Since it’s Video Game week here at SB Nation and State of the U, I decided to reflect upon the Miami Hurricanes and how they are represented in my favorite game - Madden Mobile. Although I tend to play different PS3 and PS4 console games sporadically, like Alien: Isolation, Friday the 13th, Call of Duty: Modern Warfare, the Uncharted Series, and the Wolfenstein Series, I’m a daily player on Madden Mobile (send me a league invite: VolCane) and pretty much have been since I discovered the game during its 2014-2015 campaign. Since then, there have been a number of different programs within the game that feature both current and former NFL stars that game players work to try to build and/or collect. The list includes many former legendary Canes that you’d expect to see, like Ed Reed, Ray Lewis, Warren Sapp, Santana Moss, Reggie Wayne, Andre Johnson, Ted Hendricks, Michael Irvin, and the late Sean Taylor.
However, there are plenty of former Miami players who I haven’t seen that I’d like to see featured. Now, granted, the difference as to the rights between active and former players is substantial, as EA Sports has an agreement with the NFLPA, from which current players receive royalty checks. Historical players who are not members are not covered, and there has been some recent litigation regarding the players’ rights to be compensated for their likeness in the game by EA Sports.
With that all being said, there are a couple of players that I’m not including on this list that I’d be ecstatic to see join the game at some point: Jim Kelly and the late Cortez Kennedy. Two of the best football players in UM history and Pro Football Hall of Famers. The reason I’m including them is that I just don’t see either player realistically being included in the game soon. Kelly has never been included in video games as far back as I can recall (remember “QB Bills” from Tecmo Super Bowl in the early 90’s?!?!). Given all the time that has passed and Kelly’s absence from video games, I don’t expect he’d be interested now in working something out. Kennedy never appeared in Madden Mobile before his untimely passing in 2017. While I’m glad the legacies of Sean Taylor and Reggie White carry on through their inclusion in the game, I’d be hesitant to see EA contact the Kennedy family to seek their permission to include Cortez in a game at this point in time. Maybe eventually, but not right now. Still seems too soon. When and if they’re ready to do so, he’d be one of the first I’d love to see included.
That all being said (and all things being equal), these are some former Canes that I believe would be a great addition to the game in different featured programs, if EA Sports could manage to secure their rights and find a way to bring them in. (I cross-referenced the following players in the MUTHEAD database for prior years and did not find any of these players as included players)
5. Dennis Harrah (Ultimate Legend). Dennis Harrah was a consensus All-American at UM in 1974 and is one of the most accomplished lineman in college and at the pro level in school history. He was a part of the team that upset #6 Texas in the 1973 season opener 20-15, one of Miami’s biggest wins of the decade. He was drafted by the Rams in 1975 and went on to a successful 13-year NFL career at guard for the Rams, making the Pro Bowl six times and earning first team All Pro honors in 1986. The Ultimate Legends program often recognizes players from several decades ago who had extensive and successful careers but did not make the Hall of Fame. Given Harrah’s lengthy career and lofty individual accomplishments, Harrah would make tons of sense as an addition in this program.
4. Dan Morgan (Campus Heroes). If there’s been a better season for a UM linebacker than Dan Morgan in 2000, I’d like to see it. Morgan was a consensus first team All-American and swept the major awards by winning the Butkus Award (top linebacker), Bednarik Award (top defensive player) and the Nagurski Award (college defensive player of the year). The Campus Heroes program typically recognizes players who were well known at the college level for their outstanding performances and then carved out a name for themselves in the NFL. While the program normally uses mostly current players, former players have been included in the program and Morgan would fit the bill, given his superior accomplishments at the college level and continued success in the pros. Morgan was drafted in 2001 by the Panthers and went on to earn first team All Pro honors in 2004. In the Super Bowl against New England the previous year, Morgan tallied an impressive 18 total tackles. Based upon his superior collegiate performance and his impact in the league, Morgan fits like a glove in this program.
3. Bennie Blades (Most Feared). Bennie Blades was one of those players that, had he been on the Steelers, Cowboys, or 49ers, probably would have gotten a lot more widespread appreciation for his play. In any event, he remains one of the hardest hitters during his tenure with the Lions, who drafted him in 1988. A stalwart on Miami’s 1987 championship defense and winner of the Thorpe Award, Blades helped turn around a Lions team that made it to the NFC championship game in the 1991-1992 season. Blades earned a trip to the Pro Bowl that year as well. Given his ball skills (his 10 INTs at UM in 1986 is a school record that he shares with Sean Taylor) and physicality, he was a terror to opposing wide receivers in the open field, as well as their quarterbacks. As such, it would make sense for him to be included in the Halloween Most Feared program.
2. Jessie Armstead (Flashback or Pro Bowl). Jessie Armstead ended up going down as one of the greatest linebackers in the history of the New York Giants - John Mara’s words, not mine. After helping the Hurricanes win national titles in 1989 and 1991, he was drafted by the Giants in the eighth round of the 1993 draft. Armstead ended up working his way into the starting weakside linebacker spot in 1996, where his career took off. He earned first team All Pro honors in 1997, when he had 132 total tackles, 3.5 sacks, 1 fumble recovery, and a 57-yard interception return for a touchdown. He made the Pro Bowl from 1997-2001 with the Giants. He was as dependable as he was productive, starting all 16 games from 1996 through 2002 and 15 games in 2003, his final season. Armstead was inducted into the Giants’ Ring of Honor in 2010. A card for his 1997 All Pro season in the Flashback program would be a logical fit, as would a card in the Pro Bowl program. In prior years, Madden Mobile has recognized historical players within its Pro Bowl programs, so Armstead would certainly fit the bill there.
1. Ottis Anderson (Super Bowl Legends). Ottis Anderson might be one of the most accomplished-yet-under-the-radar players I’ve ever seen. After setting several rushing records his seinor season at UM, he earned first team All-American honors by the Sporting News and the Football Coaches Association. He was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the first round of the 1979 NFL draft, won rookie of the year in 1979 after rushing for 1,605 yards, made the Pro Bowl, and was named AP first team All-Pro ahead of Walter Payton! He finished his career with the Cardinals with 7,999 career rushing yards, the most in team history. But it was his next stop in New York where he really made an impact in the Giants’ two Super Bowl runs with Bill Parcells. He scored a touchdown in the Giants 39-20 win over the Broncos in Super Bowl XXI. Four years later, in Super Bowl XXV, Anderson paced a physical Giants ground attack with 102 yards on 21 carries and a big 1-yard touchdown late in the third quarter to recaputure the lead for the Giants, earning Anderson the Super Bowl MVP trophy. New York edged Buffalo 20-19 in one of the most classic Super Bowls of all time, giving Anderson his second Super Bowl ring with Parcells and the Giants in the past four years. As such, it’s clear that EA needs to find a way to bring in Anderson as a Super Bowl Legend card and celebrate his importance in the Big Blue’s Super Bowl successess in 1986 and 1990. The Cardinals and Giants also need to find a way to get Anderson into their respective rings of honor as well.
Any other Madden Mobile gamers out there? Any former Canes that you’ve been wanting to see added? Think these are the five most deserving former Canes to be added? Let’s hear it.