Zac “ZAN” Neal has been heavily involved in the Madden community since Madden 08. Madden 22 will mark his 14th year of playing Madden at a high level and bringing his teachings to the community.
"I've always taken a very scientific approach to playing and understanding Madden – relying on strengths from my education in learning how to isolate variables and view things from a scientific perspective.
When I started playing Madden competitively, it was during a lull in the “Madden Challenge” circuit between the MLG era and the MCS era. There were only two majors (Madden 12 & 13, one big tournament each year) so there wasn't a widely publicized circuit outside the underground scene.
This is when I turned more towards teaching the game to players rather than focusing on competing myself. Being able to finish Top 16 in Madden 12 and 13 at the only events of the year was a major motivator towards stepping into Madden content as a “strategy expert” rather than focusing on competing. With a small YouTube channel, I grew while creating strategy videos part-time while going to school. This resulted into being invited into EA's Game Changer Program – which is essentially a beta testing & feedback program to help improve the game each year. From there, I was extended a job offer to work for Muthead as a strategy expert, eSports Program Manager, and commentator to help build their “Friday Night Football” program which stands today as a major cornerstone of the competitive Madden community.
I've always felt like I could be a more valuable asset to the community as a teacher of the game. I remember how difficult it was to break into the scene, find lab partners, and bounce ideas off one another to improve my game. I know this problem still exists for many players today in our community, so I decided to start Gridiron to help do much of the hard work for players out there that are looking to take the next step – whether you are a casual player looking for a better understanding of Madden, or an advanced player looking to break into the competitive scene and play for the big money!"
Bachelor's in Science | University of Illinois in Biology
Master's in Molecular Biology, Microbiology & Biochemistry | Southern Illinois University School of Medicine
Co-Author of Madden NFL 17 Prima Guide, published by Random House publishing
EA SPORTS Game Changer
Partnered Twitch Streamer (twitch.tv/ZANmadden)
eSports Program Manager for Muthead.com 2016-2020
eSports Caster for Muthead “Friday Night Football” 2018-2021
Virgin Gaming Madden Challenge $140K Top 16 (Madden 12)
Virgin Gaming Madden Challenge $140K Top 16 (Madden 13)