction - defensive line shift
L trigger + white button - resets D-line shift
R trigger + direction - linebacker shift
R trigger + white button - resets LB shift
X + another assigned button - calls an audible
Y + direction - calls a coverage audible
X + white button - resets to original play
White button - Coach's cam
Black Button - Coach's cam w/ schemes

*Defensive shifts allow your personnel to get a better angle on the defensive
side of the ball. Shifting the linebacker core the left, when you're fairly sure
a run is going to the left side increases your chance of stopping the run. It
also allows for better coverage on receivers, giving the linebackers a head

*Coverable audibles are similar to bump-n-run, and hail mary coverage. You can
basically move certain people to the left and right to double up, down to jam
the receivers, or up to play the deep pass.

After the Snap
A - takes control of player closest to ball
Left Joystick/Control Pad - moves player
X - dives, or dive tackle
B - sprint
Y - leap
Black button - strips the ball (causes fumbles)
L trigger - spin move (to get rid of a blocker)
R trigger - swim move (to also get rid of a blocker)

*Any defensive player who comes in contact with an offensive player that has the
ball will automatically attempt a tackle. It's not necessary to dive at every
player you want to tackle. The strip move attempts to cause a fumble in the
carryers' hands. Unfortunately, it can also catch the face mask every once in a
while, leaving for a face masking penalty. The spin move is similar to a
defensive player spinning around a slower offensive linemen. If you're caught
off balance, you will get pancaked on a spin move. A rip will try to catch a
blocker off guard, but can also get you jammed up for a few seconds.
New in this year's version of Madden 2004 is the Playmaker feature. It makes use
of the right joystick (on the X-BOX controller). When pressed in a certain
direction (before and after the snap), it will cause certain effects.

Offense (Before the Snap) - changes left/right direction of play, hot routes
receiver onto a different route
Offense (After the Snap) - control the nearest blocker to you, direct the
closest receiver on a passing play

Defense (Before the Snap) - edge the secondary towards one side of the field
Defense (After the Snap) - cheats towards the run, or the deep pass

*The right joystick must be pressed up or down immediately after the snap for
the run/pass effect to work. Basically, when pressed down after the snap, it
will cause your linebackers to blitz for the run. When pressed up for the pass,
it will cause your safeties to drop back into deep coverage. Unfortunately, if
you get caught in a play fake, you will give up a big play. Use on an occasional


- 3) Game Modes            -
/Play Now/
=Let's you play an exhibition game between 2 teams.=

- Play Now is your typical exhibition mode. It let's you play a game that
doesn't count (although it can be added to your profile). Away/Home teams can be
set, created teams can be imported, even stadium conditions can be set. Pressing
the L or R trigger will let you navigate the vast list of "historic" teams that
EA Sports added in on the side. Even the kickoff time can be set thanks to this
trusty little feature. Up to four people can play.

=Take control of any professional team for over 30 years, and lead them to the

- Franchise is Madden's premiere gaming mode. It allows the player to control
every aspect of a professional team. Player salaries, coaching contracts,
playing the actual games, and owner methods must all be managed by the player
alone. Rather than simply playing a simple season, the gamer is given a chance
to actually manage a team both financially, and respectively. For a more in-
depth analysis of franchise mode, please check out Chapter 7.
=Create a special bracket in which various teams can compete for the ultimate

- Tournament is similar to many of the gaming competitions around the world. The
entire mode is designed to have various teams go head-to-head until one defined
team is left over. This is great for finding out who the best Madden player is
out of a group of friends, or simply for the sheer fact of challenge.

- Single Elimination <-> Double Elimination
- Round Robin <-> Double Round Robin

Besides the type of elimination, the player can choose the number of teams in
the tournament, who plays who, and if a fantasy draft is to be initiated.
Certainly one of the more entertaining modes among a group of friends.
=Compete in various drills in order to earn tokens, unlock game situations, and
fine-tune your skills.=

- Mini Camp is similar to Training Camp (new in 2004), in which players test
their skills via several training drills. Each area of football is split into
individual tests, such as passing, rushing, tackling, and kicking. Players must
score a minimum amount of points to earn a trophy, which in part allows them to
test the next difficulty. Each drill is split into four difficulties (Rookie,
Pro, All Pro, All Madden), with each getting harder as you progress.

Precision Passing
The goal of precision passing is to hit ring targets placed across the field
while being able to hit receivers in stride. Rings are colored according to
value (bronze, silver, gold), and bonuses are rewarded if the ball is caught as
well. Rings will get smaller as the difficulty rises, meaning you have to time
and put the right amount of pressure to pierce the ring in the middle.

Basically, there are a few key tips to get down. The release of the ball is the
most essential part in succeeding. On out routes, you want to send a speeding
bullet right when the receiver makes the break to the outside. On curl backs,
wait till the receiver starts to edge back, then bullet pass it. For deep
passes, wait until the receiver is about halfway down the route, then lob it. If
you happen to go past the ring (vertically), hold the passing button down longer
for a more speedy throw. On slants, wait till the receiver gets two steps off
the diagnoal break, then pierce it in. Here's a little graph to help:

     ^                            ^
     |                           /
     |         ___              /
     |.       ^| |             / .        ______^
     | .      .  |            /   .       |.
     |  .     .  |           |     .      .
     X   .    .  |           X     .    . |
     |     .  .  |           |      . .   |
     --------O---X---       ---------O----X---

*The dotted projectories is when you should throw the ball on each specific
route. For example, on the deep straight route, just loft the ball when the
receiver is halfway down his route. By timing it halfway, the ball should arrive
at the ^ arrow that's pointing up (represents a ring). The same goes with the
curl, slant, and out routes. Just use the trajectory of the dots to time it.

Pocket Presence
In Pocket Presence, you must manage the pressure of the oncoming defensive line,
while being able to throw passes to the correct icon targets. It's not as hard
as it seems though. Points are awarded for completing a pass, and a multiplier
will increase your points by completing consecutive passes, not getting sacked,
and hitting the correct receivers.

Simply enough, tennis balls are shot out of stationed guns at the quarterback.
You must avoid the tennis balls, and then pass the ball to a receiver whose icon
lights up. Unfortunately, there is a small circle in which you are not suppose
to go out of. If you stay out of the circle for an allotted time of five
seconds, the drill will end. Thus, you must stay in the pocket, avoid tennis
balls, and fire to the correct receiver.

My best strategy for this drill is to stare at the northernmost gun. Don't look
directly at the receivers, or all the way down at your QB. Position your eyes
right in the middle, so that you can get a small amount of peripheral vision on
both the guns and receivers. One of the most important elements is to memorize
which color is associated with the button on the controller. B is for red, A for
green, and X for blue. If you can remember these key colors, then this drill
should be easy. Here's a little picture to show you what you should be
concentrating on.

                            |A|    |L|        |R|

                        |X|            |B|

                               ^ <----- stare at this one
                      ^       ____      ^
                             /    \
                  ^          \ Qb /         ^
                              \__/ <------ pocket zone

*As the difficulty rises, the rate of tennis balls show and amount will
increase. Thus, you have to keep some vision on what's coming at your
quarterback, and which icons are lighting up. After a pass is completed, note
that the passing icons are RESET. Do not memorize each position. Just associate
the color with the button, and when it lights up, fire away. Remember though,
stare at the middle gun to keep a balance of view.

Clutch Kicking
One of the easier drills in 2004, Clutch Kicking is basically an accuracy
contest for kickers. Players must be accurate in kicks (the goal post is split
into three colored zones). More points are awarded for kicks that split the
uprights, with lesser points designated for slightly-off-the-middle kicks. No
points are awarded for missing a kick. You're given 60 seconds to obtain as many
points as possible.

All you have to do is press A to start the kicking meter, (press A again) to
stop it in the red, and press it once more when it reaches the middle of the
yellow zone. Since this is a timed event, be quick in your actions. Don't dilly
dally around like you have a 30 second play clock. Just check the wind meter
once, and aim all your kicks in the same way.

*As the difficulty rises, the wind, distance, and kicking meter becomes more
difficult to manage. The wind always stays the same for all 60 seconds, so just
check it once. Be VERY careful on higher difficulties, as the kicking meter
moves extremely fast. Try your best to time it. Places are systematically moved
from the left hash, middle, and the right hash. Also, never move the trajectory
higher, since it will waste time and reduce distance.

Swat Ball
This is definitely one of my favorite drills in all of 2004. Similar to most
defensive drills, Swat Ball is a defensive back designed drill where players
must swat, intercept, and prevent dummy receivers from catching the ball. An
automated machine will shoot out a pass in timed intervals to a dummy (stand-
still target) in which your defensive back must tip or intercept the ball.
Points are earned by you getting a hand on the ball before the receiver does.
Doing this consecutively will increase your points by a multiplier, and
intercepting the ball yields bonus points.

This is a really easy drill, as long as you can time the interceptions right.
The drill starts off with a highlighted circle appearing to show you which
receiver is going to get the ball. The immediate moment you see the circle,
sprint (using B) to that direction, and let off right around the area. Once you
reach the area of the ball, it should be shot out by this time. Press the R
trigger to face the direction of the ball. If you don't, your back will be
facing the pass, and will only get deflected. Using a combination of the R
trigger, press Y to leap up and intercept the ball. Immediately after that, wait
for the next circle to pop up, and repeat the process. Note that if you can't
make it in time (for one of the interceptions), press the L trigger to make a
leaping tip.

*As the difficulty increases, the velocity of the ball will go up as well. This
drill usually requires a fast defensive back since you'll be racing from target
to target. Also, an additional dummy is added per difficulty. This means, you
may be forced to run from short-to-deep, and tip a few passes along the way.

Ground Attack
This is your all-out running back drill. Basically, the goal is to score as many
touchdowns as you can with a runningback and limited blocking. You're given 60
seconds to get as many points as possible. Points are rewarded for gaining
positive yards, and scoring touchdowns. Plays are continuous and random, meaning
that a play (different or the same) will continue right after you're tackled.
Rushing out of bounds will stop the clock. Each time a play intiates, random
"pilon" blockers are shifted in various directions. You must use these pilon
blockers, combined with a blocking fullback to get past 2-5 defensive tacklers.

This is by far one of the most useful, and masterful drills in 2004. Your actual
Halfback can make a huge difference, since speed can prove to be a great
benefit. Since time is continuous, it's smart to go for the touchdown when you
know you can, and to run out of bounds when the situation is doubtful. Once the
play is snapped, look for where the hole is in the offensive line. If there's a
wide open gap, speed burst through it, and use your fullback as a guide.
Sometimes a linebacker will seep through that your fullback misses, meaning
you're left to hang dry. It's essential that you follow the block of your
fullback. If he cuts for the late block, move to the outside and rush up the
sideline. If he goes for the inside slam, follow his lead, and see if he
pancakes the defender.

Use your special moves as well. Spinning is by far the most useful, since it
allows you to get rid of a defender one on one. Use the stiff arm when you need
to muscle an outside gain. Avoid using a juke, since it tends to be more of a
slowdown on time. Here's a little picture to guide you:

   |      .  |      |        .        |
   | X   .   |      |    X  .         |
   |  B..    |      |      .   X      |
   |   .     |      |       .X        |
   |    .    |      |    oo .^ oo  o  |
   |     O   |      |       O         |

    Spin move        Follow the blocker

*As you can see, by pressing (B + inside direction), your rusher will actually
spin towards the inside. This will completely fool the defender, getting him off
your trail. Following the lead block can usually be a bit tricky, but takes a
little practice. Your fullback ^ will plug one of the oncoming defenders, giving
you an interval of time to see where to take your path. In this case, you'd
probably want to take it straight up the middle since both outside routes are
covered. As the difficulty increases, one more defender is added to the field.

