There are football fans, and then there are football fans.

You know the kind — they obsess over the smallest statistic, tracking their team’s every move, feeling personal jubilation at each victory and pain at each loss. In “rebuilding years” they always flex their arm chair muscle, knowing that they could have done a better job.

EA Sports has heard your pleas.

When the 20th anniversary edition of Madden NFL 09 hits shelves later this year, it will come packed with NFL Head Coach 09, a completely retooled version of the strategy and simulation game we last saw in late 2006. Listening to fan and critic reaction the initial release, EA hopes to strike that delicate balance of accessibility for new comers to the series and depth.

This year’s title does away with the cumbersome and clunky menu interface that both drove and stalled the original NFL Head Coach in favor of the new “Coach’s Clipboard” feature. Acting as everything from your calendar to your playbook, the clipboard is your window into all of the major events in an NFL season. The clipboard moves the action from out of the office into one centralized interface.

One of the major goals of the Head coach 09 development team, which is completely different than that of the original, was to take away some of the day to day tasks that plagued the 2006 version. Rather than feeling like a one-man franchise, you can now delegate certain tasks to your staff, like scouting and handling draft preparations. Most interesting is that since your staff is now made up of actual NFL personalities who you put on certain tasks will actually make a difference.

Even better — these tasks are now instantly skippable,

Aiming to create the most realistic football sim ever, NFL Head Coach 09 features a number of new features centered on individual playbooks. A new, more in depth in-game play creator let’s wannabe coaches take their creations from scribbles in the sand to NFL stadiums worldwide. Is your opponent exploiting a weak spot in your defense? Make a quick change and plug up the gaps. These new playbooks can then be imported into Madden NFL 2009 to use in game or to Gamernet to share with the world.

Building a deep game isn’t just about revising the play calling and menu system. NFL Head Coach 09 aims to capture the real life drama and emotion that comes along with running a multi-million dollar organization. While your team anxiously awaits your next move as it paces the sideline, you’ll be faced with what the development team is calling “defining moments.” Say it’s 4th and inches with 10 seconds left on the clock. How you handle the situation will result in your approval rating, and your team’s morale. Similar to the user controlled touchdown celebrations recently announced for Madden NFL 2009, players will be able to control how their coach reacts to their team’s play. Cool and collected or frustrated and yelling – it’s your choice.

While not much has been seen of the new NFL Head Coach, it’s definitely showing improvement over 2006’s version. Stay with Blast up through the game’s release for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 this fall for more info.

About The Author

Joe Sinicki is Blast's Executive Editor. He has an unhealthy obsession with Back to the Future and wears cheese on his head. Follow him on Twitter @BrewCityJoe

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