“Madden Cam” for all: the NFL finally buys in

The Thursday, November 16 NFL tilt between the Tennesee Titans and the Pittsburgh Steelers could be a ground-breaking experience for football fans — at least those who have never played the Madden video game franchise.

That’s because “Madden Cam” will be the primary viewing angle for that clash. “What’s Madden-Cam?” you ask? It’s a view from behind the quarterback, letting you see all the players on the field in a perspective closer to what the quarterback sees, as opposed to the traditional 45-degree angle from the sideline, so we see the defensive players’ backs and the offensive players’ fronts. It is the standard view for the 29-year-old Madden NFL video game franchise.

The NFL calls the angle from behind the quarterback “SkyCam,” but that’s a bunch of bunk — it’s “Madden Cam,” and always will be. I have spoken.

What’s it look like? This:


  1. A better perspective of player speed: When you’re watching the game from the distant sideline angle, you can’t really appreciate how fast these guys move and react. And that’s all the offensive and defensive players on the field, not just receivers and running backs. These dudes are fast, both in basic running speed and in reaction time. While you watch, remember the average NFL player is 6 foot tall, 245 pounds. F=ma is a bitch, y’all.
  2. A better perspective of just how amazing an NFL quarterback is: These guys are mutants, okay? They combine above-average size with strength, speed, high intelligence and world-class hand-eye coordination. The Madden Cam angle shows you the chaos quarterbacks face at the line of scrimmage, as well as the insanity of multiple pass routes developing in blindingly fast real time. If you’ve read THE ROOKIE, there is a page dedicated to the advanced math an NFL quarterback must perform in real-time while superhero-sized killers are trying to remove his head from his shoulders.* Only the Madden Cam angle can show you what Cam Newton, Tom Brady, Russel Wilson or Matt Stafford are able to see and do. Did I mention these guys are mutants? Because they are.
  3. A better perspective on what separates a workaday running back from an elite one: When you watch running plays on Madden Cam, you see how fast quickly backs have to make decisions that can make the difference between an open-field gain and a concussion-filled “snot bubbler” hit**. These ancient wizards in human form are able to see 300-pound men beating the crap out of each other, subliminally measure the speed, force and inertia of these 300-pound men, and pick out a path through this midfield of human flesh. It’s impressive.
  4. You will learn more about the game: Even if video games aren’t your jam, the Madden franchise has done more to teach non-football players the mechanics of the game than even the GFL series (and brother, the GFL series has done a lot). John Madden himself describes the video game as “a way for people to learn the game and participate in the game at a pretty sophisticated level.” In the game, and with Madden Cam, you can see how difficult it is for a quarterback to find an open player — what looks wide open from the 45-degree angle might look covered from behind the battling linemen. Most important, I think, is the ability to see the pass routes and the development of a play, which helps you gradually understand why some guys get open and some don’t.

The reason for this change? According to an article by Ryan Wilson on CBS Sports, it’s ratings-related. The NFL is down 5.5 points for the first nine weeks of the 2017 season compared to the first nine weeks of 2016. The League wants to go after younger viewers.

Younger generations of NFL fans have grown accustomed to watching football from this angle through their love of video games,” Gaudelli explained. “This telecast will have a look and feel akin to that experience.

— “Sunday Night Football” executive producer Fred Gaudelli

So, Dear Reader, fire up some popcorn, crack open your favorite beverage, and gather the fam together for that Nov. 16 clash between the Steelers and the Titans. Madden Cam awaits!

* Wait, you have NOT read THE ROOKIE? The heck is wrong with you, brah? Click here to get thee some of this delicious series opener. Or, use our Audible Free Trial to get the book free as part of a no-risk trial of the wonderful Audible service.

**A “snot bubbler” is when you are hit so hard that your head snaps back, and the inertia of your mucus means the snot is launched from your nostrils and all over your face. And usually your mouthpiece as well. It’s gross. And it hurts (the hit, not the snot). 

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