American football, called simply football there, is undoubtedly the most popular sport in the United States, which should be obvious even to those not familiar with sports at all. You surely did hear the name Superbowl at some point, and it’s nothing else than the annual championship game of the National Football League.

Due to its popularity, it’s not surprising to see some amazing NFL video games, where players can help their favorite teams to become the champions. If you’re a football fan yourself, you may be interested in checking out the best Madden games on the list down below. We chose the most important games in Madden franchise and described why they were important.

Madden NFL 23 | Standard Edition 2022-08-20
Madden NFL 23 (Xbox Series X/S) 2022-08-19
Madden NFL 22 (Steam) 2021-08-20
Madden NFL 22 (Origin) 2021-08-20
Madden NFL 21 2020-08-28
Madden NFL 20 (ENGLISH ONLY) 2019-08-02
Madden NFL 20 (Xbox One) 2019-08-02
Madden NFL 19 2018-08-10
Madden NFL 19 (Xbox One) 2018-08-10
Madden NFL 18 (Xbox One) 2017-08-25
Madden NFL 17 (Xbox One) 2016-08-23

Madden NFL 21

PlayStation 4
PlayStation 5
Xbox One
Xbox Series X/S
Release year:2020
Developer:EA Tiburon

The newest game from the Madden NFL franchise brings a lot of changes and improvements to the widely acclaimed series. Madden NFL continues the long going tradition – a new game from the series is released regularly every year, each time with the new players and updated team rosters to match the real-world league.

But each new game usually comes with additional gameplay improvements that aim to increase the fun factor even more. This time EA introduced new pass rush moves and tackling mechanisms, as well as offensive gameplay enhancements, new abilities, and even an entirely new mode, the Yard, with wild action and house rules.

Key features
  • Stunning and realistic visuals
  • Most recent squads and all of your favorite teams
  • The Yard – a new backyard football-inspired game mode
  • Numerous gameplay improvements regarding both offensive and defensive tactics

Madden NFL 10

PlayStation 2
PlayStation 3
PlayStation Portable
Xbox 360
Release year:2009
Developer:EA Tiburon

Although NFL 10 didn’t offer a lot of innovative solutions, it featured one that was very important for a lot of players – the Ultimate Team. Madden NFL 10 was a great time to start competing online with other players.

Madden NFL 10

With the game’s Franchise Mode and Ultimate Team that allowed players to form leagues, manage transactions and rosters, and play against the others with their own customized teams, players were finally able to enjoy the fullest online NFL experience up to date. Similar to its predecessors, NFL 10 also brought some gameplay changes, such as more realistic player momentum and quarterback improvements, as well as route running and coverage.

Key features
  • New animation technology, where up to nine players can be involved in a tackle
  • The Ultimate Team – customize your team and compete online
  • Numerous gameplay improvements that aimed to make the game more realistic
  • Improved Franchise Mode

Madden NFL 2003

PlayStation 2
Game Boy Advance
Release year:2002
Developer:EA Tiburon, Budcat Creations

This is probably one of the best Madden NFL games ever created, at least according to Metacritic. So why is that and what exactly does it have to offer? One could argue that Madden NFL 2004 or 2005 was better, and there’s nothing wrong with that – these games were so good and so close in terms of how fun the gameplay was, that the difference is marginal and there’s no point in arguing.

Madden NFL 2003

There were some major changes that could make some players lean towards one game or the other, such as the Playmaker Controls and Mini Camp in 2004 or the Hit Stick in 2005, but generally speaking, all these titles were equally good. Madden NFL 2003 plays a bit faster and is more dynamic, thanks to quicker animations and slightly boosted game speed, which results in a more responsive game, where having good reflexes actually starts to matter. It also for the first time in the series allowed players to compete online, which was a huge thing back in the day.

Key features
  • Introduction of online mode for the first time in the Madden NFL franchise
  • Hundreds of collectible cards with players, teams, stadiums, and more
  • Faster and more dynamic gameplay
  • New and improved replays

Madden NFL 13

PlayStation 3
PlayStation Vita
Xbox 350
Wii U
Release year:2012
Developer:EA Tiburon

To enjoy John Madden’s NFL 13, you have to own a console. It was a problem for some, but many players decided to get PS or Xbox just for this one particular game. Why?

Madden NFL 13

Madden NFL 13 introduced a very important and long-awaited feature to the series – physics. It’s the first NFL game made with the use of Infinity Engine, where collisions are calculated in real-time, adding a lot of depth to the gameplay. No two football players run and behave exactly the same – there are some subtle differences, thanks to which the entire game feels more alive and real. You can actually feel your players’ weight as they ram the opposing team. Sure, the simulation wasn’t perfect and had some flaws, but it was a huge milestone nevertheless and it was further improved in NFL 25 (aka NFL 14).

Key features
  • Physics-based engine – the series’ first
  • Improved visuals and lighting effects
  • Improved artificial intelligence for a much more enjoyable offline experience
  • Significant gameplay changes related to the passing game

Madden NFL ’94

Super NES
Release year:1993
Developer:Visual Concepts, High Score Productions

Finally, we’ve got a game that started the entire NFL series, so it’s only natural to include it on the list. But when was the first madden game made? As some of you may have already guessed by the game’s title, Madden NFL ’94 was released in late 1993. It was quite a treat for sports fans, as it was the first officially licensed Madden NFL game – except for the players’ names, for which players had to wait until the game’s next year edition.

Madden NFL 94

It came with several cool features that made the experience more enjoyable than ever – it introduced play-call and pass-catch modes, pause during punts and turnovers, as well as the field rotation during replays, which helped players to analyze their matches in a more detailed way. It was also the first game to feature the iconic slogan. EA Sports – it’s in the Game.

Key features
  • The first officially licensed NFL game in the Madden NFL franchise
  • Addictive football experience
  • A full season with the inclusion of playoff and championship modes
  • Super Bowl teams available right off the bat

The Best Madden NFL Games of All Time

The first officially licensed Madden video games that focused on the National Football League appeared on the market in the early ‘90s. Since then, a new game from the series is released every year, each with updated squads and important gameplay changes, and the franchise is still going strong, despite being over two decades old.

You may be wondering how many Maddens are there. If we count every single game, including Maddens before NFL, as well as mobile and arcade Madden games, it would be a grand total of 40 games at the time of writing this article. Nothing indicates that the series will end any time soon, so chances are EA will double that number somewhere in the future, polishing new releases even more and giving players the most accurate American football experience possible. John Madden may be long-time retired, but he is still involved in the production of the game in the role of a consultant and the games graced with his name are going as strong as 20-30 years ago – almost like the GOAT himself, the legendary Tom Brady of (sadly formerly) the New England Patriots.

Check out some of the best Madden NFL games on our list above and start your football adventure now.