Nfl 2k5

As you probably already know, this week is SB Nation’s video game week. Here at The Phinsider we are going to write a few articles inspired by some of our favorite video games of all-time. More specifically, football video games.

Yes, there’s Madden, NFL Blitz, and my personal favorite, NFL Street, but nothing compares to the greatest NFL game ever. Not even the classic Tecmo Super Bowl or the unique Mutant League Football can hold a candle to ESPN’s NFL 2K5.

For those old enough to remember, the game released a week earlier than Madden ‘05 and cost only $20. That’s right when every game on the market was $50, ESPN released their football simulation for $19.99. And until this very day, it remains the most excellent NFL video game of all-time.

(Editor’s Note: The reason I don’t call it the greatest football game of all-time is because of NCAA ‘14. To me, that is a coin-flip and a discussion for another time.)

Unfortunately, with EA renewing their exclusive license, 2K is going to have to stick to the arcade market. But that doesn’t mean someday we won’t have the opportunity to play a new NFL 2K game, and when we do, it will be glorious.

And that someday is now, kind of.

Thanks to a few Youtubevideos, TDMavens updated rosters, and the help of my tech-savvy brother in law, I now can play NFL 2K5 with updated rosters and it is beautiful.

Here’s a look at Dolphins’ QB Tua Tagovailoa throwing a dime to Allen Hurns for 6.

The great gameplay, exceptionally well-done presentation and all of the little things continue to make NFL 2K5 the premier NFL video game. And thanks to a couple of users in the 2K community, we are now able to enjoy this masterpiece 16 years later.

Oh, and who can forget the first-person game mode that was both fun and nauseating.

There was so much to like about NFL 2K5 and the fact it remains at the top of the video game totem pole to this day, is a testament to how great the game truly is.

Many will buy Madden 21 this year because it’s the only football video game on the market, myself included. But if you want to experience the best NFL video game of all time in all of it’s updated glory, this is the way.

This article was written by Josh Houtz. If you need help trying to get this to work, feel free to reach out.


ESPN NFL 2K5 (Sony PlayStation 2, 2004)

Product Information

  • Make the right drafts and trades for the right players, properly prepare for game day each week, and execute on the field; then watch coverage of your winning performance on the nation's most popular and respected sports television network. Professional football fans find a new game with a familiar name in Visual Concept's ESPN NFL 2K5. Though the direct follow-up to 2004's ESPN NFL Football, Sega has returned to it's "2K" naming scheme -- perhaps to remind sports gamers of the series' respected heritage.

    There's more new to this year's version of the game than just the name, though, as ESPN NFL 2K5 brings a number of additional features to the established football series. The game's "Maximum Tackle" system is designed to put gamers in more direct control. Defensive players can now "wrap-up" a ball carrier to slow him down (if not bring him down), or perform harder hits if their aim is true. Ball carriers still have a chance to break free, however, if they can keep the defenders from holding on or lining up a straight hit. Generally, ESPN NFL 2K5 has been designed to offer a better balance between big hits and broken tackles than the previous year's game.

    Other new gameplay features include an "Evade" move that has quarterbacks twisting and ducking to avoid sacks with a deft flick of the right analog stick. A "Virtual Identity Profile" ("V.I.P.") feature records the behavior of a human player, which can later be reloaded to influence a computer opponent's playing style. The games' "First-Person Football" mode returns, allowing players to see the action from behind the quarterback's facemask.

    Realistically, some of what determines the winners and losers on the field come Sunday afternoon now relies on all the practice and preparations made the week before. In the week leading up to a contest, gamers can review films, statistics, and other information. Once they know what they are up against, they can have a key player practice certain skills to compensate, or even give him a day off to rest up for the big show.

    Building on the previous year's presentation, NFL 2K5 flaunts its ESPN blessings with a television-style production that includes pre-game shows, post-game interviews, and even a highlight reel of games played around the league. Broadcaster personalities include SportsCenter anchor Trey Wingo, Mel Kiper Jr. to dish dirt on the drafts, Suzy Kolber reporting from the field, and Chris Berman wrapping it all up.

