This isn’t the most difficult throw. It’s just a hitch route against an off corner, but we see Rosen ready to throw right when he finishes his five-step drop. This hitch is his first read, and he likes the matchup. If not, he could finish his drop and come back to the top side of the screen. If we can throw to our primary receiver, why not, right?
If we can’t, we have to reset our eyes and our feet and look elsewhee. Here, you see the same five-step drop, with Rosen looking at his backside receiver. The coverage is different, so he doesn’t want to throw there. There’s a press corner with a weak safety lurking over top, so instead, when he finishes his drop, he shifts his eyes to the strong side, hitching his feet forward to align himself. Another accurate throw in the seam right off that hitch step.
There have been instances where players have success in the season in which they’re on the cover. Adrian Peterson, who was the face of Madden 25 (which would have been Madden 14) rushed for 1,266 yards and was third in the league with 10 rushing touchdowns.
Eddie George ran for a career-high 1,509 yards and had 16 total touchdowns, leading the Titans to a Super Bowl that season before losing to the St. Louis Rams and Kurt Warner. Odell Beckham Jr. also had a big year after his Madden 16 appearance, with 13 touchdown receptions and 1,450 yards.
Arguably nobody had better seasons than Richard Sherman and Calvin Johnson. Sherman, who was on Madden 15, was a first-team All-Pro, and was the least-targeted corner in the NFL. Johnson, who appeared on Madden 13 set the NFL record for receiving yardage in a season with 1,964.
So while it’s a curse for some, it’s a gift for others. Unfortunately for Gronk, it was the former.