Category: NFL

So I got my XBox One home and whilst there is still a load more things to do I have been experimenting with some of it’s integration features (as well as playing games, obviously). I can now issue some voice commands to Kinect 2 that get passed to my TV, and I’m getting used to snapping things in and out. I’m currently missing any really useful stuff, like controlling my sky box. Hopefully that’s coming though.

Today I also experimented with the features that allow you to record, edit and upload gameplay footage. I was pretty impressed that I was able to upload directly to my sky drive, and that’s why I’ve been able to cut together the 7 touchdowns I put past Denver in the first preseason game of my new Madden 25 franchise. The tools are pretty intuitive, although editing 7 clips was a little tricky. I could only string three video clips together at a time, but I was able to string two sets of three clips together, and then add those two to a final, 7th clip to get all of the scores (next time I guess I’ll just have to score less 😉 ).

The video is below. If you are interested in what happened on each score there is a summary below. The difficulty is set to all-pro 🙂

1. In the first clip I want to go to the left to Crabtree (15), but the Broncos are blitzing, so I went to my safety value and got the ball to Frank Gore (21) out of the backfield. As all the other routes are concentrated on the left hand side of the field there is only one safety to beat, and he takes an outside angle so I was lucky to be able to cut inside of him, and run 49 yards to the endzone!

2. Even though it’s only the 3rd quarter, because this is a preseason game it’s more about testing the backup and getting them some experience, so my starters have been benched. In a short yardage situation on 3rd down I can still get a first down without scoring, so I’m only looking for a couple of yards. Tight end Vance McDonald (89) finds a bit of space on the hitch and makes the catch even though the ball is a little late.

3. I’m probably not as comfortable stretching the field vertically as I would like to be. I tend to prefer posts and ins that cross across the middle of the formation. The routes on this play are pretty standard. We have a receiver on each side working inside out, and the outside receiver is slanting in. Before the snap I try to figure out which side of the field looks more open. Initially it seems that the right side is the better option, but immediately after the snap a player from the right side rushes, and all the coverage shifts to the right which means the favourable gap in the coverage is now on the left. Again, the ball is a little late, but I hit Patton on the slanting route and he fights his way to the end zone.

4. Now because I’m in the lead I’m going to the run a bit more to keep the clock moving. Anthony Dixon is in at running back. He’s a big, heavy bruiser, so handing it off on the one yard line is a pretty good bet. Not much to say on this one.

5.This is a similar situation as before. I only have a yard to go to get a first and goal. I like this play because there is some really nice blocking going on. There is a double team at the point of attack, and the back side guard (78) pulls to the play side to add a little extra muscle on the play side. The O-Line seal everyone off to the right and we’re left with a guard, full back and tight end blocking for big Anthony Dixon on his way to the endzone.

6. This one was a bit of a surprise. It’s the same play as the previous score, but this time I’m nearly 70 yards out. The defence is a little less compressed, and the play is almost stopped for just a few yards. Then a Bronco player barges into the pile allowing Anthony Dixon to bounce out of the tackle. There are also two great blocks on the safeties which give Dixon room to run into. I thought he was going to run out of steam before he got to the goal line, but he made it. Normally I think it’s a bit out of order to pile on the scores, but what the hell 🙂

7. Yes, I should have been taking a knee, but I love practising the screen. A screen is where you try to catch an aggressive defence out by allowing them to rush upfield towards the quarterback, who then lofts the ball over their heads to another player, who has a wall of blockers in front of him. I probably shouldn’t have thrown this pass because one of the D line reads the screen and chases Kendall Hunter, the intended receiver, but there’s a great block on the outside and I’m lucky hit the running back in stride so he can accelerate away towards the end zone, behind his convoy of linemen.

So, overall I’m pretty impressed with this new ability to capture game and share game footage. Although it was still a bit of an effort cutting the different pieces together, it’s definitely steps in the right direction!

NFL in the UK

ImageFor a few years now the NFL have been heavily promoting the NFL in the UK by playing a regular season game (one that actually counts) at Wembley stadium. This seems to be gaining some momentum as this year they did it twice, and the second game in the series saw my favourite team, the San Francisco 49ers come to play against the Jacksonville Jaguars.

The 49ers have a big following in the UK, probably because of the golden years in the eighties when players like Joe Montana, Steve Young and Jerry Rice were dominating and the games were shown on channel 4. They played under a coach called Bill Walsh, who developed a new way of passing called the west coast offence that revolutionised the game. The west coast offence is all about timing between the quarterback and the receiver and throwing the ball into the space that the receiver is going to be. It was extremely successful and now pretty much every team runs some variation of it in their passing game. The majority of the crowd were supporting the 49ers despite the game being set up as a “home” game for the Jaguars, with free Jaguars flags for the crowd.


This was the view from our seats an hour before the game. In the past I’ve paid a premium for sideline seats, but this year I thought I would give the nosebleeds a try. The seats were much cheaper, but I found the view was also much better. When I’ve been closer to the action I’ve found that I couldn’t see what was going on very well because I was too close. With this great view, I could really see the plays as they developed, which was fascinating for me. If I go again I’ll be booking the cheap seats again!

ImageThe Jaguars certainly put on a good show for their first international game. After the flags and national anthems Neyo performed the pregame show, and they had their mascot diving on a wire from the top of the stadium. They also had a drummer group performing to keep the crowd engaged during all the breaks for TV that seem to plague the NFL, and there was even a very familiar looking streaker that managed to get on to the field.

ImageThe game itself was great, although not the most exciting of affairs. Unfortunately the Jaguars haven’t won a game all season, whilst the 49ers still remain pretty strong contenders to make a push into the playoffs (and hopefully the Superbowl). The 49ers won 42-10 and it was clear that the crowd were uninspired by the play of the hapless Jaguars.

After the game we went to a little bar that was staying open late to show the other NFL games going on that weekend where we had paid to have a table booked. There was a great atmosphere, and it was clearly the place to be as the presenter of an TV program NFL catch up Vernon Kaye showed up along with a couple of players and some off duty cheerleaders. We had a few beers, a burger and some chicken wings before braving the storm and heading back to the hotel. 

I think the NFL making an effort to build their market in the UK and Europe is great, and they seem fully committed to it as next year three games will be played in Wembley! For the rest of this season though, the 49ers seem in reasonable shape, although their biggest rival at the moment, the Seattle Seahawks, are winning well, despite having a couple of shaky games against sub-par teams. I’m really looking forward to the 49ers playing Seattle at home in a few weeks time. Go Niners!





NFL turn to tablet technology

If you’re like me, and you follow American Football you might be interested in this story about how some teams are using tablets to do everything from schedule team meetings to distributing film of upcoming opponents and the playbooks they how will help them win!

Security is a major issue for NFL teams as much of the information involved in building a gameplan is regarded as to secret. Downloading any unauthorised application is strictly prohibited. The article reports that if a player is caught with a copy of angry birds on their iPad they will face a fine of $10,000!

It makes for interesting reading so if you want to know more you can read the whole article