Strategy Guide - Guide for Madden NFL '97

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by Chris Muehlbacher

Winning by at least 50 points yet??? If not read up!

If I don't beat the computer by 50 than I don't consider it a real win.
How do I do it you ask? VOLUME!!! That and a number of plays and techniques
that work. There are two ways to start your season:

A) Fair - pick a team, play with full rules and go for New Orleans.

B) Cheese (le fromage) - Follow these steps to be unstoppable!
   If there's a way for cheese in a game, I'll find it!



Turn off the salary cap and turn off all the rules.
Now you may want to choose a good team such as: Dallas, Green Bay,
the 49ers, Pittsburgh or who ever and make some trades for some stars
and then for it right? WRONG! What you want to do is create players! 
By creating players you can get may players with 100's in a lot of
categories. Reorder your roster so that the players you have created will
be starters to save you time from subbing them in at the beginning of
every game. My best team totaled over 74.5 million dollars. You can
trade for real players too. For some reason Madden 97 doesn't remember
some adjustments you make like audibles, penalty levels and substitutions,
so if you do decide to adjust these, you must do it every game.


There are certain plays that will almost always work! No play will work
every time as some may have you believe. There is that 99 out of a 
hundred times when the computer will break up the play. But, here are some
of mt favorite plays:

SHOTGUN - 5 WR - SLOT BACK (My Personal Favorite)
Pull the WR in motion to the left by pressing the d-pad left if 2 defenders 
follow you are almost certain to have a big TD. (My longest so far is 
an 80 yard TD to Myself.) Then hut the ball, run down a touch then to the 
right, when you are open, hold up on the d-pad and tap the circle button. 
After that, you just have to practice your catching skills. Be careful when 
doing this play inside the 30, you will throw the ball out of the end zone. 
If when you bring the man in motion no one follows him you can gun the ball 
to him by pressing and holding the X button...


If you only need a first down, as soon as you hut the ball run down a touch 
and press and hold the R1 button. This play is VERY effective. With some 
careful running you can gain mega yards on this play. (My longest so far is
a 49 yard TD to Jerry Rice.)

A simple play to perform, hut the ball, wait until your quarterback has the 
ball back then press and hold the R1 button. This play should almost always
work. If the computer is covering that guy, hold up and tap the circle button 
to throw to your WR1, he should be open.
(My longest so far is a 46 yard TD to Tim Brown.)

As long as your quarterback is fairly fast this play should always get you
at least a first down. After you hut the ball you run down and to the left, 
one of the defenders will be right on you, you go down and around him and 
run up the left side of the field. With some careful running you can get 
down field fast. 
(My longest so far is 51 yard TD with Kordel Stewart.)

Another good play for lots o' yards. Hut the ball, run down a touch and to 
the left, then hold up and tap the square button your WR2 will usually have
single coverage. Catch the ball and go for the end zone. 
(My longest so far is a 67 yard TD to Rocket Ismail.)

A few passing plays:
FAR - NORMAL - TE SLANT OUT (bomb to circle guy)
FAR - NORMAL - WR FADE (bomb to square or circle guy)
NEAR - NORMAL - PA PASS (bomb to circle guy)
NEAR - NORMAL - QB ROLL PASS (quick pass to X or circle guy)
SINGLE BACK - NORMAL - TE QUICK OUT (bomb to square or circle guy)
SINGLE BACK - NORMAL - WR SCREEN (bomb to square or L1 guy)
SINGLE BACK - NORMAL - SLOT SCREEN (bomb to square or circle guy)
SINGLE BACK - NORMAL - CIRCLE PASS (quick pass to R1 guy)
PRO FORM - NORMAL - FB SCREEN (bomb to circle or quick pass to R1 guy) 
PRO FORM - NORMAL - HB OPT PASS (quick pass or bomb to square guy)
SHOTGUN - 5 WR - QUICK SLANT (bomb to square or circle guy)
SHOTGUN - NORMAL - SHOVEL PASS (bomb to square or L1 guy)
SHOTGUN - NORMAL - WR POST (bomb to circle or quick pass to R1 guy)
GOAL LINE - NORMAL - POWER SLANT (bomb to square or X guy)
GOAL LINE - NORMAL - PA PASS (bomb to square guy) 

A few running plays:
GOAL LINE - NORMAL - QB SNEAK (run down and left, then up) 


Against the computer I usually only use 3 defensive setups:
NICKLE - DOUBLE OUT, DIME - DOUBLE SE and 3-4 54 MAN ANGLE for blocking 
field goals. My defensive technique is fairly simple. Take control of your 
linebacker on the left side of the field by pressing the X button 4 times 
then wait where he is positioned, if the play is a run, go cream that guy. 
If the play is a pass, hang back and look for any open people, if you see 
an open guy, go to him as quickly as possible, odds are he will get the 
ball if he is open. 

