The game of Madden has evolved with each new entry, but I'm not sure many expected this kind of development. This year's Madden Bowl winner, Raidel "Joke" Brito, won with a punter at the QB slot and not a single pass thrown.
It might seem odd, but it was the combination of Madden's quirks and the rules of Madden Bowl that led to this gameplan. The Bowl, one of the largest Madden tournaments of the year, uses a salary cap structure for forming teams. While a premier quarterback, like Patrick Mahomes or Lamar Jackson, would've come at a premium price, Brito threw Washington punter Tress Way in under center.
The savings let him bolster both his run game with players like Gale Sayers as well as his defense, creating a single-minded machine meant to do one thing: run the ball. Results speak for themselves, as Brito ran over his competition for win after win and a 17-0 shutout in the finals. You can check out the final seconds of the game on Twitter here. You can also check out the full match here:
Though some are lamenting the state of Madden over this run-game victory, I'm fascinated by it. Strategies can dominate the virtual football field just like the real one, and due to the quirks and idiosyncrasies of a game system like Madden's, a clever player can take advantage of that. As the commentators noted during the finals, the run game can get ahead and keep the pressure on, as every snap can eat up the remaining game time. Every possession for Daniel "Dcroft" Mycroft has added pressure to produce something, or watch the clock slip away in Brito's hands.
Even since the earliest days of Madden NFL 20, the run game has been strong. The Raiders playbook, which Brito actually used for his win over Mycroft, provides a wealth of run formations and plays to pierce just about any defense. It might be a little annoying, but Brito won the game by playing it as best he could within the system provided. If the run is going to keep working, why not keep running?