Trench Fight
The biggest flaw with most of the timed drills is that most of your players need
speed. Unfortunately, Trench Fight is a timed drill that involves slow defensive
linemen. The idea is to reach a posted flag (represents the QB) which is behind
one or two offensive linemen. You must shove, rip, spin, or get by the
guard/tackle, and reach the flag. Usually, there are 2 or 3 patterns setup one
after another, making Trench Fight more of a race of time.

This is by far one of the hardest drills in all of mini camp for the pure fact
that you need pure luck. In order to reach the flags in the quickest amount of
time, you have to know when to engage blocks, and when to get around them.
Whenever you see a big tackle, try to rip (R trigger) past him. When you
approach a fullback or lighter guard, use the shove (B button) to pancake him on
his butt. Use the spin move in dire situations when you can't rip or push the
person down.

*Trench Fight gets extremely difficult on higher difficulties. Your defensive
linemen needs a great balance between strength and speed in order to get past
double teams, and large tackles. If you get pancaked once, you've pretty much
lost the drill. Try to avoid contact with blockers if there's a way around them.
Also, the time limit will increase, forcing you to get past more blockers along
the way.

Chase and Tackle
When it comes to kicking the pure butt out of any offensive players, linebackers
usually do the dirty work. Chase and Tackle is a LB designed drill where a
defensive player must track down and tackle the running back. It can be one of
the easiest drills in the game up until All-Pro/All-Madden difficulties. Points
are yielded for not giving up rushing yards, and penalty points are subtracted
for giving up a touchdown.

You'll start off as the initial linebacker a few yards behind the line of
scrimmage. After the play is snapped, watch where the offensive blockers go.
Usually, when a run up the middle is being played, you'll see the O-linemen
space out a hole up the middle. The second you see it, press B to sprint into
the hole, and dive straight ahead for the tackle. When an outside run occurs,
you'll usually see the linemen space out. Move directly to the side of the
pitch, and sprint horizontally across so you can direct yourself right into the
half back at the line of scrimmage. Watch out for the spin move. The CPU does it
quite frequently on outside runs.

*When you reach the All-Pro and above difficulties, the HB gets a fullback as
one of his blockers. This can be extremely dangerous, and avoid the fullback at
all costs. He'll try to engage a block with you, preventing you from getting the
tackle. Use the R trigger to face the line of scrimmage, and hover behind until
you can get an angle on the HB. Try not to use the strip function since it
rarely causes fumbles. You'd be better off going for the tackle.

Corner Coffin Punt
Punters usually don't get a lot of respect in Madden. Most pressure situations
don't come down to them (kickers get the champaigne), and those big-time plays
are usually shunned upon. Thankfully, you can get all of your punting madness in
the Corner Coffin Punt. The goal is to launch a punt inside a specified
red/orange/yellow zone that is placed along the sidelines near the endzones.
Players are given a limited number of attempts to get punts as close as they can
to the bullseye, without kicking a touchback, or punt out of the zone.

First off, aim your trajectory so that it appears to be going out of bounds. Try
to get it close enough to the corner as you can, and aim downward so the wind
doesn't play a huge factor in where it goes. Next, press A to start the meter,
stop it in the red, and hit it once more in the yellow. Make sure you account
for the factor of wind, and try to project where the punt will go.

*On higher difficulties, the kicking meter becomes faster, more sporadic, and
wind velocity becomes greater. Continue to line drive as many punts as possible,
and try to hit them out of bounds, rather than bouncing them. Remember, there's
no time limit, so take as much time as you desire.
/2 Minute Drill/
=Try to score as many points as you can within a two minute period at the end of
a game.=

- Two minute drill is your typical pressured situation that forces you to come
out with the unexpected. This is basically a way for players to spend their time
in Madden without playing an extensive game. It starts out similar to exhibition
mode, where you select a team and an opponent. You automatically start out on
your own 20 yard line, and must score as many points as possible in a 2 minute
span. Thankfully, you're given 3 timeouts, and points are awarded accordingly.
Every first down recorded, big play, or simple rush will accumulate a final
score. If this score is fairly good, you're awarded tokens. If it's extremely
good, you'll make a high score list for everyone else to see.

- More tokens are rewarded for higher difficulties, so give All-Pro and All-
Madden a try. Scrap most of your running plays in this mode. This isn't a simple
game where you have to score a touchdown. This is more about a scoring frenzy.

*The best strategy I've come by is to simply go out with a 3-wide receiver, 1-TE
set. You want to be able to send your wideouts on straight deep patterns, and
have your TE go on a post up the middle. Basically, if the defense is playing a
cover 2 (where the safeties drop back to cover the wideouts), your Tight End
should be open enough in the middle of the field. If there's 1-on-1 coverage on
the outside, you can send a deep bomb, and pray for the catch. Here's how you
should set it up:

        ^          ^          ^
        |           \         |
        |            \        |
        | ___         |       |
        | |  \        |       |
        | ^  |        |       |
        |    |        |       |
        X    |   oooooX       X
             X     Qb
<->You may have to attempt some manual catches on the deep post patterns.
Basically, after the ball is thrown in the air, press A to take control of the
receiver. Hold down B to keep sprinting upward. When the ball starts to come
down to the circle, press Y to leap up and make a magnificent catch. It's
usually a 50/50 play, but it produces a big gain (30+ yards), and usually allows
for quick TD scores.
/Football 101/
=Learn how football really is 1-on-1 with John Madden himself.=

- This is sort of like the "n00b" version on how to teach you football. It's
really just a simple guidance system with some John Madden audio clips that
attempts to teach you the basics of a few plays. Tokens are awarded based on how
successful you follow the play's plan. If you goof up, or pass to the wrong guy,
it will give you another chance to complete it. Unfortunately, besides being a
tutorial system, it doesn't offer much help or reward. Once you complete a
designated play and earn the tokens for it, it becomes grayed out in the
"Madden" playbook.
=Get your groove down on each snapped play, whether it be a daunting pass or
charging run.=

- One of the relatively more useful game modes in all of Madden 2004 is
Practice. This nifty little thing allows you take any team, and place them in
rigorous practice conditions. Every single play can be used from a playbook, and
is constantaneous so that you don't have to wait for the game situation.

- Normal <-> Offense versus Defense
- Offense Only <-> Only your offense will show up on the field
- Kickoff <-> Practice special teams plays

*Practice allows for the importing of exported and created teams. Press Y at the
practice setup to import a team saved to the hard disk. This is useful for
practicing with some of your own custom franchise teams, rather than the default
2003 rosters.
=Customize your own game complete with settings, weather conditions, and the
whole shenanigans.=

- One of the newer, and much needed features in this year's Madden is Situation.
Basically, you can create any type of scenario given any condition or setting.
Various teams can be selected to recreate Superbowl matchups. Every aspect
ranging from the score, what quarter it is, time left, timeouts for each team,
and even who has possession can all be customized. Situation is basically the
ultimate game modifyer, allowing to even set what stadium you're playing in.

*You're also permitted to load created/exported teams, and watch matchups
between the computers.


- 4) Offense               -
Football games are practically decided by the offense. The entire game is based
around whatever team has the higher amount of points, thus giving the offense an
edge. Whenever a big play comes down to it, the offense always performs. Madden
is slightly more of an offensively-biased game, allowing for huge touchdown
passes, and dominating runs. While the defensive AI improved this year, Madden
is still dictated by the offense.
In order to play a football game, each team must play with a set of formations.
Basically, formations are the arrangement of your personnel on the field.
Sometimes they allow for advantages with the pass, or are designed strictly for
the run. In many cases, some formations can be used for both. Each formation
will have a brief description, explain when to use them, and will be rated on a
scale of 1-10.

Personnel: 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 HB, 1 FB
- The I-formation is one of the more commonly used setups across the world in
all ranges of football. Basically, it's primarily designed for both the
pass/run, allowing for play fakes, deep passes, runs up the gut, or along the
sidelines. The FB and HB line up directly in a line behind the QB, similar to a
giant I. The huge success behind the I-form is the simple variety of its uses.
It's also useful for providing extra blocks on blitzes, since you have 2
eligible blockers in the backfield.

==Ratings== Pass: 7 <-> Rush: 7 <-> Trick: 9

     X    oooooTe   X

*The prediction of pass or run is difficult for defenses to manage in the I-
form. As you can see, two of the backs can either block, be engaged in runs, or
go out on flat passing routes. The TE is useful passing up the middle, along
with your 2 threats on the outside. Unfortunately, it's not overly-passing
biased since you don't have too many speedy fellows on the field. Use this if
you're looking for a short gain, or big-time play on a play action. It's quite
useful, and should be in everyone's playbook.

VARIATIONS: Twin WR (both WRs stack on one side), 3 WR (TE is substituted with
additional WR), BIG (2 TEs, 1 WR)

Personnel: 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 HB, 1 FB
- The Strong-I is a slightly different formation than the I-form. Basically,
rather than your HB and FB lined straight up, the FB is now shifted over towards
the strong side. This means that you're usually giving the edge away of which
side you're going towards. It's also a tad more run orientated since your FB is
right in place of his blocking position.

==Ratings== Pass: 5 <-> Rush: 8 <-> Trick: 6

     X    oooooTe   X

*The Strong-I is one of the more impressive running formations. If you have a
power back, or want someone to grind into the inside hole, it's perfect for
piercing the inside. Unfortunately, many Strong-I plays aren't too great with
the pass. Your TE is usually forced to block, and play actions are a rare
occurance. Regardless, it's still a necessary formation for anyone who wants to
rush the ball.

VARIATIONS: Twin WR (both WRs stack on one side), 3 WR (TE is substituted with
additional WR), BIG (2 TEs, 1 WR)

Personnel: 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 HB, 1 FB
- The Weak-I is again, similar to the I-form and Strong-I, but is a tad more
pass orientated. Your FB is now positioned towards the weak side, which allows
for a higher chance of play action or deep pass. Since most QBs are right
handed, and they hand off to their left side, this could trick the computer into
thinking the FB or HB is running.

==Ratings== Pass: 8 <-> Rush: 6 <-> Trick: 7

     X    oooooTe   X

*Use the Weak-I in situations where you need a fairly large gain. The Tight end
can usually get open on a decent play action. It's also very useful for handing
the ball off to the fullback, since he's right in position to dive straight
ahead. Defintely useful for anyone who loves throwing to backs on the flat.
Great for a 5-10 yard gain.

VARIATIONS: Twin WR (both WRs stack on one side), 3 WR (TE is substituted with
additional WR), BIG (2 TEs, 1 WR)

Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 HB
- The Singleback formation is one of the most widely used formations in all of
football. It's often used on teams where star runningbacks show off their moves,
and quarterbacks show off their arms. Straight off the bat, you have 3 fast
targets on the field to throw to. If all else fails, you can always rely on a
tight end for either blocking, or the passing route. Finally, you have your half
back in the backfield who can usually break a big gain if there's a hole, or go
out on the flat. The singleback is also useful for drawing the defense into a
nickel formation (since most teams like even matchups).

