Madden NFL 25 is reintroducing the heavily acclaimed Connected Careers system of its predecessor, this time as “Connected Franchise”. For any new comer, this absolutely massive career option can be intimidating because of all that it has to offer.
It’s easy to be tempted to jump right into the action straight away, but if you’re looking for a competitive, thorough, and rightfully ideal football experience, you’ll need to work with patience and go through the Connected Franchise mode in a heavily systematic way.
Madden NFL 25 Connected Franchise
When you start off a Connected Franchise, you can choose to do it either online multiplayer or an offline career. Interestingly enough, you can play the offline careers multiplayer, allowing for a co-op franchise.
When it comes to playing online, you will need to create your own League or choose an already existing one.
Leagues can be public or private, and the owner of the League has plenty of options at hand. Once you’ve set up your league, you can choose to Be a Coach, Be a Player, or Be an Owner. Being an Owner is a brand new addition, and for all its vastness we’ll thoroughly cover it in an entirely different guide.
Playing as a Coach
Playing as a coach is basically itself the classic franchise mode in the previous additions to the series. It has been chopped down a little though, making it more focused on the coaching aspect, while the rest of the management system has been transferred to the Be an Owner mode.
This doesn’t mean you won’t be busy – coaching is a tough and demanding job, and you’ll find yourself reiterating the old tasks such as drafting players, signing agents, managing player contracts, negotiating/terminating contracts, and much more.
When it comes to Connected Franchise, the coach’s ultimate objective is to reach the top of the Hall of Fame, matching the immortal legend of Vince Lombardi as the most effective coach to have ever existed in football history.
Once you start the Be a Coach mode, you will have the option of choosing a real-life coach, a Hall of Fame legend that you may have unlocked in Madden Ultimate Team, or creating your own.
Obviously, most of us would prefer the last option, but it’s never too bad to be in the “that’s what I would do if I were you” position.
Creating a coach from scratch will require a backstory and your team. The backstory will actively and passively affect your team and players. There are three backstories to choose from, namely Motivator, Strategist, and Team Builder, each with their own set of unique perks that would help you in your career.
The Motivator is the coach that every player wants to play for. He has the brilliant inspirational vibe to him, making him naturally attractive for free agents.
As a Motivator, you will get a 25% discount on packages that increase a free agent’s desire to sign with you at a given position, and also a 25% discount on packages that withhold a position player’s retirement.
The Motivator is a good choice for a long-term plan, but if you want immediate positive results, you might want to consider the other backstories instead. Nevertheless, the ability to convince the best players to play for you, and that too at great discounts, is a great perk for any coach.
The strategist is the true master of the on-field game. His ability to accelerate the players’ skills through discounted attribute costs makes him an ever evolving and dependable coach.
As a strategist, not only will improving player attributes be easier, you will also gain more experience as a coach with discounts on XP packages, Trade packages, and Progression packages.
The strategist is an excellent backstory that most users will sway towards. The effectiveness of its perks are almost immediately noticeable, and keeping your players performing well is very easy.
The Team Builder is a very different backstory from the other two, and its perks are utilized best by more experienced Madden players. As a team builder, you will get more scouting points every week, trading will be much easier, and you will be able to re-sign players more easily with 25% discounts on resigning packages.
As you may have deduced from the rather subtle perks, the Team Builder backstory is challenging, and its effectiveness is only seen if you’re planning to put in lots and lots of time in your coaching career.
This is perhaps the only backstory that can truly make it easy for a user to take a weak team, work on it, and turn it into one that wins every game and every championship it participates in.
Thus, it is recommended for veterans who are looking for a real challenge.
Creating Your Coach
Once you have determined the backstory and (hence) the core attributes, you’ll have to create your coach’s looks. If you have a GameFace, you can use that as well, otherwise you’ll just have to make-do with whatever the game has to offer.
Do remember that whatever you choose here will be final, so take your time if looks matter to you.
After finalizing the face and physique, you’ll need to select his offensive and defensive playbooks, and also his habits on the field (passive, aggressive, etcetera). These options are also permanent, so you should really consider thinking over your choices before finalizing them.
Once you have picked a backstory, you will be asked to select a team. Most players will automatically go for the teams they support in real life, but it’s important to understand the correlation between the team players and the coach.
As a coach, you might be used to certain formations, tactics, and playstyle, while the team you’re using could be accustomed to another.
This conflict through differences can later become problematic, with players losing form if they aren’t playing according to your scheme. Thus, choosing teams shouldn’t be as intuitive and natural as it is, and you would definitely need to make compromises from one or both ends to get the most balanced overall unit.
