Madden has improved the football intelligence among the sport’s young players.

Source: The Washington Post

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Football is changing, and some critics point to decreased physicality and less practice time as reasons for the game going soft. But a wave of technology, the annual release of Madden included, has improved the football intelligence among the sport’s young players. They come to high school with a better understanding of terminology, passing concepts and defensive schemes. They are visual learners who can really think the game.

“Madden” was first released in 1988 when John Madden, the Hall of Fame coach, wanted a video game that could also serve as an educational tool. Almost three decades later, it is a high-level football simulation built with the input of NFL players and coaches and stocked with real-life playbooks.

Couple that with Hudl, an app that allows football players to access film, broken down by game situation and play type, on their phones. Then add in video systems on high school sidelines that give coaches the ability to break down the play that just happened, like, 30 seconds ago. None of this technology can improve a player’s 40-yard dash time or chances of knocking an opponent over come Friday night. But it all contributes to subtle cognitive advantages, with Madden functioning as extra homework or late-night studying — if extra homework or late-night studying were fun.

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Dan Guttenplan