==Ratings== Pass: 8 <-> Rush: 6 <-> Trick: 5

     X    oooooTe   X
       X    Qb


*Unfortunately, the biggest problem with the singleback formation is that you
need a darn good half back. Without any star player in the back field, your QB
may have some problems. If a blitz comes, you only have one blocker in the back
field. Secondly, if he goes out on a flat route, that leaves you with no
protection in the back. Singleback is mainly designed for offenses with speedy
players. It can pick apart teams who stay in their base defenses (3-4, 4-3)
since you have a linebacker matched up with a WR. Despite the advantages, the
gains vary on each play (2-15).

VARIATIONS: Twin WR (both WRs stack on one side), 4 WR (TE is substituted with
additional WR), BIG (2 TEs, 1 WR), Twin TE (2 TEs, 1 WR), 5 WR

Personnel: 3 WR, 1 TE, 1 HB
- If you've ever dreamed of being an all-passing team, then the shotgun is for
you. Basically, rather than having your quarterback constantly stepping back on
deep throws, the shotgun gives him a five step advantage. The ball is
automatically long snapped to the quarterback who is about five yards from the
line of scrimmage. It's primarily pass orientated since the snap is designed to
give the QB time in the pocket. He can also pass off to the half back, or use
him as a blocking utility.

==Ratings== Pass: 9 <-> Rush: 3 <-> Trick: 5

     X    oooooTe   X


*Thankfully, the shotgun is very useful on 3rd downs. If you pick the right
passing formation, you can pick apart zone coverage. With a good offensive line,
you can sit in the pocket all day and wait till your receivers get open.
Unfortunately, the rush is quite dismal with the shotgun since your HB is
starting from 5 yards back. Even draw plays, and fakes will take some time to
develop. Use this if you're looking for big gains (10+).

VARIATIONS: 4 WR (TE is substituted with additional WR), 5 WR, 2 RB 1 WR (2 RBs
line up next to QB)

Personnel: 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 HB, 1 FB
- Both the Far and Near formations are specially designed sets in which it
utilizes both the FB and HB. While most of them are run orientated, a few out of
the flat passes can be poked here and there. Unfortunately, far and near
formations are an aging fad in football.

==Ratings== Pass: 5 <-> Rush: 7 <-> Trick: 3

     X    oooooTe   X             X    oooooTE    X
            Qb                           Qb

         Hb Fb                           Fb Hb

           Far                           Near

*The Far and Near are practically the same formations except the HB is either
position on the weak or strong side. They're useful for getting two blockers in
the backfield, or nice trick runs if performed right. Unfortunately, it takes
some time for the FB to get in front as a block, which is why the I-form can be
more useful in short situations.

VARIATIONS: 3 WR (TE is substituted with additional WR), BIG (2 TEs, 1 WR)

Split Backs
Personnel: 2 WR, 1 TE, 1 HB, 1 FB
- Running backs are now commonly being used for more daunting tasks. The
traditional running back use to be one who could plow through the line for large
gains. Nowadays, many backs are being used as both running and receiving
threats. The Split Backs formation is another brilliant formation that utilizes
both the run and pass quite well. With a fullback and runningback in the back
field, this allows for passes to the flat routes, or simple runs.

==Ratings== Pass: 7 <-> Rush: 7 <-> Trick: 9

     X    oooooTe   X

          Hb  Fb

*The huge advantage of the Split Backs formation (also known as Pro form) is
that you can get both a hefty advantage through the air or on the ground. By
motioning the fullback to the outside, you can get an extra block on a pitch.
Or, you could simply run up the middle through the hole. If neither work, you
can have them block, or go out on routes. Truly a brilliant and widely used

VARIATIONS: 3 WR (TE is substituted with additional WR), BIG (2 TEs, 1 WR)

Goal Line
Personnel: 3 TE, 1 HB, 1 FB
- One of the more lesser used formations is the simple goal line rush. Goal line
basically brings a huge amount of blockers to the line, permitting for runs up
the gut and off tackle. Unfortunately, its passing routes are extremely limited
since most TEs get jammed at the line. Combine that with an oncoming blitz, and
most of your passing time is limited. Instead, it's designed for the rush into
the endzone. Use it accordingly

==Ratings== Pass: 2 <-> Rush: 10 <-> Trick: 3

            Qb   Te



- 5) Defense               -
One of the more loved aspects of football is the crushing blows laid upon
players. Linebackers, defensive backs, and even your defensive linemen all come
up to make exciting plays that thrill the crowd. Whether it be a minimal sack,
or leaping interception, defense is one of the most raved keys during a football
game. Now that Madden 2004 is strictly based around defense, it's essential that
you know how to utilize it.
First off, on defense, it's an entirely different story from the offense.
Contrary to previous versions, you don't get to see what the CPU picks as their
formation. Instead, you now see what personnel the CPU picked, and must decide
from there. However, defensive formations decide who gets matched up with who.
It's always smart to match a defensive back with a speedy WR, however, you're
also losing one extra LB in case they rush the ball. Thus, defense in Madden is
much more strategic than the offense.

Personnel: 3 LB, 4 DB, 4 DL
- The 4-3 formation is one of the most widely used sets in all of football.
Whether it be the high school level, or even the NFL, each have used the 4-3 one
way or another. Basically, you have your traditional defensive linemen, with 3
linebackers, and 4 defensive backs (2 CB, 2 safeties). The 4-3 is similar to the
I-form in terms of defense. It can practically stop both the pass and run.
Linebackers and blitz certain parts of the field, and easily be shifted to
compensate for extra blockers. If the going gets tough, you can usually match a
LB on the outside, or drop them back into coverage.

==Ratings== Pass: 4 <-> Rush: 6 <-> Trick: 5

          X       X

            | | |
      O    o o o o    O

*The 4-3 formation should be your base formation if you have a strong D-line,
and weaker linebackers. It can practically cover any I-formation, running play,
and even 3 WR sets (as long as you have speedy LBs). Safeties can drop back to
cover wideouts, while your LBs drop in the middle. Unfortunately, you will get
overwhelmed at times, meaning it sucks against spread out formations. It also
tends to have trouble on outside pitches if one of the OLBs gets jammed.
However, use it in nearly all situations, except for wide receiver sets.

VARIATIONS: Over (brings a LB to the line, better for getting pressure or an
edge on the outside)

Personnel: 4 LB, 4 DB, 3 DL
- One of the more rare occurring formations in the NFL is the 3-4 defense.
Basically, it's similar to the 4-3 except now you have 4 linebackers, rather
than 3. This specific set is designed for teams that have skilled linebacker
cores, especially up the middle. 3-4 defenses can be extremely useful as long as
you utilize them to full potential. The idea is to blitz a lot in the holes to
cause both pressure and plug the run. It's essential that you have one key DT up
the middle to clog the hole, allowing your LBs to rush around him. Teams such as
the Steelers and Texans run this defense.

==Ratings== Pass: 5 <-> Rush: 7 <-> Trick: 3

         X       X

          | | | |
      O    o o o    O

*Unfortunately, the 3-4 is a specialized formation for a specialized team. If
your franchise does not have a brilliant Linebacking core, don't even bother
with the 3-4. Without speedy linebackers, or at least decent pressure coming
from them, it's just a waste of space in the back field. The 3-4 can be used to
drop everyone back, creating a 7-man defense against the pass. Unfortunately,
this can backfire since the weakness is running up the gut.

VARIATIONS: Pressure (brings a LB to the line, better for getting pressure or an
edge on the outside)

Personnel: 5 LB, 3 DB, 3 DL
- The 4-6 is more of an offset formation used to pressure the run. It's almost a
rarity to see any NFL team run this formation, however, the 4-6 is designed for
mainly stopping the run. Basically, a 5th LB is brought in, with 2 of them
playing on the line. There's only one safety in the backfield, who must be
essentially skill to block both the pass/run. Fortunately, the 4-6 provides an
insane amount of pressure on any team because of how many people are playing in
the "box."

==Ratings== Pass: 3 <-> Rush: 8 <-> Trick: 7

             |    |
      O   | o o o | |    O

*If at all possible, avoid using the 4-6 formation unless you have the correct
personnel. It's necessary to have an amazing safety, with good cornerbacks on
the outside. The 4-6 also requires good man coverage, otherwise you'll get burnt
on the deep pass. Besides that, it provides a hefty amount of pressure on both
the pass or run. It's great for a change in pace, but probably too risky for a
base defense.


Personnel: 2 LB, 5 DB, 4 DL
- The Nickel formation is one of the more hybrid combinations of pass/run. While
its main purpose is to defend against 3 WR sets, the Nickel can be used for
blitzing on the rush as well. Unfortunately, nickel requires good defensive
pressure from your line. Tight ends tend to get open up the middle, causing for
a gap.

==Ratings== Pass: 7 <-> Rush: 4 <-> Trick: 6

          X       X

             |  |
      O  O  o o o o    O

*The Nickel formation should be used only in situations where you're 75% they're
going to pass. Three CBs allows for great coverage on WRs. LBs can blitz up the
middle to cause additional pressure, or stop some sort of a draw play.
Unfortunately, it seems like this set seems to get picked off way too often up
the middle.

VARIATIONS: 3-3-5 (substitutes a DL with a LB, great for added pressure or
stopping TE), Strong (pushes the safety down for better coverage)

Personnel: 1 LB, 6 DB
- The Dime is the perfect antidote for stopping the pass. It's entirety is based
around covering wide receivers, and stopping those big WR sets. While the rush
works quite easily against this nifty formation, the coverage is unbelievable.
You can play zone, man-to-man, or covers out of the Dime thanks to its
versatility. It can also be used along with blitzing CBs for pressure on the
outside. It's best to use the Dime in definite passing situations.

==Ratings== Pass: 8 <-> Rush: 2 <-> Trick: 4

          X       X

      O  O  o o o o  O  O

VARIATIONS: Flat (moves the safeties closer to line, CBs back, sort of like a
cluttered mess), Quarter (subs another CB in for DL), Quarter 3 Deep (sends 3
DBs deep, rest play close to line)

Cover 2
Personnel: 3 LB, 4 DB, 4 DL
- The Cover 2 defense is really not a formation, but more of a setup. Basically,
your 2 safeties drop back to prevent the deep pass, your 2 CBs play a zone close
to the line, and your LBs drop back for coverage up the middle. This ultimately
causes plenty of turnovers because most downfield receivers are covered. Thus,
many QBs force balls in, and this causes plenty of interceptions for your
defense. This is why teams like Tampa Bay are so successful. Unfortunately, the
Cover 2 can get picked apart by timing routes, and slants. However, it provides
such an able balance between pass and run that you really don't know what's
coming for you. The biggest flaw is that it requires excellent personnel to

==Ratings== Pass: 5 <-> Rush: 5 <-> Trick: 8

          X       X

            | | |
      O    o o o o    O


Goal Line
Personnel: 4 LB, 3 DB, 4 DL
- The Goal Line formation is primarily designed for stopping anything inside the
5 yard line. This nifty (and tight) set can easily crush the run on a blitz,
while providing ample protection on the outside. It's quite similar to the 4-6,
except for the fact that it's designed to be used on must-run situations.
Unfortuantely, while it's devestating against the run, play actions can hurt it
if not utilized properly.