If the ball is thrown to a guy that you are not covering press the X button 
as soon as you can and get in the way of the ball, either just stand there 
and let it hit you or jump by pressing the triangle. Interceptions are hard 
to come by. Usually a computer controlled guy will get one. Every time that 
a player I have control of has picked off a pass I am usually facing the 
quarterback jumping in the air. I have also noticed that I seem to pick 
off more passes by jumping earlier than you usually do when receiving a 
ball. Try to time your jump so the ball hits you right in the numbers or 
a little lower.


At first I found it very hard to catch the ball, after some practice
you get the hang of it. Here are some tips to help you become a better

The first way I found to catch the ball easier was to do long throws to
your WR (by holding the d-pad up and tapping the button of your open WR)
and get in frond of the landing target by about a half inch on the screen 
and jump by pressing the triangle, you will usually always catch the ball, 
though sometimes you get creamed and the ball pops out, but, you will 
almost always get tackled right away.

The second way is to throw long to your WR then go on the right of the
landing target then time it so you are running to the left just as the
ball falls into your arms, this way you can run up the field. You need
to have your feet just on the bottom of the target to catch the ball.
Sometimes the computer will jump to get the ball, if they do and you
catch it while the computer is still in the air, you will have lots 
of open field to run to. The best thing to do is to run straight and press
the x button for speed bursts as much as you can until someone is right 
behind you, then start running left and right on a slant. You can either 
try pressing the circle button to spin off their tackle or the triangle 
to try to jump over their tackle.

Personally I don't like to use the running game against the computer, I 
like to air it out, but, I have found that the most effective way to run
against the computer is to use pitch plays and if you can to lead the man
in motion away from the side of the field that you will run to, sometimes
he can take a defender or two with him giving you more open field to run
to. If the man in motion does not take anyone with him, the best thing to 
do is make him run right in front of where you are going to run so he can
run block for you. I have found that draws and off tackle running plays 
don't work too well. I have also found out that sometimes if for example
a play calls for you to sweep left, to try and run to the right. It seems
when the computer sees you offensive linemen going left to block for you,
that going right will throw them off for some big yard gains.


When it comes to kicking field goals and punting, only one thing will help
you... practice. You just have to get used to the speed of the power metre
and the distance of the punts when it comes to trying to punt the ball
out of bounds on their one yard line. 

When returning punts, I have found that most of the time, the computer will 
kick to ball to the right or in the centre of the field. So, I usually bring
one of the blockers from the far left of the field to help block. Bring him 
down to be beside the first blocker right in front of the person returning 
the punt. Be careful no to run too close to the returner or he will think 
you are calling him off to catch the ball. Have control of this blocker 
right until the punt returner catches the ball. Run the blocker to the left 
so he can help clear a path for you to run. When you are running press the 
x button for speed bursts as much as possible (every yard counts). 
(My longest punt return was a 72 yard TD by Rod Woodson). 

When returning the ball on a kick off, I usually call for an onside kick 
so the blockers are mostly on one side of the field. Do this by pressing 
the square button to call the audible, then press the square button or 
circle button to make everyone on the left or right. Then, run up the field 
when the other team is about 20 yards away run to the weak side of the 
field (where the least amount of your blockers are) for about 5-10 yards 
then cut back to the side where all of your blockers are, most times you 
can run down and around the pile of people and then up the field, remember 
to press the x button as much as possible for more yards. It always seems
that you can get around the pile and the kicker will end up stopping you,
or slowing you down enough so that you are caught from behind. 
(My longest kick off return in 53 yards with Rocket Ismail.)


My main offensive technique is to go as deep as possible on the first
two downs, then use the slot flag R1 guy to get the first down on
third down if I need it.

I like to trade for or make lots of linebackers and put them right on the
defensive line. They are quicker than the usual guys and can sack more
and intercept when they jump up to block the pass.

I usually turn off injuries because once you stack a team you seem to get
a lot more injuries than usual. The first play of a new season when I 
stacked a team I lost Dion Sanders for four weeks. (EA is wise to this plan?)

Turning off all penalties will let you stand right in front of a WR and you 
won't get the pass interference penalty, you can get interceptions too.
The computer will rarely take advantage of the penalties being off.

When playing at home turn the false start option all the way up, most of
the time the other team will false start because of your home crowd
being loud during first downs. 

Here's my play that will block field goals or extra point attempts almost
every time. 3-4 - 54 ANGLE MAN. When the computer huts the ball, all you 
have to do is run straight down toward the kicker with the defender in 
the centre, the point will be blocked every time! 

I also like to set my audibles to the following:


1 to NICKLE - 3 DEEP
2 to DIME - 3 DEEP
3 to 3-4 - 54 MAN ANGLE

I like to set my Full back as a Running back, example: If my running back 
is Emmit Smith, I'll make Marshall Faulk my full back, the running backs
are a lot quicker than full backs.

I also think that there must be a code that will let you create a player
with full stats! If you know of it please email me.


