Madden 25

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I love Madden.  The game franchise has been in my life ever since I first purchased a Playstation 1 in 1999 and I haven't looked back since. 

Sure, there was some mild flirting with NFL Blitz, some drunken evening bashing into each other on perhaps football's fastest paced game.  NFL 2K game me a quick reprieve as well, and there was and always will be the nostalgic factor of Tecmo Bowl (and Tecmo Super  Bowl for that matter).  

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However, it ultimately always went back to Madden, the love of my life, the grain in my coffee, the only way the Dolphins have won a Super Bowl since long before the game's inception.  Plus, in Madden world, Ryan Tannehill is without a doubt good enough to be a franchise quarterback for the Dolphins.

This year I'm pumped about Madden 2014 (named Madden 25 for it's anniversary addition).  Featuring Barry Sanders on the cover, one of my all-time favorite players, the game promises to provide revolutionary running control.  Also, after a quick demo in my nearest GameStop this past weekend, I was able to see that the Connected Careers mode has been modified to add an Owner option, something that I think was lacking from the 2013 version, which added Connected Careers, replacing the long-time Franchise mode that we fans have grown accustomed to.

One day in, I'm hooked.  While not dramatically different and I'm still getting the hang of running the ball, the new rendition of Madden seems to have fixed the pesky franchise mode (aka connected careers) issues that bothered me with last year's model.  The owner mode even allowed me to selfishly move the Dolphins to Portland and become the Portland River Hogs (no offense to Miami, but fictional worlds where I am supreme commander of everything can be cruel).  Now my pretend season tickets to the Blazers can hang out with my pretend season tickets to my pretend football team in my pretend Portland residence!

While I haven't gotten too far in the game yet, the owner option for the "franchise" mode is enough to get me excited over last year's model which was less than perfect in my opinion.  I also think the trading interface is cool, and I'm intrigued by the special things you can unlock for this version.  Other than the Jaguars new uniform being ugly (yes, I mean in real life too) , this game is visually pleasing and shows that the franchise continues its claim as the gold standard in football gaming.

Now, back to the Portland River Hogs beating the Patriots...

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The Times They Are A Changing

Every so often something will happen in the sports world that reminds me that I am getting old. Times change.  Players get old.  Teams move on.  But it's always weird when it actually happens.  It's not unusual to see players end their careers on a different team than they spent most of their careers. Or to see power house franchises struggle.  But over this next year, we're gonna witness some things that I think are gonna seem bizarre. 

Paul Pierce is a Brooklyn Net

I have assured anyone who would listen this year that there was no chance that the Celtics would trade Paul Pierce.  I didn't think they'd do it.  I don't really buy into team legacy too much. But if there is one team where legacy matters, it's the Boston Celtics.  Paul Pierce is a Celtic. I don't care what jersey he ends his career wearing. 

 Ray Lewis is retired and Ed Reed is a Houston Texan

I really started following football closely in 2000.  Before then, I watched football. But I didn't really know what was happening. I just knew Terrell Davis was a monster, Dan Marino was really good and Merton Hanks' neck was not that of a human. So it wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that I don't really know an NFL without Ray Lewis. Not sure if it will be weirder not seeing him on Sunday's or seeing Ed Reed in a Houston jersey.

Mariano Rivera is Retiring  

Like with Ray Lewis, I don't really remember the New York Yankees before Rivera. It seems like he's always been there.  I'm not sold this will be his last season and he's still pitching well.  Also, is there an easier gig in sports than closer? You pitch one inning and your main goal is to not screw up. And no one not screws up better than Rivera.

 The LA Lakers are in the Andrew Wiggins Sweepstakes

I know everyone is saying that Kobe will start the season and will be 100%. But this isn't happening. Lakers fans are in for a rude awakening.  We are all used to the Lakers being one of the favorites to win it all. It's been this way for the past 15 years barring a few down years. I get that there are few athletes that can rival Kobe Bryant's will and competitive nature. But the guy isn't one of the Avengers. He has a torn achilles tendon.  He's not just popping back up. Settle in for a long season Lakers fans.