==Ratings== Pass: 3 <-> Rush: 9 <-> Trick: 2

            | | |
      O    o o o o |   O



- 6) Key Strategies        -
In order to fully master the game of football, you need a certain degree of
strategy amongst yuor playcalling. Knowing when to go for the short yardage, or
play fake for the deep bomb can make the difference between a winner or loser.
Before you jump right in to the game of football, there's a few key things that
you need to "practice" correctly. Don't just think you can pass all you want
against the Tampa Bucs, or try to do an outside run every play. Madden 2004
requires a somewhat hefty balance of offensive plays, and the right behavior on
the defensive side of the ball.
In order to the pass the ball, you need a decently good QB, and some nifty
peripheral vision on your own part. Interpretation of the defense is critical
since you have to know when a LB is creeping in the zone, and safeties are
moving back for the deep pass. First off, let's concentrate on the basics.

=Use pressure sensitive buttons to your advantage.=
- The X-BOX controller features pressure sensitive buttons which allow for
higher velocity passes over simple lofts. In order to throw a really fast
spiral, press the passing icon as hard as you can. It's best to use this option
if you're trying to pierce a ball through a zone, such as on a slant, or on a
curl route. Loft the ball (tap it lightly) on deep bombs, and crossing routes up
the middle so that your receiver has time to pivot for the catch.

=Get use to utilizing hot routes.=
- Hot Routes are sort of like audibles at the line of scrimmage. You can
basically edit any receiver on the field, and change his receiving route or
primary function. If you notice the defense looks like it's going to blitz on
the left side, use the hot route function, and change your tight end's
assignment to block. Rather than going out for the pass, you'll have one extra
blocker to give you extra time in the pocket. Any time it appears that a CB is
going to blitz you, press Y to initiate the hot route, and up to have your
receiver go on the deep route. Make advantage of matchups between WRs and LBs.

=Watch the safeties!=
- This can't be stressed enough. Always watch the safeties on any sort of pass.
Basically, you can interpret the whole defense based on where the safeties go.
If both safeties drop back at diagonal positions, this usually means they're
playing a Cover 2. When they drop back like that, they're playing the wide
receiver, which means you should IMMEDIATElY look for a target in the middle of
the field. If the safeties move forward (to the middle), or split in opposite
directions, look for your 2nd and 3rd options on the play.

=Don't force the ball.=
- Too many Madden players do this quite often. Often, you'll see a tight end
break open in the middle of the field, and then decide to throw it. Always be
aware of your current position. Many times, there's usually a linebacker sitting
in the zone just waiting to pick your pass off, and you'll never see him coming.
Try to get a quick look of the defense while dropping back, and then decide on
who to fire the ball to once you reach your pocket.

=Play according to your Quarterback's style.=
- QBs in the game tend to have different strategies. For example, if you're
Michael Vick, play it accordingly, and rush when no wide receivers are open. On
the other hand, if you're a heavy pocket passer (Drew Bledsoe), stay in your
pocket. Try to play as your real life QB would based on his tendencies. This
helps your success rate, because trying to rush with Jon Kitna or a QB with low
carry is not going to work all the time.

=Know the coverage and type of defense on the field.=
- Right when you start off, look at what base defense is on the field. If you
have 3 WRs up against a 4-3 formation, you should know that one of your wide
receivers is going to be covered by a slower linebacker. Use your reads to your
advantage. If the CPU brings out a dime formation, and it's 3rd and 10, they're
awfully confident that you're going for the deep pass. This is the type of time
where you'd want to audible to maybe a short screen, or trick play to confuse

=Use manual catching on deep passes.=
- Manual catching is when you take control of a receiver, and catch the ball on
your own recognicance. In order to do so, it takes lots of practice, and getting
the right angle over a defensive back. Before you start, in order to throw the
deep ball, you need a decent QB (85 THP, 85 THA). Avoid using pass sensitivity,
but rather, just slightly tap up on the lofty throw. Once the ball is in the
air, press A to take control of the receiver running for it. Hold B once you
take control of the receiver, and sprint down field towards the yellow circle
(estimation of where the ball is going). Try to leap up (press Y) at the last
second of when the ball is close to hitting the ground. If it works, your
receiver will make a huge gain up field (30+ yards). Unfortunately, this
strategy is also prone to dropped balls, and interceptions. But it has a 50%
success rate.
Running the ball is one of the more praised aspects in the game of football. It
allows for coaches to continually keep the clock moving, while usually managing
a small gain, and tiring the defense. It also keeps turnovers to a minimum,
since most NFL runningbacks are capable of holding the ball in. Thankfully, the
running game in Madden 2004 is somewhat realistic, although a tad overrated.

=Don't speed burst until you hit the hole.=
- Many players don't seem to realize what this exactly means. This means that
you shouldn't start tapping A right off the bat. Wait until a hole in the
offensive line develops, and then hold A to pound through the line.
Unfortunately, when your speed burst, you cannot change directions for a limited
interval, and are more prone to being tackled. So if you see that a running lane
is clogged, bounce it to the outside, and then press A. Faster runningbacks tend
to benefit more from speed bursts since it's their specialty.

=Use the stiff arm when there are players on ONE side of your rusher.=
- Whatever you do, never use a stiff arm between traffic. When you press the L
trigger to perform a stiff arm, the ball is placed in the opposite hand of the
actual stiff arm. Thus, if you get tackled while switching the ball, your change
of fumbling increases. Only use it if you're near a sideline, where the chances
of the fumbled ball going out of bounds are increased.

=Try to follow the scheme of the play.=
- Believe it or not, there are too many "critical" Madden players out there.
Some constantly panic when they notice that a hole in their offensive line
doesn't open. Way too many players always bounce it to the outside, and end up
getting tackled for 2 yard gains. It's IMPORTANT to follow the design of your
play. If it's a HB dive, go straight up the middle. Unless you're near the
endzone, don't bounce it outside. The CPU will always catch up.

=Utilize all draws, pitches, slams, and the playmaker feature when available.=
- Try to keep a balanced attack on the rushing side of the ball. Throw an
outside run on 3rd and 4. Try to mix it up so that your opposing defense isn't
always blitzing up the middle. Perform a draw play on a relative passing down.
Use slams and off tackle runs up the middle to cause havoc on the defensive
line. Finally, if it looks like the defense is going to blitz, press the
opposite direction of the blitz with the right joystick. The playmaker feature
will flip the play, sometimes allowing for critical gains.

=Speed is everything.=
- I use to try to argue that speed was just a deterrant in all of Madden.
However, in the past years, the speed of your runningback usually decides your
success rate. As much as I'd like to say that a Jerome Bettis, or Stephen Davis
is always nice to have, imagine if you have a speedy fellow who could break
tackles. When attempting to get a runningback, always look for the best
combination of speed and carrying ability. Faster HBs in Madden 2004 get up the
field quicker, and also prove to be harder to touch. You can also soup them up
via Training Camp mode (in franchise), and turn a 96 SPD HB into a 99 BTKer as
Big plays and momentum shifters always come thanks to the defense. Knowing how
to play a lockdown defense in Madden 2004 is critical to your success. Since
Madden is a primarily offensive game, mastering the defensive side will allow
you to shut down opponents with ease. Unfortunately, defense in Madden requires
that you have the right personnel, otherwise, you're just wasting bodies on the

=Try to use the playmaker feature as much as necessary.=
- One of the most underused abilities of this year's Madden is the playmaker
feature. After the ball is snapped, if you press the right joystick immediately
(up or down), your defense will play accordingly. You can literally shut down
rushing offenses by tapping it down if you see that it's a running play. If
they're going for a deep pass, press up, and your safeties will drop back for
deep coverage. However, be weary of its use. Pressing down on a play action pass
will completely fool your defense, and give up a big play. Also, pushing up on
every passing play is not entirely effective since your safeties will drop TOO
far back (behind the actual receivers).

=If you're running a 4-3...=
- Use this defensive scheme. Only blitz about 20-30% of the time. The 4-3
formation is very balanced, and should be played balanced accordingly. It's not
a huge pressure formation, and usually established extra pressure when needed.
Shift the linebackers (R Trigger + direction) if you know they're doing an
outside pitch. Crunch the linebackers together if you know it's a run up the
middle. Be careful though. Your linebackers are your only true coverage guys on
the Tight ends, so when you blitz, you're usually leaving one open.

=If you're running a 3-4...=
- Although it's somewhat more difficult to effectively run a 3-4, it can be
done. I'd recommend blitzing at least 50% of the time with the 3-4 since it's
primarily a blitzing formation. Your 4 linebackers are dropped back for a
reason, either to blitz, drop in coverage, or play a zone. Blitzing one or two
is the same as having an extra defensive end, or defensive linemen. If you're
fairly confident that the CPU is going to pass, have them drop back into
coverage. The 3-4 is very effective in shutting down the run, and can pick apart
passing offenses by simply  intercepting passes with zoned linebackers.

=Use coverage audibles based on your defensive playcall.=
- First of all, a coverage audible only affects your defensive backs. By
pressing Y before the snap of the ball, you can move your cornerbacks for bump-
n-run, or have them play back for the deep pass. If you know the computer is
going to pass for a first down, move them back so they get an extra edge over
the opponent. Play bump-n-run coverage whenever you blitz, since this will jam
the receivers giving you just enough time to get to the quarterback. Be cautious
though. Playing too much tight coverage will often cause your cornerbacks to get
burnt by the receiver.

=Mix up zone/man coverage.=
- This can't be stressed enough. Too many players in Madden believe that you can
play "man" coverage all day, and keep the receivers covered. It simply doesn't
work this way. The first flaw with man coverage is that you need personnel. Most
teams do not have the personnel to match up with every single receiver on the
field. Thus, you should run zone/man coverage on a basis of about 50/50. Zone
coverage is where assigned people play a certain area of the field, and follow
anyone who enters that area. Unfortunately, zone coverage can be picked apart if
the QB has time in the pocket. Thus, you must sparingly blitz with zone
coverages, and play conservative with man-to-man coverage.
/Special Teams/
As much as I'd like to say special teams mean a lot in Madden, they simply
don't. Sure, you can completely change a game on a punt return, or kick return,
but Madden doesn't place enough emphasis on special teams. This is completely
true because special teams are more of a process, rather than a 1/3 portion of
the game. In Madden 2004, you cannot create special teams formations, which goes
to show that there obviously is lesser importance placed on the subject.
Regardless, there are a few basic things you should know.

=Use sideline returns if at all possible.=
Whenever you're making either a kickoff or punt return, always attempt to go up
the sideline if the blocks are there. Sideline returns allow for you to
concentrate only one side of the field, making it easier to juke or spin out of
the way of oncoming tackles. It also makes it easier for your blockers to decide
on who to engage a block with.

=Call fair catches.=
On punt returns, there will come a time when you have to call a fair catch. In
order to do so, press Y to call for a fair catch, and make sure you catch the
ball. If you catch the ball in the endzone, do not touch the controller, and
your player will kneel for a touchback. Not calling a fair catch makes you prone
to getting nailed right on the reception, which can cause for a fumble.

=Use correct punt formations in the right situations.=
If you have to punt the ball away on 4th downs, I recommend using the following
punt formations according to your field position:

X = your field position

If X < your own 20 <-> Use Punt Max Block
If X > your own 20, and < their 40 <-> Use Max Cover Punt
If X > their 40, use Punt Max Block

If all else fails, just use the normal punt. Basically, you want to use max
block when you're positive they're going for the punt block. Max Cover punt
gives you more men down field to prevent them from bursting out a big return.


