Madden NFL 09 is another yearly update in the long-running football series. With the main focus of the series having changed to the next-gen versions, the version for PS2 and Xbox targets new and casual players by offering new simpler controlling options, while re-using and enhancing the modes seen in previous installments.
Returning modes include Play Now, Franchise, Superstar, Fantasy Challenge and Skill Drills. The new Family Play option allows quick exhibition games with simplified controls and choice of plays. A new control option for experienced players is the QB Avoidance Stick, allowing quarterbacks to avoid defenders through analog stick movements. The Super Sim feature allows players to fast-forward through the next play, change of possession, quarter or even to the end of the game. Franchise mode now features the Franchise Decades system, in which the player's progress throughout the seasons is indicated by a numerical score. The Fantasy Challenge mode adds three more teams to beat.