Novelty of newest football offering quickly wears off
Posted: Monday June 26, 2006 3:07PM; Updated: Monday June 26, 2006 3:07PM
NFL Head Coach allows you to make all the key decisions regarding your team.
My weekend was all planned out. Wifey was heading out of town, the World Cup knockout round was starting, all three Braves games were on TBS (with a Saturday night chaser of Beverly Hills Ninja), season two of the Ricky Gervais podcasts, two books and two issues of the New Yorker to get through, a bunch of new shows on Howard Stern On Demand and a new episode of Entourage last night. After 20 days on the road covering the NBA Finals, these simple things seemed extremely important to me, and I'd been looking forward to a weekend without obligations for quite a while.
But then I screwed it all up Friday night. As I got off the subway at 7:00 p.m. on the Upper West Side, dead-set on hurrying home to catch up on the Braves/D-Rays, I walked past my local video game store. There seemed to be a warm glow radiating from inside the shop, and the pulsating screens inside called my name like the Sirens gave a shout out to Odysseus.
Fifteen minutes later, I left clutching a copy of EA Sports' new game, NFL Head Coach. And thus went the weekend.
I think I understand the idea behind NFL Head Coach. To most people in the sports business -- be it the media, licensing, television, marketing, whatever -- the NFL equals money. People love the NFL right now, and pretty much anything they do works out to big ratings and profits. So for EA to have not one, but two, NFL games out makes terrific sense for them from a financial standpoint. But the fundamental question presented by NFL Head Coach is this: Are there really that many people who are interested in simulating the day-to-day offseason life of Denny Green or Mike Martz?
When the game begins, you're either the offensive or defensive coordinator of the Super Bowl champ Steelers. A few teams in need of a head coach (including your favorite team, whichever franchise you choose) come calling, in need of a new coach. You select the best offer and get to work shaping the roster.
I took an offer from the Falcons, and chose to keep my coordinators, Greg Knapp and Ed Donatell, in place. However, there was no choice but to can my linebackers coach after I spoke to him and all he could talk about was the secondary. I appreciate a coach being well rounded and having an informed view of my team, but this was too much. To hire a new coach, you're presented with a list of unemployed guys with their specialties listed. The highest-rated defensive guy I could find was Jim Mora, the coach I'd replaced by taking the Falcons job. We brought him in for an interview but he kept talking about offense, and I worried about him stabbing me the back with the owner, so I went in another direction.