Coaches and players at all levels of the sport say that Madden has influenced them, and recommend the game to learn football strategy and tactics, practice plays and assignments, and simulate opponents. Young players who grew up with it reportedly understand plays better than those who did not. Wired in 2010 attributed the growing use of rookie quarterbacks and the spread offense to the game, stating that “the sport is being taken over by something you might call Maddenball — a sophisticated, high-scoring, pass-happy, youth-driven phenomenon”. When the Denver Broncos’ Brandon Stokley in 2009 burned six seconds of the clock with an unusual run before scoring the winning touchdown against the Cincinnati Bengals, Madden designers—who were watching the game with Madden—immediately recognized his action as “what happens in the game!”
Football broadcasts on television use Madden-like visual cues to more closely resemble it, and the NFL considers the series its “33rd franchise” because each week during the season EA Sports receives the same searchable film database of every play that each of the league’s 32 teams do. The game is the NFL’s second-largest source of licensing revenue after apparel, and an important part of the league’s recruitment of children as new football fans.