If you want to play an Exhibition game as AFC, NFC, All 50's, All 60's,
All 70's, All 80's, EA Sports Team, All Time Madden Team or Team Tiburon
goto User Records and enter TIBURON as the user. Then press circle to go 
back to the team selection screen and go through the teams until you find
the special team you want to play with. (Too bad you can't play a season
as one of these teams!)

To view all the cinematics in the game press and hold L1 and R1 together 
at the beginning when you first turn it on hold them down until the 
cinematics screen pops up. Instead of going to the intro it will go to 
a screen that says cinematics. To view them just click on to them at 
the bottom. You'll have to restart the game to play.

8. MY RECORDS (Can you beat them? All Records, from 1 season)

             Comp  Att   Pt%   Yards   Avg    Td   Int  Sac        
S. Young     165   247   72%   4062    24.6   48    4   17
K. Stewart   127   176   66%   3411    26.8   43    2   12

             Att  Yards  Avg    Td   Fum
K. Stewart   84   1168   13.9   15    0
S. Young     54   119     2.2   13    0

             Rec   Yards  Avg    Td
J. Rice      122   2425   19.8   36
T. Brown     93    2501   26.8   28
R. Ismail    58    2137   36.8   23

             Tack   Sac   Int   Td
R. Woodson   145    5     2     0
D. Sanders   107    0     1     0
R. White     23     12    0     0
G. Lloyd     64     3     2     1
J. Spencer   52     0     5     1
M. Hanks     72     0     3     0
T. McDonald  45     1     3     0
K. Greene    23     0     2     0

              Xp Att   Made   Fg At   Made
S. Christie    119     118     19      17


Total Yards     10790
T. Off.          8924
O. Pass          7486
D. Rush           -10
1 Downs           363
Shutouts           10


First of all, most of these plays only work against the computer. Whenever 
anyone uses these plays against me the ball will either end up on the grass 
(or turf) or with their quaterback adding an interception to their days 
stats. The computer is stupid! They just stand there and watch you catch it,
then tackle you. Playing against a person is completely different than 
playing the computer. When I do play my friends, I mix up running and 
passing as much as I can. When I pass I look for short yard plays and gun 
the ball to the WR as fast as I can. 

You can have some fun when you run the ball against another person, some 
good techniques are to stop when you have a defender against you, most 
times the other person will dive at you, and you can run right around them, 
or try running on slant while jumping. Or a fun but risky play is to do 
a big circle down and around them. Another tip is to try and get as many 
points as you can, such as field goals, it may only be 3 points, but I 
think everyone can remember a game or two when two or three points would 
have given you the victory. Have fun and remember that even if you are 
losing, that in 2 player mode there seems to be way more interceptions 
and fumbles so the game is never really over (unless you are losing by 
50 with 2 minutes to go in the game).

Finally, how could this game be the greatest of all time? I think that a 
few adjustments to the game play would make this game the best ever:

A) Everyone has had this happen to them. When the quarterback is on the run
   he always has to stop and plant, then throw the ball, by that time you
   are looking up at the guy doing his sack dance! If they made it so you
   could throw on the run, it would be way more realistic, sure they could 
   make the accuracy and distance lessen, but it would save from being 
   sacked. I have noticed while watching NFL that most quarterbacks can 
   throw while on the run.

B) I hate this one the most. I have had Dion Sanders intercept a ball and 
   have a 10 yard lead on the nearest person, yet magically he is caught 
   from behind and tackled. The same with Jerry Rice and others! Who could 
   catch them with that lead? When I look at the computer stats for 
   returning punts and kick offs I see that the computer can some how get 
   99 yard TD returns, but I am ALWAYS caught from behind!

C) I don't know how many times this has happened. The opposing QB over
   throws his WR by 10 yards, Rod Woodson is standing there and the ball 
   hits him in the chest and hits the grass (or turf). Ya Right! Almost any 
   Saftey in the NFL would pick it off! So what if you get 10 interceptions 
   a game, it would be more real, the QB made a mistake and should pay. 
   Look at Neil O'Bobble in the Super Bowl against Dallas! Larry Brown 
   didn't stand there watch the ball hit him then the ground, he made 
   O'Bobble pay!!! (Neil should have been Super Bowl MVP - for Dallas)

D) When you block a field goal or retrieve an onside kick the play is
   instantly blown dead! In real football the ball is still live and can
   be run in for extra yards or even a TD!

E) I also think a stiff arm play like in GameDay 97 would help. I have
   seen lots of running backs stiff arm right through a defender.

F) When I watch a player on my team when I am on defense I see that he can 
   put his arms up without jumping! Why can I only Jump and put my hands up?

*************************** That's it! GO PLAY!!! **************************

January 17, 1997

Chris Muehlbacher
Toronto, Canada 

Questions, comments, think I'm full of it? 

Email me at: [email protected] (my address may not be up for a week or so)

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