Hot routes are a hotly debated area of sim play in many leagues. There is really no clear "guide" as to what is realistic. That's simply because the game does not utilize hot routes in a realistic way. In today's NFL, a hot roue (or sight adjustment as it may be referred) is generally where the receiver and QB look at the defense and then, depending on what they see, choose to run the regular route or a pre-determined alternate route. For example, the play may call for the "hot" receiver (or primary receiver) to run a deep out. However, when they get to the line it may look like press man coverage with the LB's blitzing. There would not be time to complete a deep out if they are in fact blitzing, so the "hot" route would be a slant underneath, behind the blitzing LB's and away from the pressing CB. In Madden, there are a few "option" routes where the receiver will adjust his route depending on the coverage, but not true "hot" routes built in. That's because the complexity of programming would likely be ridiculous and the vast majority of players would not understand what to do and when anyway. So, they give the option to hot route to the user. The problem is that the game gives you eight (if memory serves me correctly) hot routes to use on every play, and they are unlimited and unrestricted. You could, conceivably, go up to the line and change every receiver's route and effectively create a new play. That is just not realistic. Between crowd noise and the memory capacity of each player, something would get screwed up. One, or more, of those routes would not get run as intended and it would be chaos. There are those that would say, "well, Peyton Manning does it" but they would be incorrect. What generally happens with Peyton is that they have two plays called in the huddle. When he gets to the line he may decide to stick with the original play or use the alternate play (which may be signaled by a word like "Omaha"). Depending on how the defense reacts, Peyton may then "kill" the audible and return to the original play. Once he has the look he wants, he may use a fake or "dummy" call to see what the defense is going to do or he may use a signal to indicate the snap count. Contrary to what a lot of people think, he is not at the line creating plays from scratch using hot routes. So, how do we apply this to Madden in a simple and realistic way? Its really hard to specify an exact number or guideline to stay within. You can say that you are only allowed to run "one" hot route on any particular play, but there are times where you might change the route and then make it a smart route (depth of the first down line) which would technically be two hot routes. You could also make the case that a sight adjustment might involve two receivers changing their routes to complement each other. So, its not clear cut. How do we manage it? I would say that it is realistic to run 1 (one) hot route on as many as half your passing plays. I wouldn't say every play or even a majority just because in real life, there are mistakes and the game just doesn't take that into account. The hot route that you call is going to be run perfectly every time. I would also say that using more than one hot route should be fairly rare and mostly limited to 3rd down situations (because of the smart route). Occasionally you might see a defense you like on 1st or second and call a hot route and a smart route but again, that's rare. To keep the defense guessing, it also seems reasonable that you "occasionally" call a hot route on a running play just to bluff the defense. You don't want to give away that you are passing by only calling hot routes on passing plays. I hope this helps explains hot routes a little better to everyone and helps kind of give you a guide to how you should be using hot routes and what you can realistically expect from your opponents. If you have any questions, feel free to ask. We are always here to help.