New Competition For Madden 24! Is This ESPN Football All Over Again?

Here is the history…Back in 2004 Sega published ESPN NFL 2K5 from developer Visual Concepts. For a few years the 2K NFL series was making a name for itself and providing some competition to EA sports (it’s in the game!). The way I remember it, Madden was still the top dog and Madden came out a couple weeks earlier than ESPN NFL 2K5. 2K decided to pair up with ESPN and it was a great match.

When you played a franchise game you were treated to a ESPN recap that was similar to watching ESPN on tv. The recap was all of the highlights around the fantasy team league that week and Chris Berman was the pro behind the desk giving his own recap of the weeks highlights. It was a blast!

ESPN NFL 2K5 came out a couple weeks after Madden, and I believe that year, Madden decided to release early to get the jump on 2K , because I think 2k was slowly taking away some of Madden’s player base.

In 2004 though, 2K decided to rebrand to ESPN but also to lower the price of the game to only $20. I for one already bought Madden that year, and when ESPN was only $20 I decided to purchase it also. It did not take long before I realized that ESPN NFL 2K5 was a lot better of a game. It seemed to have a lot more modes, a lot more attention to detail and played better in my opinion. I guess I was not the only one who felt this way because EA Sports, decided to buy the full exclusive rights to the NFL to lock out the new ESPN game.

That is when competition died for the NFL video games and when (in my opinion EA stopped trying, if not maybe a few years before then).

EA has owned the exclusive rights to NFL representation all this time -the new part of their deal though is only for Simulation games, meaning another publisher can make an arcade style NFL game- and with no competition anywhere to be found (there have been rumors, and even a release window for other NFL games)… until now… maybe.

Released on August 9th, Legend bowl can be found now on consoles for $24.99 (some discounts for the launch).

A demo is available if you like to try before you buy. So, is it any good? Is it only a fast cash grab because of football season?


While most people have given very friendly review scores to Legend Bowl, there are some that are not as great.

From my experience of the game, it has a lot of depth to it with franchise, head to head modes, and coach co-op (no online). with up to 4 people able to play at the same time. The controls take some time to get used to (took me about 2 exhibition games just to get comfortable with the throwing mechanics enough to complete passes consistently).

Legend Bowl is an Indy developer (an ex Madden developer who left EA), at only $20 (on sale) you may want to check out the game. Perhaps it will bring some competition, however small to EA for them to step their Madden game up. We can only hope that a little competition will push the developers of Madden to listen to their fans and put more into their games.