So over here, we have Vince Young. He is one of my favorite football players of all time. I want to speak of his career in the present tense, but he hasn't taken a snap since 2011, and I'm not sure whether I can.
Above you see Young's 2010 season. Over nine games, Young maintained a 98.6 quarterback rating, among the best in the NFL. Unfortunately, the long-simmering feud between he and coach Jeff Fisher came to a head. Young hit the bench, and eventually free agency. He's presently unemployed by the NFL and he hasn't taken a regular-season snap in nearly two years.
And over here we have the 2-4 Texans, curators of the dumbest quarterback controversy of the year. After five years of excellence in Houston, Matt Schaub was doing more-or-less fine, and then they were blown up in San Francisco in Week 5. Schaub had a terrible game, but it was only one terrible game. Fans started calling for T.J. Yates, and they finally got their wish in Week 6. When Schaub left the game with an injury, Texans fans cheered.
Those particular fans who cheered are certainly a vocal minority, and they're also a gaggle of dumb babies who have no appreciation of history, however recent, and seem as though they acquired their moral convictions from an arbitrary assortment of talking toys they sell at the drug store.
And that, by way of noted rap purveyors Slim Thug and Paul Wall, is how we come to the subject of today's Breaking Madden. This was tweeted as Young and Mr. Thug were watching the Rams embarrass the Texans Sunday afternoon:
"@slimthugga: I'm about to go pick up Vince Young" Fam I will b ready by 3— Vince Young (@VinceYoung) October 13, 2013
This narrative, like most narratives worth sharing, involves Paul Wall.
RT @paulwallbaby: U ready bro? @VinceYoung <<-- born ready fam— Vince Young (@VinceYoung) October 13, 2013
My objectives this week are twofold:
1. Return Vince Young to action.
2. Get this week's Texans game the hell over with and forget this dumb season of theirs has ever happened.
And this is how I intend to execute this in Madden NFL 25:
I. INSTALL SUPER-VINCE AS THE TEXANS' QUARTERBACK.
Vince has been working out, you see. While editing his ratings, I left all his throwing abilities alone, but I pushed all attributes relevant to running -- speed, acceleration, trucking, stamina -- as high as they would go.
He's a capable passer, but he's not going to throw a single ball. I know this sounds like just another BEEFTANK, but there's a major exception here: Vince is never going to score. Ever. Because, you see, the objective is not to score, but to eat as much game clock as humanly possible. Scoring a touchdown stops the clock. Running around the field like a damn fool, however, keeps it running.
II. GIVE VINCE SOME FRIENDS WHO WILL ASSIST HIM IN THIS EFFORT.
A lot of football fans hate Vince Young, man. They called that tweet of his sad and pathetic, they called him stupid because of his performance on the Wonderlic (ignoring that he re-took the test with proper preparation and scored far better), they called him soft because of a 2008 episode in which he disappeared for a short time because he couldn't bear the booing and the hate anymore.
The guy's been through a lot in his life -- we didn't even address the bike accident he suffered as a 7-year-old that tore his intestines and almost killed him -- and every time he pops into the football consciousness, he's met with avalanches of scorn until he goes away.
It's unfortunate, and I wanted to make sure I gave Young the best possible teammates. Not just in terms of size (7', 400-pound), but of heart.
if you would like to be in the next Breaking Madden, please say something nice about Vince Young— Jon Bois (@jon_bois) October 14, 2013
As usual, I had no problem finding excellent candidates on Twitter. A big thanks to y'all: I counted up all my replies, and found that over 850 of you had applied to be in Breaking Madden this week. I'd put all y'all in if I could, but I settled on the following eight individuals:
Halfback: Stefan (@boring_as_heck)
I really wanted the halfback to stay home and defend Vince, but I didn't do the best job of play calling, so @boring_as_heck spent a lot of time wandering around downfield and kind of half-assedly calling for the ball. We'll see more of that later.
Fullback: Spencer Hall (@edsbs)
Longtime Internet subscriber Spencer Hall is referring to Vince Young's steakhouse, which is called Vince Young Steakhouse. Sort of how Paul Wall insisted on being called The People Champ instead of The People's Champ. They don't do possessive apostrophes in Houston, friends. Just a cigarette, and if you're lucky, some punctuation.
Left tackle: Gregory Martin (@yaleosubmarine)
"Hamster Huey and the Gooey Kablooie," like the "noodle incident," is a story within the Calvin & Hobbes universe that is never really explained.
Oh sure, I see the parallels here. Dad is Vince Young, the "story" is the moment Vince gets back out there and shuts everyone up, the rotten football fan babies are Calvin and Hobbes is the notion that they think things that are worth saying.
Left guard: Gavin Labourdette (@GotHeem7)
Center: Anthony Writers (@NFLBeatWriters)
Who is your favorite NFL beat writer? Mine is probably Anthony Writers. Anyway, I have never been to a New Jersey liquor store, but I'm imagining, like, a giant outdoor trough of hydrogen peroxide and a guy standing next to it wearing a giant boot as a hat who sells plastic bowls for dippin'. "Get you a bowlful," he says without hyphenation. "One dollar. Cashier's checks only."
Right guard: Robert Iver (@killakow)
It's not that Vince Young is naive. It's just that he believes that no one ought to speak without the expectation of a reply. No one should live life in silence, not even for a moment.
Right tackle: Michael Malinowski (@MikeMalinowski)
Vince Young's enthusiasm for shirtless clubbing is well-documented, so I -- oh goodness, that is not a very flattering angle. I'm sorry, Mr. Malinowski, and I promise that was not intentional.
