Hot Take: Our response to the new Madden 16 Connected Franchise changes

EA Sports announces a ton of changes to Connected Franchise, but are they good?

Sports journalism and radio solely exist to provide hot takes to its audience. Hot takes are what drive the sports industry, and it annoys the heck out of me. So let’s do one ourselves! Seeing as how EA Sports’ Madden NFL franchise is related to sports, it’s wholly appropriate to have a hot take on recent developments in Madden 16. Earlier today, EA Sports announced a bunch of new changes and features coming to Madden NFL 16’s Connected Franchise mode. So here are my ‘hot takes’ on the changes…

Start Playing Faster

I’m all for getting into the Connected Franchise faster. The changes being made here aren’t ground-breaking, but the option to now start in the regular season instead of preseason is a nice one. No longer to I have to sim four weeks of games and make cuts while I watch my best players go down with injuries.

Dynamic Drive Goals

I like that there’s going to be a different goal for every drive, but I’m not sure I like that the game with be choosing it for me based on events in the game. If I’m planning on having a certain gameplan for an opponent, I don’t need the computer telling me whether or not my players should get better and earn confidence and XP based on how I play. I don’t need the game to influence me. I think there should be drive goals, but I want to be able to choose what the goal is out of a couple of options.

Post-Play Goal Feedback

madden 16 post-play goal feedback

In Madden 15, I never knew what my goals were. So I like that goals, XP and confidence updates will be part of a new ticker at the bottom of the screen. That way I can know how many more yards I need for a certain goal. You can never have too much feedback, especially with Madden.

Weekly Goals

Ya know what, weekly goals desperately needed to be redone. There’s now a quest-like system that chains goals together from week to week. I like that if I have a rookie at a skill position that’s doing well, it’ll trigger a weekly goal for that player. And I also think players should decline more for negative play. I threw 45 TD and 28 interceptions one year, and my QB increased from a 74 to 90 by the time the year was done… wtf.

Goal Loading Screens

Again, you could never have too much feedback on how you’re doing.

Things To Do

There was an unnecessary amount of screens to navigate to get to what you needed to do in Madden 15. So combining Actions and Home to one location makes sense.

Visual Team Depth Chart

madden 16 visual team depth chart

I hate navigating the depth chart in Madden 15, so any change is welcome here. The screenshot from EA Sports looks nice and sleek, I’m just hoping that moving players around works as intended and isn’t clunky.

Player Card

OMG player cards are actually going to be useful now? No unnecessary scrolling?! Yea, definitely a welcome change.

New Scouting

Thank you, EA Sports. I hated the scouting in Madden 15. I’ll assume the new version will be better, but I’ll hold my breath until I actually see it in action.

Combine Stats

madden 16 combine events

This is long overdue. The combine is a huge part of the NFL draft and how teams evaluate players, and it’s knowledge that all teams are equipped with. It makes sense that teams will be able to see 40 times and bench press numbers, among other teams. Now I can truly be Al Davis.

Draft Feedback

I never understood why Madden made me wait til after the draft to see the ratings on the players I just drafted. I’d rather know right away so I can adjust my draft strategy.

Members List

Last year, you’d have to go into League Settings to see who the other members in your Connected Franchise were. Given the popularity of playing online with people, that always seemed stupid to me. Clearing cap penalties is huge also, considering how terrible cap and money management has been in past Madden games.


This is one of the best features announced, in my opinion. Why? I play with three other players in a league. Since there’s so few of us, we breeze through seasons pretty quickly, but we all have wives and full-time jobs with long hours. There have been instances where someone only has time to play one game, and then either the EA servers/PSN has problems and doesn’t save, or the game freezes or whatever. Now if that happens, it’s easy to just sim the win for that player so they don’t have to replay if they don’t want to. Or players can use it to set up the teams they want to face in the playoffs.

Free Practice

It drove me nuts that I couldn’t practice with my Franchise team in Madden 15, so Madden 16 solves that problem by adding in Free Practice to Game Prep. Now I can experiment with new playbooks with my actual Franchise roster instead of the generic one.

Confidence Tuning

Confidence tuning wasn’t high up on my list of things that needed fixing, so I’m not sure if I’ll see a huge difference in players with the confidence and Game Prep cost changes.

Owner Mode Finance Tuning

Yes, yes, a million times yes. EA Sports are giving small-market teams in older stadiums more money to spend in the offseason every year, which is awesome because the way available funds in Madden 15 works is stupid. Players would cripple themselves financially if they relocated, and then they couldn’t offer bonus money to players. Hopefully this fixes that.

So those are my hot takes on everything EA Sports announced for Madden 16’s Connected Franchise Mode. It’s what I play the most (forget Ultimate Team), so it’s nice to see the mode getting some much needed attention. However, at the end of the day, it’s how the game plays that matters.

Madden NFL 16 releases on August 25, 2015.