If you’re one of those Madden players who refuses to waste their time in pay-to-win modes like Ultimate Team, Madden 23’s Face of the Franchise might be the single-player avenue you’re looking for.
While single-player took a back seat to MUT in recent years, Face of the Franchise offers a more personal way to play Madden 23. And though it doesn’t come without issues and glitches, Madden players can kick back and relax in this less-stressful NFL experience.
But what are the best positions in Madden 23 Face of the Franchise? How do you upgrade your player, and are the decisions you make really that important to the overall experience? We’ll answer all these questions and more as we dive headfirst into Face of the Franchise mode in Madden 23.
Madden 23 finally ditched the song and dance they’d been putting out for several years. You’re no longer a “college prospect” looking to make it in the league. You don’t have to wade through the boring (and horribly written) cut scenes for three hours before you finally hit the field (with a team you didn’t want to be on).
Instead, you’re a five-year vet looking for their breakout season. You can choose any team in the league and can play one of five positions: QB, WR, RB, LB, or CB. Best of all, you can have five different save files for each position, each leveling up separately as you play. For example, you can have a 90 OVR QB, an 86 OVR RB, and a 74 OVR CB with the same created character.
You can also change your build between agile, balanced, and bruiser at any time. Each comes with its own base stats and playstyle. For example, agile players are faster than bruisers but are more susceptible to fumbles.
You’ll level up by earning upgrade points to invest in your particular skills. But how do you get upgrade points in Madden 23?
How to upgrade your player
Playing games and completing weekly activities earns you Cred (blue) and Rep (red). Cred lets you buy stuff in the Yard. Meanwhile, Rep is your XP and the most important thing you can earn in Face of the Franchise. The more Rep you earn, the faster you’ll level up.
The goal is to reach level 30, which puts you in the 99 Club after you allocate all your upgrade points. But hold your horses; that won’t happen in 1 season. We’re almost to the playoffs on our RB’s first season, and we’re barely scratching an 82 OVR.
On the field, you’ll only control your player. So, if you’re an RB, you’ll only run your routes and take handoffs. You won’t play defense, and you’ll never throw the ball. You can always pick the plays you run, so you could just call running plays for yourself all game (but that’s not going to work very well).
Before each game
You’ll have a few things to do before every game. You might have to talk to your agent, Sosa, or your offensive/defensive coordinator. The most important things you’ll have to do are set your weekly goals and side activities. But what are the best activities and goals to set?
Set realistic goals
While it sounds like corporate jargon, setting realistic weekly goals is the best thing you can do for yourself. Some goals are out of your control, especially on defense, while others are far-fetched. You’ll always have three options: easy, medium, and hard. Each goal earns you more Rep based on the difficulty.
In the image above, our easy goal, “Rush for 50 Yards,” is pretty attainable. The medium goal, “Rush for 2 Touchdowns,” is certainly doable. But our third goal, “Get 10 yards per carry,” is borderline impossible. One lousy run could derail our rushing average, leaving plenty of Rep on the table. We’re picking the “two touchdowns” weekly goal in this situation.
You’ll also get goals periodically before each drive. The same principle applies. Pick goals within your control that are reasonably attainable. Don’t just take the easy one.
Fill your week (stamina doesn’t matter)
You’ll also pick daily activities before each game. One day will always be dedicated to practice, while the other days can earn you stat boosts for the next game(s), like +3 strength or +2 speed. Some activities earn you Cred, but if you don’t care about the Yard, avoid these in favor of stat-boosting activities.
Only pick the Cred-building activities when they have to do with Brand Awareness. That’s how you get the Nike contract. Unfortunately, that Nike contract doesn’t really do anything for your character’s OVR or on-field performance.
You have the option to go nothing, which gives you +1 stamina for the next game. But we found there’s no reason not to fill up your schedule. Most activities give you a stamina boost anyway, especially the ones before game day. We also never found stamina to be an issue. Our RB plays every snap, running routes and taking handoffs. He never gets tired, even after a busy week.
Regarding practice, it’s worth playing the drills at first to get a feel for the game. The camera angles are slightly different, and you won’t get enough preseason drives to get used to it. You can just keep repeating the drills until you feel comfortable. Then, just simulate practice every week. Trying to get gold isn’t worth the time sink for an extra 75 Rep (you’ll always earn 25 from a bronze medal).
So, the question remains: What Face of the Franchise position should you play in Madden 23? We’ve ranked each available position from our favorite to least favorite and detailed the pros and cons of each.
So far, we’ve had the most fun playing RB in Face of the Franchise mode. If you choose a team with a solid QB, you should be well on your way to the 99 Club. The gameplay is also more fun as an RB. You can run routes in the passing game and pound the rock in the running game.