- 7) Franchise Details     -
One of the most in-depth modes in any sports game is franchise. It allows you to
take control of an organization for over 30 years managing key aspects such as
finances, player contracts, and your overall appeal. This year's Madden is more
than a franchise mode, it practically gives you the power to own a NFL team. You
must control ticket prices, offer campaigns to bring in new fans, and keep your
stadium in tip-top shape for the fans to enjoy. Franchise mode is basically the
key feature as to why Madden 2004 is one of the best football games out there.
More importantly, this section will go through every consecutive detail of
franchise, helping you own the ultimate team.
/New Additions/
Compared to Madden 2003, 2004 has plenty of new additions to franchise mode.

- Game stats can now be viewed by clicking the Right Joystick on a completed
game (includes simulated ones as well)
- The NFL Draft and Scouting Combine now take place before the Free Agent
Signing Period
- Players can now have signing bonuses added to their contracts
- Contracts are negotiated in total amounts, with the length deciding the per
yearly cost
- Owner's Mode (explained in detail further on)
- Stadium Builder
- Coaches can now be signed to contracts
- Retired players will become coaches after several years (5-10)
- Custom playbooks/plays can be incorporated for your team's playbook
- Health staffs are now hired to prevent/recover injuries
- Training Camp allows you to raise attributes on certain players by
participating in drills
- Teams can be relocated to new cities
- Uniforms can be modified in your franchise
- At the end of each year, all of your expenses are subtracted from your total
- Draft picks Overall rating cannot be viewed until the player is either signed
to a contract, or released by your team (ratings appear as ??)
- The CPU tends to take all rookies off the depth charts for Year 1
- And much, much more...
/Franchise Options/
When you start a franchise in Madden 2004, you're given the option of editing a
few settings here and there. These will affect most of the major outcomes of
your franchise.

Users: select a number of human players in the franchise (1-32)

Salary Cap: the NFL salary cap is enforced, meaning you can only spend so much
money on players

Fantasy Draft: create your own team by drafting real-life players in 49 grueling

Owner Mode: if selected on, you'll be able to manage the financial proportions
of your franchise

*Any one of 32 NFL teams can be selected as your starter for a franchise. If you
decide to "import" your own team for a franchise, owner mode will automatically
be disabled. Also, to create your own coach (like yourself), owner mode must be
off. Thus, Owner mode basically makes your franchise realistic, while no owner
mode makes it more of a fantasy.
/Training Camp/
Before you can officially start your first season, there are a few necessary
steps that must be acquired. Training Camp is one of the newer features in 2004
that allows you to take any player, and increase his attributes by succeeding in
Mini-Camp drills. It's basically a nice way to tune up an old veteran, since
most 5+ year pro players do not gain progression in preseason. Training Camp is
completely optional, but is recommended if you want to finely tune certain
players. There are however, a few conditions that must be met in order to
complete the drills.

- There are 9 drills in total. Eight of which can be practiced in the actual
game mode of Mini Camp.
- Each drill is restricted to a certain position, or range of players. For
example, one drill is only for kickers, while another is eligible for any type
of receiver (HB, FB, TE, WR).
- Once a player attempts a drill, he cannot try any other drill (their name is
removed from a roster list).
- Only one player per drill.
- A trophy must be earned (bronze, silver, or gold) before you can move to the
next level.
- There are four difficulties. Each higher difficulty yields more attributes,
but the drill becomes harder as well.
- After you earn a trophy on one difficulty, you can keep the points and quit,
or risk them on a higher difficulty. If you do not earn a trophy, and risk the
points, those points will be deleted, and you gain nothing. Thus, Training Camp
is all about peer pressure.

Pocket Presence (QB only)
Avoid flying tennis balls while pelting your receivers in motion.

STRATEGY: described in Mini Camp section (Chapter 3)

Rewarded Attributes <-> THP, THA

Chase and Tackle (LB, DL, DB only)
Tackle the runningback who tries to score in your endzone.

STRATEGY: described in Mini Camp section (Chapter 3)

Rewarded Attributes <-> AWR, TAK, AGL

Swat Ball (DB only)
Prevent dummy receivers from making the catch by tipping and intercepting
launched passes.

STRATEGY: described in Mini Camp section (Chapter 3)

Rewarded Attributes <-> CTH, JMP, ACC

Trench Fight (LB, OL, DL only)
Try to capture all the flags behind opposing blockers in this timed event.

STRATEGY: described in Mini Camp section (Chapter 3)

Rewarded Attributes <-> STR, ACC

Clutch Kicking (K, P only)
Kick as many field goals that accurately hit the center in 60 seconds.

STRATEGY: described in Mini Camp section (Chapter 3)

Rewarded Attributes <-> KPW, KAC

Corner Punt (P, K only)
Kick a certain amount of punts inside the bullseye zone to earn as many points
as possible.

STRATEGY: described in Mini Camp section (Chapter 3)

Rewarded Attributes <-> KPW, KAC

Precision Passing (QBs only)
Hit receivers in stride while piercing pre-set rings placed around the field.

STRATEGY: described in Mini Camp section (Chapter 3)

Rewarded Attributes <-> THP, THA

Ground Attack (HB, FB, WR, TE only)
Score as many touchdowns as you can by rushing the ball in various patterns.

STRATEGY: described in Mini Camp section (Chapter 3)

Rewarded Attributes <-> CAR, BTK, AGL

Catch Ball (HB, FB, WR, TE) *unique to Training Camp*
One of the newest drills in Madden 2004 is the Catch Ball drill. The goal is to
catch as many balls as you can consecutively, to score an insane amount of
points. Footballs are shot out of an automated gun at certain spots on the
field. By catching passes in a row, a multiplier will increase your points. This
is not a timed event, but rather an attempt event (so many balls are shot). If
you bobble or miss a pass, your multiplier is set back to 1.

STRATEGY: This can be one of the harder events if you don't have the right
personnel on the field. Usually, only wide receivers excel at this event, and
it's best to get someone speedy (90+) on the higher difficulties. A ring will
pop up on the blank field to tell you where the pass is coming. Immediately,
hold down B to sprint to the area of the ball. When it's launched, time it
perfectly, and press Y to leap for the catch. As the velocity of the ball
increases, so will the passing patterns. Expect to sprint up and down the field
catching balls. Also, make use of the R trigger to face the line of scrimmage so
you don't constantly have to make over the back catches.

*Don't attempt the dive for a catch (press X). It takes nearly 6 seconds for any
type of player to recover from a dive, meaning passes will be flying by while
you're on the ground. If there's no way to catch it, let it go by, and
recontinue the pattern.

Rewarded Attributes <-> CTH, JMP, ACC
Once you finish training camp, you can then move on to the exciting Preseason.
Preseason is basically a four game set where teams play exhibition games against
other teams. It helps starters and backups get into the feeling of playing a
real life game, and is good for evaluating rookies. Unfortunately, the preseason
also yields many injuries to starters. This is one of the most doubtful risks.
Since every team in the NFL preseason plays 4 games, expect to compete against
four grueling teams.

- In all preseason games, starters are automatically substituted out after the
1st quarter. This happens in real life, and Madden 2004 does it as well. Thus,
set your depth chart with #2 players who you want to have some game time

- Any 4 year pro or less can gain attributes after the preseason is over. In
order for any 0-4 year player to gain attributes, he must have a great
preseason. If your rookie halfback scores 2 TDs, he'll usually rise a few points
in his OVR rating. Thus, it's best to play all of your young players during the
preseason, to give them a slight boost in ratings.

- Also, preseason opponents can be selected during Year 2 and beyond. You're
given the option during a new season to pick who you would like to face.
/Owner Mode/
One of the premiere additions to Madden 2004 has been the hailed Owner mode.
Rather than simply managing a franchise by adding and releasing players, Owner
mode allows you to control the financial aspects of your franchise. Details can
be seen about fan attendance, support, and even your net profit. The whole idea
of making money is accounted as well. You can set ticket prices, concession
stands, and even renovate a stadium during the off-season. However, Owner mode
is split into 2 sections. You can dilly-dally around with it during the season,
and also enter the enhanced owner mode during the off-season.

- The goal of Owner mode is to keep making more money for your franchise, which
can be used to purchase more upgrades, enhancements, and perfect the experience
for the spectator. Once you click to enter Owner Mode, it splits into 3 options.

If you've been looking for all of the statistical data behind your franchise,
this section has it. Information provides you with graphs, pie charts, and
table-split data on various topics.

<-> Fan Support - shows the interest in your franchise
*More fan support usually yields more tickets sold, and a higher profit for your
<-> Attendance - actual tickets sold at each game (based on %)
*Slowly but surely, attendance increases as your team goes on winning streaks.
Also, if your team has high expectations, or is playoff caliber, attendance will
be very high.
<-> Expectations - what your fans expect of your team this year
*If your team does work than expectations, you'll lose a hefty amount of money.
However, if your team goes beyond the call of duty, you'll gain small bonuses in
<-> Income - total profit yielded
<-> Expenses - total money subtracted from income
<-> Franchise Team - shows the top players on your team and OVR at each position
<-> Stadium Info - shows upgrades installed and your current stadium
<-> City Info - shows the growth, population, weather conditions of the city

Set Prices
In order to make a profit, owners of NFL teams must sell tickets and yield a
profit to continue their franchise. This is why you sometimes pay outrageous
prices just to visit a football game. Thankfully, you can now control every
ticket price, hot dog that leaves a stand, and even provide advertising
campaigns. Prices are designated according to default guidelines. If you raise
or lower a price, arrows will designate how they compare to the league average.

<-> Tickets - prices for each type of seat can be set (types of seats vary based
on your stadium)
*If you really want to make a profit, set your ticket prices below average (down
red arrow) during the beginning of a season. Try to win as many games as
possible. Once your team starts to enter the playoff race, raise your ticket
prices above average. Your seats will still sell out because of huge fan
support. You can also raise prices for the playoffs to really reap in a huge

<-> Concessions - prices for foods and drinks at concession stands can be set
(types of food vary on the team)
*Most food prices should stay the same throughout the year. However, just to get
a small boost in income, raise beer and prices on your "specialty" foods. For
example, Cincinnati sells a Cincy Chili, which should probably sell for $5 since
it's a unique food.

<-> Merchandise - prices for team memorabilia can be set (all items are the same
for each team)
*Prices can be argued when set for merchandise. Based on your team's history and
prestige, it makes sense to raise jersey prices for a well know team. If you're
the Green Bay Packers, raise your jersey price to $45+. However, if you're a
lesser known team (Texans), lower prices on key items. Programs should be around

<-> Parking - fans need a place to park, and you get to charge them based on the
location (all spots are the same for each team)
*Prices should be roughly cheap for grass and lot parking spots ($5-$10). Valet
parking should be set extremely high, but besides that, parking doesn't bring in
a whole lot of income.

<-> Advertising - if you want to exploit your team's popularity, send out
advertising campaigns via multiple ways (all advertising methods are the same
except for varying Fan Appreciation Days)
*Advertising is not a necessary need for all teams. However, if you want to sell
out on one your big games, or just increase attendance, you can pay a small
amount per week. Prices range from $50K-$1.00M per week. Remember, since these
prices are based on weekly rates, make sure you don't leave it on all year. It's
nice to have one Fan Appreciation Day to reward all of those loyal fans.
Television is usually the most effective advertising method, but there's really
no discrepency between Radio and Newspaper methods.

