The 8 Best PC Football Games for PC to Buy in 2018

Call the shots or play for your favorite football team

Our editors independently research, test, and recommend the best products; you can learn more about our review process here. We may receive commissions on purchases made from our chosen links.

When it comes to getting great football video games, the PC hasn’t been the most popular platform for developers in recent years. EA took a long hiatus from launching Madden games on the PC, and few major football games have been made by any other studios. But, with some digging, PC gamers aren’t left entirely on the sidelines.

Whether you want a PC football game that’s all about the team simulation, shot-calling from the sideline, or actually controlling players on the field, there’s still something for you. There are even some great games that put an interesting spin on football you just might love. Need some advice on which title to play next? Read on for the best PC football games to pick up today.

Our Top Picks

Best Overall: Madden NFL 19

Madden 19

Courtesy of Amazon

EA has the NFL market cornered with its Madden NFL series, and Madden NFL 19 is the latest in the series. This is also the first time in years that EA has released a Madden NFL game on the PC. If you’ve been itching for a top-quality football game to play on PC, this is one.

When it comes to having the best graphics to show off the look of each player and having the best animations to make the football action feel as real as possible, Madden NFL 19 will take the cake compared to the other football games available on PC.

Madden NFL 19 gives you the option of playing against other gamers online, playing against friends on the same screen or just taking on the computer-controlled teams. You can go from the pre-season straight through to the Super Bowl playing as your favorite teams from the NFL or draft and trade until you get your ideal team.

For a visually stunning football game to play online and with friends, this is the best pick.

Best Non-Madden: Axis Football 2017

Axis Football 17

Courtesy of Steam

Axis Football is one of the few ongoing football game series for PC with full 3D gameplay akin to what EA makes for its Madden series. Axis Football 2017 is the latest installment, and though it’s a far cry from the visual quality and animation offered by Madden on EA’s larger budget, it’s still a complete and well-rounded football game for PC.

Axis Football 2017 has most of what you’d expect from a football game, with drafting, seasons, different weather conditions and unique teams and stadiums. You won’t see real NFL teams in the game, but modding is available to design your own teams, with the option to even edit their uniforms.

You can come at this game how you like: play with a keyboard or controller, play against AI or friends in local multiplayer, control the players on the field, call the plays as the coach, or just set up the matches and watch the simulated game to see how it unfolds.

Even if it’s not as pretty as other titles, it’s a solid effort by a small publisher, and its reduced price makes it a great budget pick.

Best Arcade: Mutant Football League

Mutant Football League

Courtesy of Microsoft Store

If you loved the old-school NFL Blitz game with all its crazy arcade action full of tackling and after-the-whistle hits, then Mutant Football League is going to be right up your alley. It features over-the-top gameplay as mutants, robots, orcs, the undead and more battle it out for football glory.

In Mutant Football League, it’s not just scoring points that counts, as you can get brutal with your opponents, injuring and even killing opposing players. And, the ways you can do so are as zany as the characters. The game gives players “Dirty Tricks” like bribing the ref or equipping special weapons to get an edge on the other team.

Mutant Football League includes 18 teams and 18 football fields full of traps and obstacles to keep things interesting. The game supports online multiplayer for two players or local multiplayer for four players, making it a great football party game for PC. It also lets you choose from playing a single game, playoffs, or a full season ending with the Mayhem Bowl.

For arcadey football fun, Mutant Football League is the best pick.

Best Strategy Simulator: Pro Strategy Football 2018

Pro Strategy Football 2018

Courtesy of Steam

Pro Strategy Football 2018 is an awesome little football simulator. While it might not have any real NFL teams in the game, you can fully customize and rename teams and players to create whatever football team you want. You can also import and export teams.

This is nothing like Madden, but instead sees you set up your team, pick out a coach, manage the draft of new players and then simulate the games themselves. The game plays out the simulations in delightful old-school graphics, so you can watch as the game unfolds without needing an overly powerful PC to do so.

But, you’re not forced to just sit on the sidelines and watch after you’ve set up your team. A deep system for calling your team’s plays lets you decide what the best move is in each situation. You can check in on your players’ stats, see if the opposing defense is tired and try to make the best choice to move the ball forward.

For a deep simulation with fun retro visuals, check out Pro Strategy Football 2018.

Best Football Management: Front Office Football 8

Front Office Football 8

Courtesy of Steam

Don’t expect fancy graphics in Front Office Football 8. This is a game about off-the-field management, and if that’s a part of football games you like, then there’s something here for you.

In Front Office Football 8, you play a general manager for the football team of your choice. You’ll pick your team through trades, free agency and an amateur draft. With your team in place, you can also come up with game plans, playbooks and depth charts. If you want, you can even call plays during the simulated games.

But, you have more to worry about than just how your team performs, as you’ll also manage things like ticket prices and stadium construction and upgrade plans to ensure you have a financially strong franchise. For a deep team management simulation, check this one out.

Best Old-School Madden: Madden NFL 2005

If you feel like going back into the history of Madden NFL games that came out for the PC, Madden NFL 2005 is the best one. Its graphics will probably feel dated, and the team rosters won’t exactly match the current NFL rosters, but there’s still a fun game in there.

Madden NFL 2005 introduced the hit stick, giving players a way to decide how they make a tackle. This along with a number of other enhancements to how you control the defense made it a great game, and the Franchise Mode can absorb you in the management of your team.

If you need a couple extra pros about this old game, keep in mind that the age of the rosters mean you may get to play with now-retired players who aren’t going to show up in newer games, and that most modern Windows PCs should have an easy time handling the graphical demands of Madden NFL 2005.

Runner-Up, Best Old-School Madden: Madden NFL 2008

Madden 08

Courtesy of Amazon

If you don’t want to go as far back as 2005 for another great Madden game and aren’t running a powerful gaming computer to play Madden NFL 19, then Madden NFL 2008 may be a great pick for you.

In it, you can take control of the action at all levels. You can control any position on the field and try to make a star in the Pro Football Hall of Fame. And, you can also control the big picture in the Front Office Mode, which sees you manage the franchise, from drafting players and hiring coaches to handling your stadium.

Whether you want to play a quick game, run a franchise, create a player and follow their career or even just play some mini-games, Madden NFL 2008 has something on offer.

Best for Cuteness Factor: Backyard Football 2002

Backyard Football 2002 is a classic. It’s kid-friendly and pits incredibly cute child versions of several pro football players in friendly matches of football against one another and a whole host of other neighborhood kids. You can also make your own player join in the fun.

This game might be dated, but there’s still plenty to love. The cartoonish graphics have their own special appeal, especially if you’re a fan of old-school game graphics. And, with voiced announcers, there’s an added bit of character and charm to everything that happens on the field.

Despite its age and kiddy nature, it still plays like a proper football game. You’ll call the plays and control the action. It may take a little finagling to get the game running on a modern Windows PC, but Windows Compatibility Mode should be able to help.