Product Identifiers

  • Publisher


  • eBay Product ID (ePID)


Product Key Features

  • Release Year


  • Genre


  • Platform

    Sony PlayStation 2

  • Game Name

    ESPN NFL 2K5

Additional Product Features

  • Number of Players


  • Game Name Series

    Nfl 2k Series

  • ESRB Rating


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  • Game Name Special Features

    Relive and play classic sports moments in the ESPN 25th Anniversary mode Play online and view real-time stats, buddy lists, and get friend connection updates Save your friends profile to study their moves and compete against t

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Don’t let Madden 22 fool you, ESPN NFL 2k5 is the GOAT

Madden 22 finally released their athlete(s) on Thursday.

For the second time ever, two NFL players will share the cover of (sadly) the most popular NFL video game to date. Patrick Mahomes and Tom Brady are on it this time, the first since Madden 10 when Larry Fitzgerald and Troy Polamalu were put on the cover. Hopefully soon Josh Allen of the Buffalo Bills will make it.

There is a lot to talk about with this as there is every year. Who should have been on instead? Will there be a Madden 22 curse? Both of these are worthy topics, but the one question that still isn’t asked is how Madden is running a monopoly in the gaming world.

Going back to 2005 is the last time a company other than EA Sports had the right to make an NFL video game with all of the bells and whistles. That was 2K sports, who still is surviving today with the NBA 2K series. If there’s anything that history has shown us it’s that Madden 22 will probably just be more of :

  • Recycling the same Super Bowl-winning/locker room celebration
  • “Upgrading” the graphics
  • Using the same announcers that don’t add to the game
  • The WORST glitches of all time (who could forget “His leg is rotisserie!”?)
  • And finally, neglecting franchise mode

ESPN NFL 2K5 is still better than Madden 22.

It’s been 16 years since the game was released and 2k5 is above and beyond anything that EA will make available for purchase. Madden has been riddled with infamous glitches (as noted above) and micro-transactions that have created a “pay to win” atmosphere with its “Madden Ultimate Team” mode.

On top of that, Madden took the best part of the game- the franchise mode away. It has come back a way, but it’s not like the experience you can get with 2k5. Ryan Moody is one of the best at teaching the masses the differences between the two games. Just take a look at this video here:

I implore you to go through the rest of his channel and watch the negligence of EA throughout the years. They’ve refused to listen to their fans and continue to charge exorbitant prices for the game that really doesn’t change year to year.

2k5 remains superior to Madden 22 (and all others) due to its gameplay. There’s no 16 foot jumps in the air by a no-name linebacker with one hand to make an interception. 2k5’s announcers have a great presence and a TON of funny lines during the game (especially when you’re scrambling and they tell you to “get the controller away from the dog!”).

There’s a halftime show with Chris Berman showing all of the highlights of the game, and you can even watch ESPN after your game is done to see highlights of the other games in the league.  I could go on and on about how much better a 16-year-old game is versus one that gets chewed up and spit out every year that retails for $60 or more.

Do yourself a favor and find a way to play ESPN NFL 2k5. If you really want to buy Madden 22, then that’s your discretion.  The true game experience is 2k5 and I hope all NFL gamers get to experience it.



2004 video game

ESPN NFL 2K5 is an American footballvideo gamedeveloped by Visual Concepts for the PlayStation 2 and Xboxconsoles. Published by 2K Sports and the Sega Corporation, it is the sixth installment of the NFL 2K series and the last to use official NFL licensing until an unnamed sequel is released in 2021. Gameplay is presented as a live ESPN television broadcast and features the voices and digital likenesses of multiple ESPN on-air personalities.

The game was originally released on July 20, 2004. It was the last NFL 2K game to be released before Electronic Arts (EA) signed an exclusive rights agreement with the National Football League (NFL) to make 2K's rival Madden NFL series the only officially licensed NFL game and was also the last game still being developed by Sega.


The game features a franchise mode with a SportsCenter feature hosted by Chris Berman. He outlines the games of the current week with his co-host Trey Wingo who talks about the latest injuries and free agent deals and trades during the season. Mel Kiper Jr. hosts the draft portion of the segment while Suzy Kolber reports from the sidelines. There is also weekly preparation for the coming week which allows the player to make decisions on training and preparation. The player can also create their own team deciding the team logos (over 10 are available), team name, the team's city, the team's stadium look and build, jerseys and how good the team is. It also has a feature called first-person football, which gives the player the experience on the field looking from the eyes of the players. There is also the traditional create-a-player mode.

