In 1998 Electronic Arts added “Franchise Mode” to Madden, giving players the ability to play multiple seasons, make off-season draft picks, and trade players. Within Franchise Mode, players take on the role of General Manager and manage all personnel matters, including contracts, free agency, draft picks, and hiring and firing coaches. The player also acts as a head coach-like character (although there is a head coach figure in-game), choosing which players to play, making substitutions, running practices, practicing gameplans, etc.
Players may play with any of the NFL’s 32 franchises, and can choose whether or not to have trade deadlines, salary caps, and if they want to start their Franchise with a 49-round fantasy draft of all active NFL players. Players can also upload created teams for use in the game.
Once in game, players run training camp (individual drills for improving players’ attributes), play in preseason games and compete in a regular 16-game NFL season, including playoffs and the Super Bowl. The player has the option to play any game in the simulation, including those involving other teams if they so desire, or may simulate through the games as they choose. Most versions of Madden give a player 30 years with their franchise, sometimes with an opportunity to apply for the Hall of Fame at the end of the simulation.