_ __ __ ___ ___ ____ __ _
/ \ / \ / \ | _ \ | _ \ | __| | \ | |
/ /\ \/ /\ \ / /\ \ | | \ \ | | \ \ | |__ | \ | |
| | | | | | | |__| | | | | | | | | | | | | |\ \ | |
| | | | | | | __ | | | | | | | | | | __| | | \ \ | |
| | | | | | | | | | | |_/ / | |_/ / | |__ | | \ \| |
|_| |__| |_| |_| |_| |____/ |____/ |____| |_| \___|
___ _____ _____ _
__ _ ____ _ / _ \ / _ \ / _ \ / |
| \ | | | __| | | /_/ \ \ | / \ | | / \ | / |
| \ | | | |__ | | / / | | | | | | | | / /||
| |\ \ | | | __| | | / / | | | | | | | | / /_||_
| | \ \ | | | | | | / / | | | | | | | | /___ _|
| | \ \| | | | | |___ / /___ | \_/ | | \_/ | | |
|_| \___| |_| |_____| |______| \_____/ \_____/ |_|
Table of Contents
[MODES] Modes of Play
[TEAMS] Team Stats
[SUBST] Suggested Substitutions
[OFFPB] Offensive Playbook
[DEFPB] Defensive Playbook
[NOTES] FAQ and General Tips
[REALL] Comparing with Reality
[VERSN] Version History
[CONTC] Contact Information
Greetings! I've made another walkthrough! This is my 34th, which is kind of
impressive. This is my first new guide in about three weeks - I've been too
busy playing games that I'm not going to write walkthroughs for (namely,
Pokemon Crystal and Banjo-Tooie) and doing stuff in real life. I never
guaranteed you that I'd be producing 4-7 guides per month like I was back in
May. Nonetheless, I'll probably release a bunch of new guides in the next few
This was one of the easier walkthroughs for me to write, as the GBA version of
Madden NFL 2004 is very similar to the last two Madden games for the Super NES
- games I've already written guides for. In fact, almost everything except the
Team Stats, Suggested Substitutions, and season review is "ripped" from one of
my previous guides, since this game's playbook is identical to the one used in
Anyway, Madden NFL 2004 is a good game. It's basically Madden '97 with 2003
rosters. The game designers were obviously limited by the GBA's limited
capacities in comparison to the GameCube or Xbox. The sprite-based graphics
weren't very innovative, but they got the job done. The music is terrible. It's
not just because I can't stand punk rock; the ultra-compressed music sounds far
worse than anything you could hear on your Datsun's radio while driving in the
middle of nowhere. They should've stuck with better-sounding MIDI tunes.
Thankfully, you can turn the music off. The play control is generally quite
good; in fact, some may prefer the smaller number of buttons over the endless
jukes and spins you need to learn to compete in console Madden games. Because
of the GBA's limited number of buttons, you'll be able to pass to only four of
your eligible receivers unless you use a more difficult control system. The
lack of a fifth target makes passing marginally more difficult on some plays.
The computer AI is pretty good, although occasionally it can be annoying; for
example, it will call timeouts to stop the clock even if you're leading 52-10
with eight seconds left. This is enough rambling and reviewing, though. In the
words of Mario himself, let's-a go!
Modes of Play [MODES]
Select this option to play an exhibition game using the teams of your choice.
Before you hit the gridiron, you'll be able to select the venue, weather, and
quarter length. If you have another Game Boy Advance, a Game Link cable, a
second copy of Madden 2004, and a friend (or enemy!) to play with, you can even
play a Multiplayer game (select "Link" instead of 1-player "Solo").
Here you can play through a 16-game season, and if you're good enough, the
playoffs and Super Bowl.
This starts a new season. Imagine that! You can select as many or as few games
as you wish to play. If you have a season or playoff in progress, starting a
new season erases the previous season's data, so be careful.
Here you can start a new playoff series. Again, this erases any data from
previous seasons or playoffs.
This option lets you decide quarter length, injuries (off or on), endurance
(whether you want fatigue or not), and whether you want the rosters to reflect
modifications (trades and signings) you've made.
If you have a season in progress, this lets you check out the statistics for
individual teams and the entire league.
This shows the current standings.
If you have a season in progress, this is where you can go to resume it.
If you have playoffs in progress, you can resume the playoffs with this option.
The Front Office menu contains many options for modifying teams' rosters and
other related tasks.
---Create a Player---
Here you can create a new player. After setting physical attributes (name,
position, height, etc.), you run a series of drills to determine the player's
attributes. The set of drills varies depending on your player's position. You
might want to add some of the players not included in the game, or even
This option lets you trade players between teams. Just remember that
transactions and player creations are limited by the game's SRAM space - and
the space on each team's salary cap. Also, you can only trade players of the
same position, and you can't trade two players for one.
This nullifies all changes to the rosters you've made. Be careful when using
This option only lets you delete players you've created yourself. You might do
this if you made a mistake, got a bad result in a training event, or are out of
View all-time records for big plays and Scouting Combine events.
View records recording the biggest plays in your career.
This feature only works if you connect your game to the GameCube version of
Madden NFL 2004. I believe it allows you to use Madden Cards in this game.
This section is similar to the content found in the manual, although I've added
some of my own information.
Move player - Control pad any direction
Pause game - START
Start the power bar - A
Stop the power bar - A (when it's near the top)
Aim kick left/right - Control pad left/right
Call an audible (onside kick) - B
Line up right/left (after calling an audible) - A/R
Return to standard kicking formation (after calling an audible) - B
Call for a fair catch (very important on punt returns) - SELECT
Control the kick receiver - Control pad any direction
---Before the snap---
Set a man in motion - Control pad left or right
Select player to control (only in multi-player mode or in a Manual Offense) - L
Fake snap signal (HUT!) - SELECT
Snap the ball - A
Select player to control - L or A
Show blitz (move players closer to the line of scrimmage; you can press it
multiple times to change the player combinations) - R
---Audibles (either offense or defense)---
Call an audible - B
Select an audible play (after calling an audible) - B, A, or R
Cancel audible - L
---After the snap---
Burst of speed - A
Spin - B
Dive/QB slide - L
Hurdle - R
Control player closest to the ball - A
Jump and raise hands - R
Dive - L
Power Tackle - B
Move the quarterback - Control Pad any direction
Bring up passing letters (only if Quick Passing Mode is off) - A
Pass to receiver L, B, A, or R - L, B, A, or R
Throw the ball away (receiver letters up) - SELECT
Note: The longer you hold down the pass button, the harder the throw will be.
Don't forget that your quarterback can run, too.
Control receiver closest to the ball - A
Jump and raise hands - R
Dive - L
Spin - B
Fake snap signal (HUT!) - Select
Aim the kick - Control pad left/right
Start power bar/snap the ball - A
Stop power bar/kick the ball - A
Move play selection highlight - Control pad up/down
Flip play (Only for offense, and not available for the Goal Line or Special
Teams formations) - SELECT
Return to formation select screen from play screen - L
Move highlight up/down - Control Pad up/down
Cycle through choices - Control Pad left/right
Select highlighted option - A or START
Return to previous screen - B
Scroll through statistics on Team Lineup screen - L or R
These aren't exactly controls, but there are a few settings on the Pre-Game
Show/pause screen that affect your controls. First select "Game Play Options."
You can change audibles here, but I discuss that in the Q&A section.
First, you can switch the Pass Catch Mode from automatic to manual.
Normally, the computer controls the receiver while the pass is in the air, but
in manual mode you take control of the receiver as soon you throw the ball
(better for advanced players).
Second, you can Set Offense Control. This isn't a bad thing for advanced
players, but beginners should always use the default Automatic mode. In Manual
Mode, you can control any of the so-called "skill positions" on offense - not
just the quarterback. Use the L and R buttons to cycle through your players
before the snap. On running plays it's best to select the running back,
although it's also fun to block for a back using your fullback or tight end -
or even the quarterback! On passing plays, you definitely want to control the
quarterback, although you can press A while the ball is in the air to take
control of the receiver. If you're controlling a receiver, press A to bring up
the receiving windows and A again to call for a pass.
One more option here is totally useless: Passing Mode. Passing Mode
determines whether five receiver letters are shown or one. Four (the default)
is recommended, as the alternative is cumbersome.
