The best football video games that are not Madden

If you’re gearing up for a dose of Super Bowl mayhem, then maybe you should look for the opportunity in video games. We all know that Madden is the premier game series for the NFL in 2023, but that hasn’t always been the case.

If you go back in time, you’ll find football games from ESPN, NCAA, NFL and much more. It was probably overwhelming when multiple soccer games were released every year, but variety really is the spice of life.

In this list, we break down the best NFL games that don’t use the Madden name and license. Get ready for a trip down memory lane.

The mythical game Many older football fans remember ESPN NFL 2K5 as if it were a golden era or a dream they once had. For these nostalgic gamers, it is considered the greatest NFL game of all time, the one that did it better than all the others. The graphics have evolved considerably since then, but many gamers would rather play this again than a new Madden game.

If you want an extreme way to play soccer, then you need Mutant Football League. The game is ridiculous in many ways, with glass to break at the sides of the field and spikes waiting for you to push the enemy team back into them. Mutants splatter and crumble when you smash them with an aggressive tackle, making for a uniquely spooky soccer experience.

NFL Street is called that, despite not having to be played on the street, you can also play on the beach! EA Sports’ Street series is all about soccer, without referee interference. You’ll get bonus points for plays with flair, not just a solid game plan. If you want familiar NFL stars to play in a different way, this is the game to play.

Specifically, the NES game. Yes, it might be the oldest and most retro game on this list, but true veterans of NFL gaming reading this know why it’s on the list. This was basically one of the first games to offer great soccer gameplay, and it remains a classic.

Let’s stop playing soccer for a second and start managing it. There really should be more soccer management games out there, but luckily Chaos League is a great title for that purpose. The PC exclusive is a bit old now, originally released in 2005, but it inspired an even more interesting and brutal sports game a few years later.

Based on the Games Workshop board game, Blood Bowl was Cyanide’s next project after Chaos League, with Blood Bowl 2 being its peak. It is based on a board game and has retained many of those mechanics, including turn-based play and dice rolls that influence plays. Some of these random elements can be frustrating, but it’s a truly unique twist on the soccer genre that you have to play for yourself.

It hasn’t aged particularly well, but Backyard Football 2002 for PC is still the best entry in the series, and it will evoke a healthy dose of nostalgia in many millennials reading this. If you go back and play now, you might be a little disappointed, but the memories are so good, right? It might be better if we leave it like that.

It’s been a while since we last saw a quality NCAA football game on modern systems, which is why hardcore fans still come back to play NCAA Football 14. It’s another EA Sports football game from EA Tiburon. , but college football has never been better. that this.

One of the best-reviewed football games of all time, there’s a lot of love for Dreamcast’s NFL 2K1. The visuals were eye-opening for the time, with arcade-style action that kept players in their seats for hours on end. Has it all been downhill since then? Not necessarily, but this will forever be known as the greatest NFL game of all time to many fans.

Written by Dave Aubrey on behalf of GLHF.