As I was previewing the upcoming "Madden NFL 10," one question kept crossing my mind. What really happens at the bottom of a fumble pile?
According to the NFL players I've talked to, it sounds as though the craziest action of every game doesn't even make it onto cameras.
Ronnie Brown of the Dolphins simply described it to me as "a scuffle."
Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald told me, "Spitting, stepping on your hands -- whatever it takes to get the ball out of your hands, they'll do it."
Rookie Mark Sanchez even broke down how USC practiced the mayhem: "When you're coached on it at any school, they call it a dog pile, and anything goes -- pinching, scratching, biting -- that's the way it is. And if you're not good at it, then you're not protecting the football, you're not competing to get it back. And then it's about the guys on your team when they know you have it, pulling guys off the pile and stalling the refs so you can get it if you don't have it. There's a right way to go about it, and I think they taught us that at USC."
Luckily for Madden gamers, they'll be able to experience the chaos without the controller poking them in the eyes, as the fumble pile is one of the new features in the game.
For the first time in series history, when the ball hits the ground, it doesn't just go to the guy who randomly touches it. In "Madden NFL 10," players will pile on the ball, and gamers will need to pound the button that is shown on the screen to try to wrestle away the rock. As the button commands change on the screen, the ball can switch hands numerous times until the refs actually dig through the bodies and declare a winner.
"That sounds a lot more fun than being in a real pile," Brown says, laughing. "Guys will do just about anything to get that ball."
But the fumble pile isn't the only new addition to "Madden NFL 10," and ESPN sat down with the game's senior producer, Phil Frazier, to get all the dirt on the new game. Click to the next page to see the five things you need to know about "Madden NFL 10."