In Super Bowl XXXVI, a young quarterback named Tom Brady led the New England Patriots over a seemingly improbable victory over the St. Louis Rams, an opponent that was otherwise known at the time as 'The Greatest Show on Turf'. Now 17 years, the Rams, having since relocated to Los Angeles, will exact its revenge by defeating the Patriots and the league's oldest quarter (still Tom Brady) in Super Bowl LIII, according to a simulation run by Madden NFL 19.
I call hogwash, but as a native (and now displaced) New Englander, I'm also incredibly biased. That aside, though, I do have cause for concern. It has nothing to do with Tom Brady's age—sorry Max Kellerman, but the cliff you speak of is a lie—or any perceived rift between the two G.O.A.T.s (Tom Brady is the greatest NFL quarterback of all time, and Bill Belichick is the greatest NFL coach of all time, I won't debate this). No, the concern is how damn accurate EA's Madden simulation has been over the years.
Forget about Google's DeepMind and IBM's Watson, the AI in Madden is the real deal. Since the game began simulating Super Bowls over the past decade and a half, it's amassed an impressive 10-4 record. Even more startling are the finer grain stats. For example, a Madden simulation correctly predicted the Patriots would beat the Seattle Seahawks 28-24 in Super Bowl XLIX. As any bettor knows, guessing a winner is tough enough, but nailing the score on both sides is downright difficult.
In other Super Bowls, Madden has gotten the margin of victory of correct, such as Super Bowl XXXVII between the Patriots and Carolina Panthers. Madden's simulation had the Patriots winning 23-20, whereas the actual score was 32-29.
If we drill down Super Bowl predictions to only those in which the Patriots have participated, Madden's record is 5-1. Madden got it wrong when it simulated the Patriots defeating the New York Giants in Super Bowl XLII, though correctly predicted the Giants would emerge victorious a second time over the Patriots in Super Bowl XLVI.
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So yes, I'm mildly concerned that Madden NFL 19, with its surprisingly accurate AI, has picked the Rams over the Patriots, much to the glee of practically the entire nation (save for New England and Michigan). But I was more concerned with the Patriots overcoming the Kansas City Chiefs with their young gunslinger, Patrick Mahomes, and a high octane offense. We all know how that turned out.
For what it's worth, I have the Pats over the Rams, yet again. Agree? Vehemently disagree? Sound off in the comments section below. Oh, and in the meantime, be sure to check out Microsoft's Xbox Madden NFL G.O.A.T. contest (you could win a custom Xbox One X, diamond ring, and Madden NFL 19), and these TV deals to see the big game on a big screen.
See you on the flip side!
Editorial Update - 1/29/2019, 2:08 PM: As Editor in Chief here, I rarely but do occasionally take certain editorial liberties, like changing headlines, for example. You may have seen, for a brief second or two -- before I blew it away into the internet-diffused ether -- a more straight-forward headline, just reporting the results of this "simulation." I of course went in and corrected that headline proper, with a little catchphrase that Patriots wide receiver and punt returner Julian Edelman coined, "Bet Against Us." It's obvious I don't give a damn D Flip-Flop transistor what some cockamamie computer simulation thinks about the outcome of Super Bowl LIII. All I know is, the Patriots are playing some of the best football this season right now, just in time for the big show. And if scrappy #11 JRE, Gronk and the GOAT get their way, it's going to be a shoot-out of epic proportions. I'd never bet against the Pats but Jules will dare you to. So, go ahead, Madden and anyone else -- as the folks at Nike would say, just do it...