There are only two options for NFL fans each year who want to play along with the season: get the newMadden NFL 17, or stick with last year's and download community roster updates.
Other options, like fantasy football or mobile games, aren't for me. Good, old-fashioned NFL video gaming has been my therapy for decades.
The football season's weird that way: a game, then a week to obsess over the next one. Plenty of time to read every article, study every stat, and run simulations. Madden may function as a competitive sport for some, but for me it's basically a Jets pregame statistical engine, and a post-game way to vent out and win in an alternate universe.
You probably know the drill about EA's Madden games. From year to year, it's hard to notice what's really changed. Madden 17 -- which I've played for the past five days or so -- feels similar in a lot of ways to Madden 16. But its most notable addition might help me analyze the present and future of my childhood-adopted team a lot more efficiently.
Madden's new Franchise mode is one of the main additions to this year's game. I played as -- of course -- the Jets. I remember playing as the Jets for 12 straight seasons years ago, every single game...which took me a long time. Franchise mode simulation now has a hybrid simulation/game mode that simulates most plays and then zaps you in to play the biggest moments, like NFL Red Zone. I played through four games this way, and lost every single one -- mainly because the Jets simply aren't rated very highly in my prerelease build, and their early opponents are all better. So, in simulated plays, I didn't have a chance. But it was fun to fast-forward a bit and still feel like I had a hand in the outcome.