Playing “What If?” With Madden NFL 15

One of the great things about Madden NFL 15 is that it allows players the freedom to create football scenarios that they can only dream of in real-life. What happens if you build your dream team from scratch? What if your team’s running back didn’t get injured in week two?

Building upon this notion, we present to you our Madden NFL 15 “What If?” scenario – wherein we take a seemingly impossible situation and just find out… what if this actually happened?

The Scenario

During a pre-season family dinner, brothers Peyton and Eli Manning remark on how lucky the other person is: Peyton with his amazing team and powerful arm, and Eli with his two Super Bowl rings and better comedic timing. The siblings, in a moment of wistful ennui, both wish upon a star, or speak at the exact same time while whizzing in a fountain (or whatever your body-switching movie cliché of choice may be)… and the next day, they wake up in each others’ body!

Now Peyton finds himself trapped in New York City with a beleaguered offensive line, while Eli is in the mountains, straining to throw far enough to hit his receivers.

(For the purposes of this experiment, we simply traded the Mannings to each other’s teams, though Madden NFL 15 allows you to change player ratings and tendencies – so you could actually swap their skill sets instead).

The Results: DISASTER!

If the intention was to teach Peyton Manning humility by being a tackling dummy, then we totally succeeded. Because, holy cow, does Peyton choke.

Without a decent offensive line to keep him safe in the pocket, and with only Victor Cruz to throw to instead of the trio of wide receivers he’s used to, Peyton Manning had a career low showing, passing for a measly 2,500 yards. That’s 1,200 yards less than his previous career low. Combine that with a pitiful six touchdowns in the entire season, and it starts to become clear that just maybe Eli’s 2013 debacle of a season had a lot more to do with the rest of the team. If the highest-rated quarterback in the NFL can’t complete a pass, it’s time to start blaming the receivers. The entire mess leaves the Giants last in their division, and well into the bottom half of the NFL.

Meanwhile, in Denver, Eli found that having a wide selection of receivers makes all the difference. By the end of the season, kid brother Eli was at the top of the NFL in passing yards. Unfortunately, those yards didn’t lead to touchdowns – thanks in part to Eli throwing the third-most interceptions in the NFL. The younger Manning’s inability to follow through could only bring the Broncos (one of the best teams in the last decade) to an 8-7-1 season, just barely squeaking into a wild card slot for the playoffs.

If this were a movie, they’d probably play against each other at this point… but considering that the brothers play in different conferences, they haven’t played together in over four years. But we’ll fix that, because hey, this is a video game, and we’re in control!

Sibling Rivalry

In a stunning plot twist that comes from out of nowhere, the Mannings take the field against each other, trying to lead their new teams to victory. Which Manning can overcome his issues and score some touchdowns? Will they ever get back to their old selves? Can Peyton manage to NOT get sacked? Can Eli avoid throwing an interception


What Did We Learn?

Switching the Mannings sheds light on the importance of a balanced team. It doesn’t matter if you’ve got the best quarterback ever, if your linemen can’t keep him safe and your receivers can’t run their routes. Likewise: No amount of great receivers will help you, if you keep throwing the ball to the opposite team. We also learned that experimenting like this is a tremendous amount of fun.

Pick up Madden NFL 15 today for Xbox One or Xbox 360, and concoct your own dream and/or nightmare scenarios!