One of the features in the game is a celebrity game involving Jamie Kennedy, Steve-O, David Arquette, Funkmaster Flex, or Carmen Electra which is initiated by a phone call from one of the aforementioned "celebrities" in the player's custom crib. The player plays against a celebrity with their own custom team of Pro Bowl players. The teams the celebrities use are The Buartville Funkmasters, Cincinnati Electra Shock, LA Dreamteam, Los Angeles Locos, and the Upper Darby Cheesesteaks. During the game, the celebrities appear in a small box and use trash-talk. If the player wins the game, they receive the team's stadium as a playable venue.

ESPN NFL 2K5 features the voices of Terry McGovern as play-by-play announcer Dan Stevens, Jay Styne as color commentator Peter O'Keefe, sideline reporter Suzy Kolber, studio host Chris Berman, Trey Wingo, and Mel Kiper Jr., with Berman appearing at the start of a player's own SportsCenter broadcast and during the loading screen for the player's own ESPN NFL Countdown pregame show, and Kolber appearing in the Player of the Game segment of the postgame show.


ESPN NFL 2K5 was the first in the 2K series priced at $19.99 the day it shipped, much lower than market leader Madden NFL at $49.99. This greatly reduced Madden sales that year; one EA Sports developer recalled that "[i]t scared the hell out of us".[1] EA reduced Madden NFL 2005's price to $29.95.



Upon release, ESPN NFL 2K5 received "universal acclaim" on both platforms according to the review aggregation website Metacritic.[16][17] Matthew Kato of Game Informer rated the game 9.5 out of 10 and summarized his positive review by calling it "the best football title there is and the only one that's a must have," a quote which was paraphrased on the front cover of the game's keep case. Andrew Reiner echoed this sentiment in the review's "Second Opinion" section, calling ESPN NFL 2K5 "the greatest football game to date."[3] Chris Carle of IGN gave the PlayStation 2 and Xbox versions a 9.3 and 9.4 out of 10, respectively, and each version was awarded the publication's "Editor's Choice." Carle praised the game's various features, particularly the VIP system, which he called, "Probably the coolest innovation ESPN NFL 2K5 has to offer."[11][12] Bro Buzz of GamePro gave the game a perfect 5 out of 5, praising the incorporation of ESPN broadcast styles within the game and noting that "the tight controls do a great job of commanding a slick array of player moves and on-the-fly scheme adjustments."[4]

Many reviews compared ESPN NFL 2K5 to Madden NFL 2005, which was released in the same year. In a direct comparison of the two games, Electronic Gaming Monthly declared Madden to be the better game, with scores of 9.5, 9.0, and 9.0, while NFL 2K5 was given scores of 8.5, 8.5, and 8.0.[2] Alex Navarro of GameSpot recommended NFL 2K5, noting superior offensive gameplay, special teams, online play, features, presentation, graphics, and sound.[6][7] Jon Robinson of IGN agreed that the graphics and presentation of NFL 2K5 were superior to Madden, yet he felt Madden was the better game due to the superior gameplay.[18] Kato opened his review by claiming, "ESPN NFL 2K5 is better than Madden NFL 2005. I say this without reservation," while Buzz stated, "Each season, Sega's ESPN NFL series has been making steady progress in its quest for video-game football stardom. This year, the design guys at Visual Concepts have turned ESPN NFL 2K5 into the most entertaining show in video-game football."


