EA Considered Dumping Brett Favre From Madden 09 Cover (and other juicy Madden cover info)

February 6, 2009 -

The recent class action lawsuit in which retired NFL players won a $28 million judgment from the National Football League Players Association continues to yield a treasure trove of information concerning the inner workings of EA's best-selling Madden franchise.

For example, transcripts of court testimony which were unsealed this week by the U.S. District Court in San Francisco show that NFL star Brett Favre's decision to retire from the Green Bay Packers in early 2008 almost got him dropped from the cover of Madden 2009.

EA exec Joel Linzner, who was called as a witness at the NFLPA trial, testfied about the dilemma which Favre's on again-off again retirement caused for EA:

Q: ...Madden NFL Game. And, in fact, that's been a very successful game for EA, correct?

 

JL: Yes, over 20 years.

 

Q: 20 years. In fact, the 2009 version was the 20th anniversary edition, right?

 

JL: It's the 20th of the Madden NFL series, that's correct.

 

Q: Right. And you chose to put on the cover of that a retired player at the time, right?

 

JL: Uhm, well, Brett Favre at the time we decided to put him on the cover was not retired, had not announced his retirement. He subsequently announced his retirement. We thought about replacing him to have an active player. But the logistics of making the packages are kind of complicated, and we decided to stay with Brett Favre. And I think as most people subsequently know, he revoked his retirement and is currently an active player with the New York Jets. 

Linzner also testified about EA's deal with Madden 2004 cover athlete Michael Vick, who was later arrested and jailed for animal cruelty. Hit the jump for more official testimony about Madden cover athletes Vick and Donovan McNabb.

 

Q. Could you show the jury what it is? That's actually the Madden Game, right, in the package it comes in the store?

 

JL: Well... This is one version of Madden NFL 2004 for the PlayStation 2 as resold probably at GameStop on a used basis for 99 cents. It didn't sell for 99 cents when we offered it initially. 

 

Q. ...I'm not going to get into how much it costs. It doesn't matter to me. All I want to do is focus on this. If you look on the cover of this Madden game... That's Michael Vick, right?

 

JL: This is Michael Vick, and at this time he was an active NFL player.

 

Q: Right. He subsequently had some trouble with the law, and he's in custody, right?

 

Mr. Feher: Objection, your honor. That's not relevant.

 

Mr. Hummel: You're right. I'll withdraw it... But he is not currently an active NFL player... But at the time he was, right?

 

JL: That's correct.

 

Q: Okay. And did you have to obtain a separate agreement with Michael Vick to put him on the cover?

 

JL: We obtained a separate agreement with Michael Vick and paid him incremental amounts for two things... to be on the cover... and to perform services for us in connection with the launch of the game, the TV commercial, etc.... we have to enter into a separate agreement as we did unfortunately with Michael Vick, who had some problems subsequently... That's separate from the group license that we signed with Players, Inc. to have all of the players in the video game... It's frequently called a "highlight agreement..."

 

Q: All right. So this is a situation where he - Mr. Vick - signed a separate agreement...

 

JL: We have somebody on staff at EA... who frequently makes contacts to find a player and his agent who are interested in being on the cover and is willing to perform the P.R. services that we want and be in the TV commercials and is familiar with the game... The money that we paid Michael Vick under his highlight agreement, to the best of my knowledge, is not shared with the other 1,400 - 1,500 active players...

 

Q: This was $4.99 used. But this is the Madden 06 game that also has an active player on the cover, Donovan McNabb, right?

 

JL: Donovan McNabb was and remains an active NFL player.

 

Q: And there was a highlight agreement with Donovan McNabb, right? ...You have a highlight agreement with Donovan McNabb?

 

JL: Well, we did for Madden NFL 06... He was in a TV commercial...

 

 


Comments

Re: EA Considered Dumping Brett Favre From Madden 09 Cover ...

What I don't get is why doesn't EA dump madden alltogether? Sports games SUCK!

Yes I have a WIP. Just wait and see.

Re: EA Considered Dumping Brett Favre From Madden 09 Cover ...

One, they don't drop Madden because it makes an assload of money. Two, not everyone thinks sports games suck.

 

Re: EA Considered Dumping Brett Favre From Madden 09 Cover ...

I also don't get what is newsworthy about this story. Perhaps I'm not familiar enough with the league, but that shouldn't really matter.

Re: EA Considered Dumping Brett Favre From Madden 09 Cover (and

I don't get it, what's "juicy" about this news?  Both block quotes about Favre and Vick are, well, boring.  EA paid those guys money to advertise the games, so?  You might have to spell it out for me.

Re: EA Considered Dumping Brett Favre From Madden 09 Cover ...

