I’ve owned every Madden since Madden 92, and I’ve played every title in the NCAA Football series dating back to the Bill Walsh days. I’ve played sim titles like the Front Office Football series, Sierra’s Front Page Sports Football Pro series, Draft Day Sports: Pro Football by Wolverine Studios, and countless others. While those games are all excellent in their own ways, none are as impressive as the 2008 release by EA Sports, Head Coach 09. This is the best football game I have ever played.
Originally released as a companion title along with Madden 09 and part of the Madden XX Special Anniversary Edition, Head Coach 09 was later released as a standalone title. Head Coach 09 was a follow-up release to the original Head Coach game which was released in 2006.
So now that we have a little of the history out of the way, let’s talk about getting back into this classic title.
With all that is going on in the world with COVID-19, I have found myself with a bit more gaming time than before and a void when it comes to watching live sports. With the NFL Draft fast approaching, I started missing this classic title, and after watching a few various YouTube videos about the game, I ordered my own copy on Ebay for about $17.
Franchise Series Stream
I am planning to start up a new YouTube franchise stream using Head Coach 09 for PS3 sometime next week. You can follow that stream by subscribing to SSG’s YouTube channel. I’ve watched some other streams that have recently covered Head Coach 09, and while they are entertaining, this stream will be much more analytical. This will be a stream that looks to replicates the life of a true NFL GM as best as we can within a game, and will involve community involvement and input.
I’m leaning towards this stream focusing on the Oakland Raiders in the hopes of rewriting the notorious legacy of JaMarcus Russell. I’m also considering selecting the Detroit Lions in a “Fire Matt Millen” storyline. Regardless of which team I go with for this series, I want to avoid any and all spoilers, so I will do my best to keep things a bit vague, and also ask you to do the same in any discussion of players, etc. Head Coach 09 is an absolutely amazing game, and I’m glad to share this franchise with you all.
If I end up going with the Lions, it’ll be a fresh start. If I go with the Raiders, I’ll be picking up at the start of the 2008 regular season as I’ve already completed the full offseason in that save as well as the preseason. If I go with the Raiders, below are some notes on where that save currently stands.
Free Agent Signings
LT Flozell Adams – Older, but a 1-year stop gap.
WR Isaac Bruce – Older, but my owner wanted me to sign a starting WR, and Bruce only wanted a 1-year deal as we wait for a few younger receivers to fill out their potential.
RG Ben Knoll – Generously-rated and just 23 years old. Owner wanted a starting RG, and Knoll satisfies that request. Ratings fluctuate a lot on younger players, but he seems solid at least.
C Jeff Faine – Solid upgrade at C and we had some cap space to spare.
CB Nnamdi Asomugha – Was our first offseason move after opting NOT to franchise him. He was only 27, and I didn’t want to upset him long-term by tagging him as his personality traits were hard to read. We had some nice depth at CB, and I felt comfortable taking the risk. We threw the bank at him in FA to bring him back.
QB JaMarcus Russell is a Focal Point
One of the most important goals I have personally with this Raiders team is to try and save JaMarcus Russell’s career as he’s just a year removed from being the #1 overall pick. He has a low learning grading (playbook learning), but has a potential learning that is much higher. He’s someone I think I can work with, and I feel that our new spread attack offense can turn him into something serviceable, at the very least. With his hefty contract, we’re going to have to at least try.
4th Overall Pick in the 2008 Draft
With the 4th pick in the draft, we had what seemed to be the best player in the draft fall into our lap with RB Darren McFadden, and RB was a position of need, no question. However, I was less than thrilled with McFadden’s personality makeup and his potential proneness to fumbles, so even though he was far-and-away the most gifted player we identified in this draft class (all teams see things differently), I opted to trade back with Dallas and get the 22nd, 28th, and their 2nd round pick in exchange. Dallas ended up taking the son of Howie Long, DE Chris Young. McFadden lasted until the 10th pick when New Orleans finally took him. I have a house rule for myself that I am not allowed to negotiate for a better trade, so the offer that Dallas originally sent is what we ended up taking.
Note: Player ratings at this stage in the game are based on your Team Outlook, position of need, etc.
With the 22nd Pick, The Oakland Raiders Select…
All along, I was planning to grab RB Felix Jones who was McFadden’s backup at Arkansas. With our Spread Attack offense, we needed our RB to be quick and also a strong receiver out of the backfield, the later being something we felt McFadden was not. The Bears ended up taking Jones 12th overall, and when the 22nd pick came up, I ended up selecting Miami SS Kenny Phillips. We had Phillips scouted enough to know he was a very safe and strong pick. He was the last player we had a full scouting report on, and we felt very comfortable taking him 22nd overall. Although SS wasn’t a huge need for us, we knew we had a couple of other RBs we could take later in Chris Johnson (probably later in the 1st) or Jamal Charles (probably in the 3rd). We also felt comfortable with RB Justin Fargas who rushed for over 1,000 yards for the Raiders in 2007.
Free agency helped us fill out just about every hole, and we felt Phillips was too special to pass on. Stuart Schweigert is our current SS, but Phillips will push him at SS1 in 2008 and certainly supplant him in the future.
With the 28th Pick, The Oakland Raiders Select…
The best available player at a position that we could actually plug-in to get some playing time was RB Chris Johnson. With his remarkable speed and athleticism, we felt comfortable taking him as–at worst–an outside-runner compliment to Justin Fargas. Johnson doesn’t have great vision, and he has had a history with concussions, but for how the draft was unfolding, we didn’t want to pass on him and merely hope the only other RB we felt could slot into our offense on day-1, Jamal Charles, would still be there in the 4th round (we didn’t have a 3rd round pick). Plus, I had other plans for that 4th round pick. So RB Chris Johnson was the pick at 28.
The Rest of the Draft and Beyond
As we await the start of this stream series, probably later this week around the time of the real-life NFL Draft, I’ll tease out more details on this Raiders save or pick it up for the first stream itself. Stay tuned for more, and be sure to subscribe to the SSG YouTube channel to follow the series once it starts.