There’s a special change — literally — coming to Madden 20. For the first time in video game history, this year’s version of Madden will allow players to run the famous trick play from the Philadelphia Eagles’ Super Bowl win: the Philly Special.
EA Sports game developer Anthony White revealed as much in a recent conversion with Fran Duffy on the Eagle Eye in the Sky podcast.
WHITE: The other thing, too, with the way we’re doing our animation technology […] we look at a play to add to the game, do we have the right animations in AI? So, with a play that I think Eagles fans will be interested in is we actually have the Philly Special. That’s actually up and running in Madden 20.
The interesting thing about the Philly Special play — well, it’s such a unique play, and it has all these elements that are very well known that we’ve seen. All those actions taking place with the quarterback, he lines up in the gun or the pistol formation, if you will, he walks up to the line of scrimmage, taps the tackle on the backside, and then the ball gets snapped and then reversed on the throw. All of that is recreated in the game.
But then me and my engineer and my animator, we’re sitting back and we’re thinking, well, that play is cool, but every time you do that, you’ll know that that’s that play. So we actually created out own couple fake versions of that play because that’s the other thing that’s a little bit different in the video game world. Sometimes you’ll see a play on film out of a formation from a team on a fairly consistent basis. Well, they may only show a couple things, so we obviously put those things in but we have to sort of take creative liberties, if you will. Sort of think about, OK, well they ran this play here but they probably have some type of other thing off of that. Even if they didn’t show it on film, or they may not have at all, I don’t know, but we sort of have to take that into consideration into the Madden game because if you, Fran, for example were playing Pete, if you guys were sitting on the couch, and you call that play and he sees all that action, ‘Oh, yeah, I know you’re running Philly Special.’ But if he sees that same action and, ‘Oh, it’s a fake Philly Special’ or something like that, that sort of keeps you on your toes.
Duffy specifically asked White to clarify if the name of the play will be listed as “Philly Special” and, yes, it’s turns out that’s the case. It doesn’t matter what team you’re using; it’s going to be listed as the Philly Special.
WHITE: Actually, a funny story, yes. And that’s the way the animator’s named Philly in the formation, the formation is called. It’s under the physical formation but the set is called Philly and then you when you go what type of play is called Philly Special and the other play is called Fake Philly Special. Now, the funny thing about it, I was actually asking my boss — who is actually a former NFL offensive lineman — ‘hey, a couple of other teams ran this, a couple of copycats popped up in the league last year.’ […] The Dolphins ran it, I think the Falcons ran it. So I was like, hey, what do it we call it? Do we call it Miami Special? I know the Browns ran it, do we call it Cleveland Special in their playbook? So we’re actually going to leave it Philly and put it into other teams’ playbook.
That’s pretty cool.
I haven’t bought a copy of Madden in years but I am tempted to play Madden 20 at some point just so I can run the Philly Special myself.
Of course, in order to run the TRUE version of the Philly Special you’ll need to make the Eagles trade for Nick Foles (now with the Jaguars) and Trey Burton (now with the Bears) in the video game. Otherwise you’ll have to live with Richard Rodgers throwing a touchdown pass to Carson Wentz instead.
(PS: The Eagles won Super Bowl LII.)