EA Sports’ annual Madden NFL simulation believes the Baltimore Ravens will send Ray Lewis out a winner. The sim has correctly predicted the Super Bowl winner seven out of the last nine years. That’s a rate as good as any of TV’s prognosticators, and better than most.
If Madden NFL is missing anything, it may be underestimating the San Francisco 49’ers. The Ravens are running with largely the same personnel they started the season with. The 49’ers made a big change at quarterback, benching Alex Smith for Colin Kaepernick. His mobility has allowed San Francisco to begin running the Pistol offense. In this unconventional set, the QB lines up four yards behind the center. The running back is three yards behind the QB. It allows a playmaker like Kaepernick lots of opportunities to take advantage of defensive mismatches.
Madden’s design team has uprgraded the young signal caller’s ratings throughout the season. He’s now an 87 overall, but this may be a case where statistics don’t tell the whole story. He’s added another dimension to an offense that was effective but conservative.
In EA’s sim, Kaepernick is trying to make a big play and the Ravens shut him down. Baltimore’s Ed Reed picks off a Hail Mary pass with a “spectacular interception.” The Ravens win 27-24 in the simulation. That illustrates a big difference between the sims and the real life Super Bowl. EA’s games are always close, as the computer assumes the two best teams in football are evenly matched. In reality, there have been long stretches during which one conference dominates the other. Also, Super Bowls are often blowouts. There’s a reason we spend as much time talking about the commercials the next day as we do the game itself.
But the Madden sim and its surprisingly good record at picking winners is another way the game has become part of the NFL’s culture. One of the reasons players obsess over their rating is because for millions of fans, Madden NFL is reality.
Site [Madden NFL 13]