MINNEAPOLIS — If you’re hoping for a surprise in Super Bowl LII – and it’s a good bet that most of the United States outside of the upper Northeast is – then the annual “Madden” simulation won’t give you much hope.
EA Sports’ “Madden NFL 18” simulation of the Philadelphia Eagles-New England Patriots Super Bowl matchup had a predictable result. The Patriots won the simulation 24-20 and quarterback Tom Brady was named Super Bowl MVP. Sounds familiar. In the simulation, Brady (who is on the cover of this year’s “Madden” game) had 342 passing yards, three touchdowns and one interception. If “Madden” is right, it would be Brady’s sixth championship and fifth MVP.
They won’t call off the game because “Madden” said the Patriots will beat the Eagles, but the annual video game simulation has been pretty accurate. Since Super Bowl XXXVIII at the end of the 2003 season, the simulation has predicted the winner 10 of 14 times. While it didn’t predict a 28-3 Falcons lead and the Patriots making the greatest comeback in Super Bowl history to win last year, the video game did predict a dramatic final-minute comeback win for the Pats. For Super Bowl XLIX, it predicted a 28-24 Patriots win over the Seattle Seahawks, with the Patriots trailing 24-14 in the third quarter before eventually winning on a Julian Edelman touchdown, and that’s exactly what happened.
The good news for all of the Patriots haters is at least “Madden” figured the game will be close. The Eagles led the simulation going into the fourth quarter, after Philadelphia turned a Brady interception into an Alshon Jeffery touchdown. But Brady’s second touchdown of the game to Danny Amendola gave the Patriots the lead. Late in the game Philadelphia safety Malcolm Jenkins stripped New England running back Dion Lewis for a fumble to give the Eagles life, but Pats cornerback Stephon Gilmore knocked away a pass to Jeffery as time expired. Gilmore was a hero of the real AFC championship game two weeks ago, knocking away a late fourth-down pass by the Jacksonville Jaguars.
The annual “Madden” simulation is a fun part of the start of Super Bowl week. Except that this year, for a majority of America, anything pointing to another Patriots win isn’t all that fun.
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