EA has just acquired the exclusive rights to the NFL for video games. The deal, which is with both the NFL and the NFLPA, means that only EA games will get to feature actual NFL players for the next 5 years. This is the effective end of SEGA's ESPN NFL 2K franchise, which was this year actually competing with EA's Madden release, thanks to a lower price point and gameplay that actually was better than Madden for a lot of gamers (and gaming press).
EA has done an end run around SEGA (and ESPN) by doing this. Without trying to make a better game. For the next 5 years, if you want to play as the Manning brothers, Mike Vick or The New England Patriots, you'll have to boot up an old game, or buy EA's newest version, which will cost a bundle, guaranteed. They will have no incentive to innovate as there is effectively zero competition, since most gamers do not want to play with generic teams and rosters, no matter how good the actual gameplay is.
The NFL is also to blame for this--EA is not the sole rat in this pack. I guess they want games to rival NFL ticket prices, for that "authentic" experience.
EA, the NFL and the NFLPA all get spots in hell (link coming soon) for this.