Lamar Jackson dominates defenders in real life and in the virtual world.
The Ravens general is on his way to a potential MVP award, making only the second quarterback in NFL history to rush for 1,000 yards in a single season (joining Michael Vick). But has it not only made the defenders look silly with elite jukes; (28), also having the fourth best score (109.2).
All this real-life success has made Jackson a favorite for players in the “Madden NFL 20” franchise. In the last two weeks, the Ravens have been the most popular team in online heads-to-head games, surpassing the Cowboys (15 million games to 14.9 million), according to EA Sports. Last year the Falcons and Patriots were the most popular teams on the Internet.
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The players made the most of Jackson’s abilities. He’s been leading all players – including the real start – in the last two weeks with 86 wrecks per game, surpassing Ezekiel Elliott, who averaged 66 yards. And since the beginning of 2019, Jackson has had the game’s most risky yards (over 704 million) and the most risky touchdowns (over 6.3 million).
Clint Oldenburg, who is working on game design and player ratings for Madden, says he expects the numbers to go up. Jackson has improved from 76 total starts to 90 overall with a characteristic X-factor given to the quarterback this week. Jackson also recently became the fastest fighter in Madden history at speed 96, beating Vick’s 95 since Madden’s 2004 release.
Lamar Jackson’s Madden Numbers Released Againsthttps: //images.daznservices.com/di/library/sporting_news/65/b3/lamar-jackson-madden-20_tans222ga97z1ao1nlxp9hcaf.png? T = -89963778 & w = 500 & quality = 80
“It’s approaching,” Oldenburg told Sporting News when asked if Jackson became Madden’s most dominant player. “Based on how his ratings have increased over the course of the season, if he is not going to surpass Vick as the favorite video game of all time, I think he will be very close.”
The difficult part for Oldenburg and the rest of Madden’s team is finding a way to make Jackson real, without breaking the game. There are engineers in place to stop mobile shutdowns – QB spy, QB contain, Spy crash, Zone Coverage crash – but sometimes these are not good enough.
Kevin Johnson Jr., a pro player playing DaKingg_ in rival Madden, has built his entire offense around running with Jackson. He uses the book Heavy Panther (built for Cam Newton) and repeats a game called QB Blast, which is a designed running game for the quarterback.
Many of Johnson’s opponents have complained about this style of offense being “wrong”, but as Oldenburg points out, Jackson does this ridiculous thing in real life.
“Our goal at No. 1 is to make the most authentic NFL experience we can, and at some level we’re OK with Lamar Jackson being, as a player would say, a ‘mistake’. We’re OK with that at some level because that’s “What we’re doing on Sunday,” Oldenburg said. “And that’s what we’re trying to think about, but we need to make sure that there are proper controls and balances so that the defense can do things to at least limit its productivity.”
Jackson has commented briefly on Madden’s ratings, but although he’s improved a bunch, he’s still not happy. After being announced as the fastest general in Madden, he said his ratings were “still low” with a straight face.
Unfortunately for Jackson, Oldenburg doesn’t see the quarterback’s speed increase anymore.
“I think it’s unlikely, but it’s certainly not impossible,” Oldenburg told Sporting News about a shift. “And the only reason I’m saying speed is 96 is unjustly fast for a general and starting to get into an area where the game could be imbalanced, very similar to what we saw with Michael Vick in ’04. There were things years after in ’04 that the game team had to develop basically focused on balancing and tackling Michael Vick to make the game fair. So if it gets to 97, 98, 99 I think it’s much harder to do that. “
Speaking of Vick, the retired coach joked on the official Ravens website that he has been upset to get thrown out as the fastest virtual general in history.
“The Madden score is probably the only thing I’m a little hot about,” Vick said. “Is he ready to break my record (single-season QB rushing) and now he’s getting my record Madden? Man, can’t we both have the same speed?”
So how do Madden developers try to combat the popular use of Jackson? For beginners, they have introduced the X-Factor this year, which gives players special skills. An X-Factor player is someone who really stands out from other ordinary players on the field. Madden developers have used X-Factors experts to entice users to play with more immersive backs such as Tom Brady and Drew Brees. But at the end of the day, players will choose what they like to play with the best.
“Usually our players enjoy playing with mobile backpacks more than backpacks and even this year we made an effort to make the X-Factor capabilities a little bit stronger for pocket quarterbacks to see if we could balance it out,” he said. Oldenburg. “And it’s been balanced to some extent, but it’s more fun to run around and play with a mobile general and that’s why I think our players are more burdened.”