One of the often forgotten sports video games was NFL 2K.
I used to always get 2K and Madden. I remember I played more NFL 2k5 than Madden. I have absolutely no idea if I am the outlier there, but I believe it is regarded as one of the best sports video games ever. Time ranked it as their 41st best game ever:
Plus, 2k only released it for just $19.99!!! What I loved most about the game was how much the player's ratings varied, from 40-100. Playing with Randy Moss felt like you were playing with Randy Moss.
Remember First Person Football?
Or The Crib?
And those weekly recap shows with Berman? I'd always watch them and get so excited if my team showed up. The game was truly ahead of its time.
Here is an online forum discussion with some player's ratings. I always love going back and checking these out.