Screen passes are hard to run while controlling the RB, so we avoid them. Most of the time, Patrick Mahomes throws it towards the sidelines and away from our blocking defenders.
You’ll also be an every-down back, meaning you play first, second, and third down (whereas most teams have a third-down receiving back like JD McKissic or James White pre-retirement).
You can always call for the ball in the passing game by pressing the X button (A on Xbox) while running your route. If the QB hasn’t decided yet, they’ll always throw you the ball if you call for it (even if it’s a terrible idea).
While most players will start as the QB, you’ll learn how handcuffed you are in Madden 23. The camera is tough to get used to, especially the one that puts you behind the QB’s hip. You can pull the camera back by tapping down on the D-pad, but it’s still not easy to read the field compared to standard gameplay.
But playing QB gives you the most control over every game. Since you’ll automatically start wherever you play (The Bucs will bench Brady for your 74 OVR QB), pick a team you like or a team with a playbook you enjoy running. You can’t change the playbook once you choose a team, so keep that in mind.
For example, we choose the 49ers because we like their playbook, not because they made us the best offer. We’ll touch more on that later on.
The only thing you can’t do is motion receivers pre-snap. Motion is a huge part of playing Madden 23, as it puts receivers in new positions based on the coverage. For some reason, Face of the Franchise doesn’t let you motion receivers as the QB.
You can motion yourself pre-snap when playing RB or WR. So, clearly, the mechanics exist in this game mode. Hopefully, EA fixes this, as it’s borderline detrimental to playing QB in Face of the Franchise.
Offense is clearly the better choice in Face of the Franchise mode. We had WR ranked lower until we learned that your play art doesn’t really matter. You can realistically run wherever you want on a play and then call for the ball when you’re open. Be careful, though. If the QB throws to you on their own, they’ll throw based on the designed route, not your improvised one.
Make sure you pick a team with a good QB, like the Chiefs, Bills, or Bucs, to make the most of your WR career. You can also hot route yourself (and other receivers) on every play, even when playing RB. However, the button icons won’t show up, so you’ll have to know the receiver’s name when hot routing them.
It’s also a little inconsistent when you’ll auto-catch a pass and when you’ll have to RAC, aggressive, or possession catch. We believe you’ll auto-catch when the CPU throws you the ball without you calling for it. But, if you call for it, be ready to press X, Square, or Triangle to catch the ball.
While it sounds cool on paper, defense wasn’t fun in Face of the Franchise mode. Of the two, we enjoyed playing LB more than CB, but only by a little. You’re more involved as an LB, as you’ll play the run and cover intermediate routes in the passing game.
CB was our least favorite experience. It’s almost impossible to tell when the offense runs the ball until the announcers say something. We also felt the CPU was doing most of the work in the passing game. The few times a ball did come our way, our Safety was there to break it up.
Be careful about illegal block in the back penalties
This is a quick tip but an important one. When you’re out running in the open field, and a teammate gets the ball, make sure you don’t accidentally push a defender from behind. This triggers an illegal block in the back penalty and will cost you 10 yards from the spot of the foul.
We found this most annoying when playing WR and running mid-field mesh concepts. All the players scrambled together, and we took our eyes off our character to see where the ball went. Then, we accidentally pushed someone from behind, and out came the yellow flag.
The game tells you all about salary, scheme fit, Cred, and Rep gains, but none of that really matters. Just pick your favorite NFL team or a team whose playbook you like as QB, and roll with that. You’ll always be the starter, so don’t worry about making the team or placing high on the depth chart.
Money also doesn’t matter. It’s not like you can buy cool stuff for your apartment. The only “monetary” thing that matters is Rep points since that’s how you level up your player.
The default camera in Face of the Franchise is terrible. As a QB, you can only see half of the field. As a receiver or RB, you have no idea when you’re getting the ball thrown your way. It’s not so bad on defense, but we prefer playing behind our defender for a more immersive experience.
To change the camera, tap down on the D-Pad once for a more traditional offensive camera. On defense, tap up on the D-Pad to zoom behind your player. You can’t use the traditional camera (like Franchise or MUT) on either side of the ball.
Face of the Franchise doesn’t feel like there are any consequences to your play or decision-making. Even if you throw seven picks in a game, you’ll still finish the game and start next week. Your offensive coordinator will tell you how you’re “Lighting it up out there,” and Sosa, your agent, will have some sick new deal for you.
Sadly, this takes any sense of “winning” out of Face of the Franchise mode. The game doesn’t reward you for much. For example, our RB set the single-season TD and yardage record in week 15, and all we got was a quick “congratulations” message from the in-game rating adjuster. No extra Rep, no extra upgrade points. Nothing.