The NFL Lockout is Over

Posted July 25th, 2011 at 11:20 am

With just a brief respite at the start of the NFL Draft the 136 day long lockout is for all intents and purposes over. Owners and player representatives have agreed to a new Collective Bargaining Agreement. Beginning tomorrow teams will be able to sign rookies (drafted and undrafted), make trades, and begin negotiating contracts with free agents. No contracts can be signed by free agents however until 6ET on Friday.

What does it all mean for Madden NFL 12? It’s a big win for EA Sports who got a discount on the NFL license in exchange for extending the exclusive deal by a year. Sales would have taken a significant hit over the long term but instead they will be able to capitalize on the increased excitement leading into the season.

Madden 12 is basically locked down at this point and will go “gold” soon. That means shipped rosters will be completely outdated – similar to the final rosters from last year only with the addition of rookies and removal of some players. The first roster update will be the most significant one in history providing unprecedented numbers of player moves and additions (undrafted rookies in particular). That is unfortunate for those who may not have internet access but thankfully the roster update will take care of most consumers.

Given the timing there would have been no way to include new CBA rules in Franchise mode and I’m hoping to get confirmation on whether that means last year’s league rules have been rolled over to this year or if they had a different plan in place. Presumably it wouldn’t be likely that the new CBA rules would be patched in but then again EA Sports has known about the potential scenario for a long time and could have put something in place to make it possible.

EA would be smart to make a statement soon regarding how the developments will impact Madden NFL 12. If they don’t then it would be safe to assume the game will be as-is with the exception of the critical roster updates to come.