MaddenUniversity is gaming website specifically for players of the Madden NFL series from EA Sports. We love pro football and we love playing Madden, but people often ask, "What's the deal with the alien on the helmet?" The explanation is simple. It's not an alien. The explanation of what it 'is' isn't as simple. But we hope this article will shed some light on the subject.
Years ago, before online play, I was like many of you, a king of the block Madden player. No one in my neighborhood could beat me. Friends would come by on weekends, ball out, and leave with a loss. Two friends were competitive, but we played so much over the years that there were absolutely no surprises. Playing Madden became boring without fresh competitors to square off against and the Madden NFL season ended shortly after the Super Bowl.
Enter Madden NFL 2003. EA Sports revolutionized Madden with online play; with it came an injection of new blood and a new breed of competitors. After giving up two 80-yard one-play touchdowns on the first two plays and finishing with negative yards on offense in the first half, my first game can only be classified as an annihilation. I hadn't been spanked that soundly for more than a decade, and had I never played Madden again, many would understand.
Luckily that's not how it went. I was hooked and immediately got into another game. Results were better, but still not good. I came away with another lopsided loss. Same with the next few games. It seemed every time I played a game, I got SMACKED with the ring hand. Ahhhh... Madden was magic again. I had something to play for.
After about 10-12 games, a breakthrough. I won two straight, but it was still baby steps. Fast forward a few months into the season for definite progress, but Madden was slowly becoming an obsession. My day consisted of Madden in the morning, work, then Madden for at least 3-hours at night. I kept a notepad to write down plays I'd run on defense and adjustments I'd seen in my dreams.
By year end I'd not only beaten the top ranked player 37-7 when he quit at halftime, but I'd also taught myself to build a website, been banned from multiple online communities for being a wolf among sheep, and racked up more than 1500 online games. Yeah... 1500. When I wasn't playing Madden, I was posting to message boards. I was so wound around Madden that my then girlfriend started calling me a Madden Addict. She even designed an avatar for my forum posts that I used on the handful of Madden sites that catered to Madden players that were mentally tough enough to do football justice.
Meanwhile, I was learning to build websites to build a website for Madden players that was different than the two that were available at the time. A website that prepared players mentally for the rigors of playing Madden online. No coddling, all fight. In August of 2003 MaddenUniversity.com was born!
The image of the man screaming with a football grafted to his head was about as accurate a representation as any avatar could be. It summed up so much about me as a Madden player and a community member. The background features an image of Mike Vick, who at the time was the cover athlete on Madden NFL 2004 and a little guy (like me) getting in the face of a bigger dude, which was typical of how I went about life in general. I was going to say my piece and you were going to hear it.
Soon after Madden NFL 2006 came out the designer of my avatar was out of the picture, but Madden was still going strong. A severe, and well documented, hatred of QB Vision was enough to stop me from playing. But I had a responsibility to my community and fans to be a source of information, thought, and more often than not, friction.
The time I previously spent playing Madden was now spent writing, planning house tournaments, and designing a new website logo. Based on the original avatar, I opted for a conceptual illustration with the same elements: a screaming head with a football attached. The resulting design became the 'alien' looking being that was incorporated into our web designs for the next few years.
One day, someone asked "What is does that alien thing have to do with football?" The question sparked a thought; without explanation no one would know what the logo was supposed to mean. Few recognized it as a football sewn into a player's head, set at an angle to imply motion, with the mean scream that was synonymous with the persona of TNT713. They just saw an alien that had nothing to do with football.
There was a problem. The new logo has all the attitude and toughness of my original avatar, but none of the symbolism that was self-evident from the football field and players superimposed into the full avatar. A shift in our purpose proved inspirational. In March 2008 MaddenUniversity.com hosted our first tournament and sent up looking to design a logo image for the new Competition section of the website. Two problems met with a single solution as we combined our Madden Addict head logo with a football helmet that said everything we wanted our logo to say.
But people still thought it was an alien.
It's not an alien. It's a Madden Addict. Maddict for short; representative of all Madden players that have a football on the brain all year round. For those of us that watch the draft, know the fastest 40-time in the combine, track every minute of free agency, and can't wait for OTA's and preseason to kickoff another NFL and ensuing Madden year. So if you're eagerly awaiting information from the NFL and EA Sports about the next edition of Madden NFL the 'alien' on the side of the helmet is you. It's everyone that plays Madden with the goal of being the best, refusing to lose and walk away, and believes that preparation is key to winning.
Our new logo features the best of what MaddenUniversity.com has to offer. Strategies about offense, defense, special teams, and game planning from TNT713 and community members alike started our mission. Connecting Madden players from all walks to the information and Communities that suit them best became phase two. Our crowning achievement is Competition, which is what football and Madden are all about.