The most surprising thing about Head Coach 09 is that it is from EA Sports which is about the most trusted name in sports sim gaming and this may be the weakest EA title I have played. I don't say this lightly and as someone who actually coaches American Football (surely the smallest niche market in NZ) you'd think this would be a dream game. However, it lets itself down on a few things that really affect playing satisfaction even for hardened football fanatics.
These are mostly to do with the actual in game play. The graphic quality, player A.I and coach response options are all disappointing. The game is also let down by it's Play Creator which is limited in it's route choices and more advanced linemen schemes such as zone blocking and D line stunts.
That said however, if you like sport management type games Head Coach ticks a lot of the right boxes. It's depth of off field work and decision making is at times intense, everything from scouting draft prospects, negotiating free agent contracts and keeping the fans happy is a lot to juggle through the off season and is really challenging. The only issue here is that the game doesn't allow for gut feeling or emotional decisions and dictates that you really only coach or GM by the numbers.
Although I have some disappointments I am still playing it because of the sheer challenge of building a championship team in one of the toughest leagues of any sport in the world. I bought it on one of MightyApes excellent sales and if you like this type of game give it a go but do buy it at the sale price.