Here at Stat Box Stories, we traditionally play as the underdog (or as a favorite team) when we put together articles using sports video games. For this weekend’s NFL Conference Championship Games, the decision was made to introduce a new type of article: Both Sides Story. With the games of such importance this weekend, instead of playing the game once, each game was played twice: once as each team involved in the match-up. Both playthroughs had full stats recorded, along with screenshot and video highlights; read on to find out how the Both Sides Story played out for the Baltimore Ravens and New England Patriots in the 2013 AFC Championship Game!
Whether or not you believe in the “Madden Curse,” it’s hard not to reference the popular theory when looking at the season of the 2011-2012 Cleveland Browns after starting running back Peyton Hillis ended up as the fan’s choice for the cover of Madden NFL 12. I was in New York City with EA SPORTS in April 2011 when Hillis was announced as the cover athlete and photographed for the cover in Times Square, and at the time the NFL Lockout was still in place but Cleveland fans were beginning to feel hopeful about their team being able to turn things around and compete for a playoff spot out of the AFC North.
Fast-forward to the present, and the Browns have been eliminated from playoff contention and sit firmly in the cellar of their division. Quarterback Colt McCoy has in many ways regressed from his play last season, and the team has been beset by numerous injuries to their skill players, including multiple missed games for Hillis. With all of this disappointment in mind, I took control of the Browns for STAT BOX STORIES this week as they hit the road to take on division rival Baltimore. Could I help Cleveland and their fans find a bright spot in the waning weeks of the season with an upset victory over the Ravens?
With the close of STAT BOX STORIES Week 7, a lot of exciting things are happening here at the blog. The beginning of the week saw the announcement of the BOWL BLITZ INVITATIONAL, a community project organized by this site to try and get entries for every single Bowl Game of the 2011-2012 NCAA bowl season. For more information–and to see which Bowl Games are still looking for contributors to cover them–visit the organizing forum post at The Gaming Tailgate here.
As a result of the beginning of the BOWL BLITZ INVITATIONAL, we got more entries than usual. Here’s the quick recap:
Monday, December 12th: Vancouver Canucks at Toronto Maple Leafs in NHL 12
Tuesday, December 13th: Aston Villa hosts Liverpool in FIFA 12
Wednesday, December 14th: 2011 New Mexico Bowl — Temple Owls at Wyoming Cowboys in NCAA Football 12
Thursday, December 15th: Pittsburgh Steelers at San Francisco 49ers in Madden NFL 12 Online Team Play
Expect the coming weeks to be just as busy here at STAT BOX STORIES as Bowl Games continue to be played both in real life and in NCAA Football 12 by members of this blog project community. Next week will be the last “normal” week of entries here at the site, as the week of December 25th, 2011 and the week of January 1st, 2012 will be solely filled with entries using NCAA Football 12.
But let’s not get too far ahead of ourselves; here’s a look at Week 8 in STAT BOX STORIES:
Monday, December 19th
USA hosts Mexico
Tuesday, December 20th
2011 MAACO Las Vegas Bowl
Arizona State at Boise State
Wednesday, December 21st
Cleveland Browns at Baltimore Ravens
Thursday, December 22nd
Buffalo Sabres at Ottawa Senators
Be sure to come back next week for another set of STAT BOX STORIES entries as we get into the 8th week of this series! This promises to be one of the busiest weeks of the blog project so far, so you won’t want to miss a single day of the action!
A second week of STAT BOX STORIES has now concluded; here are the links in case you missed anything:
Monday, November 7th: New Orleans Saints at Atlanta Falcons in Madden NFL 12
Tuesday, November 8th: Phoenix Coyotes at Winnipeg Jets in NHL 12
Wednesday, November 9th: FC Barcelona hosts Real Madrid in FIFA 12
Thursday, November 10th: Oregon Ducks at Stanford Cardinal in NCAA Football 12
The next game up in the rotation for fan voting is Madden NFL 12; you as fans have the opportunity to select from four match-ups on the NFL’s Week 11 schedule:
- Buffalo Bills at Miami Dolphins
- Dallas Cowboys at Washington Redskins
- Philadelphia Eagles at New York Giants
To vote, either leave your preferred game choice in the comments here for this entry or head over to Facebook and “Like” STAT BOX STORIES here. Voting will be open until 7:00PM ET on Saturday, November 12th, 2011.
Here’s how the rest of the Week 3 Schedule looks:
Monday, November 14th, 2011
Colorado Avalanche at Detroit Red Wings
Tuesday, November 15th, 2011
Los Angeles Galaxy host Seattle Sounders FC
Wednesday, November 16th, 2011
Oklahoma Sooners at Baylor Bears
Thursday, November 17th, 2011
Winner of the Fan Vote
I hope you enjoyed this second week of STAT BOX STORIES; be sure to “Like” the page on Facebook and bookmark the blog to keep up with the latest entries and exciting new developments going forward!
There are a couple of big games on the NFL schedule this coming weekend, but for the first STAT BOX STORIES entry for Madden NFL 12 I decided to go with a heated AFC North rivalry; the Baltimore Ravens traveling to Heinz Field to take on the Pittsburgh Steelers in primetime for Sunday Night Football.
As a sports fan, video gamer, and member of the EA SPORTS Game Changers program, I think about sports more often than just about anything else in a given day. One aspect of sports that I’ve always loved–since I was old enough to get my hands on the local newspaper’s Sports page as a kid–has been the statistical breakdown and analysis of a box score. Though I will reveal some level of quirkiness in my personality by saying this, I fondly remember clipping particularly meaningful box scores and keeping them in three-ring binders along with plastic sheets housing trading cards for the MLB, NHL, and NFL.
This love of statistics has continued on with me to adulthood, and I am excited to announce a new blog project which will hopefully allow me to accomplish a few goals I’ve overlooked for too long now:
- Get back to writing, everyday if possible.
- Start getting my video gaming skills honed in multiple sports games instead of focusing too intently on just one.
- Get more practice saving image and video highlights, as well as creating statistical images.
This project will be known as STAT BOX STORIES, mainly because the preferred title–Box Scores–has already been utilized in an ingenious series of sports gaming blogs on Kotaku.com written by Owen Good; indeed, that series of blog entries in many ways was a necessity in terms of inspiration for my own blog plans to come to fruition.
Every Monday through Thursday, I will share the game statistics–as well as the story beyond the stats–for games played in NCAA Football 12, Madden NFL 12, NHL 12, and FIFA 12. On Fridays, a vote will be posted where anybody following along with the progress of the blog can make their voice heard for an upcoming match-up in one of those titles.
In the interest of getting the blog series started off on the right foot, I’ve tried to hit on some of the bigger rivalries or important upcoming games in each sport for the first week of planned installments. Here’s what we’re looking at for the week beginning Monday, October 31st:
LSU Tigers at Alabama Crimson Tide
Baltimore Ravens at Pittsburgh Steelers
Boston Bruins at Montreal Canadiens
Manchester City hosts Manchester United
I hope that you’ll join me this Monday for the Halloween start to STAT BOX STORIES, and see how I do when I take control of the virtual LSU Tigers heading into Bryant-Denny Stadium for a prime-time SEC match-up against the Crimson Tide of Alabama!