More details on the Special Teams improvements in Madden NFL 17

Posted May 27th, 2016 at 12:45 pm


Despite the importance of special teams in football it has never received the attention it deserved in the Madden series. That looks to finally be changing with Madden NFL 17 and further details have been released on what to expect. While unfortunately it looks like surprise onside kicks have been left out yet again, and the return blocking hasn’t been worked on, there’s a lot to be excited about for what had been largely mundane waste-of-time plays in the video games having failed to represent their potentially exciting game-changing nature.  

New Kick Meter

When we reviewed game tape of the 2015 NFL season, we came to the realization that it was far past time to make kicking in Madden ‘less automatic’. We felt like we needed more of a challenge than just flicking the stick up. We also felt that kicker ratings needed to have a much bigger impact on the game.


After reviewing other sports titles, we quickly adopted a 3 button approach, very similar to what you would see in a golf or baseball game. You click the button once to start the kick, click again at the top of the meter to set power and finally again at the bottom of the meter to set accuracy. The harder you try and kick it, the more difficult it will be to hit the accuracy window. We have also restored the squib kick mechanic based on community response and new to M17 are ‘sky punt’ and ‘backspin’ options for situational strategies in the kicking game.

Trick Plays

One aspect of special teams we knew we had to get into Madden NFL 17 is trick plays. Some of the most exciting and unforgettable highlights in football are of those rare trick plays that have the potential to change the outcome of any game with a single play. Who could forget Seattle’s trick field goal for a touchdown vs. the Packers in the playoffs!

While Madden has had special team trick plays for years, we have not opened up the playbook to some of the modern takes we see in today’s NFL. Offenses will now have several trick play options (both run and pass) from Field goal and Punt formations. These generally will only have a chance of working against all out block formations so pick your moments carefully!

Kick Blocks

Speaking of all out block formations, at long last we have a designed system for blocking kicks. Gone are the days of user created exploit kick blocks, now replaced by a system that has very tight control over frequency and success chances. When you call one of several punt or kick block formations, the players who are designated as ‘kick blockers’ are marked with a B icon in pre play. Select one of these players and use the jump the snap mechanic to have a small chance at breaking through the line and driving in for a kick block. The win chance is only the beginning, successfully steering yourself in for a block and timing the block attempt are all necessary to achieve one of the most dynamic and exciting plays in football. Rest assured there are cap systems in place to ensure users do not exploit this new implementation of kick blocks.


As part of our special teams theme, we knew blocked kicks were a must have. Achieving realistic, organic behavior of the ball after a block was a big part of the plan. Ball physics ensures the behavior of the ball after a block is not animated or scripted. It is organic and unpredictable.

Onside Kicks

With the organic nature of ball physics, onside kicks make a big comeback in Madden NFL 17. We have restored the ability to aim your onside kicks to give users a little more control over placement. The unpredictability introduced by ball physics makes onside kicks another thrilling aspect of special teams in Madden NFL 17.