Congratulations are in order for Sam Keller, whom I specifically blame for costing college football fans years worth of entertainment from the video game by the same name. Now, he’ll just be remembered (forgotten?) as the shitty quarterback he was. The popular video game — EA Sports College Football — that some of us routinely bought at its midnight release, and played until the sun came up, has a release month, according to 247 Sports.
Making its return in July 2023, this video game franchise means the world to college football junkies. The only time I’ve ever griped about a student-athlete not getting paid was when they came after my precious video game. Universities and the NCAA are selling the jerseys athletes wear and using footage of them in promo material, but, no, they had to target the one way Nebraska can make a New Year’s Day bowl.
The franchise’s use of image and likeness was so overt that it had to be shut down. I remember Keller cited the stupid ass visor and sleeve that No. 9 wore in the game as evidence that his “style” was being replicated in the suit. Why don’t you concern yourself with a receiver more than 5 yards downfield, you fucking goon?!
Now, with the NIL era upon us, EA can compensate players who want to be in the game — once they figure out how to do that. The particulars are coming along, and sources told 247 that most deals aren’t expected to be huge with most of them falling in the range of four digits. Even then, some players could opt out, leaving holes on rosters, or some guy who’s definitely not Bryce Young, but eerily as dominant with a few tweaks to avoid another lawsuit.
A few NIL companies are vying for the rights with EA, which I’m sure is a Catalina Wine Mixer-sized deal to some opportunistic schmuck with bad hair and a pushy disposition. The company is monitoring the fluctuating landscape to see if it even has to do that, but the student-athletes/unpaid workforce will get compensated eventually.
The ability to create a fictitious roster with create-a-players also is being debated by EA, and that only matters because that’s how we used to get the rosters. One blessed soul would rig all 100-plus teams with actual names so people could download them, and that same person has spent the past nine years creating new ones for the people who still play the 2014 game, the one with Denard “Shoelace” Robinson on it, the last one until next year. (If anyone would’ve made a hefty chunk of coin on creative NIL deals, Robinson was a prime candidate. He was certainly more famous as a Wolverine than a Jaguar).
I used to get so annoyed when the game wouldn’t have an incoming freshman or would mess up the depth chart. Am I a psycho for bitching about the omission of Phillip Dillard from the Huskers’ 85-man roster in College Football 2006? Yes, and thankfully that person has moved on from letting Rival’s recruiting rankings fuck up his day.
However, as someone who has recently spent an inordinate amount of time playing the rereleased Tony Hawk Pro Skater series, the number of hours I’m going to log on this video game scares me. The best part of College Football was always dynasty mode — which is returning — where you pitched/signed recruits while playing through seasons. After a few years, the team is devoid of original recruits entirely, and instead it’s just a bunch of randomly generated future national champions waiting to go from three-star pocket passer to Heisman Trophy winner.
Gimme a six-pack of tall boys, a bag of weed, and my night — shit, my 20s — are set. This could have serious ramifications on the relationship I’m currently in that I couldn’t get back in college for reasons that, looking back, might’ve had something to do with me obsessively playing college football with my idiot roommates for months on end.
It’s almost as if the decline of Nebraska football and the absence of EA College Football has been a boon to my personal life, allowing me to experience conversations unrelated to Mike’l Severe’s Twitter account, and meet people who have no idea what teams have the best digital playbooks.
Whatever, I’m ecstatic athletes are getting some beer money, college football fans are getting their hallowed video game back, and I can still curse Sam Keller and every shred of evidence that Bill Callahan ever existed.