There are a few other options, most of which are discussed elsewhere or are
otherwise useless (like the Contrast and Quick Passing Mode options, which you
shouldn't need to fiddle with). Also, this is place where you can finally turn
the music off.
Team Stats [TEAMS]
These team ratings are taken from the GameCube version of Madden NFL 2004 - a
game I played far more than the Game Boy Advance version. These ratings should
be taken with a grain of salt, since they are based on a different version of
the game and only take starters into account.
OFF DEF OVERALL
Arizona Cardinals 77 77 78
Atlanta Falcons 86 83 84
Baltimore Ravens 80 84 82
Buffalo Bills 86 84 85
Carolina Panthers 80 84 82
Chicago Bears 82 84 82
Cincinnati Bengals 83 79 81
Cleveland Browns 81 79 80
Dallas Cowboys 78 85 81
Denver Broncos 86 82 84
Detroit Lions 80 80 80
Green Bay Packers 89 84 87
Houston Texans 81 80 80
Indianapolis Colts 87 78 83
Jacksonville Jaguars 83 82 82
Kansas City Chiefs 88 79 84
Miami Dolphins 85 91 88
Minnesota Vikings 85 79 82
New England Patriots 85 87 86
New Orleans Saints 88 78 83
New York Giants 85 84 85
New York Jets 86 82 84
Oakland Raiders 90 84 87
Philadelphia Eagles 87 86 87
Pittsburgh Steelers 86 85 86
St. Louis Rams 91 81 86
San Diego Chargers 83 84 83
San Francisco 49ers 88 85 86
Seattle Seahawks 85 84 84
Tampa Bay Buccaneers 84 91 88
Tennessee Titans 86 83 85
Washington Redskins 81 84 82
Suggested Substitutions [SUBST]
I assume a 4-3 defense for every team other than Pittsburgh, Houston,
Baltimore, and Atlanta. All substitutions should be "global" substitutions
unless otherwise specified. I base these recommendations on player ratings in
the game, not the lineups used during the actual 2003 NFL season. You may also
want to manually make changes to the WR in the Goal Line formation (use the
player with the best Hands rating) and the third cornerback and third safety in
the Nickel and Dime formations. Also, I highly recommend that you adopt some
form of player rotation (as discussed in the FAQ section).
Arizona Cardinals: Thomas Jones should get most of the time at HB, especially
in Shotgun and Single Back. Tywan Mitchell should be your second-string tight
end. Use Dennis Johnson as DLE. Rotate in Marcus Bell at DRT.
Atlanta Falcons: No changes are really needed. I recommend rotating FBs, whose
attributes are equal. I'd also rotate Travis Hall at DRT.
Baltimore Ravens: Milton Wynn should be the #4 or #5 WR. Rotate Jason Thomas at
RG. Alvin Porter should be the full-time starting LCB, and Will Demps should be
Buffalo Bills: The recommended WR depth chart is Eric Moulds, Bobby Shaw, Josh
Reed/Charles Johnson/Sam Aiken, Andre' Rone. Reed, Johnson, and Aiken are equal
at WR3. Marcus Price should be the LT when using the Shotgun formation (maybe
Single Back, too). The DRT should be Ron Edwards. DaShon Polk should replace
either one of the default starting OLBs. Izell Reese should play either safety
position - rotate between FS and SS in different forms.
Carolina Panthers: I'd probably use Jake Delhomme, who led the Panthers to the
Super Bowl, at QB. I suggest using a WR depth chart of Muhsin Muhammad, Kevin
Dyson, Ricky Proehl, Steve Smith, Bashir Yamini, and Karl Hankton. Use Brian
Allen at LLB.
Chicago Bears: Use Adrian Peterson as Goal Line HB. WR depth chart should be
David Terrell, Marty Booker, Dez White, Jamin Elliott, Justin Gage, and Ahmad
Merritt. Lance Briggs should be the LLB.
Cincinnati Bengals: It's a very close call at QB; take your pick. Use Jeff
Burris at LCB and Marquand Manuel at FS.
Cleveland Browns: Start James Jackson at HB, at least in Shotgun formation. Use
FB40 (Lee Suggs) at FB. I recommend placing Frisman Jackson at #3 on the WR
depth chart. Steve Heiden and Aaron Shea are the best two TEs, in
interchangeable order. Use Paul Zukauskas as LG in Shotgun. Andra Davis should
start at RLB.
Dallas Cowboys: The Broncos' top two QBs are of equal ability. Use Tyson Walker
at center in Goal Line. Insert Javiar Collins into the right tackle position in
Shotgun. Use Louis Mackey as LLB. Both RCBs are equal, so rotate them.
Denver Broncos: Quentin Griffin and KaRon Coleman should split most time at HB.
Detroit Lions: Luke Staley should play HB some, although not in Shotgun.
Charles Rogers should be your #1 receiver, and Az-Zahir Hakim should be #2. Use
Stockar McDougle at RT in Goal Line and maybe other formations as well. Play
Dominic Raiola at center in Goal Line. Use Cory Redding at DRE.
Green Bay Packers: Najeh Davenport is the recommended Goal Line HB. Rotate FBs.
Tyrone Davis should be TE #2. Bill Ferrario should be LG most of the time,
although I'd use him at RG in Goal Line. Use Jerry Wisne at RT in Goal Line.
Use Hannibal Navies at MLB and Bryant Westbrook at RCB.
Houston Texans: Use HB rotation, but Stacey Mack should always play in Goal
Line and Shotgun. Use TE rotation. Use rotation at RG and RT (Weigert-Herndon
and Randall-Washington, respectively). Corey Sears should start at DLE. Seth
Payne should be the 3-4 NT. Erik Flowers should be the ROLB. Rotate Pat Dennis
in at both safety positions.
Indianapolis Colts: Marvin Harrison is your best wide receiver. Rob Murphy
should be the Shotgun center. Use rotation at DRT and DRE. Start Mike Doss at
Jacksonville Jaguars: The WR depth chart should be Jimmy Smith, Jermaine Lewis,
Jimmy Redmond, Donald Hayes, Micah Ross, and Kevin Lockett. Use Jay Humphrey at
RT in Goal Line. Use Larry Smith some at DRT. Ainsley Battles should be FS.
Kansas City Chiefs: Johnnie Morton should be WR #1, and Dante Hall should be
#4. Donald Willis is the recommended LG. Eric Downing should be DLT. Eric
Warfield should start at LCB. Use Shaunard Harts at FS and Jason Belser at SS.
Miami Dolphins: Derrius Thompson should be WR #2. Marco Battaglia is your top
TE. Derrick Rodgers is best at LLB.
Minnesota Vikings: Greg Biekert should be MLB #1. Start Ken Irvin at RCB and
Willie Offord at FS.
New England Patriots: Bethel Johnson should be WR #3, and Dedric Ward should be
#4. Tom Ashworth should start at RT. Play Bobby Hamilton at DRE. Ted Johnson
should be the LOLB. Use Mike Vrabel as ILB2 in the 3-4 (which New England used
New Orleans Saints: Jerome Pathon should be WR #2. Boo Williams is probably the
#2 TE. Spencer Folau should be the Shotgun RG. Rotate centers. Rotate DLEs -
Charles Grant and Willie Whitehead.
New York Giants: Use Dorsey Levens as Goal Line (maybe another formation, too)
HB. Give both fullbacks equal time. Tam Hopkins should be the LG in Goal Line.
New York Jets: Vinny Testaverde may be the best QB. Rotate FBs. Jonathan
Goodwin is the best LG for the Shotgun formation. Dewayne Robertson should be
the DLT. Bryan Thomas is good as Goal Line DRE. Jamie Henderson should play FS.
Oakland Raiders: Rotate fullbacks. The suggested WR depth chart is Tim Brown,
Doug Gabriel, Jerry Rice, Jerry Porter, Marcus Knight, and Alvis Whitted. TE
order: Roland Williams, O.J. Santiago, Doug Jolley. Rotate Trace Armstrong and
Tony Bryant at DRE. Napoleon Harris should be ILB #1. Take your pick at RLB.
Philadelphia Eagles: Use a different HB in Goal Line. L.J. Smith should be the
#2 TE. Keith Adams is your best ILB. Use Rashard Cook at SS.
Pittsburgh Steelers: Each of the three quarterbacks has his own merit. Amos
Zereoue should play at HB in one or two formations. Hines Ward should be the #1
WR. Kendall Simmons is the best LT. C. Hampton should be the NT in a 3-4. James
Farrior is the better MLB, but it doesn't matter because the Steelers use a
St. Louis Rams: Either fullback can be useful, so rotate. Drag Terrence Wilkins
to the bottom of the WR depth chart. Rotate Jimmy Kennedy in at both DT spots.
Scott Shanle should play some at LLB. Jerametrius Butler is the better RCB. Use
rotation at FS.
San Diego Chargers: Use Kelvin Garmon at LG except in Shotgun, where he should
be the RG. Jerry Wilson should be your starting LCB.
San Francisco 49ers: Paul Smith is probably the better FB. J.J. Stokes should be
the #2 WR. Use Kwame Harris at RT in Goal Line. Travis Kirschke should rotate at
both DT spots.
Seattle Seahawks: Trent Dilfer is the best QB. All linemen (except the LT and
LG) are of equal ability, so use some rotation. Brandon Mitchell should play
DLE. Doug Evans should be the RCB. And yes, the #5 WR really is named Taco
Tampa Bay Buccaneers: Jim Miller is slightly better at QB. Ron Warner should
play some at DLE.
Tennessee Titans: Tom Ackerman should be the Shotgun center. Rien Long should
play some at DLT. Mike Echols is the better LCB. Thomas Wright (SS28) should be
Washington Redskins: Rod Gardner should be the #3 WR. Jermaine Haley should be
the DRT, and Rashad Bauman should be the RCB.
Offensive Playbook [OFFPB]
A few things to keep in mind before we start:
* I'm going to be assuming you're playing against the computer when I write
* I always assume that each play is NOT flipped, but the mirror feature
(press SELECT on the play selection screen) is good to use from time to time,
particularly on certain plays or against a human opponent.
* I also assume you're using the "Normal" subset of each formation. Changing
the set can be desirable but will also change the way the play works.
* On passing plays, one eligible receiver won't have a button assigned to him,
so the only way you can pass to him is if you manually control him when "Manual
Offense" is turned on.
* When I use terms like "R receiver" and "A receiver," I'm referring to the
buttons that correspond to the receivers on the non-flipped version of the
* Since you're playing an old football video game, I'm assuming you have some
grasp of football theory, rules, and terminology; you know what a tight end or
shotgun formation is. That said, I'm still going to explain certain terms for
the less football-savvy.
* Remember that results may vary based on offense, defense, down, hashmarks,
set, and other factors.
* I've tried to test each play against a variety of defenses, but there's still
a chance I may have misjudged a few plays. Also, no play will succeed 100% of
* Lastly, while many of these plays (or plays that are very similar) appear in
the playbooks of today's Madden games, I don't recommend trying to use this
guide with any games other than the Game Boy Advance version of Madden NFL
For those of you who are counting, there are 109 plays on offense and 77 plays
in the defensive playbook.
Far (Normal, 3WR, 2TE, TE Motion) (12 plays)
The Far formation has two running backs lined up close to each other, with the
halfback lining up on the weak side ("far" from the tight end).
This play is good in short-yardage situations, but it's also good as a general-
purpose running play. It usually gains about four yards.
Your main target on this useful passing play is the halfback (A) in the flat,
who often goes uncovered. This can become a touchdown. If the halfback isn't
open, look for the split end (B) on the in route or the hooking flanker (R).
---FB Opt. Dive---
Not very different from FB Dive, although this is a run off left guard.
You need a fast halfback to succeed with this slightly awkward play. The
halfback takes a pitch and then runs up the middle. Call an audible if eight
men are in the box.
This play "floods" the weak side of the line with a trio of receiving options.
Don't throw to the fullback (R), or you'll usually lose a lot of yards. Passes
to the halfback (A) usually get deflected in the line, so your best bets are
your wide receivers (B and L).
---HB Off Tackle---
This is the second-best play in the game! You may wish to use it as the audible
assigned to the Y button. Just watch your blockers and turn when appropriate.
This play can gain anywhere between five and 50 yards - and it's very often
toward the higher end of that scale, although every once in a while you'll be
tackled in the backfield.
Your main option here is (obviously) the fullback. A fast fullback can make a
touchdown, but most fullbacks will have to settle for about five yards. But
don't ignore your wideouts here. Passes to the B receiver are usually deflected
in the line, but the R receiver is a very good option.
Try a soft pass to the L receiver or a harder throw to the R receiver. Don't
bother throwing to the fullback (B) unless the defense is in a deep zone. The
halfback is primarily a blocker. The slanting tight end (A) can also work.
Here you throw to your flanker (R) while your linemen pull to block for the
receiver. This can be a touchdown against the blitz or a deep zone, but your
receiver often gets tackled for a big loss in tight man coverage. I sometimes
prefer to pass to the split end (B) or tight end (A) on the post patterns. Your
backs are blockers.
There are four options here: the receivers (B, L) on short fade routes, the
tight end (R) on an in route, and the halfback (A) in the flat. The halfback is
probably your best option, as you'll almost always get a completion for at
least five yards, and good blocking can lead to a very big play. If you throw
to a wide-out, it helps if they're fast. No matter who you throw to, you'll be
happiest if you get the ball off fairly quickly.
This play looks a little like HB Dive. It usually ends up gaining about five
yards, but you'll sometimes be stopped for no gain.
Both backs stay in to block, so you should have plenty of time. Throw deep to
one of your receivers (B, R) if one is open. Otherwise, look for the tight end
(A) on the shorter pattern.
Near (Normal, 3WR, 2TE, TE Motion) (12 plays)
As with the Far formation, the fullback lines up right behind the quarterback.
However, the halfback is on the side closer to the tight end.
This play is very similar to the Far version of FB Dive. You may have
difficulty if the opponents have eight men in the box.
The split end (Y) runs in and the tight end (R) runs an out, but the most
dangerous option is the flanker (A) on the streak. The halfback blocks, but the
fullback (B) is sometimes available in the flat.
Before getting the snap, your halfback freezes to confuse the defense. Run up
the hole that develops in the middle of the line and you should get six or
seven yards. If there are eight men in the box, call an audible.
Your main options here are the receivers (B and R) on short posts. The tight
end (A) can also work, while the backs function solely as blockers.
Here the halfback takes one step in the opposite direction before taking the
pitch to confuse the defense. This is a high-risk, high-reward rushing play. If
you find the hole that develops up the middle of the line, you can often gain a
dozen yards. Because you take the ball so deep in the backfield, it's also
possible to lose yards.
Very similar to Post Stop, but the receivers (B and R) run deeper routes, and
the tight end (A) runs out instead of in. Also, the backs are protecting
against the inside blitz instead of the outside blitz.
The fullback (A) runs a circle route that's not very useful. However, your
receivers (B and R) can get open if you're patient. Sadly, the tight end is not
an option in Madden 2004. I find that this play is of the all-or-nothing
variety; it can gain big yardage against some defenses but fails miserably
This play is pretty similar to HB Counter, but a little less effective. It
doesn't lose yardage as often, though.
This passing play isn't for the faint of heart. Your main targets are the
receivers (B and R) downfield, but you can look for the tight end (A) if you
need something safer. Your halfback (L) takes a while to get open but is a good
receiver of last resort. The fullback blocks.
Your linemen pull out on this play to block for the tight end (A), the intended
recipient of the pass. You can also throw deep to one of your wide outs (B or
R). This play is a pretty easy and reliable way to earn 5-10 yards if you have
an agile RG and RT and a speedy TE. If your TE isn't fast, expect to lose
What a great play this was in Madden '96! However, the players are a bit slower
now, so this is best used as a sweep. This high-risk play usually gains 50 or
This play is pretty useful if you have a mobile quarterback. If no one's open,
try scrambling for the first down. Look for the halfback (B) in the flat, the
tight end (A), or your flanker (R). The split end (L) is a good target if he's
Single Back (Normal, 3 WR, TE Motion, 4 WR) (18 plays)
The default set of Single Back formation has two wide receivers, two tight
ends, and a running back.
This was one of the most useless plays in Madden '96, but it's now a good basic
rushing play. Run behind your left tackle and left guard to pick up an easy
This would be a pretty play to watch from the upper deck. Your receivers (B and
R) head in, while your tight ends (A) run out patterns. The tight end is
probably the most dependable option. In Madden '97 and '98, you could throw to
your second tight end - a far better option than the blocking halfback.
---HB Dive (2)---
Just like the other HB Dive play from the Single Back formation: follow your
right guard and right tackle to pick up four or five yards. You could try
running up the middle or even off tackle if the opponents are using an
unconventional defensive alignment.
Your main option is your split end (B) on the quick slant, who's great on 3rd
and 2. The flanker (R) also runs a slant, while the second tight end's (A) slant
usually encounters too much congestion to be useful. It's best to throw the ball
very quickly, especially if you opt to throw to the B receiver.
---TE Quick Out---
Both tight ends (B and A) run outs, which are fairly reliable short patterns.
You can also go for the home run with your receivers (B and R) on streaks. I
like this play a lot and sometimes use it as my A-button audible.
This play is intended to be a screen pass to your flanker (R), but I get better
results by throwing to the streaking split end (B) or second tight end (A). If
you go with the screen pass, it's usually best to release the ball as soon as
possible and to run to the outside of cornerback.
If you like the West Coast Offense, you'll like this play. I don't have much
luck with any of the receivers except for the flanker (R) on the streak, who
usually draws single (or no) coverage. You can also try the split end (Y), but
this carries interception risk.
Your L receiver should get open pretty quickly. Throw a touch pass to him for
the score! The flanker (R) is another good choice. The halfback (A) can often
get a lot of yards after completion, while the tight end (R) is slightly less
useful. This play receives an official VinnyVideo Seal of Quality.
A screen pass intended for the halfback. Don't get rid of the ball too quickly.
Let the blockers block and you might just wind up in the end zone. There are
other receiving options here, but I wouldn't pay much attention to them. This
play works well as an audible.
Here your quarterback hands off to the halfback, who then hands off to your
slot receiver. It's best to use the 3-receiver set when you select this play,
or else you'll be handing off to a lumbering tight end who won't be able to
pick up as much yardage. Also, set the receiver in motion by pressing Right
just before you snap the ball. You want him to be where the tight end is in the
2-TE set. This way you can get the ball off more quickly than you could if he
were in the slot. Don't press any buttons or move the control pad until the
receiver has the ball, unless you want to use this play as a conventional
halfback draw/fake reverse. No matter what, this play can be very effective.
The riskiest play in the playbook! This play begins as Slot Reverse does, but
at the end the receiver pitches out to the quarterback. If your wide receivers
(B and R) aren't open deep, try throwing to the safer tight end (A). It's
usually easiest to not press any buttons and allow the computer to control the
entire play. Also, this play occasionally doesn't work right and becomes an
ordinary running play or reverse. As with Slot Reverse, it makes sense to use
the 3-WR set with this play.
This is a standard run up the middle, except there's a slot receiver faking a
reverse. You can usually gain 5-8 yards with this nice play.
This is a screen pass to the slot receiver. If you use a 3-WR or 4-WR set, you
can try using this more as a conventional pass to the slot man. Also try
throwing to the streaking wide receivers (B and L) or the tight end (R) down
This counter play is almost like a delay. There are two ways you can run this.
You can run up the middle, following your blockers. Get past the line of
scrimmage and you should get about 10 yards. Alternatively, you can run off
right tackle and go for the home run. The latter is usually more effective, but
it also depends on the defensive set your opposition is using.
This is what smart prisoners do. The wide receivers (B and R) run a deep out
pattern that frequently results in a touchdown. You can also throw to one of
your tight ends (A) for a shorter gain. This play works well against most
Your main option is the tight end (B) on the short fade pattern, while the wide
outs (L and R) run in routes. The halfback (A) isn't usually too useful. This
play isn't much good on first down, but it can work if the opponents are
sitting back in a deep zone.
Your best target on this play is the split end (B), who fakes an out and runs a
deep post. Other options are the tight end (A) and flanker (R). The back
---In + Out---
I'd probably look first for the flanker (R) on the out pattern and the
streaking slot receiver/TE #2 (B). You can also try the tight end (A), while
the split end (L) runs a less useful route.
Pro Form (Normal, 3WR, 2TE, TE Motion, H-Back) (15 plays)
The Pro Form formation, alternatively known as Split Backs or other names, is
similar to the Far and Near formations. It's good for both running and passing.
It's the formation I use most frequently.
Most outside running plays are geared toward speedy backs, and most fullbacks
aren't fast. However, this play is very effective, especially against standard
4-3 sets. Follow your blockers and you can easily gain 25 or more yards.
A good all-purpose passing play. The halfback (B) in the flat is almost like a
sweep. Other options are the tight end (A) on the post, the flanker (R) on the
hook, and the split end (L) on the deep in route.
---HB Off Tackle---
I think this is the best running play in the game. This is always my Y audible.
This play simply shreds standard 4-3 sets. If there are eight men in the box,
you may want to call an audible or run closer to the center of the line. I've
gotten many a touchdown with this play.
This isn't a good play; it usually ends up losing about five yards. However,
you can occasionally make a big play if you can reach the sideline and turn.
---HB Toss Pass---
This play is almost identical to HB Toss, but this is MUCH better. For one
thing, you have a good chance of earning decent yardage on the ground and a far
lower chance of being stopped in the backfield. Better yet, the receiver
windows will appear and you'll have the option of throwing a pass! If you throw
to the B or R receiver, he'll probably be open and will usually score a
touchdown. Another nice thing about halfback passes is that they keep human
players guessing. You may want to turn Quick Pass Mode off when using this play
in two-player mode. Against a human, you might not want to bring up the
receiver letters until it looks like you're running. If you're playing the
computer, though, you should bring up the passing windows as soon as your
halfback gets the ball so the receivers can get downfield.
The quarterback spins before delivering the handoff here. This isn't a good
play for beginners, but an experienced player can get a decent gain. You'll
have to guide your halfback through a barrage of defenders, and it's often hard
to tell exactly what gap you should run through. It's easiest and safest to run
up the middle, but if you want to increase your chances of a big play, you can
try running between right guard, who pulls to the left, and the left tackle (as
shown on the play diagram)
---FB Inside Run---
This play isn't very well designed; you usually end up running into the
quarterback and losing all your momentum! I don't recommend using this play,
although you can get four yards with it if you're lucky.
Your main options are your wide receivers (B and R), who run curl patterns,
which are similar to hooks. The halfback (A) in the flat is also effective,
while the fullback (L) doesn't get open very much.
This play is pretty self-explanatory: a fullback run up the middle. However,
you can often gain six or seven yards with it if you have good blocking. It's
also effective in short-yardage situations.
This play is designed to facilitate very quick passes to the WRs (B and R), who
run short out patterns. The tight end (A) is also a viable option. This is a
pretty good play that shreds deep zones.
Look for the split end (B) on the corner route, the tight end (R) on the out,
and the streaking flanker (L). The halfback (A) on the deep curl gets open less
A typical screen pass to the fullback. Make sure not to release the ball too
early. Also consider throwing to the B receiver on the deep post or the
streaking R receiver.
Both backs protect the quarterback here. The most effective target is the tight
end (A). Passes to the split end (B) on the slant are good against a Nickel and
weak against standard 4-3 schemes. The R receiver runs a post pattern. This
really isn't my favorite play in the Pro Form, but it's not terrible.
Your main target is the streaking split end (B). If he's tightly covered, look
for the R receiver on the out and the halfback (A) in the flat.
This is a Hail Mary pass, with the fullback staying in to block. You can use
this play to get a big gain in a desperate situation, but feel free to use it
any time you like, because there's a good chance someone will get open against
a standard 4-3 scheme. Not bad as an audible.
I Form (Normal, 3WR, 2TE, Broken, H-Back) (15 plays)
The fullback lines up between the quarterback and halfback here, producing an
"I" shape. There's no TE Motion set, though.
In this play, the fullback runs up the "belly" (middle) of the offensive line.
Even with eight men in the box, you can get a decent gain - three or four
yards. You can gain even more against a normal 4-3.
The fullback (B) runs into the line, blocks, and then runs a hook pattern.
However, your other options are much more useful, from the split end (Y) and
tight end (R) to the halfback (L) in the flat. The flanker (A) runs a medium in
route that works pretty well against double coverage.
This is the same as Belly Weak, except that the fullback runs between the right
guard and right tackle (instead of the left). You'll get similar results.
This is another run up the middle, except this one goes to the halfback. Watch
out for the defensive right tackle and right end and you're good for five or
Your main target should be the split end (B) on the deep in route. If he's
double-covered, try the flanker on the hook (R) or the tight end (A) on the
short out. The tight end is very effective against deep zones. Both backs
block, so you should have plenty of time.
Draw plays are a little unusual for the I-Form, but this play is moderately
effective. It should gain 5-7 yards.
This play is a run off left tackle and should gain at least four yards. A few
good blocks can produce a touchdown. More rebellious players can try running up
the middle against certain defenses.
Both receivers (B and R) fake quick outs and then streak downfield. If both are
tightly covered, your halfback (A) should be wide open.
HB Strong looks a little like Power Weak, but this play is a sweep instead of
an off-tackle. You'll occasionally suffer a big loss (five or six yards), but
this risk is offset by the fairly high probability of making a very big play.
You can try turning to either the right or left of the cornerback.
This play is pretty similar to HB Strong.
Everyone except the fullback runs a slant pattern here. You can usually get a
satisfactory result by throwing quickly to any of your receivers, but be more
patient before throwing to the halfback.
Like most counter plays in Madden '98, the back takes the pitch deep in the
backfield, so there's a chance of sustaining a big loss. Another problem is
that it's tricky to run between the left guard and pulling right guard without
bumping into your quarterback. Still, this play generally works pretty well.
Your receivers (B and R) fake a post and run a corner pattern, while the backs
(L and A) are available in the flat. If you're throwing to the WRs, be sure to
release the ball a little after they begin to cut inside for the post.
Here's what a West Coast Offense looks like. Everyone runs a pretty short
pattern. Your halfback blocks. Your receivers and tight end will usually be
able to catch the ball, although passes are sometimes deflected in the line.
This isn't a horrible play, but I prefer throwing deeper in Madden 2004. Still,
it can be pretty effective against deep zones.
This is another West Coast-style play, but this is more practical. The split
end (B) runs a streak, while the tight end (A) and flanker (R) cross. Both
backs are blockers, so you may have enough time to throw deep to one of your
Shotgun (Normal, 4WR, 2 Back, Gun, 5 WR) (15 plays)
The shotgun formation is good for passing because of its "shotgun" snap - the
quarterback gets the ball several yards behind the yard of scrimmage instead of
from right under center. It isn't great for running, though. A good pass-
blocking line helps. The Madden '98 version of the shotgun formation normally
has three receivers, one tight end, and one running back.
On a draw play, the linemen take a step backwards before blocking for the run
to make the defense think you're passing. You can frequently get 10 yards with
this play, even against a 4-3. It usually works better against a Nickel than a
Dime, since you're running up the middle. A fast back also helps.
---HB Draw PA---
This play action is supposed to trick the opponents into thinking it's a draw
play. Your exterior receivers (B and R) run deep posts. The tight end (A) runs
an in route that gathers too much traffic against non-Dime defenses.
The key to success on this play is to run between your right tackle and the
defensive left end. If you succeed, you can earn five or six yards. If you
don't do it right, the end will tackle you for a loss of several yards. Against
a few defensive sets, a massive hole will open in the middle and you'll be able
to run for a big gain. However, HB Draw is generally more effective and less
---HB Qck Toss---
The key to success on this outside rushing play is to patiently follow the
pulling right guard. Don't get ahead of him! Once he's made his block, go for
the score. This play usually works pretty well.
This pass is intended as a shovel pass to your halfback - except the halfback
isn't one of the four eligible receivers on the GBA! Your tight end (A) and
flanker (R) run a crossing pattern. Both the split end (L) and slot receiver
(B) run streaks, and there's a decent chance one will be open downfield if
you're willing to take the chance on the long bomb.
---HB Off Tackle---
This play is usually run off left guard. Anyway, it's a pretty decent way to
earn about five yards from the Shotgun.
This is what people do at shady Vegas wedding chapels. All three usable
receivers (B, A, and R) go deep, while the back (L) stays back to block. Your
wide men (B and R) have a good chance of making a very big play. This play is
very dangerous against unsuspecting computer opponents who aren't in deep
Your best option is the split end (B) on the slant, who can make a surprisingly
big play. The tight end (A) runs a deep curl, while the flanker (R) runs a
corner pattern. Not a bad play.
Your slot receiver (B) and tight end (R) are on quick slants, and your main
receiver (L) heads downfield on a streak. The halfback (A) sneaks through the
middle and can beat a passive defense.
The main threats are the split end (B) and slot receiver (L) on posts. If he's
open, go for the flanker (R) downfield for the touchdown. Throw to the halfback
(A) if you want something safer.
The B receiver runs a post fake/corner route, the slot receiver (A) runs a
conventional post, the flanker (L) runs a medium in route, and the tight end
(R) runs a short out.
Both the split end (L) and slot receiver (B) run post routes, but they
eventually cross if given enough time. The tight end (R) runs a post down the
middle, and the flanker (A) is the home-run option.
The quarterback rolls out to the right on this play. Your best bet is the
flanker (R) on the out route. Your other receivers (L, B, and A) run post
patterns, and the back blocks. Because the flanker route is consistent and is
strong against deep zones (and can get out of bounds easily), this play is good
in a two-minute drill.
If you want to gain yards in a short and safe way, throw to the split end (L),
who runs a short hook pattern, as soon as you take the snap. The tight end (R)
and slot receiver (B) run deep corners, and the halfback (A) streaks through
the line. This is a good play to use as an audible. By the way, this is one of
a couple of play diagrams that gives the wrong button assignments to receivers.
All four receivers run fairly short crossing patterns. Someone should get open.
The halfback (A) in the flat is your safest option. This play has some trouble
with short zones from the Nickel and Dime, but you can still get a completion
if you're patient.
Goal Line (Normal, Wide) (15 plays)
This formation is full of plays that are useful only in short-yardage
situations, especially near the goal line. The plays can't be flipped, for some
reason. There are two backs, two tight ends, and a receiver, ideally the one
with the best "hands" rating. On the play-calling screen, the B-button play is
always a pass and the Y and A plays are always runs.
The halfback runs up the middle, with the fullback lead blocking. What more can
you say? Nonetheless, it's a pretty effective play in Goal Line.
Your second tight end (B) runs a curl pattern, and your tight end (A) and
receiver (R) cross on slant routes. Both backs guard against the inside blitz.
The tight end should be your first option. It's very tough to pass with any of
the plays in the Goal Line formation. I usually get the best results by keeping
the ball on the ground.
---HB Dive (2)---
The same as the other HB Dive, except this is to the strong side.
A pitchout to the fullback, who runs off left tackle. This play is awkward and
ineffective, especially if you don't have a quick fullback. The pulling left
tackle doesn't help this poor play.
Both tight ends (B and R) run in routes. However, your best options are the
fullback (A) in the flat and the receiver (L) in the corner.
The fullback runs up the middle. A very good way to gain two yards.
The halfback takes the pitch and runs off left tackle. Watch your blockers to
avoid getting slammed by a lineman.
The RG and C pull to the left in a strange way here, often causing a sack. The
tight end (A) and wide receiver (R) cross, while the second tight end (B) runs
an out pattern. Look for the tight end in the corner.
---HB Power (2)---
The strong-side version of the HB Power play, discussed earlier. It usually
fails if there are eight (instead of seven) men on the line of scrimmage (the
80 or 81 defensive set).
The counter move might fool the defense, but I prefer to just run straight up
the middle with HB Dive.
Everyone runs slant patterns on this play. The receiver (R) is your main
option, but you can also try your tight ends (L and A) or halfback (B).
This is the best running play in the Goal Line formation, with the possible
exception of the HB Dives. However, I should warn you that because this is a
sweep, there is a chance (about 15%) that you'll be tackled in the backfield
for a loss. It's a sure touchdown the other 85% of the time.
A bad play. This is supposed to be a quarterback sweep, but you'll usually get
squashed in the backfield for a big loss. You'd need a former Falcons
quarterback who will go unnamed here for this play to work.
The last of the five passing plays in the Goal Line formation. This is designed
to be a rollout to the left. Your best odds are with the B tight end on the
out. You can also try the tight end (A) on the end or the slanting receiver
The ultimate in short yardage. It will consistently gain 0.5-2 yards. The
chance of losing yardage is practically nil, and the odds of gaining more than
two yards aren't much higher. Use this on the 1.
Special Teams (7 plays)
This formation contains special teams plays (like Punt) and miscellaneous plays
(like Kneel Down). Worthless note: You can't "mirror" these plays.
---Fk. Punt Run---
This play looks like a punt... but it isn't! Your running back takes the snap
directly and runs through the line. It's good at getting a couple of yards, but
it can't get much more, so it's best on 4th and 1 and similar situations.
---Fk. Punt Pass---
This is the passing version of the fake punt. Your best bets are the receivers
(B and R) on the outside, but the end (A) is also an option. Be careful,
because the punter isn't the most accurate passer in the world. If you're an
advanced player, you might want to press B while the pass is in the air to take
control of the receiver.
When it's fourth down and too far to kick, you will usually want to punt. And
this is the play to select when you wish to do so. I wonder if anyone noticed
that the exact same description appears in my Madden '96 guide.
This play lets you kick a field goal. What a surprise! This is also the play to
select when you want to kick an extra point after a touchdown. Don't try to
kick a field goal unless you're inside the opposition 30 or so, though.
This play isn't really a field goal! The passing routes are the same as the
Fake Punt Pass. There's no Fake F.G. Run play, although you can take off
running if you want to. Just remember that the kicker can't throw as well as
your regular quarterback.
This play is designed to stop the clock quickly, but at the cost of a down. It
can be useful in two-minute drill situations, but in Madden 2004 it's easiest
just to get a play off instead, especially if you use a hurry-up offense.
Use this play when you need to run out the clock without risking a fumble. I
still don't fully understand why they always line up in the funny V-formation
on kneel downs.
Defensive Playbook [DEFPB]
I'm not going to be as verbose on the defensive plays. Instead, I'm just going
to give a few details about each play; you can tell a lot just from the names
4-3 (21 plays)
The 4-3 defense is the defensive set used by most teams in most situations.
In John Madden Football '93, "read" plays were designed to contain the run,
"attack" plays were blitzes, and "cover" referred to zone defenses. It's no
different in Madden 2004; Read Right is a balanced defense that's slightly
oriented toward stopping the run.
This balanced man-to-man scheme includes a stunt on the left side of the
The right cornerback blitzes here. The left linebacker also blitzes, while the
defensive end covers the short zone. This play is vulnerable to the long ball
to the flanker, so you may want to control a safety and play him deep.
The cornerbacks and a safety cover a fairly deep zone, while both the LLB and
Your strong safety blitzes here. This increases the chance of a sack while
leaving a possible weakness in coverage that can be exploited for a big gain. A
long ball could be trouble.
All of your linemen rush toward the left side of the defensive line. The idea
is to block the left tackle and allow the blitzing RLB to come around for a
sack. It'll take some time for this to happen, though, especially if you don't
have a fast linebacker. I recommend that you control the RLB if you want a
sack. The receivers and tight end will be matched up in single coverage.
Both outside linebackers blitz, while the linemen rush toward the middle of the
line. This play is good at stopping the inside run but is weaker against
The same as Cheat Left, only to the right. Consider taking control of the LLB.
Even if you don't get the quarterback, you might be able to tip his pass.
Not very different from Outlaw, but this is slightly more effective at stopping
Almost identical to 43 Crash.
---Man Zone 2---
The cornerbacks tightly cover the cornerbacks, and the safeties patrol a
deeper zone. This play is slightly more pass-oriented than the previous plays
in the 4-3 formation.
The RCB's main job here is to jam the split end, while the rest of the
secondary is in zone coverage.
I've always liked this play's name, despite its sub-par spelling. Your DRT and
DRE are on a stunt, and the RLB blitzes. Again, you might want control the RLB.
Basically a strong-side version of Tuf Bronco.
This play is exactly what it says it is - a short zone. You could control a
safety to help protect against deeper passes.
The RLB blitzes, while the safeties will be ready to stop off-tackle runs.
Both outside linebackers blitz inside, but they're too far away from the
quarterback to make a sack unless you control one of them.
A safety blitz.
The last three plays in the 4-3 formation put eight men in the box to help stop
the run. Six men rush, making life uncomfortable for quarterbacks.
As with Monster, this play is almost like a 4-4. This is a very good way to
contain the outside rushing game, although you'll have to look out for
Your linebacker and safety both blitz. It won't be easy to run up the middle.
3-4 (21 plays)
The 3-4 has three linemen and four linebackers, whereas the 4-3 uses four
linemen and three linebackers. The 3-4 is similar to the 4-3 in many aspects,
but there are differences. The primary advantage of a 3-4 is it allows teams to
put more pressure on the quarterback in unpredictable ways. The disadvantage is
it requires specialized personnel, such as a massive nose tackle. A real team
may have some difficulty regularly switching between a 3-4 and a 4-3, but you
can do so as often as you want in a video game. The only teams that regularly
used the 3-4 in 1996 were the Steelers, Texans, Ravens, and Falcons.
The 523 is a special form of 3-4 where a safety is "in the box" to help stop
the run. Also, the outside linebackers line up right next to the linemen. The
linebackers cover the short zones, while the cornerbacks and other safety
patrol the deep zones.
The outside linebackers blitz, while the linemen rush at an angle.
Another form of the 523 set. A linebacker and safety are blitzing.
Yikes! An eight-man rush. All four linebackers and the safety are blitzing. The
only disadvantage is this forces the cornerbacks and other safeties to play
As with 533 In, there are eight men in the box, and all of them are rushing the
quarterback. The only difference is that they're blitzing at different angles.
Very similar to 533 In and 533 Out.
Both inside linebackers and the ROLB blitz, while the DRE covers the short
zone. This is what a zone blitz looks like.
Seven men, including all four linebackers, rush here, so the quarterback won't
have much time. However, a quick pass could turn into a touchdown if the
opponents deliver a crunching block or two. This play should crush the inside
---Man Zone 1---
No one blitzes here. With all the linebackers in coverage, it's going to be
tough to find someone open, especially in the short zones.
The DLE and NT stunt, while the LLB blitzes. Essentially a 3-4 version of Tuf
Both right-side linebackers blitz, along with the RCB. Manually control the RCB
if you want to reach the quarterback and not just jam the split end. The other
defensive backs take the deep zone.
Both left-side linebackers and the safety blitz. I think the abbreviation is
supposed to be Strong Bandit.
This form of the Prevent isn't nearly as passive as the varieties found in the
Dime formation. The defensive backs play a deep zone, while the linebackers
stuff the short middle zone. A pass in the flat could be trouble, though.
Both outside linebackers and a safety blitz. I suggest controlling the safety
and moving him a little closer to the line.
Short Double is very strong against the run, but it could have trouble with the
long ball up the middle.
This play is designed to defend against short passes, especially to the flats.
Your DLE and NT are on a stunt, but this is just basic man coverage.
---Man Zone 2---
Very similar to Man Zone 1, although the linemen rush at a different angle.
This is standard man coverage.
This play is designed to clog up the short zones. Good against two-tight end
I like this play. Both inside linebackers blitz, and the split end should be
Nickel (9 plays)
The Nickel defense is best used in passing situations, as there are five
defensive backs instead of four.
This is a good man coverage form of the Nickel, with each defensive back
covering a receiver and the safety playing center field. One outside linebacker
blitzes. This is a good way to defend formations with three or four receivers.
---Crash Man 2---
This is basically a mirror image of Crash Man. It might also remind you of
Cheat Right from the 4-3.
Both linebackers blitz here. A draw play could earn a pretty big gain, though.
The cornerbacks and a safety play deep, with everyone else playing a shorter
zone. This is probably the most normal form of the Nickel.
I think this play's diagram was accidentally mirrored by the game designers.
The RLB and SS both blitz.
A man-to-man version of the Nickel that works best against multi-receiver
Weird. In the 50 set, a defensive tackle plays linebacker, and one of your
linebackers switches places with your nickel back. This isn't a bad play,
especially if you have agile linemen, but it's very strange. Here the defenders
seem to rotate counter-clockwise.
A zone version of the 50 that's pretty good against the pass.
Five men are rushing the quarterback on this more aggressive form of the 50.
The unconventional alignment can certainly confuse the offense.
Dime (12 plays)
The Dime formation is even more pass-oriented, with six defensive backs and
just one linebacker. Since it's weak against most running plays, especially the
inside run, the Dime should generally be reserved for prevent situations.
A pyramid-shaped short zone defense. The DRE and DRT stunt.
The strong safety and linebacker blitz.
The opposing team's split end will face double coverage. A good way to shut
down a particularly dangerous receiver.
This double-teams the opponent's flanker. The defensive tackles stunt.
Three defensive backs play deep, while the rest control shorter zones.
All six defensive backs head deep here to protect against the bomb. Prevent
defenses are best against the Hail Mary pass. Because of its passive nature,
don't get carried away with using this play.
Very similar to Prevent 1.
---Black + Tan---
One of your defensive backs blitzes here, and the slot receiver is double-
teamed. This is usually a weird thing to do, because the slot receiver is most
often not at the top of the depth chart.
---2 Man Free---
As with Black + Tan, your sixth defensive back blitzes, but here the safeties
play deeper instead of double-covering the slot receiver.
The cornerbacks play deep, and the tackles stunt. This is a general-purpose
This play is supposed to double-cover the tight end. However, that's a fairly
strange way to use a Dime defense.
A whopping four defensive backs are in deep zones. This should only be used
when expecting a long pass. It's pretty much a prevent defense.
Goal Line (9 plays)
The Goal Line formation counters the offensive version of the Goal Line. This
should only be used near the goal line or possibly in certain obvious short-
This is very good at stopping passes to the left flat.
This is good against the goal line pass.
Similar to Read Left, this stops passes thrown to the right side of the
backfield and sweep right plays.
An aggressive bull rush.
Similar to Attack Mid, but everyone rushes toward the left. It may remind you
of the 4-3 Cheat Left.
The same as Attack Left, only to the right.
The last three plays in the Goal Line formation have eight men on the line
instead of seven. The linebackers rush aggressively.
You won't have any success running against this play, although a fade route
---80 Str Crash---
80 Straight Crash is an aggressive blitz, including a safety. A pass up the
middle to the tight end will score if it's not deflected, though.
Special Teams (5 plays)
These plays are designed to defend against punts and field goals.
Use this play to increase your chances of blocking a punt. You'll probably have
to call for a fair catch, though.
Use this play if you think the opponents might be planning on attempting a fake
This play is designed to maximize your chances of making a big play on the punt
return. You probably won't be able to block the punt, though. Because punt
blocks are extremely rare, this is probably better than Punt Rush.
This is the play you'll normally use when the opponents are kicking a field
This is a less aggressive version of FG Block. Use this if you're not sure
whether the opponents will kick a field goal or go for the first down. It's
most useful near the goal line.
FAQs and General Tips [NOTES]
Q: What plays are the best audibles?
A: Here are the audible selections I most frequently use.
[B] A run (Far HB Off Tackle)
[A] A short pass or screen pass (Single Back HB Screen)
[R] A long pass (Single Back TE Quick Outs)
[B] A balanced defense (4-3 Read Right or 3-4 Man Left)
[A] A play that covers the pass (Nickel 3 Deep)
[R] A blitz (4-3 43 Crash or 3-4 Wildcat Fire)
Make sure to change your offensive audibles if you're using a hurry-up offense,
or your defensive audibles if your opponents are in a hurry-up. Against a
human, you should change your audibles periodically to keep opponents on their
toes. In case you didn't know, you can change audibles from the "Set Audibles"
option on the Game Play Options subscreen of the Pre-Game or pause screen. Most
importantly, select plays that work well for you as audibles.
Q: How do I use a hurry-up offense?
A: Hold the A button right before the play selection screen would ordinarily
appear. You'll bypass the play selection screen and run the play you last run,
unless you call an audible. A no-huddle offense is useful if you need to get
points fast, but it can also be useful for confusing your opponents, especially
a human player.
Q: How do I kick an onside kick?
A: As in real life, onside kicks are very difficult to execute properly. First
press B to call a kickoff audible, and then press A or R to change your team's
alignment. Press A to start the power bar, and hold left or right on the
control pad to angle the kickoff (preferably toward the side where all your
players are). You want to stop the power bar when it's on the way down. It
takes a lot of practice to do this right. By the way, make sure to call a
kickoff audible yourself if your opponents are attempting an onside kick.
Q: How do I call a timeout?
A: Select "Call Timeout" from the pause screen if you have one or more timeouts
remaining. As you probably know, timeouts stop the game clock, so they're
useful in a two-minute drill or when you're about to get a delay of game
penalty. Calling a timeout also restores all of your players' energy levels to
Q: How should I manage fatigue?
A: If endurance is turned on, players will tire the more they play. The lower
the player's fatigue rating, the slower and less effective he will be. The best
way to keep players fresh is by spreading the ball around to many different
players. Don't throw to the same receiver over and over again, and (more
importantly) don't hand off to the same back 40 times in a game. There isn't a
"Spell HB" set like in the console games, but you can set up a back rotation
system using the Substitutions menu. For example, start fictitious back Andy A.
at HB in the Near, I-Form, and Goal Line formations, use Bobby B. in Far and
Pro Form, and install Chris C. (a fictional back with a high Hands rating) in
Single Back and Shotgun. You might want to rotate players at some of your other
positions, as well - even quarterback. If players are exhausted after a long
drive, you can call a timeout to set all energy ratings to 100.
Q: What's the best way to put pressure on the opposing quarterback?
A: Select the middle linebacker. Charge past the center and squash the
quarterback! Even better, start running toward the line of scrimmage before the
snap to get a running start.
Q: Why is the computer controlling my quarterback?
A: If you don't press any buttons after the snap, the computer takes control.
The same goes on defense. You can usually generate better results than the
Q: What penalties appear in this game?
A: Basically, you can get a delay of game penalty if you take too long to call
your play on offense, and on defense you can get called for encroachment by
moving past the line of scrimmage before the snap. These can't be turned off.
Other penalties, such as pass interference and facemasking, appear randomly and
can be turned off or turned down on the Game Play Options menu. A few other
penalties are very rare, like illegal procedure (kicking the ball out of bounds
on a kickoff).
Q: What should I choose when I win the toss?
A: It doesn't matter, although it's more fun to receive first. If you're
deciding the goal to defend, you might want to have a tailwind on the kickoff.
But it doesn't matter at all.
Q: What happened to Bluff Mode?
A: This feature appeared in the Super NES Madden games upon which this game's
engine was based. Bluff Mode was designed to keep your opponent from knowing
which play you were calling; there's no use in doing so in a two-player Game
Q: Are there any hidden teams?
A: None that I know of. Only the 32 2003 NFL franchises are included in this
Q: Why can't you trade certain players?
A: Some players are "yellowed out" so you can't select them for trades. I'm not
sure why; most of them wouldn't cause a major salary cap hit.
Q: Is the Raiders' quarterback the villain of the Zelda games?
A: No. Their names are pronounced, though not spelled, the same way. I can't
write a guide without mentioning a Zelda character, location, or item.
Q: Did the Red Sox designated hitter help make this game?
A: No. He's not the only David Ortiz in the world, if you watched the credits.
Q: What are the actual names of the players who don't have names in Madden '97?
A: I was able to figure out most of them with about 85% certainty:
CLE #40 FB Lee Suggs
CLE #50 OLB Chaun Thompson
GB #47 SS Bobby Jackson
HOU #87 KR JaJuan Dawson
IND #51 ILB Cato June
JAX #42 SS David Young
KC #52 OLB Quinton Caver
OAK #29 KR Nnamdi Asomugha
PHI #43 FB Josh Parry
PIT #81 WR Khori Ivy? (I have no idea)
PIT #93 DT James Harrison
SD #50 OLB David Binn
SD #35 SS Terrence Kiel
SD #36 SS Vernon Fox
STL #47 FB Arlen Harris
STL #16 KR Mike Furrey
TEN #28 SS Thomas Wright
WAS #52 OLB LaVar Arrington
Q: What other tips do you have?
* This is common sense, but if you have a good running back and a weak passing
game (such as the New York Jets), run the ball a lot. Likewise, if you pass
well but can't run well (like New England), you'll want to keep the ball in the
* Hard throws take just a little longer to get off than touch passes.
* Don't give up! When you get hit, keep holding Up on the control pad to try to
break the tackle and get an extra yard or two.
* Run straight if you want to keep going fast; zig-zags slow you down.
* Blitzes don't just increase the chances of a sack; they also make it easier
to deflect passes.
* Don't get into a play-calling rut, especially against a human opponent.
Madden 2004 has a massive playbook loaded with well-designed plays.
* If you're just starting out, stick with simple plays like FB Dive. Wait until
you're more advanced before trying advanced plays like Flea Flicker.
* Your split end (on the left) is usually the B receiver, while the flanker (on
the right) is generally assigned the R button. The A button is usually a tight
end or halfback, while fullbacks or slot receivers are most often L. However,
you should refer to the play diagrams for the information specific to each
play; this isn't the case on all plays, especially if you press SELECT to
reverse the diagram.
* Remember that on the Team Matchup screen, you can press the L or R buttons to
compare each team's players, and Left or Right on the Control Pad to browse
through the various attributes.
* Don't forget to check out the Instant Replay feature (found on the pause
menu); it's pretty cool for the GBA.
* If you're playing on an emulator, assign the B, A, and R buttons to the X, C,
and V keys, respectively, to ease play-calling.
* For GameCube/emulator players: A controller with a turbo button makes certain
training events much easier.
Q: What other notes do you have for the game?
A: Just a few miscellaneous tidbits:
* This was the last GBA Madden game based on the Madden '97 engine. Madden NFL
2005 was more like the console games, just with weaker graphics.
* You might enjoy slamming into opposing players after the whistle blows. You
won't even get called for unnecessary roughness.
* After a touchdown, see what happens when you press different buttons during
the celebration. You'll be able to produce horn and whistle sounds.
* The name of Bengals defensive tackle John Thornton is incorrectly spelled
Thronton in the game.
* Because of injury, Tony Boselli never actually played a game for the Texans.
* Many teams' lineups were different in real life; for example, for the
Jaguars, Joe Zelenka was a long-snapper instead of a backup tight end, and
Vince Manuwai played left guard instead of Daryl Terrell. Also, Mike Peterson
and T.J. Slaughter should've switched positions.
* You might not agree with all the player ratings in this game; for example,
Kurt Warner was overrated, and Byron Leftwich was actually a very poor
* Michael Vick continues the "cover jinx" in this game; he missed 2003 with
injury (and got his puppy-dueling ring busted four years later).
* The opening photo of Al Michaels is not flattering.
* The theme song for this game (which I praised so much in the introduction)
comes from a now-defunct band called Blink-182. This group was never extremely
popular, although some kid was playing one of their songs when he killed
himself in 2000.
Q: How many guides have you written?
A: This is my 34th FAQ, in addition to my Link's Awakening maps. The complete
list: F1 ROC: Race of Champions, F1 ROC II: Race of Champions, SimCity 3000,
Nigel Mansell's World Championship Racing, Kyle Petty's No Fear Racing, Madden
NFL '96 (SNES), Madden NFL '98 (SNES), Madden NFL '97 (SNES), ESPN SpeedWorld
(SNES), The Oregon Trail: Fifth Edition, The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time
Master Quest, Off Road Challenge (N64), F-1 World Championship Edition (SNES),
Donkey Kong 64 FAQ/Walkthrough, Where in America's Past is Carmen Sandiego,
Michael Andretti's Indy Car Challenge, Mario Open Golf (Japan), Donkey Kong
Country 2: Diddy's Kong Quest (SNES), MicroLeague Football 2: The Coach's
Challenge, Scooby-Doo: Unmasked! (GBA), All-Star Baseball 2004, BS Super Mario
USA 2, BS Super Mario USA 1, BS Super Mario USA 3, BS Super Mario USA 4, All-
Star Baseball 2003 (GBA), Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego (PC), Formula
One 2000 (GBC), All Night Nippon Super Mario Bros. (FDS), Mary-Kate & Ashley:
Winner's Circle (GBC), Bill Elliott's NASCAR Fast Tracks, SimCity 2000 (GBA),
and Madden NFL 2004 (GBA). If you ask me, that's a rather diverse and quirky
(maybe neurotic) group.
Q: How do you write so many guides?
A: Many of the games I've written guides for are fundamentally similar,
allowing me to reuse certain pieces of information in multiple guides; this
guide is a good example of such. I've probably spent an average of 90 minutes
per day since November working on my guides, sacrificing a little bit of sleep
(maybe even eating) along the way. I don't drink coffee products or energy
drinks like Red Bull, despite my proliferation of Formula One guides. I stick
mostly with good ol' H2O, and only a little in the way of soft drinks. If you
want to become one of the most prolific FAQ writers in less than a year's time,
you'll have to start small, work hard, and write guides for related games.
Comparing with Reality [REALL]
You'll recognize this section if you've read my Formula One walkthroughs. This
is a brief summary of the 2003 NFL season. More in-depth information can be
found at NFL.com, Wikipedia.org, and assorted other Internet and print sources.
The New England Patriots defeated the surprising Carolina Panthers 32-29 in
Super Bowl XXXVIII, played in Houston. This was one of the most exciting Super
Bowls ever, but most people remember the game for the halftime show, which
included Janet Jackson's infamous "wardrobe malfunction." I never thought I'd
mention her in one of my guides.
Chiefs running back Priest Holmes set the individual record for rushing
touchdowns in a season (27), while Ravens halfback Jamal Lewis rushed for more
yards in a game (295) than anyone in NFL history. Colts quarterback Peyton
Manning and Titans signal-caller Steve McNair split the MVP award - rare
Only four teams from the 2002 playoffs reached the postseason in 2003. Both of
the previous year's Super Bowl teams, Tampa Bay and Oakland, missed the
playoffs with losing records. And just to give Mr. Goodell his kicks for the
day, the NFL Network was launched in 2003.
Version History [VERSN]
Because Madden 2004's playbook and engine are identical to those used in Madden
'97 and '98, I was able to use the same information from my Madden '97 guide
and construct this guide with relatively little difficulty.
0.25 Began guide on 7/7/08. (74 KB)
0.3 Did some stuff on 7/8/08. (73 KB)
0.35 Did a little on 7/10/08. (74 KB)
0.4 Made some progress on 7/11/08. (75 KB)
0.45 Worked on Suggested Substitutions on 7/12/08. (75 KB)
0.55 Did some stuff on 7/13/08. (78 KB)
0.6 Completed Suggested Substitutions on 7/16/08. (79 KB)
0.7 Added Team Ratings on 7/22/08. (81 KB)
0.75 Double-checked some facts on 7/24/08. (82 KB)
0.8 Changed receiver letters for Offensive Playbook on 7/25/08. (82 KB)
0.9 Reviewed pass plays and proofread most of the guide on 7/27/08. (84 KB)
1.0 Reviewed controls and finished things up on 7/28/08. (84 KB)
(c) 2008 Vinny Hamilton. All rights reserved.
All trademarks mentioned in this guide are copyrights of their respective
You can print this guide out for your personal use.
You can download this guide to your computer for personal use.
You can post this guide on your Web site as long as you give proper credit to
me AND you don't change a single letter, number, or symbol (not even a tilde).
Remember that the latest version will always be available at GameFAQs.com, but
don't count on there being many (if any) updates.
You can translate this guide into a foreign language and post the translation
on your Web site if you ask for permission first.
You can't post this guide on your Web site and say you wrote the guide
You can't post this guide on Web sites that contain (or have links to sites
that contain) sexually explicit images of nude humans (that is, pornography),
racism, gambling, or flattery of totalitarian regimes.
You can't post this guide on your Web site if you're going to change anything
in this guide that took me so many hours to write.
If you don't comply with these guidelines, your hard drive will be reformatted
(permanently erased) inexplicably and you will suffer from constipation for the
remainder of your life. Heed this warning.
Contact Information [CONTC]
If you have any questions or comments about this guide, send an e-mail to
VHamilton002@gmail.com. Remember that not all e-mails will be read. Please
follow these rules:
Do include "Madden 2004" in the subject line.
Do send polite suggestions about ways to make this walkthrough better.
Do tell me about any errors or omissions you find in this guide.
Do send information about any glitches, tricks, or codes you find.
Do ask any questions you have about Madden NFL 2004 gameplay. I will respond
eventually if you follow all of these guidelines.
Do make a reasonable effort to use decent spelling, grammar, usage,
punctuation, and capitalization so I can understand what you're saying.
Do use patience. I check my messages rather sporadically.
Do not send spam, pornography, chain letters, "flaming," or anything that
contains profanity or vulgarity. Again, violation of this rule will result in
And lastly, a public service message: Fight for and affirm the rights of all
humans, regardless of race, age, or creed! And... Say no to illicit drugs,
whether recreational or performance-enhancing, and their devastating effects.
I don't know if anyone reads this, though.
For John C. Calhoun