Remembering NFL Gameday: Ranking the Best Titles in the Series
Although short-lived in comparison to Madden, NFL Gameday will always be remembered by football video game fanatics
In the landscape of US-based sports leagues, the NFL is undoubtedly the most popular. Beating out the NBA, MLB, and NHL in terms of both followership and viewership, American football is a way of life for people in the country, as nearly every city has its own representative team across 50 states. Therefore, the NFL season is clearly an exciting time for fans, as tailgate parties get underway, and stadiums resume their usual jam-packed status. However, there are a few weeks a year during the offseason that football aficionados cannot view the live action from home or in-person.
This is where NFL video games come in giving fans a taste of the action through a PC or console. Although the Madden NFL series is practically a household name in this category, there are several other underrated series that have graced the football gaming stage and should be equally appreciated. NFL Gameday is one of these, the first franchise that gave Madden a run for its money. Although the series ran for less than a decade, with its last title being released in 2005, it was revolutionary for the sports video game world at the time. Here we take a look at some of the most memorable NFL Gameday titles.
NFL Gameday 1998
Hailed as one of the football-themed games of the early days, NFL Gameday ’98 was the third installment in the series and was a pioneer in one major functionality: 3D polygonal graphics. Sony gave gamers an entirely new and improved experience with this technology that allowed players to look and feel much more graphically realistic. This meant that each team member was true to their unique size and playing abilities, with some possessing strong arms and others boasting elite tackling skills. The construction of polygonal graphics in football games took quite some time to develop, due to the sport’s fast-paced nature and the number of players on the field at any given time.
NFL Gameday 2003
Fast forward to the eighth game in the series, NFL Gameday 2003, and fans will easily recognize the title’s cover athlete— none other than superstar quarterback Tom Brady. Although at the time of its release the player was not a seven-time champion, he had just won his first Super Bowl and NFL Gameday decided that was reason enough to feature him. The game featured elite responsive control, franchise mode, 200 new tackles, improved passing systems, and of course, an incredible opening scene with the rising quarterback star front and center.
Nowadays, Brady is still leading the league with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, a team that is currently number one in the NFC South. As the regular season heats up, fans are hard at work analyzing top NFL picks each week in preparation for January’s playoff start. If the legend can secure another Super Bowl ring in 2022, he will make history yet again. Although Tom Brady recently appeared alongside fellow quarterback Patrick Mahomes on the cover of Madden ’22 which launched in August, this penultimate game will always be remembered for capitalizing on Brady’s successes early on, long before he became the most talked about player in the NFL.
NFL Gameday titles were released for both the original PlayStation console by Sony and the PlayStation 2
NFL Gameday 2005
In 2005, NFL Gameday went out with a bang, launching its last title from the EA Tiburon developer. Released for the original PlayStation console, the game featured a new Hit Stick option which gave users the chance to change gameplay action with one major tackle. Additionally, this installment further improved the franchise model with the inclusion of Storyline Central, a radio commentary show of sorts that allowed players to discuss crucial news and happenings within their team and the entire league. The cover featured Derrick Brooks, a now-retired outside linebacker who also played for the Buccaneers during his professional career.
So, there you have it! Three titles will bring you back to some of the greatest old-school NFL video gameplay out there. If you enjoyed this article, but are looking for some more modern sports games, be sure to check out this piece that outlines today’s top titles from various leagues like the NBA, professional tennis, skateboarding, and more.