Despite an astoundingly accurate Super Bowl 49 prediction, Madden NFL 16‘s simualtion is routed in Super Bowl 50. Nobody could have simulated Von Miller’s performance.

EA’s annual Madden NFL Super Bowl simulation proved its quality last year by correctly predicting that the New England Patriots would defeat the Seattle Seahawks 28-34. Yet even the over 30-year veteran franchise couldn’t have predicted the MVP performance of the Denver Broncos’ defense and particularly linebacker Von Miller, much to the Carolina Panthers’ dismay. Super Bowl 50 ended with a score of 24-10 in the Bronco’s favor, contrary to Madden NFL 16‘s simulation predicting a 24-20 victory for the Panthers.

On October 2015, EA’s team for Madden NFL 16‘s player stats upgraded Von Miller’s OVR (Overall Rating) to 99. Joining the “99 Club” is, as far as an NFL video game goes, a big deal. Yet it shows just how far Madden NFL‘s simulation has to go in order to capture career defining performances for the NFL’s best players during games like the Super Bowl. Miller pulled off 2 1/2 sacks, forcing a game-changing 2 fumbles in the process. He added an additional 6 tackles throughout the game, and helped enable a defense that limited the NFL’s highest scoring team to just 10 points.

While most will peg Miller’s performance as proof of his defensive prowess, others think he had additional motivation. Coming out of college, Von Miller believed he was the smart pick for the Carolina Panthers, who held the number 1 pick back in 2011. However, as most know, the Panthers decided to select Cam Newton, leaving Miller feeling slightly miffed.

Maybe Von Miller felt that much more determined to prove exactly who the best player from the 2011 draft was, and to assert that the old adage that “defense wins championships” is true. Perhaps Madden needs a more defined simulation with regards to player rivalries.

Madden NFL 16 Super Bowl 50 Logo

Madden NFL 16 wasn’t just wrong about the strength of the Denver Broncos’ defense, however. In the simulation, Madden predicted that Peyton Manning would complete 21 of 37 passes for a total of 241 yards and two TDs. In Super Bowl 50 he completed just 13 of 23 passes for 144 yards, throwing no touchdowns, two interceptions, and surrendering one fumble. Perhaps Madden NFL 16 was giving the Broncos defense’s ratings over to Manning.

A wise man once said that offense sells tickets, but defense wins championships. Reflecting on the Madden NFL 16 simulation for Super Bowl 50 perhaps shows a design flaw in the game. When it comes down to it, Madden is a game designed with a priority on offense. Players love running and throwing the ball and its simulation thrives in high-scoring games with relatively few defensive game-changers. However, when defense decides a Super Bowl, maybe the AI behind Madden NFL‘s simulation doesn’t know how to account for the types of big plays that it handles so well with offense.

Maybe we’re being too hard on Madden NFL 16. After all, they did predict Super Bowl 49 accurately, and even Las Vegas can respect them for that. So you had a bad year, Madden NFL 16. We’ll just have to adjust your OVR down a few points this year and wish you a better season in 2016-2017.

Congratulations to the Denver Bronco’s for their Super Bowl 50 victory over the Carolina Panthers, final score 24-10, and a standing ovation for Von Miller who single-handedly has shown that Madden has a lot of work left designing football defense. Maybe they can make it up to Miller by putting him on next year’s cover?