The above photo is of former Alabama product Simuel Geathers, currently quarterbacking the undefeated 2015 Dallas Cowboys in their march to Super Bowl 50. If you don’t remember Geathers from Alabama, well, don’t bother calling yourself a college football fan. You’re a fraud and everyone can see right through you, including your closest friends.
Kidding! Simuel Geathers doesn’t exist. He was invented by my friend Brad’s "Madden 2015" game, and naturally, he has a ridiculously “Madden”-ish name.
But what does that mean, exactly? Is there actually a formula for a "Madden" name?
Yes. The following is the very unofficial "Madden" name formula, by my best judgment from years of having drafted running backs named something like “Calvin Thursday.” In general, any "Madden" game creates its player names based on one (or a combination) of the following four options:
1. Unconscionable first name followed by extremely pronounceable last name
Real-life NFL example: Sen’Derrick Marks
2. Over-the-top simple name, usually for special teams players
Real-life NFL example: Pat O’Donnell
3. Wealthy bro name, A.K.A. two last names
Real-life NFL example: Weston Richburg
4. Most importantly and prominently, a name that just SOUNDS like an NFL player
Real-life NFL example: Cornelius Washington
IMPORTANT NOTE: This does NOT mean that the more complicated the name, the more “Madden” it is. Barkevious Mingo, Vontaze Burfict and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix? Nope. There is such a thing as too complicated, and they qualify. Let’s not just take for granted that some computer could spit out a name as magnificent as Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
As with Marks, O’Donnell, Richburg and Washington, there are so many excellent real-life examples. Excluding them, here is my best effort at a top 10:
10. A.J. Hawk
It’s simple and short, but someone named “A.J. Hawk” is never growing up to be a claims adjuster. You can't think of a better NFL linebacker name, even if you're a computer with endless names at your disposal.
9. Shaquille Evans
It must be weird for Shaq Evans knowing that he was without question named after Shaquille O’Neal.
8. Stevenson Sylvester
In "Madden" circles, the two last name rule is important because announcer Jim Nantz needs to have said your last name already at some point. Again, that’s why you can’t just flippantly assume T.J. A.J. R.J. Backslashinfourth V works. If it’s too extreme for Jim Nantz, it’s too extreme for us.
7. Odell Beckham, Jr.
"Madden" LOVES making up names with suffixes. Hopefully Steve Smith Sr. has inspired the game to start throwing in some “Seniors.” I'd would be honored to one day draft Calvin Thursday, Sr.
6. Ray-Ray Armstrong
The crazy thing about Ray-Ray Armstrong is he was born, he was given the name “Ray-Ray Armstrong” and he was immediately drafted into the NFL and stashed on a roster for 20 years.
5. King Dunlap
If King Dunlap had a suffix with his name, he would have easily been #1 on this list. Sorry, King Dunlap, but you just don’t measure up to King Dunlap the 7th.
4. Junior Hemingway
The “Junior” here is so huge.
3. O’Brien Schofield
Would a player named “Schofield O’Brien” have qualified for this list? Who am I to say? It’s a question that will echo through time forever.
2. Cecil Shorts, III
This name sounds like a popular actor from the early '90s. I want a movie poster with Cecil Shorts, III and Antonio Sabato, Jr. at the top.
1. Julius Peppers
The consummate "Madden" name, and arguably just the consummate name, period. I’d let Dr. Julius Peppers operate on my child, and so would you.
ALSO RECEIVING VOTES: Will Hill, D’Brickashaw Ferguson, Shamarko Thomas, and Matt Bryant.