''A great man once said, 'I don't want to be a distraction to the Packers' organization.' Shortly after this declaration, though, that same man, armed with nothing more than an insatiable hunger for text messaging, became that distraction. But despite the fact that Mississippi's favorite son now graces the cover of the latest iteration in the Madden franchise, the game, unlike the entire state of Wisconsin, is not lost in his shadow. On the contrary, Madden 2009 for the Xbox 360 is everything a Madden game released on the 20th anniversary of the franchise should be: fundamentally solid and wildly enjoyable.
When players first fire up the game, a holographic projection of John Madden - who resembles a certain holographic projection of a galactic emperor in a galaxy far, far away - appears on screen. He invites you to take the Madden Test to gauge your current level of skill referred to as your Madden IQ. Based on your performance in drills covering the core areas of passing offense, rushing offense, rushing defense, and passing defense, your results are rated in terms of the standard difficulty settings in Madden (ie, Rookie, Pro, All Pro, and All Madden). Admittedly, the test results were flattering. I always fancied myself as an All Pro level guy. But in my heart of hearts I secretly know that on my best days I am little more than a scrappy, above average Pro. So to find myself rated as an All Madden rated was surprising.''