Last but not least, each franchise has a small board of advisors that give you
hints on what to do. Clicking the Advisors button brings up 5 small tips that
guide you on what actions to take. Most of them are common sense, telling you
that your Parking prices are around the league average. You'll rarely use this

- Also, if you press Y in the Owner Mode menu, it will open a Balance Sheet
showing all expenses and income. Great for seeing what needs improvement profit-
/Starting a Season/
When you begin your first official franchise, the first year means so much.
Winning the Superbowl and then falling apart can be depressing. Other teams are
forced to rebuild in the first year, hopefully engaging playoff hopes in a few
years. The actual season consists of 17 games, with each team having 1 Bye week.
The trading deadline occurs during Week 6, which means you cannot trade any
players afterwards (until the season ends). In the meantime, there are some
options you should become accustomed with during the season.

Coach Options
- This nifty little section allows you to view your coach's gameplan, and how he
plans to win his games. You can edit his pass:run ratios, defensive behaviors
(aggressive, conservative), base defensive formation, and Runningback tendencies
(substitutions or primary back). Also, priority sliders can be adjusted for each
player on the field. If you want your offensive line to block more for the pass,
increase the priority rating, and nudge his blocking slider to the right. These
sliders affect any NON-HUMAN controlled player. They also affect statistics for
simulated games. So if you're going to be controlling the QB, and HB, reduce
their priority sliders so you can give more priority to the CPU controlled

- Check out the current statistics of your players in the past seasons, team
rankings, career stats, and even the coach ratings. These have no effect on the
output of your game, but are just designed so that you can view your current

League News
- Read up on the latest news in the NFL. Every transaction can be viewed for
each team (or the NFL in its entirety). Coaches placed on the hot seat are
mentioned, along with Player of the Week awards, and Horse Trailer mentions.

- If you want to do a few things inside of your franchise, feel free to mess
around with the features. You can export your current franchise team (to be used
in exhibition play or for practice), create-a-player, or modify your team's
alternate/primary uniforms.
The roster of your team is basically who is on, and who isn't. The real NFL
requires a 53-man roster, which is large enough to include backups and special
teams players. Madden NFL 2004 allows for a maximum of 55 players on your
roster, with at least 49. During a season (and the off-season), you can do
plenty of moves to your roster. Here's just a few ways of editing them:

- Check out your current roster and edit ANY information you want on the
players. This is useful for naming those generic position players (RT #74, WR
#83), or editing height/weight details. You can view any player on any team, and
sort them out by attributes (press Y in the category heading), or even by
position (press Black/White buttons).

Injury Report
- View any injured players on your team or currently in the NFL. Only injured
players will show up on this list. You can also place injured people on the
Injury Reserve, which basically grays them out. You gain an extra roster spot to
use over them, this way you don't have to release your star player in case he
gets injured. Once a player is put on the Injury Reserve, they cannot be taken
off until the end of the current year.

Depth Chart
- This is where all the sorting of positions takes place. Players are
automatically jammed into the depth chart, and then you can resort it by
clicking their name (press A), and moving them to a new spot. Certain players
are better at other positions (a free safety playing cornerback). The CPU tends
to leave rookies off the depth chart for some reason.

- Allows you to substitute certain players on certain formations/plays. If
you've ever wanted to give your backup HB some time on runs up the middle, this
is your perfect dream. Substitutions allow you to automatically place players
permanently in certain formations, rather than constantly editing your depth
chart. Great for spreading the ball to every player.

Trade Block *New*
- One of the more noticeable problems with previous Madden games is that the
computer never seems to be active. Rarely will they drop players, or even make a
trade. It's about time. EA Sports added a trade block feature that allows you to
put certain players on the "trading wire", and you can request what you want for
a minimum in exchange. This is great for trading away young talent for much
needed leadership, or saving some cap room. After you make a proposal, the CPU
will make offers from various teams on your proposal. If no ones interested, you
won't receive any offers.

Trade Player
- Yet again, trade player is similar to the trade block, except you make the
actual trades. Players propose a trade by putting draft picks and certain
players up for another specific player or amount of draft picks. Useful during
the NFL draft to trade up to a higher pick.

Release Player
- This function is the only way to get rid of a player, besides retirement or
the end of a contract. Releasing a player from your team basically cuts them,
causing the previous contract void.

*Your team will take what's called a Cap Penalty when you cut certain players. A
cap penalty is a small amount you have to pay the following year whenever you
cut someone early on their contract. The amount's usually a small percentage of
that player's salary (5-10%).

Re-Sign Player
- If you want to re-sign a player back to your team, this is the best place to
do it. Rather than watching your beloved players enter free agency, you can re-
sign a player to a new contract. Contracts are organized by total amount, for a
certain length of year (1-7).

*If you have a star player that you want to keep, try resigning him during the
season. Most players will usually request a lot of money during the resigning
period because they know your franchise has the money to do it. You can usually
sign people back for cheaper prices.
Once a year is finished in your franchise, you'll begin to approach the off-
season. The off-season is a very hectic time, since you have to perform contract
negotiations, rebalance finances, and simply manage the team.

- At the end of a season, you're given the option to move to the Off-Season
Owner Mode, or Import a Draft Class. A draft class is a roster that can be
exported from NCAA 2004 in which you can bring in real-life college players to
your NFL draft.

*Unfortunately, the X-BOX version of Madden 2004 has a glitch which does not
correctly read the NCAA draft class. If you have a NCAA 2004 draft class, and
Madden 2004 does not read it, please contact EA Sports. Here's the type of
message you'll probably get:

"Thank you for contacting us about Madden NFL 2004 for the Xbox. We are
aware of the problem relative to the importing a draft class from NCAA
Football 2004 for the Xbox and want to rectify this problem as soon as
possible. In order to do so, please send us page 43 & 44 from your
Madden NFL 2004 Xbox manual with your complete shipping address written
on this page. Send original, do not send a photo copy. After Labor
day, a new disc will be sent to the address on this page (it takes this
much time to manufacture replacement product). This new disc will
resolve the problem. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you
for your time and understanding."

Send to:

Electronic Arts
209 Redwood Shores Parkway
Redwood City, CA 94065

/Off-Season Owner Mode/
After you finish a season, the game immediately moves on to off-season owner
mode. This is where most of the ownership action takes place. Whether it be
moving to another city, or simply reorganizing your coaching staff, each plays
an important role in your team's success.

- New to Madden 2004 is the ability to sign, promote, and release coaches. You
can now have a coaching staff which composed of 4 positions - Head Coach,
Offensive Coordinator, Defensive Coordinator, and Special Teams Coordinator.

- Sign Coach let's you propose a contract offer to any available or unemployed
coach in the NFL. You can release or "fire" any coach you want at the end of a
season. You may also promote a coach to a higher position (head coach).

- It's required that you have all 4 positions filled, so make sure you sign
someone to be your coach.

<-> Training Staff
- Another relatively new feature is that of the training staff. Whenever a
player gets injured on the field, your training staff rushes out to help him.
Training Staffs are similar to coachs, as they are signed on contracts (a couple
million dollars $$ for a few years).

*Training staffs are rated according to 3 attributes:
-- REC (quicker recovery from injuries)
-- PRV (prevention of injuries)
-- KNW (knowledge of injuries, and the extent of damage)

**If you want the best training staff, I'd go with the best Recovery time.
Injuries are usually inevitable in the NFL, so you're best off just going with a
quick recovery time.

<-> Coach Progression
- Much like players, coaches progress as well during the off-season. In order
for a coach to progress, his players must progress as well. Although the exact
formula isn't know, I'm pretty sure the OVR progression of each position affects
your coach's individual +/-. Coaches are also rated with individual attributes.

-- MOT (motivation, improves player's OVR)
-- ETH (work ethic, preparation for games/??)
-- CHM (team chemistry, improves teamwork/AWR)
-- KNW (knowledge, improves route running of players)
-- OFF (offensive knowledge, improved ratings towards offensive players)
-- DEF (defensive knowledge, improved ratings towards defensive players)
-- OL (offensive linemen)
-- QB (quarterbacks)
-- RB (runningbacks)
-- WR (wide receivers)
-- DL (defensive linemen)
-- LB (linebackers)
-- CB (defensive backs)
-- S (safeties)
-- K (kickers)
-- P (punters)

*Based on how well your actual players progress at each position, your coach's
ratings will improve as well. Coaches with high ratings in certain positions
will boost the ratings of all players at that position. For example, if you had
Mike Singletary as your Head Coach, linebackers and defensive players would
receive a boost in their ratings. Coach ratings tend to reflect simulated stats
as well.

There are numerous types of stadiums that football teams play in. Some are
simply grass layered fields, while others are mass combinations of concrete and
steel. One of the more architectural additions to Madden 2004 is the ability to
create/edit stadiums. During the off-season owner mode, you can rename,
renovate, rebuild, relocate, or upgrade your stadium by spending extra income
money left over.

If the generic name of your stadium isn't good enough, you can manually rename
it to something else. Besides that, you can also hire "sponsorship" deals which
automatically rename your stadium to a specific company or product. If your team
meets the requirements of the renaming contract (makes it to the playoffs, or
earns at least 12 wins), you receive a special cash bonus. This is quite nifty
for bringing in some extra cash. Otherwise, you can just rename the stadium like
a player to whatever you want, sponsor free.

In order to renovate your stadium, it must be a USER-CREATED stadium. This means
that you manually created a new stadium, and now want to edit it. You CANNOT
modify the default stadiums in the game for each of the NFL teams. This is why
the option is usually grayed out.

*Renovation requires a large essence of money. Try to gather some extra income
over a few years.

There are four steps in the rebuilding process. First, Madden 2004 permits you
to create your own stadium with a special editor program that let's you
customize every angle of the structure.

<-> Design Stadium
- In total, there are 8 sections to a stadium that can be modified. The
Northern/Southern End Zones, Western/Eastern Sidelines, Field, Roof, South
Corner, and general Info.
- Seats can be changed to different styles by pressing left or right on the
control pad. You can have normal seats, inlet (slightly pushed back), booth, or
bench seats based on what deck you're on. Also listed on the screen is the
current capacity of the stadium, and the total cost, which can be used as
- Designing a new stadium roughly costs around $200 million to $250 million.
Expect to be in debt for several years.
- New stadiums must be built when you relocate a team.

<-> Secure Funds
- After you come up with the plans for the stadium, you then have to secure a
rough amount of funds. A certain amount in millions of dollars can be taken as
"Team Contributions", which is basically your city's funding. This can hurt fan
support since the funding comes out of that home city's taxes.
- Additional money can (and should) be taken out of Personal Seat Licenses.
These are basically licenses that help raise money to support the stadium.
Unfortunately, the higher the amount you take, the more it hurts fan support for
the following season.

<-> Submit Proposal
- Once the financial and engineering aspects of the stadium are complete, the
player must then submit the outline to the "council." Basically, a council votes
on whether or not the proposal is approved. There's a meter to help guide you on
what the success of the bill being passed is.
- Unfortunately, many new stadium plans get rejected unless you're relocating,
or have some money to spare. Most U.S. cities don't hand over millions of
dollars unless they're positive that it will attract people.

<-> Finalize
- If your entire plan is accepted, you can then sum the operation up for
- Each new stadium built has an estimated Date of Completion, meaning you won't
receive a new stadium right away.

If you really want to make full use of franchise mode, you'll eventually be
forced to relocate certain franchises. Eventually, if your team doesn't
establish itself as a dominant force, relocating is the only option to save a
certain team or franchise. Basically, relocating a NFL franchise means that it
will be moved to a new city, and a new stadium is built.

- If you decide to relocate, sometimes you will receive offers from other cities
at the end of a season. Offers consist of a dollar amount that the city is
willing to contribute, plus, fan support will be an automatic plus.

- Relocating puts you in the largest amount of debt, so use it sparingly. There
are over 100 cities you can pick from, ranging from Los Angeles, California to
Bismarck, North Dakota. Cities have individual team desires, weather conditions,
and population/growth. Make sure you pick a city that has high desire, since you
don't want to be in debt forever.

- After you successfully relocate, you enter Rebuilding mode. It's the same as
building a new stadium.

Finally, if you don't want to make any major moves, you can simply purchase
upgrades for your stadium. Upgrades increase fan support, attendance, and make
your spectators more comfortable at the game. Unfortunately, they cost extra
bucks, so make sure you have the assets to spare. Here's a list of the known
upgrades available to all stadiums:
| Upgrade                 | Total Cost | Cost per year | unique advantage|
EA Arcade                 |  2.00 M    |   500k        | entertainment   |
Cup Holders               |  2.00 M    |    50k        | drink holders   |
Internet Cafe             |  2.10 M    |   100k        | entertainment   |
Gourmet Chefs             |  2.40 M    |   500k        | yummy food      |
Retractable Glass Windows |  6.10 M    |   1.00 M      | better view     |
Medical Facility          |  8.15 M    |   2.00 M      | medic           |
English Pub               |  8.15 M    |   1.50 M      | entertainment   |
High Fidelity Audio System|  9.15 M    |   500k        | entertainment   |
Super Screen              |  10.15 M   |   1.00 M      | entertainment   |
Personal Audio Systems    |  12.20 M   |   2.00 M      | entertainment   |
Massage Seats             |  15.25 M   |   3.05 M      | comfort         |

*Once you purchase an upgrade, it cannot be bought again. They're also kept
track of in the Stadium Info, under the Upgrades bar.

Certainly one of the more intriguing features inside of Madden is the ability to
watch your players become better or worse. Previously installed a few years
back, progression is how your players advance through an NFL playing career.
Progression is primarily based off of the player's stats, meaning someone who
has a breakout season usually has a breakout in overall. There are a few
guidelines as to how progression works.

- The older the player, the higher chance of a decrease in progression. If old
players do get playing time, they will quickly rot away on the bench.

- Progression becomes constant as long as the player's stats increase each year
by a few or more. If a player does less than their expected amount, they usually
will not progress at all.

- Every single player on your team is eligible for progression.

- For offensive players, touchdowns seem to have the biggest boost in ratings.
Linemen usually increase based on the amount of sacks/pancakes. Defensive
players greatly increase based on interceptions.

<-> The following is a list of attributes which progress throughout Madden. Key
attributes have *'s next to them. Attributes with a ^ mean they're important for
a specific position. For example, an offensive linemen needs PBK or RBK for
blocking skills. Overall is the basic sum of all of the player's ratings.
| Attribute | Definition        | Purpose                                |
    OVR*    | Overall           | main sum of your player's ratings      |
    Age*    | age of player     | determines when he will retire         |
    SPD*    | speed             | how fast your player moves             |
    STR     | strength          | ability to block, break a tackle,      |
            | ...               | catch a ball in traffic                |
    AWR*    | awareness         | make intelligent football decisions    |
    AGI     | agility           | determines how fast a player can cut   |
            | ...               | back, turn, perform a special move     |
    ACC     | acceleration      | how fast the player can break from the |
            | ...               | line                                   |
    CTH^    | catch             | how well a player can catch a ball     |
    CAR     | carry             | how well a player can carry a ball     |
    JMP     | jump              | how high a player can jump             |
    BTK     | break tackle      | how well a player can break a tackle   |
    TAK^    | tackle            | how well a player can tackle another   |
    THP^    | throwing power    | how fast or far a QB can throw         |
    THA^    | throwing accuracy | how accurate or precise a QB can throw |
    PBK^    | pass blocking     | how well a player can block on a       |
            | ...               | passing play                           |
    RBK^    | run blocking      | how well a player can block on a       |
            | ...               | running play                           |
    KPW^    | kicking power     | how far a player can kick the ball     |
    KPA^    | kicking accuracy  | how wide the yellow meter is           |
            | ...               | (for kicking)                          |
    KR      | kick return       | how well of a kick returner the player |
            | ...               | is, blocking schemes improve when this |
            | ...               | player returns the ball (PR/KR)        |
    IMP     | importance        | significance of the player to your     |
            | ...               | franchise, usually is higher based on  |
            | ...               | player's OVR, increases their trade    |
            | ...               | value                                  |
    STA     | stamina           | how long it takes for the player to    |
            | ...               | decrease in energy                     |
    INJ     | injury            | the chance of the player becoming      |
            | ...               | injured on the field, lower is worse   |
    TGH     | toughness         | how quickly the player recovers from   |
            | ...               | an injury                              |

*OVR pretty much sums up how decent the player is.

*Age determines both when they will retire, and a decline/increase in
progression. Most old players decrease naturally due to age.

*SPD is by far one of the most important attributes on the field. Everything in
Madden is based around time. High speed ratings (90+) are scarce in the NFL,
thus making them rare to find.

*AWR is basically the mental ability of the player. High AWR means the player
will make a lot of clutch plays, and improve the abilities of players
surrounding him. Unfortunately, rookies often have extremely low AWR (40-60),
and veterans tend to have high AWR. It's basically a way of measuring experience
in the NFL.

*Any other ^ rating basically affects an individual position. Receivers need
excellent catching, while blockers need RBK/PBK. Kickers need KPW/KPA, and QBs
should have high THP/THA. While CAR is important for RBs, fumbles don't occur
too often in Madden.

/Off-Season Transactions/
Once you finish with the Off-Season Owner Mode, and renovate your franchise, you
can then move onto the actual franchise moves. Off-Season is an ordered schedule
that must occur in a specific procedure. Each procedure usually has certain
restrictions or limits which will be explained.

Retired Players
After the completion of an NFL season, players will retire due to personal and
career reasons. Sometimes the going gets tough, and there simply isn't a spot
for them in the NFL. When a player retires, they forfeit the REST of their
CONTRACT. This means any designated money in their contract is now rewarded back
to your team. In a sense, this helps your team since it allows the young players
to get a slot on your team, while giving some finance back as well.

- Players will retire because of old age, or NFL Pro Years. Players will retire
fairly young (early 30s) if they've been in the NFL for 7+ years.

- Career-Ending injuries always force players to retire at the end of a season.

- Some retired players do become available coaches who can be signed in a few
years. Great for getting your favorite superstar like Jerry Rice!

Re-Sign Players
Whenever a player's contract runs out of years in the NFL, you're given first
dibs on resigning them. Basically, any NFL team who has a player on contract
always gets the first chance to renegotiate them before they enter the free
agency market.

- Players who have 0 years left on a contract must be either resigned, or cut by
your team.

- Salaries work the same way as signing a player. Contracts are paid in TOTAL
amount, and are capable of having bonuses. Resigning a player at the end of the
year tends to be more costy. Try to resign them during a season if possible.

- If you don't feel like doing the cuts, you can simply press START, and click
the button CPU Resign. The computer will resign players it feels that are
necessary to the franchise. For some odd reason, the CPU cuts an awful large
amount of players during this process. So try to resign as many as possible.

Rookie Scouting
Before you can successfully draft your first NFL rookie, there's some time and
preparation that must be made. Madden 2004 allows you to scout all sorts of
rookies before actually drafting them. The scouting period is when NFL scouts go
out, and have rookies perform various tests while they're being evaluated. These
tests range from 40 yard dashes, to vertical jumps, and weight bench reps.

- This section will be finished in the next update.

NFL Draft
The NFL Draft is one of the exciting parts of the year where young and awaiting
prospects get selected by professional teams. In the NFL Draft, you can select
any eligible athlete, which means you get first picks on offering him a
contract. It's basically like re-signing, except no one can offer him a contract
until you're finished with him. The NFL Draft takes place in 7 rounds, with all
32 teams having a draft pick each round. The order of the picks is based on your
season's record, meaning the worst and Superbowl teams pick first and last,

It's quite common for trades and minor adjustments to occur during the draft.
Draft picks do hold value, and can be traded for players or lower/higher picks.
The advantage to doing this is that you can get an all-star player at the cost
of a lower player, and low round pick. Unfortunately, giving up a draft pick
gives you one less chance to pick a possible phenom.

- Your pick is the same each round (unless you trade it away). You can have more
than 7 draft picks if you trade for them.

- Players are assorted by default according to "Projected Round."

- Projected Round is a rough rating of their abilities. Usually, the higher OVR
of the player is based on the Projected Round as well. There are some "hidden"
gems, and draft busts purposely included in the draft.

- All of the scout times and tests are displayed in columns after the Projected
Round. Press Y to sort them accordingly, so you can see who the best at each
category is. Right click the joystick to see your custom scouting report of each
player. If you did scout each player during the Scouting session, the notes and
details will be accurately displayed.

*After you select a player, a sound will play off based on how the crowd feels
on your pick. You'll hear a "Boo!", for bad picks (according to the fans),
clapping for a solid pick, and silence for a neutral pick. Don't listen to the
crowd though, you're the true manager.

<-> Contrary to last year's version, you CANNOT view any attributes of a drafted
player UNTIL you draft them. Thus, it's risky to sign every pick nowadays.

Sign Draft Picks
Once you're finished drafting the future phenoms of the NFL, it's time to make
your financial decisions. Madden 2003 allowed any player to view how their draft
pick was rated. This year's version is brilliant as you CANNOT see what their
ratings are until you sign them. Prepare for some risky transactions.

- Once you're finished drafting, you'll then move to a Sign Draft Picks screen.
Picks are signed much like any player to contracts based on TOTAL salary.

- Rookies can be purchased extremely cheap, so try to sign them for low prices
(200k-500k per year). Remember, rookies make huge progression only if they get
playing time and stats. Don't sign every rookie to 7 years if they're rated like
snobby backups.

- Keep signing bonuses to a minimum. While they're excellent incentive, rookies
simply don't "die" out after 4 years. Keep signing bonuses to a minimum, and
just keep the salaries straight.

*All attributes of a draft pick can be viewed after you sign them.

Free Agent Signing Period
Finally, one of the most influential periods in all of the off-season is the
ability to sign free agents. Free agents are basically players whose contracts
ran out, and the teams cut them due to personal, financial, or just silly
problems. The process works in a simple manner. The period lasts 30 days, in
which time you must offer contracts to various players around the league. In the
meantime, other NFL teams also offer contracts to these superstars. Thus, it's
almost like an interactive eBay auction. You're practically bidding on players,
at which point, they make a decision on which contract to accept.

All decisions are made by the end of the 30 day period. A message will notify
you if your current offer is declined, beaten by another team, or accepted by
the player.

- Free Agency can be very expensive for a team. Unlike rookies, most free agents
are veterans who have proven their worthiness in the field. Thus, expect to pay
a lot more rather than a simple minimum wage contract.

