I'm not bashing the business move - it is money in the bank. 2k sports (and any other company besides EA) has not been allowed to make an NFL game since EA bought the license. 2k5 was the last serious competition and sold only 1/3 of the units as Madden. 2k made a football game called All Pro football which was essentially a graphics overhall to 2k5, with improved physics. The game did not sell well at all. Because it had made up teams and players, no one felt the need to try it. The game itself has superior physics and play mechanics than any other football game (Backbreaker has awesome physics but is totally over the top).
Many still think that NFL 2k5, with its ESPN presentation including a half time show with Chris Berman, was the beginning of something great. Madden 2005 was also a fantastic product, many purists saying it was the best Madden. Both companies had to be at their best to keep the money rolling in.
I'm sure Madden 11 online is fun. It has to be, it is the only NFL game. It would be nice for a game in 2011 to have features that were in a game six years ago. Where are the physics? The halftime show with highlights. NFL games are the slickest sports presentation on TV, probably of any live event (sports or not). Why hasn't Madden caught up? Because they don't have to.
Trust me, try NBA 2k11 and then tell me Madden couldn't do far more to improve the game. Madden might be the only NFL we see this year, it may as well be good.