My 2003 playbook was a bit light on running plays, focusing more on the passing game. Well no more. In 2004 (and 2005) smash-mouth football is back in vogue, and nothing says smash-mouth like running out of a Wishbone formation. While the traditional Wishbone with three backs, a tight end and a single wide receiver is a strong formation suited to power running, I took things one step further and replaced the split receiver with a second tight end. This makes the formation balanced for running equally well to either side. Wishbone-Big has quickly become my favorite formation for converting 3rd and short, powering across the goal line, and grinding out the clock.


College football fans may see Wishbone-Big as limited because Madden does not allow for the creation of option plays like it is normally used for. While this is true, it is still an extremely versatile running formation with three possible ball carriers and three combinations of two lead blockers. Having multiple lead blockers helps compensate for what is in my mind one of the bigger deficiencies in Madden play design, which is the small number of run blocking techniques. Only being able to block straight ahead or pull to either side with linemen or tight ends lined up next to the tackles, and not angle block, hook block or zone block, makes it difficult to get really creative or innovative with running plays, especially to the inside. Backfield blockers are much more flexible in Madden and open up a lot of opportunities.

Although Wishbone-Big is a balanced formation, I decided to make the right side slightly more dominant by putting both the #1 tight and and halfback on the right side with the #2's on the left. this does not make a big difference, as both halfbacks can run successfully and receive lead blocks to either side. Additionally, for many teams the top TE is a better receiver than blocker, eliminating any slight advantage on the right side. Go with whatever looks best for your favorite teams.


Wishbone-Big - HB Lead Smash

HB Lead Smash

The FB and left HB throw straight-ahead lead blocks while the right HB takes a handoff and picks his way through the wreckage. A combination of power and finesse, the play goes North-South as drawn up but allows the halfback to use his vision to cut to the hole.

Wishbone-Big - FB Slam

FB Slam

A change-up to the traditional lead runs used in the Wishbone. The FB takes the quick handoff and plunges into the line with the halfbacks providing extra push on both sides.

Wishbone-Big - TE Choice

TE Choice

One of my favorite passing plays at the goal line. Both tight ends runs short curl routes while the halfbacks swing to the outside. Easy to read, easy to score with.

Wishbone-Big - Power Off Tackle

Power Off Tackle

One of the best power running plays I've developed. The FB and left RB provide lead blocks behind the left TE which string out the defense. Defenders expecting a power run up the middle will be trapped inside as the ball carrier strides to the outside.

Wishbone-Big - Power Stretch

Power Stretch

This one gets the #2 HB involved. Technically similar to HB Lead Smash, Power Stretch is run with a one cut and go, slashing, cutback style. A nice fit for 3rd down style backs. Also well suited for impatient, decisive runners who never hesitate in the backfield.

Contact Arkaein with any comments or questions regarding the Monstrous Madden Playbook.