Short version: Previous versions of Football Mogul would cause top players (and top draft picks) to tank in the off-season at an alarming rate. This effect has been reduced by about 85% in Football Mogul 19, making the game both more realistic and less frustrating.
Long version: Both Baseball Mogul and Football Mogul include code that models the real-world phenomenon generally refered to as regression to the mean: if a player puts up incredible numbers in one season, he is extremely likely to post a performance in the following season that is closer to the league average (aka "the mean"). One example: the #1 wide receiver (in terms of fantasy points) will lose, on average, more than 30% of their value in the following season.
Some of this comes down to luck: bad weather, lucky bounces, missed tackles. But regression to the mean also occurs at the underlying level of raw ability. The league MVP is more likely to get worse than to get better, and this applies to a lesser extent to all superstar players.
However ... I'm writing this post to admit that I made a mistake when implementing this phenomenon in previous versions of Football Mogul, and that I was finally able to fix it for Football Mogul 19. (FYI: it was a simple math error/typo that I didn't notice until I stepped through the code and realized that it wasn't performing the calculation I'd described in the comments).
You don't have to take my word for it. This year's demo version lets you access "Commissioner Mode" so you can see how player ratings progress in the off-season. And if you see results that you still find unrealistic, please let me know. I appreciate constructive feedback and take seriously any suggestions or criticism backed up by data and a logical argument.
Thanks for reading!
We received the following post from a frustrated Football Mogul player this week:
I understand his frustration. Compared to baseball, football players are notoriously difficult to evaluate because there aren't enough stats. EA has a full-time expert dedicated to the job, and that's just for the current season's players.
I've been working for years on a new method to rate historical players, and I finally got it working for Football Mogul 19. In a nutshell, team performance is divided among the players on offense or defense for any given game, not unlike the work done in this paper.
In previous versions of Football Mogul, Deion's Pass Coverage rating in 1996 would be brought down by the fact that he had only 2 interceptions in a full 16 starts. However, he accrued these starts with the '96 Cowboys – one of the best defensive teams in the league. Thanks to the magic of computers, I wrote code that loops back to evaluate Sanders according to a combination of his stats (such an INTs in other seasons) and the defensive success of the teams he played on, then folding the player ratings into the evaluation of each team and so on – until the ratings stabilize. In the final database, I ran this loop overnight (more than a thousand times) until every rating was stable within 0.06 points.
Anyway, I'm attaching Deion's 1995 Scouting Report from the Football Mogul 19 beta. I think it's a LOT better than last year's version, and I'm really excited about these new historical seasons.
Football Mogul 19 will launch on Tuesday, September 4th, 2018.
New Player Database
After some complaints about player ratings and roster accuracy last year, we've rebuilt our database from scratch for Football Mogul 19:
The "Sortable Stats", "Find Players", "Free Agents" and "College Draft" screens are now customizable -- with each screen individually tracking the stats you selected to view and sort by in your previous visit.
Improved Player Positions
Football Mogul 19 includes 28 additional position designations ranging from "Slot Receiver" and "Outside Linebacker" to ""Return Specialist" and "Special Teams Specialist". These designations were used by the game engine in Football Mogul 18, but couldn't be viewed in the Scouting Report. For Football Mogul 19, these "expanded positions" can now be viewed in the team screens, Scouting Reports and Player Editor.
More info coming soon...
Football Mogul 19 will launch on Tuesday, September 4th — two days before the start of the NFL season. I'll be posting more info about Football Mogul over the next two weeks. But if you've ever wondered why videogames launch on Tuesdays, you can thank Sonic the Hedgehog.
Back before I was writing computer games for a living, there were two anthropomorphic animals named Sonic and Tails. And when two anthopomorphic animals love each other very much, they make a videogame. Sonic the Hedgehog launched in 1991 on the new Sega Genesis (and it was awesome!). But in 1992, Sega was still getting its butt kicked by Nintendo. So the geniuses at Sega invented "Sonic 2sday" in order to build buzz around Sonic The Hedgehog: 2.
In the 1980s, the Japan-based Nintendo had pioneered the pattern of launching in Japan before moving on to Europe and North America. But Sega's marketing team (Project Manager Madeline Schroder and Marketing Director Al Nilsen) decided to shake things up with the industry's "first global launch". As a pun using the number '2', they declared a unified worldwide launch date on Tuesday, November 24, 1992 and named it "Sonic 2sday".
Sonic 2sday was a huge success that reverberated through videogames and even spread to CDs and DVDs. As it turned out, Tuesday was a perfect launch day. Game makers who had traditionally launched on Friday were disappointed by their rankings in first-week sales, so they launch dates started creeping all the way back to Monday for some games. However, there was some pushback form retail partners who didn't want to pay overtime for employees to stock shelves every Sunday night. Sonic and Tails planted the flag on Tuesday and its still there today.
However, there were also some improvements in functionality. For example, "Expiring Contracts" is now a clickable button that populates the Sortable Stats Dialog with a complete list of players in the last year of their contract -- with a new "Eligibility" column showing each player's contract status at the end of the current season: