While the video gamers’ football season never officially comes to a close, we are amidst the final few breaths of the 2005-06 NFL season. With the field narrowed down to four teams, Jan. 22 will be the day that pushes two teams to Super Sunday destiny and sends the other two teams home with their heads held low. Every year, many sources put the Madden games to the test by using it to predict Super Bowl results, and being the curious sort, I got a jump start on the predictions by using the Gamecube version of the game to predict the two teams which will compete for the trophy.
I donated some free time and allowed the CPU to play multiple games of the Steelers versus Broncos and Panthers versus Seahawks and if Madden had its way, we should have been seeing Denver and Seattle going toe-to-toe in the season finale. I got my results in just prior to Sunday, and, obviously, Madden 06 could only pick out one of Sunday’s winners.
Pittsburgh Steelers v. Denver Broncos
What Really Happened:
Pittsburgh Steelers 34
Denver Broncos 17
How Madden F’d up this prediction:
Pittsburgh Steelers 14
Denver Broncos 23
After a handful of repeated games, Madden 06 pretty much decided this match-up was a push-over, no-contest game for the Broncos. In five games, the Steelers did manage to snag one three-point victory with a last-minutes field goal, but the other four games showed the Broncos going pretty rough on their opposition. Pittsburgh’s highest scoring game: 20 (20-17 win); Denver’s highest scoring game: 31 (31-9 win). Pittsburgh’s lowest scoring game: 9 (9-31 loss); Denver’s lowest scoring game: 17 (17-20 loss, 17-14 win).
Madden lies. It’s down 0-1.
Total Offense Average: Advantage Pittsburgh
Pittsburgh Steelers 217
Denver Broncos 212
In the actual outcome, Pittsburgh did edge ahead in yardage and even in the fashion predicted by the video game – Denver outrushed, Pittsburgh outpassed. Pittsburgh’s high/low total rushing: 77 (totaled twice – 1 win, 1 lose)/43 (lose); Denver’s high/low total rushing: 196 (lose)/68 (win). Pittsburgh’s high/low total passing: 180 (lose)/146 (lose); Denver’s high/low total passing: 156 (win)/42 (lose). In reality, Pittsburgh rushed for 90, passed 268 and Denver rushed for 97 and threw for 211. Well played. Madden’s up 3-1 now
First Downs Average: Advantage Pittsburgh (11-9)
Pittsburgh did indeed win in this category, 20-16. Not bad. 4-1.
Average Turnovers: Advantage Denver (1-4)
Denver fumbled twice and had an additional two intercepted. Pittsburgh failed to turn the ball over via fumble or interception. Madden fumbled this one. 4-2.
Time of Possession Average: Advantage Denver (55%)
Pittsburgh held on to the ball for 13 minutes more than Denver. Uh, oh, wrong again.
Madden’s record after one game: 4-3. Not so hot. The biggest disappointment – the wrong team got blown away.
Carolina Panthers vs. Seattle Seahawks
In real life:
Carolina Panthers 14
Seattle Seahawks 34
On the digital field:
Carolina Panthers 17
Seattle Seahawks 18
It wasn’t that close on television, but at least Madden could sniff out the winner on this one. The game had the two teams scratching tooth and nail with Seattle winning a narrow three of the five games played. Carolina’s highest scoring game: 24 (24-31 loss); Seattle’s highest scoring game: 31 (31-24 win). Carolina’s lowest scoring game: 7 (7-14 loss); Seattle’s lowest scoring game: 10 (10-14 loss).
Seattle’s high and Carolina’s low were pretty much the figures that occurred tonight, but the game didn’t lie about the odds. Madden’s batting 100 right now.
Total Offense Average: Advantage Seattle
Carolina Panthers 195
Seattle Seahawks 234
Seattle had superb offensive output in Madden 06, and the same was true during the NFC Championship match. In Madden 06, Carolina’s high/low rushing: 85 (win)/47 (loss); Seattle’s high/low rushing: 99 (loss)/52 (win). Carolina’s high/low passing: 165 (loss)/104 (win); Seattle’s high/low passing: 265 (win)/128 (win). Seattle put up 190 yards rushing and 203 yards passing in tonight’s effort while Carolina only rushed for 36 and passed for 176. Maybe Madden has been keeping a close eye on these two teams because the game got most of this spot-on. Madden’s 4-0 for this game so far.
First Downs Average: Tie (10-10)
Seattle dominated this field 27-11. Madden’s prediction is pretty far off from this final figure, but since there wasn’t a winner decided by the game, we’ll call this a draw.
Average Turnovers: Tie (2-2)
Carolina had four turnovers in Sunday’s game, Seattle had none. These ties aren’t too accurate.
Time of Possession Average: Advantage Seattle (55%)
Seattle owned the ball. It was in their hands for more than 40 minutes. While Madden’s estimate was a little thin, it got the right team.
It seems Madden made some good odds predictions for the match-up in Seattle, but the numbers provided were far from accurate. Madden went 5-0-2 in this prediction.
Overall, through two games Madden made nine correct predictions, fell short in 3 guesses (one being a huge one) and didn’t provide a clear winner in two fields, bringing the game’s effectiveness in foresight to 65%. What did we learn from all of this? Football games are a lot more fun to play than they are to watch for nearly eight hours. Next time, I’ll definitely be using more than one copy of Madden 06. Speaking of next time, can Madden predict the winner of the Super Bowl? We’ll find out who the game picks as the winner next week.
Madden’s prediction ability for the division championship games:
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