On August 10, 2010, Madden 11 was released for rabid football fans around the world. From that date until the final whistle in Super Bowl XLV, about 290 million games of Madden were played online, according to data compiled by The New York Times.
Despite the best efforts of wide receiver Stevie Johnson - who frequently invites fans and friends to play Madden with him on Twitter - the Buffalo Bills, unsurprisingly, were not one of the more popular teams to use while playing Madden last year. In fact, according to the Times, only five NFL teams - Arizona, Seattle, Jacksonville, Tampa Bay and Carolina - were a less popular option than Buffalo. Cleveland, St. Louis and Detroit immediately precede the Bills on the list.
Even if you don't play Madden, and are not into video games at all, this data is intriguing. As NFL stories developed - say, for example, the arrival of Michael Vick as Philly's starter, or Randy Moss changing teams twice - gamers changed their Madden team preferences. Game results mattered, too; Seattle, for example, saw a spike in Madden popularity after their Wild Card playoff victory over New Orleans. Green Bay and Pittsburgh finished the year as the two most-often used teams in Madden.
Here's to bigger and better things from Madden, and from the Bills, in 2011.