It's no surprise that a game released annually, simulating the same sport, on the same rectangular field isn't always going to feel fresh. But Madden has tweaked some things to near perfection, like passing.

Tecmo Bowl and Super Tecmo Bowl had to deal with the fact that the NES had two face buttons. You used 'A' to cycle through receivers and 'B' to throw the ball; this made it very difficult to counteract the blitz. In some games (like Super Play Action Football) you got an entirely useless zoomed in diagonal view. In other games the camera zoomed out and didn't elevate making you feel like Spud Webb playing quarterback.

Madden gave you the wire camera and the elevation to see every receiver downfield. Every receiver represented by a different button is the best way to do passing. If that feels stale, it's because there's no way to improve upon it.