Since backstory does have some impact on your team’s performance, different teams and their playstyles can be associated with different backstories. Some teams may work best with a Motivator, while others will benefit greatly with a Team Builder coach.
Of course, this is no hard-coded rule, but it’s one to surely follow if you don’t have preferences, or are looking to get the best combination possible for a strong and successful career as a coach.
Here are teams categorized according to which backstory they would work with:
CAR, CHI, CIN, DEN, DET, HOU, KC, PIT, SF, TAM
ATL, BAL, BUF, DAL, GB, NE, NO, NYG, NYJ, OAK, PHI, WAS
ARI, CLE, IND, JAX, MIA, MIN, SDC, SEA, STL, TEN
Goals are essential if you are looking to earn more and more XP, which in turn will allow you to strengthen your team’s players. In order to have a look at the weekly, milestone, and season goals, you need to access the Goals box from the Home menu.
Weekly goals are minor tasks that you would need to carry out in the next game, whenever applicable. They mostly concern with giving you minor XP rewards, and also give you an idea of methods you will have to use to accomplish them.
Though these goals aren’t highly rewarding individually, carrying them out regularly will allow you to stack up a lot of XP, which can be spent in many ways. This is important, so you should consider taking on these goals every time you plan to actively play a game.
Season Goals are completely different. These are more focused, and highly relevant to the coach you chose or designed. If you enable Coach Firing, then you will have to really look towards these goals in a serious manner, or you risk getting fired if you don’t.
Basically, these are tasks that the team and management expects you to accomplish in the season. Note that you won’t get rewards for the accomplishment of these goals individually, but will get an accumulative reward towards the end of the season.
The types of season goals depend on the coach and team. Teams and coaches with low prestige will have easier goals, while the top tier teams and highly skilled coaches will have challenging ones.
Milestones are more like Achievements and Trophies, except they give you XP and Legacy Points. They’re the ideal things for the most hardcore completionists, but some of them are stupidly difficult – to such an extent that they aren’t even worth the smallest of efforts.
For most players focused on building a good career, milestones should be ignored completely. Let yourself complete the ones that can be completed naturally, and consider them as occasional bonuses.
Additionally, milestones don’t have much to do with Achievements and trophies, so it is possible to get 100% completion even without them.
Goals change and evolve every year, and on average will get tougher and tougher. If you aren’t achieving your seasonal goals for several game years, the NFL will tend to forget you even if you have a Super Bowl ring in your first set of years.
As a coach, you’ll have things to do every week of the game.
These required activities can be viewed under the My Actions tab. Since a week isn’t a very big unit of time in Madden 25 at all, most of the activities can be simulated or delegated to the AI, which you’ll find yourself doing most of the times. However, it’s never too bad to actually participate manually to keep a good check on how things are progressing.
The regular season’s player roster for your team is always limited to 53. During the pre-season time, you will have up to 75 of them due to off-season moves. This means that you’ll need to cut some players to get back to the 53 limit.
This isn’t very difficult to do, as many of the extra players are fillers with average or less than average attributes. The preseason will still give you a chance to unearth some hidden talent, but overall you would want to keep the best squad possible.
While practicing may sound like something only beginners or bored people would do, it is actually a very beneficial weekly activity, as in Madden 25 it gives you XP as well. Regardless of what you set the in-game clock to, the practice games always remain as 5 minute quarters.
Playing a full length practice can thus be a little long, but if you’re hunting for some XP, they are a great and regular way to do so. Winning a practice game will earn you 2000 XP regardless of the practice scenario.
Losing a practice still nets you 1000 XP, but it will also give you a great idea of where your weaknesses lie.
Though this won’t happen every week, occasionally you will notice some personnel prompts pop up in the weekly menu.
These also include players that AI teams have on their trade block. You will probably be ignoring most of them, but it’s very important to keep an eye open to spot the occasional high-value player on the trade block.
Players on the block are much easier to obtain than those that are not. Plus, if you are playing with AI teams, your offer for the player will always be prioritized above the others.
This isn’t the only personnel query that appears, though. Sometimes players with expiring contracts will ask for renegotiations. You have the option of accepting, negotiating, or simply ignoring these requests, but often this demand for renegotiation is a healthy determiner of the fact that the player actually wants to play for you.
You can resign players that aren’t asking for renegotiations towards their last season as well, but these will often bail to free agencies if you don’t offer them something interesting.
You can also buy players from the free agency, release players in your team, and/or offer trades to anyone at any time, regardless of whether such an option is on the checklist or not. To work with your team, you need to go to ‘Team’ in the top menu, and select Improve Roster.
