Boom! He’s on his back! Are you mad for Madden?

Madden NFL, formerly known as John Madden Football, is one of the most sought-after video games since created by Electronic Arts Sports. Millions of gamers purchase the game, and waiting in lines until midnight release has turned into a national event like Black Friday.
In honor of the 25th anniversary, releasing on Aug. 27, 2013, it’s time for my All-Madden team. I’ve played this game every year since 1999. Using my analysis as an avid Madden fanatic, I comprised my own All-Madden team.

Quarterback: Michael Vick – ‘04 Madden Rating: 95

Vick is a perfect example of why this is an All-Madden team. He was dominant.
Vick was on the cover for Madden 2004, which might explain his reign over everyone else. Vick possessed lightning speed (94 speed) mixed with crazy arm strength (97 throw power). Vick was the equivalent of Bo Jackson in “Tecmo Bowl.”
Vick basically broke the game and was nearly a cheat. He is the reason why the game has limited running-style quarterbacks.
My friends and I would constantly fight over who would get to run all over the defense with Vick. It was that simple.
Junior track runner CJ Green agreed with the Vick selection.
“Man was a god,” said Green. “Plus accuracy didn’t matter in old Madden. Throw the ball deep and it was game over.”

Running Back: Adrian Peterson – ‘12 Madden Rating: 97

Adrian Peterson, or “All Day,” is so good in Madden ‘12 that it makes playing with Christian Ponder (73 overall) tolerable.
Peterson combines crazy speed (97 speed) with amazing strength (90 trucking power). I quit on numerous occasions while playing against the Vikings because of the unstoppable Peterson.
He may not have the sheer speed and elusiveness that Madden 2000 Barry Sanders possess, but Peterson’s inability to be tackled awards him my All-Madden selection.
“Adrian Peterson is the best all-around running back,” said first-year Josh Rickert.

Wide Receiver: Calvin Johnson – ‘13 Madden Rating: 99
The cover for Madden ‘13 blew out any suspicion of the so-called “Madden Curse.” Johnson, aka “Megatron,” is a walking video game. The six-foot five-inch receiver possesses great hands with lightning speed, freakishly long arms and hops.
Although Madden is a team game, I play with the Lions on the sole fact of throwing to Johnson. All you need to do is send Johnson straight and throw it up, chances are you’ll be in for six.
First-year Harrison Houlihan, a Texan fan, would replace my selection with another Johnson, Andre (97 rating in Madden ‘13).
“Andre Johnson. Any year,” Houlihan said. “Also, Marcus Vick (who was a quarterback but could be used as a receiver) in ‘08 at wide receiver.”
Madden players love offense and the selection for wide receiver was a hot debate. Sophomore football player Satiir Stevenson remembered playing against Randy Moss in Madden.
“The most memorable player in Madden is Randy Moss,” Stevenson said in an email interview. “All you had to do was throw it up to him ,and he would either run past you or jump over you.”

Tight End: Antonio Gates – ‘07 Madden Rating: 99

Antonio Gates has fallen off the map in terms of his play in the NFL, but he may be the most dynamic Madden player in history. Gates ran like Moss and caught passes like Jerry Rice. Simply, throw the ball to Gates — he’s open.

Strong Safety: Troy Polamalu – ‘10 Madden Rating: 99

Polamalu shared the cover with receiver Larry Fitzgerald, who also had a 99-rating. The Samoan safety is a ball hawk who always intercepts quarterbacks with ease. He seems to always be in the right spot at the right time in Madden, whether making an acrobatic pick or a bone-crushing tackle.

Free Safety: Ed Reed – ‘10 Madden Rating: 99

Ed Reed might be the best free safety of all time, and Madden developers took that into account. Reed, like Polamalu, is tremendous at reading the quarterback and returning interceptions to the house. Reed makes playing the Ravens intolerable and the simulation button more enticing when thinking about facing him. I’ve lost to the Ravens because of a timely Ed Reed interception. Whenever I see Reed going up to defend a pass, I see red.
First-year Andrew Griffin loves playing with the Ravens because of the strong safety.
“Ed Reed is the greatest Madden safety of all time,” said Griffin. “He catches everything and has saved me so many games.”

Cornerback: Darrelle Revis – ‘12 Madden Rating: 99

Darrelle Revis is so good that his side of the field is nicknamed “Revis Island” and for good reason. He is the best shutdown corner in Madden that I have benefited from playing with him over the years as a Jets fan. Let’s just not go into playing with Mark Sanchez.
Revis is such a monster in Madden that I often blitz my safeties or linebackers because I know that he will shut down his man. I have played with Revis so much that it is almost boring playing with him.

Defensive End: Julius Peppers – ‘09 Madden Rating: 98

Julius Peppers has great speed and power moves that give gamers an edge to shutting down opposing quarterbacks. Although Peppers plays on the defensive line, Madden gave him breakaway speed which is always fun when a guy weighs 287 pounds.

Defensive Tackle: Warren Sapp – ‘02 Madden Rating: 99

Hall of Famer Warren Sapp is the most dominant tackle Madden has ever created. Warren Sapp was unstoppable. The unblockable Sapp bull-rushed through offensive lines with ease. I broke the single-game sack record with Sapp, a 300 pound plus man should not be able to run that fast, even if it is a video game.

Linebacker: Patrick Willis – ‘11 Madden Rating: 99

Patrick Willis is a beast. Playing with the linebacker is a blast. Madden players love using the hit stick against running backs that will probably fumble at the mercy of Willis. The 49ers’ defense is so stout with Willis leading the charge that scoring on any level is challenging. The hit stick may have been created for Ray Lewis, but it certainly caters to Willis.
Green thinks that Ray Lewis deserved the All-Madden nod.
“You have to put ‘05 cover Ray Lewis,” said Green, “Madden created the hit stick because of Lewis. You have to put Ray-Ray.”

Kick Returner: Devin Hester – ‘08 Madden Rating: 99

The greatest kick returner of all time turned the Chicago Bears into a Super Bowl runner-up. Hester burned embarrassed defenders, which would fuel countless trash talk. Madden recognized his greatness and awarded him as the only player with 100 speed in Madden 2008.