One of the best experiences you can have in Madden is being a part of a well run online franchise. Unfortunately, it can be really difficult to find a league that is a good fit for you and doesn’t fold within the first few weeks.

Since we started Madden School back in Madden 08, we’ve seen all sorts of leagues come and go. The ones that stand the test of time have some things in common.

So today we’ve put together some of our best tips for joining a good online franchise in Madden 21.

Know Where To Find A League

There are a lot of really well run leagues out there, you just have to know where to find them. You don’t want to be dependant on that random guy from your online friends list to tell you about an online franchise. There are 2 excellent places to find Madden franchises: The Madden Subreddit and the Madden Franchise Facebook group.

Every day in both of those places, you will see hundreds of advertisements for online franchises. You can talk to the commissioners and see if the league will be a good fit for you.

Vet The League Before You Join

Once you know where to find leagues, you have to properly vet them. Not every league advertising is a high quality league you want to join.

Most people ask only the same few questions before they join like:

  • What console is the league on?
  • Is it Sim or Competitive?
  • All-Pro or All-Madden?

Those are good and worthy questions, but those should just be the beginning of what you ask. Other really good questions to include are:

  • How many years has the league been around?
  • What do you use to communicate?
  • How many users are in the league right now?
  • What season are you currently in?
  • What does the roster look like for the team I might take?
  • What are the league rules like?

These are all questions you should ask before you even seriously consider joining.

Our Recommendations For Which Leagues To Join

We don’t have specific leagues we vouch for but we’ve seen a lot of different leagues come and go in our 12 years in the Madden community.

Here are a few recommendations as well as some pittfalls to avoid.

Don’t join a league that is less than half full. If you ask the commissioner how many teams are filled in the league and he says something like, “Only 11 but we should be full in a week or 2” that league will not make it past week 8 of season 1.

Stay away from leagues that brand themselves, “Sim leagues” but don’t have detailed rules to back them up. There is absolutely nothing wrong with Sim leagues but the word “Sim” means wildly different things to different players.

Some examples of rules found in “Sim leagues” in the past are:

  • No blitzing more than 5 players
  • Your tight end cannot be your leading receiver
  • No motioning players
  • No audibles
  • No cheese plays
  • No fullback dives

Those are all real rules in real franchises. And if they work for you, that is great but the concept of “Sim” style rules is outdated and ridiculous so ignore that word and look into what the rules themselves say.

The best Madden leagues have minimal yet firm rules and a commissioner who communicates clearly.

Pro Tip For Madden 21

Most people want to join leagues that are just starting up. I get it, you don’t want to take over someone else’s team in season 7 but it is important to avoid the temptation of joining a newly formed league. 95% of them don’t make it to the first offseason.

However, the league that is in season 7 is the one that lasted the test of time. If they are in season 7, you know that league is well run and efficient. That means you got a league full of users who have deemed the league fun, fair, and well run. That is the league you want to join.

It is true, you will likely get stuck with a subpar roster for a little but you will have your foot in the door to be on the initial list of 32 owners when Madden 21 drops.

A lot of these leagues have been around for 5-10 years. These leagues usually have a couple openings this late in the Madden season. If you join them, are a good member, and play all your games, you are just about guaranteed to be invited back to the league in Madden 21.

What tips do you have for finding great Madden leagues? Let us know in the comments.