You can then access the Trade Center for additional options to make it easier to find a player to target, or even try a manual trade.
Scouting is an extremely important activity in Madden 25, and in the Connected Franchise mode, it cannot be ignored like the way it was before Madden 13.
Every week you will earn scouting points to spend on college players — you’ll see the overall ratings of your players by position. This gives you a target for your scouting.
You can spend scouting points on the attributes of the various players. The first time you spend on a specific attribute, you will only get a letter grade for it.
The second time you spend on it, you will get exact numbers. So, if you wished to spend points to discover a player’s, say, Agility, you would first get a grade, and then an exact numerical value for the attribute after further investment for his agility.
This allows you to hunt for specific attributes, so if you want a player with amazing Acceleration and Jumping, you can spend scouting points on these attributes and isolate players who do have good ratings in these attributes. Then, you can finalize a player to recruit if his other attributes meet your expectations.
Of course, this does not mean that you can just pick anyone that you discover is good enough. Teams above you in the draft order will acquire players before you, so it’s not healthy to spend a bulk of your points on a limited set of players.
Instead, spread your scouting points around for early and late picks in the draft to get the best of your draft queue towards the end of the season.
As you earn XP, you can choose to progress the attributes of your players by spending it.
Depending on your League settings, you can either do this weekly or at the end of a season. The option will appear on your checklist either way, and you can access the menu to spend the gained XP on either your players or your coach attributes and traits.
Traits for the coach are more long-term, and are best progressed in a balanced method according to your play-style. Every attribute is important though, so you should consider investing evenly, but giving slightly more priority to the ones that suit you best.
Buying the packages for your coach will also have an indirect effect on your team, so you should consider them and make a wise, thoroughly thought-out choice.
When it comes to the team players, their performance will determine how much XP you gained. Progressing and improving your player is a time-consuming process, and if you have to do it weekly, you may want to consider leaving it to the AI once in a while.
It’s actually best to improve your starters and top tier players, while letting the AI decide for the rest. This will ensure that you don’t end up spending 90% of your play time upgrading players rather than playing the game.
Once you are done with all the above things, it’ll be time for your game day. You can proceed and play your game through the checklist. Of course, not every game is entirely essential, so you can always simulate a game if you feel you need to progress faster.
In fact, you’ll find yourself playing the more essential and tougher games and simulating all the easy ones.
Now, all those were your weekly activities, and you’ll be doing more or less of all of this for a number of iterations, till you reach the post-season time.
Post Season Activities
Once you’ve had your stressful year, your players will have time to rest, but unfortunately (or maybe fortunately), you still have plenty of work to do. In the post-season stage, you’ll have to prepare your team for the next championship, with the usage of features like free agency and drafts.
The post-season itself is divided into eight weeks, out of which seven are concerned with re-signing players.
The first and perhaps lengthiest step will be the roster management, which includes re-signing players and drafting. You will only be allowed to re-sign players who are in the last year of their contract.
Note that there is no bargaining whatsoever this time around, meaning you will need to strike a good deal, or the player walks to free agency.
With this in mind, you will need to very carefully decide which players to keep. Most of the key players themselves will actually try to take advantage of this, with high demands and taking as much money as possible. However, if you manage to get your hands on some Contract Package traits, you shouldn’t have to worry too much about this issue.
Sometimes it is actually best to let players go and use rookie counters instead. You can always sign the player you let go from free agency again if needed, but rookies do tend to have a fast learning curve, so it’s not always a bad option to let them have a go.
Don’t be shy of letting your old players go. Sure, they may have just won you the SuperBowl, but if they’re getting old, chances are they will begin to under-perform, and you don’t want to be paying high fees for that.
The in-season free agency is mainly for filling in gaps in your team as an emergency, so you can only expect just that much from them. On the other hand, during the post-season, you can use the
Free Agency for five weeks and bid on players every week in an auction-styled method. Unlike some previous versions of Madden NFL, you have an infinite amount of time per stage to make your bids.
You can determine the skills, initial salaries, and demands of each player.
The amount of bidding teams for a player are also listed, so you have a good idea of what the demand is. Free agent players however are quite expensive, and most of the times have high-egos due to their good performances that have led them to try free agency.
It’s best to look at the overall number of players, and most of the times paying large amounts for a good player with several years remaining in his career is a good gamble. However, you should always keep an eye on your finances – don’t make decisions that will make you go near bankruptcy.
The heat of the free agency is at its peak in the initial stages, so sometimes it’s better to wait out for a while till the later weeks. Players will also tend to accept contracts more easily as the weeks pass by and no one has bought them.
