With tonight’s National Champions at hand, it’s no wonder that the passion and pageantry of college football would be on our minds. Of course, we can only enjoy college football through the TV, but there was a time not too long ago when you could actually play your favorite college teams and players through video games. Let me take you back in time to the far-out, ancient world of 2013.
Back then, you could pick up the latest installment of the NCAA Football series, and you could shape the world of college football any way your heart desired. Maybe you wanted to take lowly Wyoming from annual pushover to a decade long dynasty? You could do that. Maybe you wanted to create 5’6 quarterback Plucky McNeverQuits, whose tremendous arm was only overshadowed by his tremendous heart. You could do that. Maybe you wanted to create a team of 7’0, 400 lbs clones, whose stats were all maxed out, and run roughshod all over the rest of the NCAA. You could do that.
That all changed in the summer of 2014, after the O’Bannon Court Case ruling stated that using players likenesses without compensating them is illegal. EA Sports offered to play players for their likenesses, but the NCAA, in all of their malevolence, shut it down for long-tired and near obsolete notion of amateurism. All of the major conferences then refused to license their trademarks to EA, and the series was then killed.
But today, only hours away from the National Championship game, NCAA Football’s Facebook, which had not posted anything since July of 2014, posted this video:
I don’t know about you, but to me, it’s supposed to signal a faint heartbeat becoming stronger, perhaps coming back to life. And that’s the rest of the world thought, as people pointed to this as a sign that the series coming back after a two year absence. However, like the kicker for a snake-bitten franchise who just missed the kick to send us into contention for greatness, EA Sports dashed away all of our hopes. An EA rep told Polygon’s Owen good “No news, sorry to get your hopes up.” EA Sports elaborated on the heartbeat in an interview with SB Nation:
“We have no new plans or announcements to make regarding the EA SPORTS NCAA Football series. Today's National Championship game reminds us more than ever that the hearts in our community still beat for college football.”
I guess we can chalk up this up to another case of poor marketing. But I have to wonder, could EA really be that stupid? Surely, they would have known the type of response a video like that would have incited, especially on a page of a beloved yet abandoned game franchise. But then I remember that this video comes from the same company that expects consumers to pay twice for the same game, so I guess they really are that stupid.