Testing Force Wins

In Madden 16, EA introduced a new commissioner feature: Force Win. Force Wins allow you to let one team be guaranteed a victory for the week. This feature is helpful if you are playing in a CFM with other humans and a game is already decided, but it disconnects or gets the dreaded desync (or one guy just doesn't show up). It's also helpful if you are a cheating bastard who wants to gift yourself a 16-0 season every year. 

There was only one problem with the Force Win last Madden: It was wildly overpowered. The winner of the game was almost always guaranteed an absurdly lopsided victory. This was especially crappy for sim leagues, where a force win here or there totally threw all of your sim stats out of whack. Here's an example of a Force Win from Madden 16:

In no universe should the Redskins ever be this good.

In no universe should the Redskins ever be this good.

This sort of thing happened with regularity. So a big question heading into Madden 17: Can CFM commissioners trust Force Wins not to completely screw everything up? I played around with Force Wins and found the answer.

Force Wins for Every Game from an Entire Season

I turned trades and injuries off and set the Quarter Length to 6 minutes. Then I gave every home team from every game a Force Win.  

There were a fair amount of close games but also some pretty lopsided ones: 56-17, 54-17, 52-0, 59-0. The average points scored was just under 27. Tom Brady led the league with 4,997 passing yards, Justin Houston had 21 sacks, and Aaron Rodgers had one game with 523 passing yards. 

Here's how individual performers panned out:

Regular Sim
Force Wins
25 1,000-yard rusher 27
28 10+ rush TDs 29
16 4,000 yard passer 16
11 30+ pass TDs 12
32 1,000-yard receiver 28

This probably isn't a completely accurate gauge since every team had 8 Force Wins and 8 Force Losses, but you can see doing it this way makes all of the numbers line up nice and pretty, so we are going to leave the table here anyway. We get something very similar when comparing average team stats:

Regular Sim Force Wins
252 Pass 249
116 Rush 118
25.7 PPG 26.8
29 Pass TD 30
22 Rush TD 23
277 1st 270
41 Sack 40
13 FR 14
13 INT 13
49% 3rd 50%
26 Take 27

The Road to 16-0 is Paved with Force Wins

From getting Force Wins for half of your games and Force losses for the other half, the stats generally seem to balance out. This makes sense: Teams are getting blown out half the time and blowing out their opponents the other half. So let's take it from a different angle: What if you gift a team a free win every week all season, letting them earn a 16-0 season as meaningless as the 2007 Patriots? How would their stats compare to a normal season? Even more interesting, how would their stats compare to an 0-16 season with 16 Force Losses?

I picked three teams to run the experiment with:

  • The Patriots (because they are good)
  • The Jaguars (because they are young)
  • The Eagles (because I am a homer)

On the left, you can see the individual stats from the 0-16 seasons. On the right, the stats from the 16-0 seasons.

Philadelphia Eagles

Jacksonville Jaguars

New England Patriots

Not pictured above, the QBs got sacked an average of 23 times in the 16-0 seasons but 45 times in the 0-16 seasons. Here's how the teams did as a whole:

PHI 0-16 JAX 0-16 NE 0-16 PHI 16-0 JAX 16-0 NE 16-0
214 281 254 Pass YPG 210 295 289
98 83 69 Rush YPG 162 156 140
16.8 20.3 17.5 PPG 30.6 36.8 41.8
14 21 24 Pass TD 31 37 51
16 19 9 Rush TD 31 37 37
242 283 226 1st 292 344 316
237 278 259 Def Pass YPG 214 229 197
139 142 170 Def Rush YPG 78 89 96
30.3 32.8 35.6 Def PPG 13.9 18.2 15.1
48 33 30 Sack 64 41 60
10 18 0 FR 10 22 10
7 6 16 INT 19 12 23
44 48 34 3rd 56 59 59
30 26 26 Give 19 6 8
17 24 16 Take 29 34 33
PHI 0-16 JAX 0-16 NE 0-16 PHI 16-0 JAX 16-0 NE 16-0

Looking at it from this angle, it's clear that to EA, "Force Win" means "Don't take your foot off their throat until they are crying or Jim Caldwell blinks." The average winning score from all six seasons of Force Wins was 37-17, and the Pats had an average score of 42-15 in their perfect season.

Compare this to stats from the community so far in Madden 17:

The players themselves aren't picking up crazy amounts of yards, which is nice, but you see stuff like backup running backs collecting 19 TDs or Blake Bortles having 34 TDs with just 4 INTs. Sam Bradford, however, seems impervious to the positive effects of Force Wins: His ceiling is apparently 29 touchdowns.

The Force Win mechanic is a helpful tool for commissioners, but here are some ways it could be better: 

  • Tone it down a little more. The results are still a little too lopsided. It would be nice to see more 24-17 games and fewer 44-7 games.
  • Allow commissioners to reset scores of games that are finalized. If a team wins by 60 or someone sets a record in a Force Win, allow that game to be reset. This would also be helpful in cases where a disconnect may give one team a win.
  • Let us Force Ties. I really only want to do this to see how EA handles a 32-way tiebreaker between teams that all went 0-0-16.

Dan Chancellor

Orlando, Florida

I created Deep Dive Gaming as an excuse to post more charts about the games I love to play. I live in Florida with my wife, son, and a random assortment of cats.