My guess is a good percentage of those reading this blog have played a football videogame at some point. And while we all lament the loss of NCAA College Football, Nebraska fans got a welcome jolt of good news from Electronic Arts.
For those of you unfamiliar with the Madden franchise, recently EA added a “Face of the Franchise” mode where you can play a character working his way up from college to the pros. Last year was the first time since NCAA 14 that licensed college teams and uniforms were in a video game (with fictional players) as your created character competed in the College Football Playoff.
For this year’s version, two new schools were included in your choices of which college your character can attend – and take a look at what one of your options are.
Yep, Husker Fan, your virtual athlete can now sign with Nebraska on Signing Day and wear the N in two years’ worth of College Football Playoff games. You are forgiven in advance for just playing that tiny sliver of Madden 21 over and over (and over and over and over) again.
Ohio State alums Chase Young (the second overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft) and Dwayne Haskins (the Washington NFL team’s starting quarterback) were not pleased with EA’s decision to choose Nebraska and Michigan State over Ohio State.
And they have a point. Ohio State has been one of the dominant powers in college football in the Playoff era. Nebraska has endured three consecutive losing seasons and hasn’t been to a bowl since a 38-24 loss to Tennessee in the 2016 (!) Music City Bowl.
So what’s Nebraska doing on this list of college football luminaries? Why would EA think to put a program that has gone 13-23 in the last three years in such a place of prominence, that include that red N on the list would make its game sell more copies?
Because of you, Husker Fan.
Sure, Nebraska has its history of greatness. But Nebraska hasn’t been great for quite a while now. But it’s you, Husker Fan, and your loyalty and passion that keeps Nebraska’s place as a national program, one that a company like EA would think is a selling point.
A smart and particularly handsome analyst made this point after Nebraska’s loss to Colorado last year.
Even more than other programs, Husker Fan, you are the beating heart of why Nebraska is considered a blue-blood of college football. From a distance, there’s no reason the Nebraska program should be considered alongside the royalty of college football.
Except for you. You’re the ones who painted Folsom Field red, and in doing so you were the spiritual heirs of all those red-clad faithful that boarded the trains and descended on the Rose Bowl in 1941. You’re the ones who have sold out Memorial Stadium since 1962. You’re the ones, ultimately, who provide the platform from which Nebraska has the potential to launch itself back into the college football stratosphere.
You know the tune. You’ve sung the words – probably about a half-count off the beat, because that’s how we Nebraskans roll.
We’ll all stick together, in all kinds of weather, for dear old Nebraska U
Nebraska’s inclusion in Madden 21 is yet another example of how the wildly, crazily devoted fanbase keeps the soil fertile for a rise to national prominence for the Cornhuskers.
So pat yourself on the back, Husker Fan. Buy your copy of Madden 21 and enjoy seeing the scarlet and cream in the College Football Playoff – at least until we can see it for real.