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How NCAA Football 12 trolled me into becoming a prima donna

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Put me in, Coach.

I’m ready. You know I’m ready. I’ve been killing it all game. I’ve got 130 yards rushing and two touchdowns. I just ripped off a 44-yard gain. I got this. Gimme the rock. Put me in.

…Or don’t. Yeah, that’s fine. I’ll just sit here on the sideline as our offense stalls on the goal line. I’ll just stand, stone-faced and silent, as our defense blows another lead I got for us. I won’t say a thing as I watch my season — my Heisman hopes — go down the drain. Whatever you want, Coach.

If you want to win, you know where to find me.

Sounds like the same attitude you might hear from a thousand arrogant athletes, right? Well, that’s what NCAA Football 12’s Road to Glory mode has reduced me to. I’ve become everything I always hated in sports. And I think the game trolled me into it.

 

NCAA Football 12

Haters gonna hate, Coach. Haters gonna hate.

Road to Glory is the latest in EA Sports’ assortment of modes where you create a player and follow his career from high school to the big time. Like the Be a Pro modes in other titles, you only control your player, not the whole team. That means you have to play your role, whatever that role is.

That part is surprisingly fun. My created player is a running back, and I actually enjoyed learning how to pass block, how to run a wheel route, and when to release on a screen pass. It’s even fun when your quarterback decides not to pass to you, because it probably means you weren’t that open.

On the other hand, playing as just one player also means you’re not calling the plays yourself. You have to take what the coach sends in from the sideline. And that, I’m here to tell you, is an exercise in frustration. Third down and one yard to go? Coach might call a wide receiver screen. Second and 15? Draw play. First and goal? Four verticals. It can defy all football logic.

NCAA Football 12

Does this look like a man who wants to sit out for a series? I didn't think so.

You can get around these boneheaded decisions by developing Coach Trust, which allows you to override your coach’s choices a certain number of times a game, depending on how hard you’ve worked in practice and how well you’ve performed on the field. The downside? It only gives you two extra play options, which are usually as irrational as the first one was.

The other factor to consider is fatigue. In real-life football, if a player breaks off a big run, he’ll probably get subbed out for a play so he can catch his breath. But Road to Glory doesn’t keep you out for just one play. It’ll make you watch for a whole series as your offense inevitably bungles the opportunity you set up for them.

(I’m not sure if the game provides a way to override this. I was too busy seething with rage.)

NCAA Football 12

I'm pretty sure I'm pointing at the second-string running back to stay the hell off the field.

Of course, no matter what you do on offense, you still have to sit and watch when the other team has the ball. And maybe it’s just because my team (BYU) has never been known for great defense…but they can’t stop anybody. Worse, they seem to blow leads so quickly that no amount of careful clock management on offense can compensate for it.

Can you blame me for getting a little big-headed? I’m carrying this team. I have to do everything myself. And we still end up losing.

Maybe NCAA Football 12 is trying to teach me a lesson about team play and the importance of personal sacrifice for the greater good. Maybe the game is trying to show me that being a prima donna doesn’t work. Maybe I should….

…wait, Coach is putting me in? Never mind. I’m about to destroy these fools.

It’s all me, baby. All. Me.


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