Da Ill One said:
EA has exclusive third party rights...they cant stop a First party from making an NFL game
Please post a source because I'm fairly certain that's not accurate.
Just over three years ago, Electronic Arts tackled the sports genre by announcing it had signed a multiyear exclusivity deal with the National Football League and the NFL Players, the players' union. Under the agreement, EA Sports' Madden NFL franchise was the sole official licensee for the US's most popular sport, forcing rival 2K Sports to get creative with its own pro-football series.
Today, EA Sports announced that it has extended its contract with the NFL and NFL Players through the 2012 season. That means the Redwood City, California-based publisher will retain exclusive game rights to all NFL teams, stadiums, and player likenesses and information until the Super Bowl XLVII champion is crowned in 2013.
You really think if M$ had first party rights to make an NFL title that they wouldn't had bought Visual concepts and had them work on NFL fever 2K?