Shepkowski: I Love Madden, But Save The Simulations

By Nick Shepkowski-

(CBS) Let me start by saying as a 26-year-old male, I’ve grown up with the EA Sports football franchises.

Between the annual Madden NFL and NCAA games, countless hours spent growing up and even now involve one of the two. When I get home this evening you best believe that the majority of my evening will be spent playing the new Madden game instead of packing for my fast approaching vacation.

With that said, I’ve seen enough praise for the Madden ’13 season simulations to make myself puke.

The Sun-Times and Tribune both used a considerable amount of space in Tuesday’s newspapers dedicated to the simulations that were released.

In case you missed it, the Bears going 12-4 and landing the NFC’s number one seed played the major part in the publicity the simulations landed here in Chicago.  Along with the Bears, the game projects the Packers, Saints, 49ers, Eagles and Falcons to take part in the conference’s playoffs.

In the AFC, the game projects the defending conference champion Patriots to land the No. 1 seed while they’re joined by the Ravens, Steelers, Chiefs, Texans and Bills.

It should be noted that since running a Super Bowl simulation the game has correctly predicted the winner of the big game 7 of 9 times, but picking a winner in one game is much different than predicting an entire season in a sport where unpredictable things like injuries and weather play so much of a factor.

It seems like common sense to state that you shouldn’t take much from a video game’s simulation, but I struggle to know what common sense is.  I honestly have no idea how injuries, weather, team chemistry or any other intangible that may affect the outcome of an actual game or season are accounted for in the simulations, but to think a video game can accurately predict these is beyond absurd.

Need proof?

Look no further than the last three regular season’s that Madden has projected.  During that time, the game has accurately predicted just 19 of the 36 playoff teams at a messily 52.7% success rate.

2011 Playoff Predictions (7/12 correct):
Packers*, Eagles-X, Saints*, Rams-X, Falcons*, Lions*
Steelers*, Patriots*, Colts-X, Chargers-X, Ravens*, Jets-X

2010 Playoff Predictions (6/12 correct): 
Cowboys-X, Giants-X, Packers*, Vikings-X, Saints*, 49ers-X
Patriots*, Jets*, Ravens*, Colts*, Texans-X, Chargers-X

2009 Playoff Predictions (6/12 correct):
Eagles*, Bears-X, Cardinals*, Falcons-X, Giants-X, Panthers-X
Patriots*, Steelers-X, Titans-X, Chargers*, Colts*, Ravens*

*=playoff team, X=non playoff team
Go ahead and throw a dozen darts at a list of NFL franchises and your chances of getting at least 6 of those correct probably aren’t bad.

Listen, I love the Madden video game and will be playing it for a good number of hours when I get home tonight, I just don’t care whatsoever what they have to say about the coming NFL season.

Nick Shepkowski is the associate producer for The McNeil and Spiegel Show, heard Monday-Friday from 9am-1pm on 670 The Score and You can follow him on Twitter @Shep670. 

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