Online play has never been a selling point for me, personally. I want to play franchise mode, and go through a season, not have a superiority contest based on one matchup. When Madden 13 launched, I gathered some friends and put together a league. This gave me the opportunity to play through continuos seasons, and test myself against others with regularity.
With Madden 25, we upgraded to PS4 systems, and have just completed our first season play through on Madden 15. We have had as few as five user teams, and as many as fourteen during the three years of our league's existence, finishing six total seasons all together.
Through the course of being the commissioner of the league, I have found a number of etiquette preferences that I believe all players should consider. Without much else to do today, I decided to list them out for your reading enjoyment, and, hopefully, your edification as a Madden player.
1. Don't do anything in rage.
Rage quitting is the first thing that comes to mind, which may occur in a randomized matchup. In a league, however, where you know the other guy and have to communicate with them regularly, it tends to play out differently.
One example is a game I played in which I became frustrated with the other player, as well as with the game in general. I had fumbled the ball three times in the course of two and half quarters, which made me feel I couldn't do anything to win. In response, I began calling goal-line offense with a run up the middle, and initiated a hurry up after every play to just do it again. Wouldn't you know it, this led to fumble number four, and my starting RB getting injured for four weeks.
On defense, I did the same thing, running a goal-line set with an all out blitz, defending against runs up the middle. This made it less fun for the other guy, who knew I was letting my emotions get the better of me.
Other examples are sending accusatory messages to your opponent, cussing them out over party chat, purposefully drawing penalties, and so on. The point: don't be a baby.
2. You have a punter for a reason. Kick on fourth downs.
This is one of the reasons I was upset with the other player in the above example. He never kicks or punts, in any matchup we've played. Some people feel they have to keep the ball moving on fourth down, and won't settle for a punt. It's like a turnover in their eyes. They may also forgo field goals, because they want more than a three point lead.
When you do this, you are not trusting your defense, and ending the simulation quality of the game. There is a time to go for it on fourth down, but on fourth and five in a 0-0 game during the first quarter… that is not the time.
3. Two point conversions are not for every touchdown.
Some players do this to try and force their opponent to keep up with them. It's just plain silly, and no one does it in the NFL. As stated above, you have a kicker for a reason, and it is for the PAT, among other things.
4. Don't restart to create a better result in your game.
This applies to point one about rage-quitting, but also goes deeper. In an online league, your coach and players earn XP through performances and awards, as well as wins. I know a guy who will restart his game, not only if he is losing, but if he is winning and the other team starts to come back, racking up passing yards and ending the defensive shutout. Or, he will try to get more passing yards for his QB to break a record, or more TDs for his receiver.
If you are playing by yourself in an offline league, this is okay to do, because you are the only one it effects. When you do this in a league of other users, it is a way to create an unfair advantage by padding stats, records, and wins, in order to get your player rated better than your opponents. This would be akin to stealing defensive signals, or deflating game balls. Congratulations, you are the Patriots of your Madden league.
5. No team amasses seven first round picks.
This also applies to a league setting. Some guys are addicted to the GM aspect of the game and want to trade every player in an attempt to stockpile draft picks. This can become annoying. My personal opinion is you should cut it off at three first round picks, and twelve picks overall in the entire seven rounds.
6. Exploits are a no-no.
In game, I refer to them as spam plays. Those passes and runs you call that always get you the first down. Four verticals with the TE running a double move slant over the middle. You know which plays I'm talking about. This isn't Remember the Titans. You can't run just six plays, or at least, you shouldn't. You see this a lot with the guys who go for it on fourth downs. They have these two or three plays that almost guarantee a five to ten yard pickup every time.
There are other exploits too. For example, in Madden 15, you can trade three low level WRs or CBs, as long as they are young, for any player in the game. Any. Player. This is incredibly flawed. Don't do it.
7. Every superstar on your team? Not likely.
It doesn't make sense that the Panthers would trade Luke Kuechly to you for a 82 overall, rookie corner. However, offer the right package, and you might get him. This could be a result of the aforementioned exploits, or, you may have found their actual price.
I've seen guys do this before, kind of the opposite of people who go after all of the draft picks. In reality, the salary cap would never allow you to grab all of these players, but in Madden, there is always a way. Actually, in my league, the only guys who have won a Super Bowl are the ones that buy cheaper players that fit their scheme and game-plan, rather than the guys with the highest ratings. I've overspent on high rated players before, only to find they don't work out where I have them.
The real issue, however, is that these players should be spread about the league, not all on your team. The CPU teams need to remain competitive, but they can't if you strip them of their best players.
8. Play your game in a timely fashion.
There is nothing worse than waiting on that last guy in the league to play his game, especially when you see he's playing Destiny every night. If you don't want to play, drop out of the league. A season shouldn't take as long as an actual NFL season. For everyone else, pay attention to number nine.
9. Don't hound everyone to play their games.
Just because you have nothing better to do doesn't mean everyone else is sitting at home waiting for the league to advance. Find a hobby, start an offline league, or play a different game (I recommend Dragon Age and Destiny).
Life will happen, with either illnesses, work, vacation, or anything else, and you don't always know who is dealing with what. Be nice, and most people will get to their games as quickly as they can.
10. Be a good loser.
Nothing cheeses me off more than to beat someone else and have them tell you it's because the game gave you an unfair advantage. When a player fumbles you feel powerless to stop it, and it's easy to blame the game. Same with dropped passes. The truth is the game is making these things happen, but it does it based on a number of variables. Things like your carrying or catch in traffic stats. Your hit power stats. Your bracing tendencies in that player's traits list.
So you can control these things by adding XP to these players in these categories. And maybe that is what your opponent did, which is why their 75 overall middle linebacker was able to hit your 86 overall running back, and pop the ball from their hands. He has the big hitter trait, while you only have the brace vs some trait. Madden didn't cheat you, the other guy was rewarded for his hard work and strategy.
Even if you find yourself in a situation like I did, four fumbles in a single game, you can't blame the game. The truth is, three of those were sacks, and my QB had a carrying of 56 overall. If I had prevented the sacks, it wouldn't have happened. Compliment the victor, and say, "good game." It's the right thing to do.
I hope you have enjoyed this list. Please understand, these are my personal thoughts, and you shouldn't feel bad about doing things a little differently. However, if you are in a competitive league with other people, take this as a reminder that they are real people on the other side of the controller, not a CPU who doesn't feel or have opinions. If you respect the league, you'll probably be fine.
Now, for your enjoyment, here is the second half highlight video from my league's latest Super Bowl. It was me as the Chargers vs the Rams. Enjoy.