The Yard Invitational a unique Madden NFL Tournament

Madden NFL’s esport is about to add something new to its repertoire – the first ever team-up event! The Yard Invitational brings 2v2 and 3v3 competitions in the Yard mode that was added last summer, when Madden NFL 21 was released.

If you’re not familiar, this backyard-football mode was the first chance players had to team up in what was previously a 1v1 competition. This was fairly unusual – most major esports feature team play of some sort, and even sports-based esports like F1 racing feature teams of individual racers. This is pretty popular, and all the top esports in the world are team-based as well.

Yard Invitational

Madden NFL

The Yard

The play mode allows players to either play as themselves or as a created avatar, rather than as a ‘real’ athlete – in other words, they can load out and swap skills according to what matches their play style, rather than being ‘stuck’ with a fixed setup based on a real-life player or team.

Matt Marcou, an EA developer that worked on the Madden series said: “This could be a meta-defining moment, right? Where it shapes the gameplay, in the mode, because of how some of the best and most brilliant minds of Madden are applying themselves when the stakes are the highest, right?”

We have to agree – it COULD be, but if even someone involved in the project isn’t quite sure, then neither are we.

The details of the competition

Unfortunately, it’s not as easy as ‘team-play = success&popularity’. This is pretty obvious when you consider how the Yard Invitational is being received on social media. That is to say… not well.

This is despite the pretty awesome player line-up that’ll be part of the event. There will be four team Captains (Yoboy Pizza, Dockery, Kris London, and Erin Ashley Simon) that will draft from, a total of eight 2-player teams, to make up the overall competing teams for the competition. 16 pro players are participating in the weekend event.

While there are definitely some awesome players in the mix, people are less than impressed.


If despite the negative reactions you’ve decided to give this a look, you can do so on the official Twitch and YouTube channels for the game, where you can watch talent like JoelCP, Drini, Henry, Pavan, YoungKiv, Wesley, Millz, CleffTheGod, Young Tony, Stiff, Kmac, Problem, Fancy, JWall, Noah and JonBeast, in addition to the team captains of course.

Popular or not the Yard mode is here to stay… and for what it’s worth, an innovative new play mode might just be the right thing to shake off a lot of the lockdown boredom that people are still suffering from. Furthermore, it allows the players to showcase their talent in a so-far unique way… and for what it’s worth, even if the Yard Invitational is a fail, the idea of multiplayer competitions might still be a positive development within the Madden esport.

Might be – if the Twitter feeds of this competition is anything to go by, it might just NOT be, though.

In any case, a fresh take on Madden NLF is definitely welcome if EA Games wants to evolve the potential esports applications of the title. Team games and more interesting than individual competitions for esports betting by a large margin.

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