Madden NFL 22 is launching with a number of new options, together with new layers to the Franchise mode that ought to deepen an expertise hardcore followers have felt was uncared for. But it won’t, for the 30th consecutive 12 months, embrace the fair catch kick. Curses! Drat!

“I was hoping for that question,” mentioned gameplay producer Clint Oldenburg, who has come to count on it from me yearly. “No, it’s not going to be in [Madden NFL] 22, but I do ask [at developers’ meetings] every year, and I say this: ‘The fair catch kick is worth at least one Metacritic point.’ I’ll keep trying for you.”

The fair catch kick is a quirk of the NFL’s rulebook, a vestige of the sport’s origins in rugby, and a come-look-at-this second at any time when it’s tried. Basically, a crew that fields a punt with a fair catch — calling off the protection in trade for not advancing the ball as soon as it’s caught — can then try a free kick, for a rating, from that spot, additionally with out blocking or any protection speeding the play.

It has been tried solely 9 instances in the previous 40 years (though twice in 2013, and most lately in 2019). It’s been even longer because the final try was profitable. In 1976, Ray Wersching made a 45-yarder to ship the San Diego Chargers into the locker room leading the Buffalo Bills 27-10. I used to be barely three years previous. Oldenburg wouldn’t be born for an additional seven years.

Here’s a have a look at a fair catch kick tried in the NFL playoffs, on New Year’s Day 1989, with John Madden himself on the decision. It’s one in every of my favourite professional soccer highlights, despite the fact that San Francisco’s Mike Cofer got here nowhere shut to creating the kick. Madden is giddy with pleasure when he realizes the situations are ripe for an try.

“I always wanted to use it, but I never got the opportunity!” says Madden, who coached the Oakland Raiders from 1969 to 1978. The Minnesota Vikings appear by no means to have heard of the play when officers inform them to again up 10 yards from the ball. Joey Browner, by the way one of many best gamers in Tecmo Super Bowl, responds with an up-yours fist but still offers area. It’s very anticlimactic, as a result of Cofer shanks it and the ball lands about 20 yards in need of the objective.

An in depth analog of the fair catch kick is Australian guidelines soccer’s electrifying after-the-siren objective. Here’s a compilation a few of their finest ones, and the gang all the time goes bananas from the second the participant takes the mark — catching the ball, on the fly, from a kick touring greater than 15 meters.

Long-distance kicks in Madden NFL, significantly at decrease issue ranges, are simpler than in actual life, which might be one more reason why the fair catch kick isn’t in the sport. It may be used to grief or disrupt a ranked sport, and there are already sufficient methods to do this (equivalent to all the time going for it on fourth down, or making an attempt an onside kick when the state of affairs doesn’t name for it).

But hey, in the future, my kick will come! And it’ll be enjoyable to goof round with it a few instances and by no means try once more. Yeah, wait a minute. Maybe, like John Madden, I simply need the likelihood of this play, and the enjoyable of discussing it and teasing Oldenburg about it. And that goes away if he ever does put it in the sport.