My GF (a Packers fan) and myself (a Bears fan) were debating whether Favre counted as a victim of the Madden curse.  Granted, he had a decent '08 season.  But after crying on national television at his retirement press conference and then whining like a girl when he changed his mind after the Packers decided to move on to Rodgers, he looked a trifle foolish and alienated some Favre fans (my GF thought he was great until that whole episode and now she's actively pulling against him.)  And his team was ousted from playoff consideration in the season finale, by the quarterback that the Jets cut loose so they could sign Favre.  And he led the league last year (by a wide margin) in interceptions thrown.  So for all he did well last season, I think he's going to be remembered much more clearly for what he did wrong.

Re: EA Considered Dumping Brett Favre From Madden 09 Cover ...

If it weren't for that Donovan McNabb fellow, I would say the Madden Curse is still raging on, hearty as ever.

Then again, maybe the curse thought it would take a break, seeing how hard Michael Vick fell from the curse.

And I personally would count Vavre as being part of the curse. How else would you explain the madness surrounding his "retirement?"

Re: EA Considered Dumping Brett Favre From Madden 09 Cover ...

Oh sweet zombie jesus, "Juicy" and "Madden" are two words that should never, ever be used in conjuction.

There will be nightmares (also possibly blood).

Re: EA Considered Dumping Brett Favre From Madden 09 Cover (and

Nevermind, i get it.

 
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Matthew WilsonI know most of my friends first saw robotech when it was on Toonami in the mid 90s, but it is possible that a fan who watched it in the 80s are in a position to do it.03/27/2015 - 1:04pm
Andrew EisenRobotech was mid 80s. Fans of the show (who were kids when it aired) are my age and older.03/27/2015 - 1:01pm
Matthew Wilsontiming. anime only really became widely known in the US in the mid 90s. if we assume it was mostly kids watching it, they still wouldnt be high enough in managment to be given full creative control yet. it would still be another 5 to 10 years for that.03/27/2015 - 12:59pm
Andrew EisenI agree. Now what makes you think that there is no one in power who cares about (or has the ability to) make a good adaptation?03/27/2015 - 12:47pm
Matthew Wilsonits not about pratice, it is about people who understand it getting in to positions of power.03/27/2015 - 12:34pm
Matthew Wilsonallot of the comic book characters that have been turned in to good movies started in the 70s or earlier.03/27/2015 - 12:32pm
Andrew EisenWell, if it really does take two generations of practice to get it right, we'll never get good live action adaptations of anime if no one starts making them.03/27/2015 - 12:31pm
Andrew EisenWhat have you seen that would make you say that?03/27/2015 - 12:30pm
Matthew WilsonIt took 2 genarations of comic book reader before we got good comic book movies. I imagine that will be the case for anime as well.03/27/2015 - 12:28pm
Matthew Wilson@AE yes if they have people that understand the content give it a shot, but as far as I can tell that does not look like it is happening in this case.03/27/2015 - 12:26pm
Andrew EisenI understand the skepticism but I don't think "this will never work" and "no one should even bother" are very healthy attitudes.03/27/2015 - 12:11pm
Andrew EisenWhy would you doubt that? A lot of writers are my age and older, the perfect age to be fans of the content. All I'm saying is it's not impossible to get a good Robotech movie. In fact, it's more likely today than any other time.03/27/2015 - 12:11pm
Matthew Wilson@AE the difference is in the case of marvel the writers and directors clearly understand the source content. I doubt many of any of them are that way with robotech, or any anime for that matter.03/27/2015 - 11:10am
MaskedPixelantehttp://www.playstationtrophies.org/news/news-15838-Sony-Cuts-the-Price-of-PlayStation-TV-Today.html Sony cuts the price of the Vita TV in the UK, still wont force developers to make their stuff compatible with it.03/27/2015 - 10:49am
Andrew EisenMechaCrash - It's true, there are a lot of examples of crap adaptations. But there are increasing numbers of great adaptations such as the Marvel movies. That said, it's certainly going to be an uphill battle at Sony, especially with Tom Rothman around.03/27/2015 - 10:45am
ZippyDSMleeOh live action crap...I dunno with hollywood being stuck in the 90s grimdarkblack mode I can not see how anything would work well other than SNK or Akira.. then again Akira is a bit of head trip...03/27/2015 - 10:11am
MechaCrashI meant Hollywood in general. If they did a Robotech movie, it'd just be a slightly tweaked Macross, because usually when people talk about Robotech, they just mean the first third. Nobody cares about the Masters/Southern Cross or Invid/MOSPAEDA stuff.03/27/2015 - 9:36am
ZippyDSMleeYes Macross is good..... robotech....not so much..... Now Pizza Cats that's the definitive TV dub, if not best dub ever I'd put it up there with COwboy Bebop just becuse the Pizza Cats dub is fun as heck and crazy,Medabots and Fighting Foodons are decent.03/27/2015 - 9:20am
InfophileAged well plot-wise, I mean. The animation is showing its age, but if you don't mind that, the plot holds up quite well03/27/2015 - 6:52am
InfophileRobotech may be 30 years old, but it's actually aged pretty well. Plus, one of the three Japanese franchises that went into making it, Macross, is coming out with a new series soon. So it's far from forgotten or out-of-date03/27/2015 - 6:50am
 

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