The Incredible ‘ESPN NFL 2K5’ Celebrates Its 20th Anniversary This Month

Considered by many to be the best NFL game ever

We’re based in the UK here at Pure Xbox, so American football might not be our specialty, but we’ve spent the past two decades hearing about how ESPN NFL 2K5 is the best NFL game ever, so we want to celebrate its 20th anniversary!

Yes, July 20th will mark the exact 20-year point for this classic sports title, which made its debut on the original Xbox (and PlayStation 2) to incredible reviews. The Xbox release actually has the best Metacritic rating of the two as it’s a slightly better version, with the average sitting at a whopping 92/100. Yes, this game really was that good!

Here’s what a couple of reviewers had to say about NFL 2K5 back in 2004:

Game Chronicles: “NFL 2K5 not only has the best gameplay, both in accuracy and pure fun factor, but the entire game is wrapped up in an ESPN presentation that is worthy of being watched on Sunday with a group of friends. And your friends are going to have a blast creating their own VIP files then decorating their own Cribs and when they go home you can play their VIP files so you can own them the next time you play together. Simply put, this is one NFL game you won’t be able to put down.”

IGN: “There has never been a better $20 game than ESPN NFL 2K5. End of story. For the price of a two-week rental, you can buy a footballer that is every bit as deep, feature-packed and addictively playable as Madden. For the price of a night at the movies, you can own a game with great graphics, realistic football action, compelling and revolutionary sports gaming concepts, and an extensive online head-to-head experience.”

As mentioned in that second review, ESPN NFL 2K25 launched on both Xbox and PS2 at the quite ridiculous price of just $20, making it an absolute no-brainer for anyone who wanted to get their (American) football fix.

But even without the price drop, this was a game that was destined to be enjoyed for decades to come, and there are still plenty of people who are playing it all the time in 2024. It takes something special to rack up more impressive reviews than Soul Calibur 2, Max Payne, Project Gotham Racing 2 and Psychonauts, but NFL 2k25 managed it!

What are your memories of ESPN NFL 2K25 on Xbox? Is it the best sports game? Tell us below.

Fraser Gilbert

Fraser is the News Editor at Pure Xbox, where he spends his time reporting on the biggest stories in the world of Xbox and beyond.

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