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Madden Challenge: Can You Win The Super Bowl With This Dude At QB?

Ever wonder how a normal person would fare in the NFL? Last February, we found out when we teamed up with the folks at EA Sports to turn a normal, lazy, non-athletic lout into a Madden NFL avatar. That lout happened to be me.

I attended a private, faux combine and was thrust into a series of simulations to figure out just how bad walk-ons like me would be in the NFL. While I ran around a football field in Florida, the Madden ratings team was measuring my football skills — things like throw accuracy, speed, trucking and kick power.

When the EA Sports people used me as a quarterback, the Giants went an average of 2.9 wins per simulated season. Now it’s your turn. Our sports podcast Hot Takedown is launching a crowdsourced challenge to find out if someone has stick skills so profound that they can use a weak, slow and inaccurate average-Joe QB to win it all. Watch us discuss the project here or listen to the latest episode of Hot Takedown; full details about the challenge are below.


‘Win with Walt’ Madden challenge details

The goal: Win the Super Bowl in Madden 2016 with Walt Hickey as your starting quarterback.

How to participate:

  • Make a custom player on a team of your choice with the Madden ratings below.
  • In the event we haven’t listed a rating — I wasn’t evaluated for several defensive categories — just enter the overall rating of 12 in that field.
  • Make this person your quarterback, on whatever team you’d like.
  • Release all other quarterbacks on the team and play through a season of football, make it through the playoffs and then win the Super Bowl on an All-Pro or higher difficulty setting.
  • Don’t egregiously cheat. That means don’t tinker with player ratings and don’t spend the whole season just running the ball. Mitigate my weaknesses and take advantage of my strengths (such as they are).

UPDATE (Sept. 9, 8:30 a.m.): A few people have written in to ask for more details in creating their Walt avatar. Here’s some more guidance:

  • Height, Weight, Age: 6’2”, 210 lbs., 25
  • College: William & Mary
  • Injury: If you are dropping all your other quarterbacks, you are allowed to give Walt a 99 injury rating. We’ve updated the spreadsheet below. You may also want to create a number of Walts for your roster in order to bring one in if your first Walt still gets injured.
  • Run/pass ratio: In the spirit of fairness, we advise that you try to pass the ball at least 40 percent of the time.

The entry: Email podcasts@fivethirtyeight.com with any details of your journey, strategy, photos, screenshots or videos.

The prize: The first person to do this gets a shout-out on Hot Takedown and a signed glossy of Walt Hickey in full pads mailed directly to your house, if you’re willing to give us your home address.

The ratings:

Walt_Madden_QB
CATEGORY RATING
Overall 12
Speed 33
Strength 14
Agility 23
Acceleration 35
Awareness 10
Trucking 9
Elusiveness 10
Ball Carrier Vision 8
Stiff Arm 9
Spin Move 24
Juke Move 28
Carrying 15
Catching 29
Route Running 8
Catch in Traffic 14
Spectacular Catch 22
Release 7
Jumping 29
Throw Power 17
Short Accuracy 20
Mid Accuracy 13
Deep Accuracy 3
Throw on Run 15
Play Action 5
Kick Power 20
Kick Accuracy 10
Stamina 69
Injury 99
Toughness 40
Consistency 0
Tuck and Run trait Sometimes
Throw Ball Away trait Yes
Sense Pressure trait Paranoid
Force Pass trait Conservative
Tight Spiral trait No

Good luck out there. Keep us posted on how it goes.

Walt Hickey is FiveThirtyEight’s chief culture writer.

Jody Avirgan hosts and produces podcasts for FiveThirtyEight.

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