In the United States, the PlayStation 2 release of ESPN NFL 2K5 had sold 1.7 million copies and generated $33 million in revenue by July 2006, two years after its release. During the same time period, sales of NFL 2K5 reached 3 million combined units across all consoles, and it was the 23rd highest-selling game launched for either the PlayStation 2, Xbox, or GameCube.[19]


ESPN NFL 2K5 won multiple awards for the best sports game of 2004. During the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences' ninth annual Interactive Achievement Awards (now known as the D.I.C.E. Awards), ESPN NFL 2K5 won in the category Sports Simulation Game of the Year.[20] At E3 2004, it won the Best Sports Game award from GameSpot,[21] and in IGN's year-end awards, it won Best Sports Game released for the Xbox.[22] Upon release, ESPN NFL 2K5 won GameSpot's Xbox Game of the Month and PlayStation 2 Game of the Month awards,[23] and the publication later named it the year's "Best Traditional Sports Game" and "Best Budget Game" across all platforms.[24] It was also nominated for Best Sports Game across all video game systems by IGN and the Spike Video Game Awards,[25] losing in both to Madden NFL 2005. In the Satellite Awards, given annually by the International Press Academy, it was the only NFL simulation game nominated for Outstanding Sports Game, although NFL Street, a football game that does not simulate NFL gameplay, was also nominated.[26]

Since its release, numerous websites and publications have ranked ESPN NFL 2K5 as one of the greatest sports video games of all-time, listed as 44th by Bleacher Report in 2011[27] and fifth in a user-generated list on Ranker.[28] In his "Sports Video Game Rankings" compiled for ESPN, Robinson ranked the game 8th, two spots higher than Madden NFL 2005 despite Robinson's preference for Madden in his contemporary review.[29]Yardbarker included NFL 2K5 in an unordered list of the 25 best sports games of all-time, noting that, "For a brief moment, there was a true challenger to the Madden hegemony. ESPN NFL 2K5 had a different look and a slightly different game play, and people loved it." Time ranked NFL 2K5 as the 41st greatest video game of all-time regardless of genre, stating, "Sorry, Madden NFL fans, true football gaming fanatics know this is the best gridiron game ever made."[30]


In retrospective analyses, ESPN NFL 2K5 has continued to receive favorable comparisons to the Madden NFL series and is noted for its depth that has yet to be matched in subsequent years. In 2014, Owen S. Good of Polygon wrote that NFL 2K5 was "sports video gaming's King Arthur, eternally populist, noble and heroic, champion of an age long ago enough to make its triumphs soar and its shortcomings recede to nothingness". Good went on to state that EA's Madden developers "for 10 years have been haunted by NFL 2K5 — in forums, in comments, in social media — that nothing they do could be as good as something that by now really isn't a video game, but a mythological ideal that grows more romantic with every year".[31] A 2016 Game Informer retrospective by Matthew Kato praised the variety of features in the game, which was noted as "a far cry from the stark decline that followed in EA's NFL titles." Kato concluded by stating, "The title is more than just a novelty or a case of its reputation exceeding its value, a rare feat for the genre in my eyes."

EA exclusive licensing controversy[edit]

In December 2004 EA Sports acquired an exclusive rights agreement with the NFL and NFLPA to be the sole creator of NFL video games.[32]

In December 2010, a U.S. district court judge certified a class action anti-trust lawsuit against Electronic Arts for anti-competitive practices to proceed.[33] Electronic Arts settled the class action suit in July 2012 for $27 million (equivalent to about $30M in 2020), and retained its exclusive NFL license.[34][35]


