Fantastic Football: They Might Be Giants (Week 5)

Welcome back to Fantastic Football, my ongoing Let’s Play of Madden NFL 2002 on the PlayStation 2. After taking a break last week for finals, we’re back with the Vandals as they head to New Jersey to face off against the New York Giants. You know, I just finished final exams for quantum mechanics and linear algebra, and I’d rather do that again than go to New Jersey. Sorry New Jersey, but your entire state is basically a single giant Superfund site.

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(The image quality on this one, and the next few ones, is probably going to be even worse, because I’ve moved locations and am using a different TV, and the lighting is really bad for some reason. Sorry!)

Our Vandals are favored over the Giants by Madden, although I’m not so certain. Look at the rating on those defensive backs. 99! That’s not going to be good news for Peyton and his receiving corps. We might be relying on Alstott and Garner to pickup yards this time around, and that’s not good, because I am terrible at controlling running backs. I don’t know why, but any time I try to sprint or juke or basically do anything but move the analog stick, the runner just comes to a dead stop. No idea why, if anybody knows what’s wrong with this seventeen year old game, let me know.

Anyways, hopefully the Vandals will be able to pull through despite my control issues. Let’s find out!

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Fantastic Football: The Kansas City Shuffle (Week 4)

Welcome back to Fantastic Football, my ongoing Let’s Play of Madden NFL 2002 on the PlayStation 2. Last time, I helped the Las Vegas Vandals do a terrible thing to the Green Bay Packers, and witnessed what may have been an on-field assassination attempt. This week, the Vandals return to Sin City to face down the undefeated Kansas City Chiefs, in order to make them not-undefeated… that is to say, defeated.

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Looking at how Madden rates this matchup, I would say the Vandals are in for a much easier time, although I said that last week about the Packers and look what happened. Unlike the Packers, however, the Chiefs do not appear to have much in the way of offense — certainly nothing like star running back Curtis Martin. And a few more trades and tweaks to the Vandals roster after week 3 have increased the strength of the defense a little bit more, although it doesn’t appear to have shown up in Madden’s assessment.

The Chiefs have had a good run, but they’re about to learn they’re not in Kansas anymore.

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Fantastic Football: The Assassination of the Green Bay Packers by the Coward Las Vegas Vandals (Week 3)

Welcome back to Fantastic Football, my ongoing Let’s Play of Madden NFL 2002 on the PlayStation 2. Last time, the Las Vegas Vandals won a football game for the very first time, despite stiff resistance from the Arizona Cardinals. Having proven the worth of their new defense, the Vandals now travel north to face the Green Bay Packers at Lambeau Field.

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Madden heavily favors the Vandals for this game, which is something that suits me just fine. After week 1’s frantic offensive race against the Chargers and last week’s brutal slugging match with the Cardinals, an easy game is exactly what the Vandals need right now. That said, I know better than to count the Packers out before the game even begins. Madden rates their running backs highly, and the Vandals have had difficulties keeping strong rushing offenses contained, even with their defensive overhaul.

Let’s see how well they do against Green Bay.

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Fantastic Football: Getting Good in Goodman Field (Week 2)

Welcome back to Fantastic Football, my ongoing Let’s Play of Madden NFL 2002 on the PlayStation 2. As we learned last time, the football is, in fact, not that fantastic, because the Las Vegas Vandals suck. Specifically, their defense sucks. They suck so much that despite the Vandals scoring 70 points in their first game, they still lost. So I spent some time after the last game making some trades, signing a free agent or two, adjusting the depth chart, and in general tweaking the roster to try and improve things a bit. Hopefully, it will pay off when the Vandals play the Cardinals in their Week 2 game.

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According to Madden, it should. It looks like my roster changes have massively improved the rating of my defense, and my depth chart tweaks have managed to increase the strength of my offense slightly. What’s most surprising to me here is that, despite only reordering the special teams depth chart a little bit, Madden now believes that my special teams unit is 37 points better than it did last week.

Overall, my defense is still weaker than my offense (and weaker than the Cardinal’s defense), but this match-up is looking a lot more favorable than it would have been a week ago. Let’s hope Madden’s assessment proves correct.

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Fantastic Football: Corey Dillon is Unstoppable (Week 1)

Welcome back to Fantastic Football, my ongoing Let’s Play of Madden NFL 2002 on the PlayStation 2. Last time, we dissolved the Washington football team in acid and used the resulting slop to create the Las Vegas Vandals, the most yellow football team in America. This week, they play their first game against the San Diego Chargers.

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Madden believes that the Chargers and the Vandals are pretty much evenly matched, with the Chargers having the better defense and the Vandals having the better offense. I’m betting that Madden’s probably right on all counts here. Will Peyton Manning and Tony Gonzalez be able overcome the Chargers’ defense and lead the Vandals to victory in their first ever football game?

Let’s find out.

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ASU is an eldritch horror

There are a lot of words you could use to describe Arizona State University. “A public university in Arizona” if you’re Wikipedia. “Innovative” if you’re a member of the marketing staff. “Unconstitutionally expensive” if you’re Arizona’s Attorney-General.

However, by far the best word to describe ASU is large. ASU is massive. Gargantuan. Colossal. The Tempe campus alone is larger than at least two internationally recognized independent states, outsizing Monaco and Vatican City at 662 acres (2.67 km²). And that’s just the main campus — there are four other campuses throughout the Phoenix metro area, which each add 575 acres (Polytechnic), 278 acres (West), 160 acres (Thunderbird), and 18 acres (Downtown Phoenix) to the total size. And that doesn’t even begin to cover all the various other buildings and properties owned or leased by the university  throughout the city, but you probably get the point by now. ASU is big.

It’s also growing.

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