1. The Monopoly
Here's the only technical reason Madden is still alive today. In a world of eat or be eaten, Madden was forced to swallow it's greatest competitor. Had they not secured exclusivity rights to make licensed NFL videogames it's NFL 2K that would have that lingering stale feeling right now.
The single biggest reason we are where we are with our pro football videogame climate is the monopoly that cemented Madden as the sole virtual purveyor of the league in 2004. A really unfortunate trend that is decimating sports titles and erasing variety.
If you're angry about the whole deal, any outrage at EA is misguided. Instead, place the target of your scorn squarely where it belongs, on the greed of the NFL.