Since when has Orlando been considered the Bay Area? Madden is delveloped at Tiburon Studios in Orlando. Also 49ers and Raiders have been some of the worst teams for the last couple of teams ratings wise, not sure where your getting your info from. I agree that ratings from this game don't mean anything but at least know what your talking about if your going to express hatred for a video game.
Sorry there superstar. I am apparently just behind the times. One of my best friends was the producer for all of the NFL, MLB, and many of the hockey games that have been produced by 2KSports (you've probably heard of them... they were originally Sega Sports, they eventually were labeled as ESPN games, and also have gone by 2K sports... their games were EXCELLENT).
Anyway.... he was based in the bay area (and still is) and would ask me each year what I thought the Seahawks and Mariners player ratings should be. Yes.... those ratings of the Hawks from the early 2000's games were many times greatly influenced by yours truly. We discussed the rosters, ratings, player abilities, strengths, weaknesses, who was going to break out, what the depth charts were, etc. for months while he locked things down at the end of the beta stages.
At the exact same time the Madden games were published by his arch rivals at EA Sports (ALSO IN THE BAY AREA). He disliked EA so much because they'd bump up all Raiders and 49ers player ratings, even though they were not that good of teams. They were especially helpful towards Cal and Stanford players who were sometimes involved in the motion capture stuff in the summers after they graduated (as were guys that played for the Raiders and 49ers because they were close and easy to get into the studio). The 2K and EA guys would basically crap on each other's teams. This particular guy was originally from Milwaukee and he'd always pump up the Packers and other midwestern teams ratings, and EA felt they had to respond by pumping up their favorite players (and back and forth and back and forth). When he started bumping up the Seahawks for me then the Raider loving jerks at EA responded by pushing the Hawks even lower and bumping up Raiders scrubs even more.
He would also create secret characters based on ourselves or players that didn't really exist, but could be added to rosters to give our teams advantages when playing our friends. This was all pretty hush hush. Frequently though he'd put his correct name into the baseball and football games. He always offered to put my name on... but I always declined. They were extremely fun times all the same. I just took payment in him giving the Hawks a boost. That was all I wanted (and sometimes he'd send me free stuff for my assistance in player evaluations).
Just to make it clear... the relationship between EA and 2K wasn't totally adversarial at all times in these days. They many times hung in the same circles and would sneak things into the games for their own comedy and so that they'd have something to talk about between companies. They'd play softball against each other, and many times workers would flip back and forth between companies because programmers on both sides were very talented. The big joke was always that the only people who could put the Raiders in the Superbowl were the Madden Development team.
So apparently I am a bit behind... but I was a software tester for years, and was also involved in the actual production on some level of many of the games you folks have come to love.
Some of my ideas were actually implemented in the creating of All Pro Football 2K8 which was created after Madden basically smashed the whole genre into submission by scooping up the exclusive and leaving those of us who were 2K fans out to dry. If you ever play a 2KSports football game and find the Seahawks to be more competitive than they are in Madden games of the same era, then you can thank me. I'll try not to hurt my arm patting myself on the back now.
I know exactly where I am getting my info, and I know for a fact that it is true. I know this from firsthand experience. The 2K8 game was in development for a couple of years with the hopes of putting out a killer NFL game on the PS3 that would continue to grab market from Madden. The Madden folks knew this (as a lot of inroads were made in the previous year or two, especially since 2K sold their game at a heavy discount to grab market share). EA felt they needed to step up and take away the chance for 2K and got the exclusive. At that point 2K was going to scrap everything, but with a lot of discussion and work we were able to figure out a game that was at least playable and very fun (even though it didn't use current teams or players). I helped through that whole process and I was extremely proud of the game that ultimately came out, because it was a quality game. It just got sucker punched after a great deal of work by all involved and I have a grudge against the Madden folks and won't buy one of their games again. So I guess I am not as intelligent when it comes to knowledge of these current gen games as you are... but I was involved and have firsthand knowledge of the entire situation up until the NFL gave Madden their own little (or big) monopoly on football video games. It was bad for gamers and bad for me personally, so I tend to harbor some ill will towards those who took away choice from us... the fans!
R.I.P. Dad. I miss you. You will never be forgotten
1/12/39 - 8/7/08