Today in sports: the shiny new edition of Madden 12 arrives in stores, Vin Scully won't be leaving the Dodgers for at least another year, and Texas A&M snags a correction from The New York Times.
- Madden 12, the latest edition of the EA Sports Madden NFL video game juggernaut, goes on sale today. As usual, the new edition has been tweaked and updated to meet the standards of the most exacting football video game obsessives. Among the many, borderline imperceptible improvements: a "player degradation system" that dirties up uniforms based on the weather and playing surface, an overhaul to the "pylon and ball physics" for some reason, and added depth to preseasons in the game's franchise mode, which will please gamers who enjoy meaningless August football and be ignored by everyone else. After playing an early copy over the weekend, we thought it was just about perfect. Critics agree that it's great, but that's not stopping them from nitpicking. "I played an entire season in franchise mode and saw no blocked punts," notes Lang Whitaker in The New York Times. "Pass interference was called so infrequently, I wondered if it had been turned off in the game’s options." Yahoo Shutdown Corner blogger MJD doesn't care for the audio mix on play-by-play man Gus Johnson. "One sentence will sound like he recorded it clearly in a proper studio, and the next will sound like he smoked seven packs of Marlboro Reds and then recorded a cell phone call underwater," he tuts. "It's jarring." It also "takes a long time to navigate menu options," says USA Today's Brett Molina. "Very frustrating," he sighs. (This actually is very, very frustrating and is a huge flaw in the game's design. But at least those pylon physics have been fixed.) [CBS]
- Los Angeles Dodgers play-by-play man Vin Scully will return next year for his 63rd season as the team's broadcaster. Presumably, this means the 83-year-old living legend scored well on the performance review sheet the team sent out to season ticket holders last week. Or that the cash-strapped team burned the responses and used the flames to grill a month's worth of Dodger Dogs on the cheap. You never know. [Yahoo]
- The Philadelphia Eagles and quarterback Michael Vick has agreed to a six-year, $100 million contract extension, $40 million of which is guaranteed. As The Washington Post's Cindy Boren notes, this is the second nine-figure contract that Vick has signed since entering the NFL in 2001. In 2005, he inked a ten-year, $130 million deal with the Atlanta Falcons, but had to give up the majority of that when he went to federal prison after entering a guilty plea on charges he financed and organized a dogfighting ring. On Twitter, Wired sportswriter Erik Malinowski pointed out that the annual operating budget of the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals is $88.9 million. [The Washington Post and Erik Malinowski]
- Texas A&M University has received a correction from The New York Times following college football reporter Pete Thamel's article yesterday reporting that university president R. Bowen Loftin had sent a letter to Big 12 conference officials alerting them that the school was leaving the conference. A&M said through a university spokesman Tuesday that no letter of withdrawal had been sent, and the Times subsequently added a correction to the piece. The guts of Thamel's story, based on conversations with "two college officials with direct knowledge of the decision" remain largely unchanged--A&M's poised to withdraw from the Big 12 to join the Southeastern Conference, with formal notification, according to Thamel, "very likely on Tuesday." [The New York Times and ESPN]