Video games are all about creating and/or existing in our own alternate universes. Sports video games give us a distinct point of reference, but we can still get crazy when it comes to our in-game experiences.
We’ve all heard talk about Miami Heat star, LeBron James’ NFL potential. He was an All-State wide receiver for St. Vincent-St. Mary in Ohio as a sophomore and junior. He broke his wrist before his senior season and decided to put the pigskin down to focus on his no-risk meal ticket in the NBA.
Even with that decision, LeBron hasn’t lost his love for the gridiron. King James even mentioned earlier this year that he’d like to play in at least one NFL game. With the amount of torn ACLs on this rise in the NFL—thanks to making hitting players from the waist up a major risk for penalty—we’ll probably never see James don the pads in real life.
While that unfortunate reality may put a damper on any real-life possibilities that James will play in the NFL. It doesn’t have to kill the dream all together. With the help of Madden 25’s connected franchise mode and a little create-a-player magic, the freakishly tall NFL player can be a cyber reality. It’s about to get stupid up in here.
Picking a Team - Why the Cowboys
This is not a career move for LeBron. It’s just one of those things his enormous talent and celebrity has afforded him the right to do. That said, LeBron ain’t about to play for just anybody. That said, I chose LeBron’s team, because we all know, he likes to make decisions…I’ll be here all night. With my choice, King James didn’t pick his hometown Cleveland Browns. I mean really—if you had just one season to play, would you pick to spend it in Cleveland?
He didn’t keep his talents in South Beach, either. The Dolphins could use an amazing athlete at WR like LeBron, but that’s not the answer either.
How bout them Cowboys?
Besides being James’ favorite team in real life, it is also the organization with a big star on its helmet and in the middle of its field. It also doesn’t hurt that the Cowboys’ owner Jerry Jones has a sick amount of cash and an even sicker desire for his team to remain in the spotlight. Dallas is the place.
What Position - Why a WR
Picking James’ position wasn’t as simple as it might have seemed. Yes, he did play wide receiver in high school, but since then, he’s grown to 6’8” (he was listed at 6’6” as a prep star) and he now weighs about 260 pounds. That sounds a lot like a tight end, doesn’t it?
Nevermind the conventional measurables. There’s nothing conventional about what we’re doing here. Besides, Jason Witten is the tight end in Dallas. He’s quarterback Tony Romo’s bff and it would be hard to imagine LeBron taking his reps in an experimental season.
Am I going too far? Don’t stop me now, I’m getting into it.
James will be at receiver—on the other side of the field from Dez Bryant. This will probably piss Dez off, but the Cowboys don’t care about pissing Dez off. This is LeBron, baby.
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What number does LeBron wear? Well, NFL rules restrict him from wearing No. 6 or No. 23, so how about something within the structure that adds up to six. LeBron wanted to go with the No. 15. When separated, it adds up to six, but Michael Spurlock wouldn’t give it up and wouldn’t take a pay off. Therefore, James settled for the No. 10.
I’m making all of this up.
Position Type - Red Zone Threat
LeBron had to be made a Red Zone Threat. Think about it: he’s 6’8” with a vertical leap over 40 inches, if that combination doesn’t say fade route, I don’t know what does.
James also had to be an immediate starter. There is no way he would play in the NFL unless he was guaranteed some serious clock. Sorry Miles Austin, James is going to be taking your spot for a year.
The Preseason - Preseason Summary
In Madden 25, starters only play the first quarter in the preseason. It should really be tweaked a bit as starters usually play close to three quarters in the third exhibition game, but what ever. James had three touchdown receptions.
He was also asked to return kicks…that didn’t work out so well.
Then, there was this one time where he got his legs knocked into this reverse bicycle motion. It really looked painful, but LeBron is tough and he was alright.
Regular Season - 4 Quarters of the Regular Season
James was dominant in the regular season opener with 11 receptions and two touchdown grabs. He also caught the pass that setup the game-winning field goal. Dallas knocked off the Giants 27-24 to open the season 1-0.
Perhaps the league got the memo on King James in the second and third games of the season. He was held to a combined eight receptions in those contests and the Cowboys’ record sank to 1-2.
Dallas did manage to beat the Kansas City Chiefs in Week 4 to head into a Week 5 showdown with the Denver Broncos at the .500 mark
LeBron began the second quarter of the season on a high note. He sparked the Cowboys with an 11-reception, 179-yard and one-touchdown performance. He and Dez Bryant were seen arguing on the sidelines, but James later said he was sorry. He tweeted: “my bad Dez.”
The inconsistency continued in Week 6 against the Washington Redskins and the Cowboys suffered on a whole. LeBron became enraged when a fan reached over the railing and snatched his headband at halftime. Jason Garrett tried to restrain him, but James leaped over him like he was John Lucas III and nearly took the overzealous fan out. Thankfully he missed and no one was harmed.
Another mediocre performance in Week 7 led to another loss. This time, the defeat came at the hands of another division foe. Dallas fell 31-17 and its record dipped to 3-4 overall. The loss dropped the team to third place in the division.
In Week 8, the skid continued. At least this time the game was close. Detroit took it 34-31 and LeBron managed to pick up another touchdown reception. He was asked if he thought this experimental season was a bad idea. He responded by saying: “I ain’t got no worries.”
At the halfway point of the season, the Cowboys are 3-5 and need to get a move on if they hope to make the playoffs.
The losing streak continues, but it certainly wasn’t LeBron’s fault. He had his best game of the season with 13 receptions for 176 yards and two touchdowns. Check out the dive at the end of the second score.
Still, Dallas fell to 3-6 and is dangerously close to missing the playoffs. For what its worth, James is third in the NFL in receiving yards with 826 at this point.
It’s lonely in last place. Another loss at the hands of the New Orleans Saints has the Cowboys 3-7. If they don’t win out, there will be no playoffs.
Luckily, Week 11 is the bye week for Dallas. James and Co. hoped to get their bearings with the week off, but no haps..
Another division game, another loss. LeBron had eight receptions for 100 yards and a touchdown, but it wasn’t enough. The Giants smashed Dallas 34-13 and at 3-8, LeBron may as well dust off his Miami Heat jersey, this experiment will not see the playoffs.
Dallas picked the wrong time to get hot. The win over Oakland was the beginning of a three-game winning streak.
In Week 16, Dallas came back to Earth. In losing 48-0 to the Redskins, Dallas assured itself of finishing with a losing record. LeBron left without speaking to the media. He and Adrien Broner were seen discussing their sorrows at a lounge just outside the Alamodome.
The regular season ended with another loss and Dallas finished a disappointing 6-10. James did earn Offensive Rookie of the Year and a Pro Bowl selection. His season statistics were impressive. He finished with 98 receptions, 1,273 yards and 12 touchdowns. That’s not too shabby, but this is a team game and Dallas sucked in a major way.
So much for the fantasy. Here’s a video summary of the experimental season: