NFL Showdown is a mobile pro football management game from Zynga, and the first product of its Zynga Sports 365 initiative. As members of that team told Gamezebo, the idea is that people are fans all year round, not just when their favorite sports are in season, and this game gives players the potential to coach and manage an NFL team all year long.

Even better, maneuvering through the game’s 21-day seasons doesn’t necessarily need to eat up tons of your free time. All it takes is a willingness to continually devote a bit of time each day to improving your squad, ensure your players are well-rested by the time each day’s game kicks off and check to see that you’ve got the right strategies emphasized, and you’ll give yourself a chance to be a contender every season.

Need some help getting started building your dynasty? You’ve come to the right place, as we’ve got the tips to help make trips to the playoffs a bit more manageable. Grab that clipboard, get the game film cued up on your tablet and dive in!

  • Your initial choice of team doesn’t matter as much as you might think. NFL Showdown equalizes the overall team ratings for everyone who is just starting out, so it doesn’t matter whether you’re a fan of the Seattle Seahawks or the Buffalo Bills, as they’ll both begin at roughly the same talent level. The difference is in how that talent is distributed, so if you want a bruising running game, it makes sense to choose the Minnesota Vikings, for example, as Adrian Peterson will be one of the best players on the team. But any franchise can be chosen and still have a chance to win in your first season.


  • Practice makes perfect. The easiest, cheapest way to boost the overall skill level of your team is to run a few practice activities every day. Even though all of your players progress at different rates based on where they are in their personal development, executing the Lift or Scrimmage commands is almost guaranteed to add a skill point to someone. The most important thing to remember is that there’s a risk-reward dynamic to practice intensity, so just know that cranking up the intensity increases the chance that someone will suffer an injury. It also ties directly into the next tip, which is …
  • Don’t practice too close to game time. A big part of NFL Showdown is time management, particularly since the games aren’t simulated at the same time every day. Players regain energy at a rate of 5 percent every three hours, and you ideally want to have everyone, or at least your starters, at or near 100 percent at kickoff. Be mindful of allowing for enough recovery time when you pick your drills and set the intensity meters. And if you miscalculate, use a consumable to boost energy instead of letting players go into the game tired.


  • Set your game strategy according to the strengths fo your roster. It’s never a good idea for real life coaches to try squeezing players into schemes that don’t fit them, and the same principle applies here in a much more simplified form. There are only two defensive sets and three offensive formations from which to choose, and the choices are pretty simple. On defense, choose 3-4 if you have more depth at linebacker than defensive tackle and vice versa. On offense, let the best player among your third WR, second TE and FB guide your decision.
  • Confidence also affects performance, so don’t skip the Struggling QB option under the Auto Subs strategy menu. The Zynga Sports 365 team told us that if you have a qualtiy backup who is close to the overall rating of your starter, you shouldn’t be afraid to pull the top guy early. Conversely, if your backup is a bum, you might want to make sure the starter never comes out unless he gets injured.
  • You’ll need more Gold Coins than you think to land a free agent. The bidding process can be a bit confusing, but what you need to remember is that every bid you make costs one Gold Coin. There usually are multiple knockout rounds after the first qualfiying round of bidding, and the better the player up for auction, the more interest he’s going to draw. It stinks when you spend seven Gold Coins on bids and don’t land the player, so make sure you have realistic targets for your current amount of Gold Coins.


  • Don’t place more than one bid per round. You only need to bid once to qualify for the next knockout round, and while you can place multiple bids in any given round, all that does is drive up the player’s price in cash. The problem is that it will cost you a Gold Coin eaxch time you do so, and we just told you to conserve them! Also, most other bidders will run out of Gold Coins way before they run out of cash, so it doesn’t really pay to bid against yourself.
  • Salary matters, just like in real life. It’s crucial to remember that a player’s salary is deducted from your overall amount of cash after every game, and having too many players with high salaries can be a real drag on your finances. It might be worth it in some cases to bid on slightly less talented Free Agents and build them up through training than a player with better ratings right this second if the difference in their salaries is large.
  • It really doesn’t make much sense to release a player. While it saves you from having to pay his daily salary, you get nothing tangible back. Instead, use the Auction Player option, as even the lowliest bench players will earn a bid and net you some extra cash. Release only as a last resort.
  • Ask your friends playing NFL Showdown for consumables every day. This might seem like common sense for any mobile game with a social component, but it’s easy to forget about friend requests when you’re concentrating on getting your team ready to play. Health Boosts are always useful when injury strikes, so make sure you are hitting up your friends for some daily.