Even the simplest sports have countless intricacies you need to grasp in order to totally understand them but there are definitely certain ones that are notably more accessible than others, as anyone who can process the concept of “put this thing into that thing” won’t have too much trouble figuring out the basics of soccer and basketball.
Football firmly lands on the other end of that spectrum, as I’ve been watching it for around 25 years and will happily admit there are aspects of the game I still don’t entirely get and have come to peace with knowing I may go to my grave without being able to confidently differentiate between a nickel and a dime package.
As a result, I’m not exactly the best Madden player in the world, as my virtual lack of game-calling abilities isn’t exactly conducive to consistently putting together a winning strategy. Prior to the introduction of the “Ask Madden” feature, I largely relied on three plays—Four Verticals, Engage Eight, and fake punts—and while I like to think my approach has become a bit more well-rounded, I’d be lying if I said I don’t mostly spam crossing routes with the occasional pitch that almost always results in a loss.
There’s something to be said for sending your halfback down the middle only to find a hole and streak down the field before accidentally jumping out of bounds at the one-yard line while trying to dive into the end zone, but based on my experience, most Madden players live and die by the passing game.
That is decidedly not the case with Raidel Brito, a professional gamer who goes as “Joke” who recently took home $65,000 by winning the 2020 Madden Bowl without throwing the ball a single damn time.
According to ESPN, each player at the tournament got to assemble a custom roster while abiding by a salary cap and Joke opted to cut costs by tapping Tress Way to start at the quarterback position, using the money he could’ve spent on an elite thrower to instead put together a team to prop up the running game of Bears legend Gale Sayers.
It was certainly a bold strategy but it paid off for him in a big way, as he won the deciding game by a score of 17-0 to secure the jackpot in addition to a championship belt covered in 700 rhinestones.
I admittedly know nothing about the world of competitive Madden aside from what I learned while writing this but one of Joke’s fellow players told ESPN he’d argue this victory makes him one of the five best players in the game’s history. I’m not sure who the other four contenders are because, again, I am sorely ill-informed about this particular realm but it doesn’t sound too farfetched based on this achievement alone.