I know I'm not alone in this, but even though the Madden football games used to be the best games around I don't think that has been the case for the past 5 or so years. Since the arrival of Sega's NFL 2K on the Dreamcast I have found that Sega's series of football games (now ESPN) has been the better performer than EA's offering. So now that EA has signed exclusive deals with bothe the NFL and the AFL for producing football games bearing the likenesses of players, stadiums, etc. I can't think of anything else to say except 'you damn bastards!'
I don't totally hate EA, I do have their NCAA Football 2003 and they make great games but cutting out the better (IMO) publishers and developers by doing this is ridiculously unfair to everyone involved, especially the people that buy the games. This means that there will proabably only be one real NFL game put out (not counting that NFL Street crap or other NFL Blitz type games) so you won't have any other choice but EA. I just hope that EA can make their game better than it has been recently and that Visual Concepts (the developer behind ESPN NFL football) can possibly get another great game produced. NCAA ball would be wonderful. CFL would be nice too.