Cover Star: John Madden (Wearing A Headset And Ominously Shaking His Finger While Barry Sanders Evades A Tackle In The Background)
Year: 1999

Madden NFL 2000 was great because EA finally had finally developed the technology to give the Madden games a decent franchise mode. The inherent problem with the Madden games is also its most lucrative aspect: They have to come out every single year, or else. This means that every single year, EA Sports has to give consumers reasons to come back to the well. While things like an expanded franchise mode are cool and ultimately necessary to a series' evolution, at some point any developer runs out of meaningful changes to make. This leads to bullshit like in-game Twitter feeds and 34,687 permutations of a Create-A-Player's face, which are technically editions to the franchise but vestigial at best. Also, the hyper-accelerated system of planned obsolescence incorporated in the Madden games is sort endemic of what's wrong with capitalism, but whatever.