Forget the oddsmakers, if you really want to know who's going to win the big game, break out your copy of Madden.
The long-running Electronic Arts videogame franchise, in its annual prediction of the Super Bowl last week, not only predicted the New England Patriots' last minute comeback to defeat the Seattle Seahawks, it nailed the final 28-24 score. And that was just the start of its Nostradamus-like qualities.
Tom Brady's fourth-quarter game-winning pass to Julian Edelman? Yep, it told fans that would happen. MVP? It named Tom Brady long before the NFL got around to it. It also knew the Patriots would score first—and what the score would be at the end of the third quarter.
The predictions were made on Jan. 26, using a game that was run on Microsoft's Xbox One console system. And the accuracy went way beyond the final score and winning play.
Take a look at a few of the statistical predictions of the game, versus the real like performance of the players:
- Brady: Madden predicted he'd pass for 355 yards with four touchdowns. (He passed for 328 yards—with four TDs.)
- Seahawk running back Marshawn Lynch: Prediction: 188 yards, two TDs. Reality: 102 yards, one TD
- Edelman: In the Madden simulation, eight catches, 106 yards and one TD. In the Super Bowl, nine catches, 109 yards and one TD
While this year was Madden's best prediction to date, the game has an incredible history when it comes to predicting the Super Bowl. In the 12 years that EA has rolled out a prediction, the game has accurately forecast the winner nine times. Five years ago, it came within one point of the final score—and nailed precisely how many yards Steelers wide receiver Santonio Holmes would run.
In fairness, when the game gets it wrong, though, it misses by a country mile. It gave the edge in last year's Super Bowl matchup between Denver and Seattle to the Broncos, predicting Peyton Manning would lead his team to a 31-28 victory. (In reality, it was a blowout 43-8 victory by Seattle.) It correctly predicted the outcome of the two Super Bowls prior to that lopsided game, however.
EA's other sports franchises aren't too bad at prognostication either. Last year, the company's FIFA series told everyone that Germany was going to win the World Cup—well over a month before the game was actually played. (That game also predicted the winner of the 2010 Cup.)