Like their NFL counterparts, video game quarterbacks used to do three things: shout nonsense phrases like “backyard barbeque 48, hike,” drop back, and either hand the ball off or throw it. Repeat as needed.
That’s no longer the case. Russell Wilson, Colin Kaepernick and Robert Griffin III all led their teams to the playoffs last season, signaling that dual-threat quarterbacks are no longer the exception, they’re the rule. At least they’re ruling the field.
EA Sports recognized the importance of running for young QBs, and they also realized that the running moves made by their virtual players had grown stale. So they totally overhauled the running game for Madden 25, installing “Run Free,” a technology that expands the moves ballcarriers can execute from eight to 30.
From ankle-breaking juke combos to high hurdles over falling defenders, virtually carrying the ball has never felt so, well, free. Here are five of our favorite moves, and how to execute them.
PlayStation: Tap Triangle
Xbox: Tap Y
To hop over ankle-grabbing defenders, hit the precision modifier (LT on Xbox and L2 on PlayStation), while tapping those same buttons.
PlayStation: Tap Square
Xbox: Tap X
No one likes to punt, so use this move to gain precious extra ground. When every inch matters, use the precision modifier to dive with the football stretched out in front of you.
The Acceleration Burst
PlayStation: Hold R2
Xbox: Hold RT
NFL backs use speed selectively, and you should too. Pace yourself in the backfield as you look for a hole, then use this trick to blast through when it opens.
The Back Juke
PlayStation: Flick right stick down
Xbox: Flick right stick down
When defenders charge from the side or grab at your feet, this little move lets you jump backwards so they pass, allowing you to charge forward into clear space.
The Stumble Recovery
PlayStation: Pull down on right stick while stumbling
Xbox: Pull down on right stick while stumbling
When your runner is seconds away from crashing to the ground, you have one chance to regain your balance and keep going. The drawback? You might get jolted by a defender and cough up a momentum-shifting fumble.
Madden: Then and Now
It’s been 25 years since Madden, then titled John Madden Football 1988, came to consoles, and things were a bit different in the beginning.
- Since the EA had not yet secured a license to use the likenesses of NFL players, there were no virtual NFL teams, just made-up teams based on the pros.
- You couldn’t play a season. The only option was a single game.
- Systems the game was available on included Genesis, Super Nintendo, Apple II, PC and Commodore 64 (you mean you didn’t have one?).
- The graphics? Stiff. Players moved in blips, sometimes overlapping each other, so you couldn’t tell who was who. But it was 1988, so all was forgiven.