Unveiling the Accuracy of Madden Simulations in Predicting the Super Bowl

Super Bowl LVIII week is upon us, as we’re merely days away from the showdown between the Kansas City Chiefs and San Francisco 49ers. For a couple of decades now, we’ve had Super Bowl simulations played out via EA Sports’ John Madden Football video game. It’s been a crapshoot, in large part, with some years getting it right and others wrong. One year the simulation was right on the money predicting the winner and final score correctly. Looking at this year’s version (CBS Sports’ simulation), the Super Bowl is predicted to be what most would call a bland, seemingly boring game. They’ve got the 49ers winning their sixth Vince Lombardi trophy — tying them with the Steelers and Patriots for most of all time — by a score of 10-6. For Niners fans, this gives hope especially since the Chiefs beat them four years ago on Super Bowl Sunday. Any chance for revenge will always be welcomed by fanatics with open arms. Before we go further, here is a year-by-year look at how the Madden predictions fared:

Super Bowl 57
Madden prediction: Eagles 31, Chiefs 17
Real outcome: Chiefs 38, Eagles 35

Super Bowl 56
Madden prediction: Bengals 24, Rams 21
Real outcome: Rams 23, Bengals 20

Super Bowl 55
Madden prediction: Chiefs 37, Bucs 27
Real outcome: Bucs 31, Chiefs 9

Super Bowl 54
Madden prediction: Chiefs 35, 49ers 31
Real outcome: Chiefs 21, 49ers 20

Super Bowl 53
Madden prediction: Rams 30, Patriots 27
Real outcome: Patriots 13, Rams 3

Super Bowl 52
Madden prediction: Patriots 24, Eagles 20

Super Bowl 51
Madden prediction: Patriots 27, Falcons 24
Real outcome: Patriots 34, Falcons 28

Super Bowl 50
Madden prediction: Panthers 24, Broncos 20
Real outcome: Broncos 24, Panthers 10

Super Bowl 49
Madden prediction: Patriots 28, Seahawks 24
Real outcome: Patriots 28, Seahawks 24

Super Bowl 48
Madden prediction: Broncos 31, Seahawks 28
Real outcome: Seahawks 43, Broncos 8

Super Bowl 47
Madden prediction: Ravens 27, 49ers 24
Real outcome: Ravens 34, 49ers 31

Super Bowl 46
Madden prediction: Giants 27, Patriots 24
Real outcome: Giants 21, Patriots 17

Super Bowl 45
Madden prediction: Steelers 24, Packers 20
Real outcome: Packers 31, Steelers 25

Super Bowl 44
Madden prediction: Saints 35, Colts 31
Real outcome: Saints 31, Colts 17

Super Bowl 43
Madden prediction: Steelers 28, Cardinals 24
Real outcome: Steelers 27, Cardinals 23

Super Bowl 42
Madden prediction: Patriots 38, Giants 30
Real outcome: Giants 17, Patriots 14

Super Bowl 41
Madden prediction: Colts 38, Bears 27
Real outcome: Colts 29, Bears 17

Super Bowl 40
Madden prediction: Steelers 24, Seahawks 19
Real outcome: Steelers 21, Seahawks 10

Super Bowl 39
Madden prediction: Patriots 47, Eagles 31
Real outcome: Patriots 24, Eagles 21

Super Bowl 38
Madden prediction: Patriots 23, Panthers 20
Real outcome: Patriots 32, Panthers 29

But wait, before you begin the celebration, you should know that since 2004, EA Sports’ simulation has been correct just over half the time. They’ve correctly predicted 11 of the last 20 Super Bowl winners. Then there’s the one they got right on the money in Super Bowl XLIX, where the game predicted New England over Seattle, 28-24. That scenario alone lends itself to conspiracy theories, but this isn’t the time or place for that discussion. On the other hand, when we look at CBS Sports Madden Super Bowl picks over the past few years, they’re undefeated. Their simulator had the Chiefs, Rams, and Buccaneers going over. So, for those fans who like to pick and choose, go with CBS Sports if you’re a fan in the Bay Area.

However, I’m sure most would love to see a much higher score than 10-6. A 16-point total doesn’t really scream exciting. The last Super Bowl with that little combined scoring was LIII. The Patriots beat the Rams, 13-3 in 2019. In this day and age, it’s rare to find anyone who enjoys such a low-scoring game. Especially since the NFL rigged the rules to ensure more scoring. If this CBS Sports simulation plays out in real life, it would tie that Patriots-Rams game for the lowest-scoring Super Bowl in league history. Ultimately, no matter which team you’re rooting for, 49ers or Chiefs, everyone is hoping Madden got the score wrong this time around.