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Twitch Prime’s latest freebie mends a Hall of Famer’s beef with EA

Jim Brown is in Madden, for real this time

50th Annual San Francisco International Film Festival - Film Society Awards Night
Jim Brown, hall-of-fame running back and the NFL’s first Hollywood star
Photo by Albert Chau/FilmMagic
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Twitch Prime’s latest loot freebie delivers movie star, lacrosse standout and Syracuse University alumnus Jim Brown to your Madden NFL 20 Ultimate Team roster. This is noteworthy because only three years ago did he and Electronic Arts settle a lawsuit over the unauthorized use of his likeness in Madden NFL 09.

Brown’s legal action was somewhat related to the mess that ended the NCAA Football series. In the days before Ultimate Team, Madden would include unlockable classic NFL teams from yesteryear, but “scrambled” the rosters the way EA’s college game did. So Brown showed up for the 1964 Cleveland Browns as “RB#32.” Officially but unofficially a part of the video game, in other words.

Brown alleged that EA’s licensing team actually approached him about formalizing his appearance in the game, but the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement. Then, lo and behold, a player with his same physical attributes appeared in the game anyway. His original lawsuit in federal court was dismissed, but he appealed, and in 2016 he and EA settled up.

If you’re not familiar with Jim Brown, he was basically Bo Jackson for your dad’s (or granddad’s) generation. Brown was an NFL all-pro in nine of his 10 seasons for the Cleveland Browns, and in 1963 became the first player to gain more than 2,000 yards from the line of scrimmage in a single season. Brown did so against a 14-game schedule (it’s 16 today). The next year, he and Cleveland won the NFL Championship — yes, such a thing happened within our nation’s living memory — destroying Baltimore 27-0.

Brown retired from pro football in the summer of 1965, when he was in London filming The Dirty Dozen with Telly Savalas. He went on to a 30-year acting career that included roles in several 1970s blaxploitation flicks, NBC primetime series like The A-Team and Knight Rider, and most notably Keenan Ivory Wayans’ 1988 breakout hit I’m Gonna Git You Sucka, in which he and Isaac Hayes run a rib joint.

As a running back, Brown combined ferocious straight-ahead power with exceptional breakaway speed, just like Jackson. In Madden NFL 20, players will get him with the “freight train” x-factor trait, which means he’ll run over someone in front of him. The bottom line, Jim Brown is finally, legitimately in a video game, and we can feel good about trucking the hell out of a linebacker with him.

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