- Once you offer a contract to a player, you cannot pull it back.

- Free agents are normally sorted by their OVR rating. The CPU tends to offer
contracts based on OVR, rather than a specific SPD or what not. Most free agents
tend to enjoy lower contracts (1-2 years) unless they're an older veteran.

***** Cheap Way of Purchasing Veterans  (thanks to Bengal1985) *****

- In order to sign a veteran for a cheap price, make exclusive use of the
signing bonus feature.

- Offer any veteran a cheaper Total Salary Contract, for a longer amount of year
-- However, increase the signing bonus to an outrageous amount (preferably 1.5M
or higher).
--- Once this is done, you'll notice that in the contract's detailing, it now
shows the signing bonus being added on to the LAST 2 years of his contract. This
means that you can get someone for a cheap price, because he'll retire before
the last 2 years of his contract. Here's an example:

Let's say we want to sign Kurt Warner. Unfortunately, his hefty cost requests
around 5.0M per year (since he has an awesome arm and AWR). Offer Warner a 4
year contract for 10.0M per year (2.5M per year). Now, add a signing bonus of
2.00M to the contract, and watch his eyes fluster. In case you didn't notice,
the last portion of his contract will drastically increase, meaning you'll only
have to pay the low 2.5M per year before he retires.

By the time Warner reaches the 3rd or 4th year of his contract, he'll probably
be retiring or out of his prime. This way, when he retires, you'll gain back the
extra 10.0M. This effectively allows you to get aging veterans near the end of
their prime, yet only have to pay about half the cost.


/The Big Finale/
Once you've accomplished all the tasks of an off-season, you should feel proud.
Effectively managing an off-season means that you bring in a balance of
experience veterans, phenom rookies, yet still manage to balance the salary cap.
All you have to do is:

- Reorder your depth charts for the preseason/new season
- Prepare for the following year

This procedure repeats for 30 seasons, so expect to get plenty of playing time
out of Madden 2004.


- 8) Common Questions      -

)) Troubleshooting ((

<< How do I know if I have a defective disk (only the X-BOX versions), and what
can I do about it? >>

- Unfortunately, there's a small defect in certain Madden disks for the X-BOX
console. The glitch is that you cannot import NCAA 2004 Draft Classes. Madden
2004 for some odd reason does not recognize the saved format on the hard-drive,
and you'll see a ?? if you try to import the draft classes at the end of the
season. To combat this, you must do the following. This is what most EA Tech
Support people say:

"Thank you for contacting us about Madden NFL 2004 for the Xbox. We are
aware of the problem relative to the importing a draft class from NCAA
Football 2004 for the Xbox and want to rectify this problem as soon as
possible. In order to do so, please send us page 43 & 44 from your
Madden NFL 2004 Xbox manual with your complete shipping address written
on this page. Send original, do not send a photo copy. After Labor
day, a new disc will be sent to the address on this page (it takes this
much time to manufacture replacement product). This new disc will
resolve the problem. We apologize for the inconvenience and thank you
for your time and understanding."

Send to:

Electronic Arts
209 Redwood Shores Parkway
Redwood City, CA 94065

*It usually takes 4-6 weeks to get your new copy, so wait patiently. DO NOT
assume your disk is defective unless you actually tried to import the features.
Most new copies of 2004 arrive in a sealed white envelope, no fancy box or EA
Sports case.

<< I really suck at Madden. How can I improve my skills? >>

- If anything, try the Football 101 mode first. That'll give you a basic
understanding of the game. Next, read my brief strategies section. It's
essential to utilize all new features of Madden 2004 - especially the Playmakers
feature. You will get dominated on certain difficulties by the offense, unless
you use the defensive Playmaker features.

)) Gameplay ((

<< What are some of the worst teams in the game? >>

- The definite, and most likely worst team in the game is the Arizona Cardinals.
The Cleveland Browns and Chicago Bears come in a close second.

<< Are there any key differences between the PS2 and X-BOX versions? What about
the Gamecube? >>

- First off, the X-BOX version and PS2 version have key differences. Only the
PS2 version has an exclusive online mode which can be played against other real-
time players. You can receive rankings, participate in tournaments, and just
kick bootay over the internet. Unfortunately, neither the X-BOX or Gamecube
versions have these features. Why? The X-BOX doesn't have it because of
conflicts between EA Sports and Microsoft not wanting to split profits. The
Gamecube simply wasn't involved in the matter.

- The X-BOX is graphically the best out of all versions, although the
differences are minute. Most include better framerates over the PS2 version, and
slightly better graphical effects on field (sun shining on a helmet).
Unfortunately, the X-BOX version seems more like a port, than an exclusive

- The X-BOX version can save everything to the harddrive, meaning it's probably
the best choice for single player franchises. You don't have to worry about
pesky limited memory cards, and most saving times are extremely quick.
Unfortunately, the only downfall is whether or not you own a glitched copy of
the game.

<< Would you recommend this over ESPN NFL Football? >>

- Quite frankly, no. ESPN NFL Football, while a certain competitor of Madden
simply doesn't compare with franchise or online options. Gameplay is a tad more
realistic in Madden (as unbelievable as that sounds), and simulations simply
relate more realistically. Exclusively, the X-BOX version of ESPN NFL Football
is the very best, but probably not enough to slide over Madden 2004.

<< Why are my backups playing during the preseason? >>

- All starters are benched after the 1st quarter during preseason games. The CPU
automatically does this to avoid injury to your starters, and also give playing
time to backups. The preseason is basically the battle of the depth chart.

<< How do I get real college players into my NFL Draft? >>

- This can be a somewhat costy process, but is well worth the reward when
accomplished. Go out, and buy an Action Replay accessory for the X-BOX Console.
The Action Replay is similar to the Gameshark, as it allows you to hack games
with various codes. There's a small accessory wire included (a USB wire) that
connects to your computer. Plug it in, search the internet for pre-made draft
classes, and download them. Basically, you transfer the pre-made draft classes
onto a memory card, and then using the Action Replay, transfer the draft classes
onto the X-BOX harddrive. From there, you can use those draft classes which
include all real life college players.


- 9) Special Features      -
/Madden Cards/
One of the more memorable features in the past few years has been the Madden
Cards. Similar to collecting sports cards, Madden 2004 allows you to collect in-
game Madden cards which can be played as temporary boosts for your players.
Types range from skill boosters to in-game elements that affect how the game
plays out.

- You can access your own collection of Madden Cards by entering Gameplay
Settings. From there, click the Madden Cards tab, and explore.

- Cards are bought in packs, which cost 100 tokens. In case you didn't know,
you're rewarded tokens quite frequently throughout Madden. These tokens go onto
your profile, similar to cashing in a gift certificate. A pack consists of 15
cards, each which are completely random. Most cards range from bronze, silver,
to gold, and each have a stronger effect based on the medal. Historic teams,
special features, and game situations can be unlocked based on what you receive.

*If you want a detailed list, check out one of the in-depth Madden Cards FAQs.

/EA Sports Bio/
A new way for gamers to keep track of their progress with all EA Sports games is
the EA Sports Bio. It's a practical way of seeing how much time we spend on
these addicting video games throughout our life. The Bio rewards the player for
spending more time with Madden by presenting cards, unlocking situations, and
simply enthralling the player.

- Your current EA Sports Bio level stays the same until you meet a certain time
requirement for the next.

- It keeps track of total EA Sports titles played.

- An exact time measure of playing time is kept track of (days, hours, minutes,

- Additional accomplishments such as returning a touchdown on the defense, or
scoring a huge touchdown pass is jotted down. These can be viewed in the Product
/Custom Soundtracks/
Finally, one of the rewards with the X-BOX version is that you can assign custom
soundtracks during Madden. Rather than listening to those rapper-hacked songs,
you can replace them with your own X-BOX saved music. By inserting a music CD,
and copying the tunes to your X-BOX harddrive, you can then reassign them into
Madden NFL 2004 as the background music.

- Songs can be turned on or off. In total, you have about 20 songs you can keep
active at one time.

- Songs from various soundtracks can be played, rather than just songs from one
soundtrack at a time.

- Tunes must be saved directly to the X-BOX harddrive, otherwise, you can only
listen to the default music.
For the past few years now, the Madden series has included "exclusive" features
that allow the gamer to customize his/her own game. Players can now control how
well blocking schemes work, the accuracy of your quarterback, and even the rate
of interceptions. While sliders are partially tricky to get use to, their
benefits can help make Madden 2004 an even more realistic experience.

Here's a short list of each slider, and what it affects. Make the sliders to the
left if you want less of that effect, or to the right if you want more of that
effect. In the custom sliders section, +2 or a -3 for example means to move the
slider that many clicks from the default center. So if you saw, QB Accuracy
(+2), this means you should move the clicker to the right two spaces. Oh, and
sliders are set for both the CPU and Human players.

- affects how close a thrown pass is to its intended target
- affects how much protection you get in the pocket by your offensive linemen
- affects how many dropped passes occur during a game, and whether a ball will
be catched automatically
- affects the attributes of a runningback (higher will increase his speed,
agility, etc..., lower decreases them)
- affects how far your linemen will push oncoming defenders, and pancake them

- affects the mental reaction of each player on the field (whether to fall back
to cover, and how fast to react to a rushing play)
- affects how many tipped, blocked, or incomplete passes during a game
- affects the chance of intercepting the ball
- affects the chance of breaking an offensive linemen's block
- affects how well a player will tackle

Special Teams
- affects the length of field goals (changes KPW)
- affects the accuracy of field goals (changes KPA)
- affects the length of punts (changes KPW)
- affects the accuracy of punts (changes KPA)
- affects the length of kickoffs (changes KPW)


n/a - I'll post All-Pro and All-Madden sliders soon once I get permission.


- 10) Copyright/Distribution/Reproduction Guidelines -

This FAQ/Strategy Guide/Walkthrough is my own published work, and copyrighted by
Christopher Zawada. Whatever you do, DO NOT edit this FAQ in any way. DO NOT
steal anything from this FAQ. If you want to use some information in your own
guide, simply ask me. If you want to place this guide on your website, either
link to GameFAQs, or download the file and place it on your own web server.
Basically, you can post this on your website as long as its in ORIGINAL form,
and not linking directly to GameFAQs. Aside from that, all proper credit is due
when necessary. Also, don't even think about selling FAQs. Trying to propser off
of other people's work will get you in big time trouble (coming from an eBay
seller myself).

- 11) Proper Credit        -

I'd like to thank the following people for their help in making this FAQ

)) EA Sports (( for producing a true gem in Madden NFL 2004. While you may not
be the biggest fans of the Microsoft X-BOX, at least you allowed us to play it
on our expansive system.

)) CJayC (( for constantly updating GameFAQs, and dedicating his entire life to
it. Takes a lot of effort to keep a site going this long.

)) Madden Mania Forums (( for teaching me the basics of Madden football back in
the day. I learned a ton of strategies, hidden information, and elements that
the typical gamer doesn't know.

)) GameFAQs Madden Boards (( for inspiring me to write this FAQ. Certain people
asked questions, and I hope this can answer them.

)) Bengals1985 (( for coming up with a truly innovative way of signing veterans
for "el cheapo" prices.

)) FAQ Contributors Board (( for teaching me how to write guides both
diligently, and effectively.

*** Finally, I'd like to give a Shabooyah out to my Bengals, who are having an
amazing year thus far. Go Bengals! ***

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