  1. ^Bissell, Tom (January 17, 2012). "Kickoff: Madden NFL and the Future of Video Game Sports". ESPN Internet Ventures, LLC. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  2. ^ abcEGM staff (September 2004). "ESPN NFL 2K5". Electronic Gaming Monthly. No. 182. Ziff Davis. p. 94.
  3. ^ abcKato, Matthew (September 2004). "ESPN NFL 2K5". Game Informer. No. 137. GameStop. p. 100. Archived from the original on May 6, 2008. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  4. ^ abcBro Buzz (August 9, 2004). "ESPN NFL 2K5". GamePro. IDG Entertainment. Archived from the original on February 12, 2005. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  5. ^ abDodson, Joe (July 28, 2004). "ESPN NFL 2K5 Review". GameRevolution. CraveOnline. Archived from the original on September 11, 2015. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  6. ^ abNavarro, Alex (July 21, 2004). "ESPN NFL 2K5 Review (PS2)". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  7. ^ abNavarro, Alex (July 21, 2004). "ESPN NFL 2K5 Review (Xbox)". GameSpot. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  8. ^ abTuttle, Will (July 30, 2004). "GameSpy: ESPN NFL 2K5". GameSpy. IGN Entertainment. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  9. ^Knutson, Michael (August 10, 2004). "ESPN NFL 2K5 - PS2 - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on December 30, 2008. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  10. ^Surette, Tim (August 3, 2004). "ESPN NFL 2K5 - XB - Review". GameZone. Archived from the original on October 7, 2008. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  11. ^ abCarle, Chris (July 16, 2004). "ESPN NFL 2K5 (PS2)". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  12. ^ abCarle, Chris (July 16, 2004). "ESPN NFL 2K5 (Xbox)". IGN. Ziff Davis. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  13. ^"ESPN NFL 2K5". Official U.S. PlayStation Magazine. No. 84. Ziff Davis. September 2004. p. 93.
  14. ^"ESPN NFL 2K5". Official Xbox Magazine. Imagine Media. September 2004. p. 83.
  15. ^ abPorter, Alex (July 20, 2004). "ESPN NFL 2K5". Maxim. Biglari Holdings. Archived from the original on August 4, 2004. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  16. ^ ab"ESPN NFL 2K5 for PlayStation 2 Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  17. ^ ab"ESPN NFL 2K5 for Xbox Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved April 29, 2020.
  18. ^Robinson, Jon (August 5, 2004). "Madden NFL 2005". IGN. IGN. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  19. ^Campbell, Colin; Keiser, Joe (July 29, 2006). "The Top 100 Games of the 21st Century". Next Generation. Future US. Archived from the original on October 28, 2007.
  20. ^"2005 8th Annual Interactive Achievement Awards". Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Retrieved July 13, 2011.
  21. ^"ESPN Videogames Announces Tremendous Value for ESPN NFL 2K5; Critic's Choice Game Boasts Groundbreaking New Features at a Must-Have Price". Business Wire. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  22. ^"Xbox Sports Game - Best of 2004". IGN. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  23. ^Staff (August 10, 2004). "GameSpot's Month in Review for July 2004". GameSpot. Archived from the original on April 14, 2005.
  24. ^The GameSpot Editors (January 5, 2005). "Best and Worst of 2004". GameSpot. Archived from the original on March 7, 2005.
  25. ^Van Autrijve, Rainier (November 16, 2004). "Video Game Awards 2004 Categories and Nominees". GameSpy. IGN. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  26. ^"Satellite Awards (2005)". IMDb. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  27. ^Pumerantz, Zack (November 7, 2011). "The 50 Best Sports Video Games of All-Time". Bleacher Report. Bleacher Report. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  28. ^"The Best Sports Games: List of the Top Sports Games Ever Made". Ranker. April 2, 2020. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  29. ^Robinson, Jon (May 9, 2012). "Jon Robinson ranks the best sports video games of all-time". ESPN. ESPN. Retrieved May 6, 2020.
  30. ^Fitzpatrick, Alex; Pullen, John Patrick; Raab, Josh; Grossman, Lev; Eadicicco, Lisa; Peckham, Matt; Vella, Matt (August 23, 2016). "The 50 Best Video Games of All Time". TIME. Time Inc. Retrieved September 19, 2016.
  31. ^Good, Owen S. (July 20, 2014). "NFL 2K5 — sports gaming's King Arthur — launched 10 years ago today". Vox Media. Retrieved January 25, 2015.
  32. ^Cobbs, Chris (December 15, 2004). "Electronic Arts Scores NFL Exclusive". Orlando Sentinel. Tribune Publishing. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  33. ^Pigna, Kris (December 23, 2010). "Judge Allows Madden "Price Fixing" Lawsuit to Proceed". Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on July 26, 2012. Retrieved February 26, 2012.
  34. ^Albanesius, Chloe (July 23, 2012). "EA Settles Football Game Class-Action Suit for $27 Million". PC Magazine. Ziff Davis. Archived from the original on July 27, 2012. Retrieved April 28, 2020.
  35. ^Good, Owen S. (April 16, 2013). "The Madden Class-Action Settlement Triples Its Payout to Gamers". Kotaku. Gizmodo Media Group. Retrieved March 6, 2015.

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