UPDATE: Submissions are now closed. Over 100 of you sent in donations. Thank y'all so, so much for giving, and I hope you enjoy next week's catastrophe.
Breaking Madden is one of the most special things I've ever been able to work on, and y'all are a big reason for that. All season long, I've given away slots on these Madden rosters to folks who tweeted stuff at me that made me laugh. Eventually, I was getting 1,000-plus responses each week, and scrolling through them was basically a guaranteed hour's worth of giggling for me. You literally helped me write Breaking Madden and make it funnier.
So thanks, everyone. As a token of my appreciation, I'm now going to ask you to spend money and go through a sequence of hassles.
It's terribly cold out. There are people around here who don't have a safe place to stay. There are people in other parts of the world who lack food and clean water. There are people who suffer from abuse. There are researchers who need funding to treat and prevent disease. In this, the season finale of Breaking Madden, I figure we have an opportunity to offer just a little bit of help to those who could really use it.
If you'd like to be in the Super Bowl episode of Breaking Madden:
1. Give as little as a dollar, or as much as you want, to the charity of your choosing. Since I don't represent any particular charity, I can't suggest any specific organization. I just encourage you to donate to any cause that compels you. (No political donations, please.)
2. Usually, a charity will send you an email after you submit a donation. Forward this email to email@example.com. This email will not be seen by anyone but me, but still, I encourage you to look over and delete any information in the email that you decide is none of my dang business -- perhaps your full name, the amount donated, any sort of donor identification number, et cetera.
At the top of the email, please give the following information.
Your name, as you would prefer it to appear in the game: _______
Note: The game allows for a maximum of 13 alphanumeric characters in the first name, and 10 in the last name. If you jimmy up the works on this one, it won't disqualify you, but your name may be truncated.
Your preferred team (Seahawks or Broncos): _______
Those two answers are the only things I'll make public, should you be selected. Remember, don't tweet the email at me or any such thing. I won't be accepting any entries that don't go straight to firstname.lastname@example.org. Rules are important. RULES HELP CONTROL THE FUN.
3. This weekend, I'll put all the submissions together, and select at least 40 of you at random to appear in the game (perhaps more, depending on how many players Madden will actually allow me to put on the field). If you're selected, I'll email you and let you know.
Now, you should know that there's a twist to this particular Breaking Madden. I've already decided that for the finale, I'm going to pull out every single one of the stops I've identified over the course of the season. One team will be as enormous and terrifying as possible, with all the rules of man and God in their favor. The other team will be as small and hopeless as possible, with all the rules against them.
But I have not yet decided which team will be which. You folks are going to decide that. Whichever team picks up the most "preferred team" votes will be the team of terrifying monsters, and the other team will be reduced to a gaggle of helpless babies. So depending on which team you specify, you might look like this:
Or you might end up like this:
Since there will be 40-plus of you, I can't guarantee that your Madden self will make it into a GIF or video, but your preferred name will show up in the post.
The season finale of Breaking Madden will run next week, likely on the 29th or 30th. Lord willing, it will be a cruel spectacle that roundly disgraces the institutions of football and video gaming, and in so doing we'll be able to offer a little bit of help to those who need it. Thanks, y'all!