Tight end: David Harris (@THEdavidharris)
"Larry Bird" is one of the most satisfying names to call out while you sink a trash-bucket. Here is a non-exhaustive list of the least satisfying names to call out.
- Ben Wallace
- Nick Anderson
- Brian Cardinal
- Jim Gantner
- Tim Rattay
III. MAKE THE CHIEFS' DEFENSE AS TERRIBLE AS POSSIBLE.
The Texans' Week 7 opponent is the Chiefs, and given the disrespect I am dealing Houston's way, it seems prudent to punish my favorite team as well. This was painstaking, but necessary, work: I edited every single player on the Kansas City defense, changing their ratings in every category (besides Injury) to zero. Awareness, strength, tackling ... zeros across the board.
In addition, I tried something I haven't previously done in Breaking Madden. I went into the game's setting and set the "Min Speed Threshold" to zero; this means that the difference in speed between the slowest and fastest players were exaggerated as much as possible. I also set the "pass blocking" and "pass defense reaction time" sliders as low as they would go.
Alright. Time to sleep in the bed we have made.
After hours upon hours of player editing, I was finally ready to go. I, of course, took control of the Texans on every offensive play.
I usually called the fake-spike play, because a) it proved rather effective, and b) it's really, really funny to do a fake spike if the clock is stopped. Remember: my goal was to kill as much time as I possibly could, so that meant no going out of bounds or scoring a touchdown if I could help it.
No foolin': This proved to be WAY fun.
In the GIF above, Vince survived for about 45 seconds. It really is a terrific little game. Scrambling with a quarterback is tons of fun to begin with, and doing so for a minute-plus was a blast. I kept trying to break my own record. If y'all are ever looking for a dumb fun Madden party game, I highly recommend this.
Oh word? Thanks, Madden. I'm sure it would have been safer for Neil Armstrong to wear a space suit, too.
Even though I made the Chiefs as terrible as I could, keeping Vince on his feet was still a considerable challenge. After about 20 seconds, they'd finally slip through my superhuman offensive line.
Speaking of, that was a problem. See, my O-line seemed to completely misunderstand the rules at times.
DUDE. I know this scenario is rather supernatural and dystopian in nature, but you're supposed to tackle the guy, not capture him and drag him back to the nest.
Of course Justin Houston had to be the Chief in that GIF. "HI YOU ARE HOUSTON?!? I AM HOUSTON AS WELL. TAKE HOUSTON BACK TO HOUSTON HOME. MAKE BIG HOUSTON FAMILY."
Damn it, you guys. Stop it. Stop it! Vince Young is not a queen ant. You don't need to bring him food. I want to stress at this point that I never controlled any player besides Vince Young. The rest of these chuckleheads just did all this stuff on their own.
Time to check in on @boring_as_heck, our halfback. Unlike his contemporaries, he spend these 45-second plays aimlessly zig-zagging around the field and calling for the ball. Eventually he'd get bored and resort himself to finding opposing players and kicking their asses.
That is more than we can say of Mr. Labourdette. During one notably long play in the third quarter, our left guard wandered to midfield and just kinda ... stood there. Dude just checked the hell out.
That face! It's like he's trying to hold back tears, only at hyper-speed. The scenario is making him so damn miserable, he doesn't just want to cry. He wants to hyper-cry.
I enjoy that GIF so much that I went ahead and added it to the GIF Oracle. From here forth, while commenting on SB Nation, just post "@oracle gif me checked out," and the Oracle will reply with this GIF. God knows why you would ever need it, but it's there if you do.
So. Back to Vince, who spent all game trucking fools to the Moon.
Here, he can't even be bothered to use his whole body to truck. He just uses one arm -- the arm carrying the ball, no less -- to chuck that guy off the face of the Earth. I swear, I've played a lot of Madden at this point, and I don't think I've ever seen someone get clobbered quite like that.
My Chiefs' comical awfulness was pretty endearing. Vince would lose a guy as though he was taking off a coat, the guy would pull himself off the ground, and Vince would simply shake him again.
This is my longest play, which clocked in at 1 minute, 23 seconds. I sped it up in places, because I wasn't really trying to make a 100-megabyte GIF:
God, this was so much fun. It was like flying a spaceship or something, and the ability to turn around and double-back across the entire length of the field reminded me of a distant age of gaming. We did this in Tecmo Bowl and Madden '93 and such. It's a maneuver known to every older sibling, and a frustration known to every younger sibling. It's hidden in Madden 25, beneath stacks of menus and hours of meticulous adjustments, but I'm happy to have found it at all.
Chiefs 48, Texans 0.
This is fundamentally absurd, because ...
Time of possession
No, for real. I simulated past all the Chiefs' offensive drives, so I didn't see what happened, but the game is really trying to tell us that they scored 38 points with 2:20 of clock. (Not 48, because the Chiefs scored five safeties on poor Vince while he was running for his life.)
That's seven touchdowns and a field goal for the offense, meaning the Alex Smith Chiefs allegedly scored once every 18 seconds. I really need to stop using the play simulation feature, because it's like the computer is trying to mimic my shenanigans, but its understanding of humor is limited to spitting out dubious statistics. "LOOK. I MADE JOKE. NUMBERS DO NOT COMPUTE. HA! HA!" You can't tell a joke, bless your little heart.
Vince, for his part, did everything I asked of him. He and I were able to go from first-and-10, to second-and-38, to third-and-61, and then sprint for the first down so that we could keep the drive alive and burn more clock. He never fumbled once, and he must have sent his tackler to the mat a hundred times.
Thank you, Vince. Let's look back on your heroics one last time, and never forget what you did here today: