Looks like I'll be firing up NFL 2K5 again this year.[/QUOTE]
This is the smartest statement anyone has made in this thread. ESPN 2K5 is the best football game ever created. The fact that you can STILL play tons of people online is a testament to the game's greatness. ESPN walks all over Madden and the gameplay is still tighter than even the latest versions. The only flaw of the whole game is the lackluster commentary.
The ESPN/Sportscenter presentation was mind blowing at the time and the graphics still sizzle today. ESPN 2K5 was the first game I bought for my Xbox and each season I take it out and milk a little more enjoyment out of it. Its easily the best value I've ever gotten out of $20. With the customizable soundtrack, difficulty sliders for just about everything and the best football engine, the game is pretty much legendary.
Just the other day I did a fantasy draft and started a new franchise. I'm already hooked and I play several games a day. The AI in the game keeps the games close and my last game I went from enjoying a 20 pt lead to sweating out a 37 yard potential game losing field goal. The computer's kick sailed left and we went into OT...truly exhilerating stuff.
The main problem is that most Madden lovers simply write off the game without getting too in depth with it. When I try to convert my Madden loving friends they nit pick everything and complain about the controls...I'm a football nut and I've played pretty much every football game in the past 15 years and in terms of realistic gameplay and fun factor ESPN 2K5 has no peers.