Madden NFL 25 adds deep customization to Franchise Mode with Team Builder

“You can upload your logo, design your uniform, name the team, and put it wherever you want”
Madden NFL 25 Standard Edition cover.
Madden NFL 25 Standard Edition cover. /

Connor Dougan and Josh Looman are two of the names at EA behind this year’s Franchise Mode in Madden NFL 25, a fan-favorite way to play the game, which allows players to immerse themselves in the role of Head Coach or General Manager.

During this year’s launch at EA headquarters, Looman spoke extensively about the options available in Madden NFL 25, which all stem from three key aspects: immersion, customization and depth & care improvements.

Players can now choose from 70 brand-new stories while managing player personalities, trades, off-season workouts, resting starters, changing the culture, exploiting the weaknesses of opponents, engaging in contract negotiations, and more in Franchise Mode.

Looman also spoke enthusiastically about the improvements made to the draft night process, which all thread back to the overall mantra for this edition of the game: authenticity. Not only will drafted players now be in suits over jerseys — as is true to life — but users will be able to compare players while making decisions and receive immediate feedback with draft grades for each judgment.

For people who have always wanted to build a team from the ground up, there is now the option through Team Builder, which is done on the web, not on the console, and allows you to create your own everything, including players and uniforms.

“If you don’t want to create stuff, you can download other people’s amazing creations,” Dougan reveals.

With the NFL expanding globally each year, I ask Dougan and Looman if this is something they have taken into consideration with the Team Builder element.

“When we first built the relocation teams a couple of years ago, one of the things that was really important to us was capturing international teams,” Looman says. “We had a London team that you could relocate to Mexico City. The great thing about Team Builder is you’re not limited to choosing only those things.

“You can upload your logo, design your uniform, name the team, and put it wherever you want,” he continues, revealing that users can “drop it into franchise mode” and “there are no limitations geographically to whatever you want to create”.

Another key focus in this year’s addition to the game is stories from around the NFL, which will bring the most important news to players and allow them to react to the league in real time.

“I think there are ways for us to pull out stories now that are currently not in Madden 24,” Looman reveals.

“There’s more drama with the personalities, and interactions, and players making decisions, the kind of stuff that isn’t just focused around game results,” he says. “I think that’s where we’re trying to draw those stories out from your personal interactions and those storylines and make that news that — if you’re a multi-user League — other people can see the decisions you’ve made and what those repercussions are along the way.”

Dougan refers to Hard Knocks, the reality television series that originated in 2001 and invites fans behind the scenes of the off-season to witness a team’s ride through the season.

He says the show reveals “the amount of personality management that has to happen” and compares this year’s Franchise Mode, saying, “The pillar of immersion is so important. It is trying to make it feel like you are a coach and GM of an NFL team and giving players a deeper experience that allows them to affect their roster, affect relationships with players, and ultimately grow their team.”

Some examples Looman offers include, “Is someone’s number one motivation to win a Super Bowl? Or is there a player that’s more likely to care about living in a tax-free state?”

“All these players have all these different wants and needs,” Dougan says. “We’re just trying to make those motivations and personalities more versatile in Madden 25.”

This meticulous attention to detail, not only in the craft of the game but the user’s experience within it, has made Madden a hugely popular educational tool for expanding people’s knowledge of the sport.

“Franchise Mode doesn’t get enough attention in the MUT era,” Shane Richmond, who began watching the NFL in 1984, shares with me. “It’s a good way to learn how particular player types fit different schemes.”

Looman shares his personal experiences using the game as an educational tool, saying, “I coach my 11-year-old’s football team. We’ll work on a play in practice, and, if for some reason it’s not working, we’ll go home, turn on Madden, go into practice mode, and I’ll show him why this receiver running a slant, getting past the middle linebacker and throwing the ball right when he does, is the right thing to do.

“I can actually use it as a teaching tool, and then we go to practice the next day he gets it. I can’t do that through just explaining it all the time.”

So, while the game is a form of entertainment, it has real-world impact. This impact isn’t just restricted to users but expands to coaches in the league.

“We’re talking to NFL coaches right now about the new kickoff rules,” Dougan shares. “They asked us ‘how can we get a video of this stuff so I can use this video as coaching points for my players?’”

The benefit Madden has launching in the summer is that it has to be as up-to-date as possible, processing new rules and players before the season even begins.

“It drives the culture of football,” Dougan says. “Even avid NFL football fans can learn from Madden.”

“Madden encapsulates it all into a package that you could turn it on and see that stuff at your own pace, right?” Looman adds. “When you watch a football game, they’re trying to disguise what play they’re calling — it’s harder to pick it up. I think, when you play Madden, you can slow it down and understand all that.”

Billie Melissa


Billie Melissa is a freelance entertainment journalist with bylines for Film Stories, Awards Watch, Men's Journal and more. She was the recipient of the Press Inclusion Initiative at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival and the Media Inclusion Initiative at the 2022 Toronto International Film Festival. Billie is also a filmmaker and has her debut films releasing in 2024.