Though re-signing players and digging through free agencies is a very important part of the off-season, it’s important not to over-do and become a spend-thrift. There is on very important thing remaining.
The Annual Draft
The Annual Draft is perhaps the most exciting part of the off-season stage of the Be a Coach franchise.
If you’ve been regularly scouting and doing it with diligence, chances are the Annual Draft will go with a breeze. However, if you’ve been lazy, then good luck getting anything productive.
The Madden 25 draft system is very well crafted, but it has been created while keeping the veteran player in mind. If you don’t have a long-term game-plan and a highly identified approach, you might end up doing things that will be a complete waste of effort and time.
The draft itself is comprised of 7 rounds of 32 picks each.
Each team gets to have one pick per round, and it is done in a reverse win/loss order. This allows lower ranked teams to have a better chance in the next season, and if you’ve unluckily found yourself as one of them, consider it as a good chance for redemption.
Now, if you’ve been scouting throughout the year, it will all converge to this point. You’ll have a good idea about what your team’s weaknesses are, and hopefully you’ve properly scouted players that would nullify these flaws.
When it’s your turn to draft, you will have 2 real-time minutes to draft or trade. The active coach can negotiate trading down his pick, look at his draft board, or make his pick. The remaining teams that are not on the clock cannot freely pick. They can, however, trade for the pick of the coach that is on the clock.
For this reason, even if you’re playing with the AI, you might want to keep yourself awake throughout the drafting session in case a pick comes up that you may want to trade up.
Of course, this could take lots of time if you wait for the two-minutes to end, so if you feel that you need to rush things up a bit, you can always skip the remaining time by selecting Advance to Next Pick.
Once the drafting is over, you will automatically sign all your picks. You might actually end up with more than 53 players in your roster, but you can always cut players once the pre-season starts.
Playing as a Player
The Be a Player career is basically the Connected Franchise mode of the old Superstar. The goal of the player’s Connected Franchise is to surpass the Legacy score of the elite player in the respective position, and to make it to the top of the Hall of Fame.
Once you select the Be a Player career, you will have the option of playing as a real-life player on any team, select a Hall of Fame legend you may have unlocked in Madden Ultimate Team, or you could go on and create a player of your own. If you’re creating your own player, you will need to select his position, team, and his backstory.
Picking a Position
Of the various things you will be selecting, the position is arguably the most important. This is obviously the most critical part of any player’s career, and it’s no different in Madden NFL 25.
Picking your position not only sets the tone of how you will be playing, but also how much impact you have in seasons and in your team’s performance.
Positions like quarterback and running back on offense, or linebacker and defensive lineman on defense give you the most time to make a difference on the field.
These are the ideal positions for most players, but veterans who would like a challenge can take on the role of a receiver or safety, though you won’t have as much of an impact on the team’s performance as you would otherwise.
Once you have chosen which position you want to play, there are a few archetypes to choose from. So, if, for example, you wanted to play as a Quarterback, you could choose a Balanced QB, or West Coast QB, or any of the other variations that are available.
Like with the coach, you will have to select a backstory for your created player. This backstory will determine two main things: your initial rating, and the difficulty of your seasonal goals. The higher the rating, the more the expectations from you, so though it maybe natural to select a High Draft pick, you’ll have to consider whether you are up for the seasonal goals or not.
There are three backstories to choose from, described as follows:
As a high draft pick, your team is banking on you for its future. Your ratings will be in the High 70s or mid 80s, and your goals will be reflective of what the team expects from you. Depending on the team you choose and your position, you could start off immediately, or wait till the mid or end of the first season.
This backstory will probably put you into the action most immediately, and is thus the number one choice. Just make sure you are prepared for relatively demanding seasonal goals.
Your team is taking a chance on you, simply because the coach believes he has spotted that special-something. It’s time to prove him correct, even though you’ll start off with ratings in the low 70s.
Your goals will be demanding, and you will have to work very hard to get into the season early on. This is a choice ideal for veterans who want a challenge. You will also get the most playing time with this backstory.
As a cheap roster-filler, you will be rated in the high 60s or low 70s. It will be very difficult for you to make it, even in the second year of entry.
You’ll have to spend a large amount of time just staring at your screen, watching the simulations go on without your active participation. Your goals will be easier, but you won’t be able to achieve any if you are just warming the benches.
It’s hard to say why anyone would want to pick an undrafted backstory, unless they want to torture themselves or have a lot of time to waste.
Picking a Team
Once you’ve finalized your position and backstory, it’s time to make an impact.
Most of us would choose the team that we support, but sometimes it can actually be a bad choice. It is important to analyze the teams according to the playing position you chose, so you can fit in the team more easily.
For this reason, it is best to choose a team that lacks a good player in the position that you will be playing. If you think in this manner, there is an easy way to categorize the teams that are good for each position in the following way:
CLE, JAX, KC, MIN, TEN
DET, GB, NE, TB, WAS
BAL, CAR, DEN, DET, NO
CHI, DEN, NYG, PHI, PIT
CAR, CIN, JAX, TB, TEN
BAL, MIN, NYG, PHI, TB
BAL, DET, NE, NO, PIT
DET, HOU, GB, NE, PHI
Now that you’ve jumped into the real-deal with your player position, backstory, and team defined, it’s time to prepare yourself for some weekly activities. As soon as the season begins, you’ll be given various goals by the owner of your team.
If you are a High Draft pick, and for some odd reason you selected a bad team, your goals will be very challenging.
If you’re a Low Draft player, you’ll have it relatively easy, but with a good team there’s a chance you won’t be getting much attention at all. You can check the goals for your season under the My Career tab, along with the Legacy score and experience.
Every year, you will be given four seasonal goals. You need to accomplish at least the level two goal to keep your job, or else you can say bye-bye to your career.
Goals are arranged in order of difficulty, so generally the last goal will probably be the most challenging. Every year is different, with expectations from you raising or lowering according to your performance, but on average, you can expect goals to become tougher as you complete more seasons.
You won’t directly earn XP when you complete the goal, but will instead gain an accumulative reward towards the end of the season, depending on the number of goals you completed.
Apart from your primary seasonal goals, you’ll also be presented with weekly goals and Milestones. Weekly goals concern your immediate next game, whenever applicable. They will grant you minor XP, and though they can be ignored, they’re a great method of accumulating experience points to develop your player.
Milestones are quite different on the other hand, they are more like Achievements and Trophies, and many of them are ridiculously difficult. Since they have the potential to get in the way and hinder your enjoyment, it is actually best to ignore these altogether – let them come naturally to you themselves.
Remember, you can achieve 100% completion even without Milestones, so no need to sweat.
Once you have a grasp of what you need to accomplish during your first year, you will be indulged for the reason of the season in iterative weekly activities.
These activities will not only impact you and your team immediately, but also allow both to build up for the long term. Thankfully, Weekly Activities in Be a Player are only limited to you, so you don’t need to worry too much about management issues and sort out issues of whining players.
Before Madden 13, practice was just really just what it means – a thing you could do to learn and improve your skills. It was natural to ignore this after a few initial tries, because actual matches were more beneficial.
But everything’s changed now, as you can actually gain XP by practicing! This is a great and cheap method of gaining some XP, but you might not want to do it every week – it can get quite tedious! Losing a practice still gives you 1000 XP, but winning will reward you with double the amount. There’s actually a potential to earn 42,000 XP by the time the season ends with practices alone.
If you selected a Low Draft, you’ll find yourself practicing a lot more often, since AI coaches will only select you based on your rating. So, in order to raise your attributes, you’ll need to practice regularly and spend the earned XP to improve your character.
There is no other way than this for Low Draft or Undrafted players during the course of the season. Yes, you may get some games in the pre-season, but the main session is very different. High Draft players won’t have too much issue, especially if they’ve been clever in picking a team that needed a good player in the position they opted for.
Progressing Your Player
Depending on the League settings, players can progress themselves every week or at the end of a season. If you have the option of progressing every week, consider doing it by going to the Buy Upgrades option from the Home screen.
Your performance will mainly dictate how much XP you gain per week, so you should consider playing your games and doing plenty of practice if you plant to take your player to the top.
Also, it is important to prioritize certain attributes that would complement your playstyle and position. However, this does not mean you should completely ignore all the attributes – try sticking to a balanced approach, while prioritizing the main traits.
If you’re lucky and have been selected for the Game, you’ll get to play on the main team. If you are playing online and your opponent is a human-controlled team, they will get an alert. For AI, you will need to give one single confirmation.
Playing every game can be tedious though, especially against teams weaker than yours which have little chance to win. For this reason, you’ll find yourself simulating many games. Make sure though, that you play the essential games to ensure your team progresses onwards.
When you’re actually playing the game, it’s best to tailor your game-style to support the player you created.
This will ensure that your player gets the maximum exposure and the best chance to make a huge (positive) impact on the team’s performance. Though you will have control over most things, you cannot control depth chart, injuries, coach calls, or the ability to switch players.