Here is another anecdote for your theory:
Madden's multi user leagues are awesome if you have the right ingredients, which means at least 5 total participants who are all in close proximity to the home machine with the league save, such as a college dorm. I participated in an 8 player, full fantasy draft league all through college. One of the roommates, we shall call him Matt, was the nerd stereotype, overweight, unathletic, and generally lacking in social skills. He neither watched sports, nor played them, nor played sports games, but wanted to get in on the Madden action. We taught him the game, and eventually he actually got better than most of us.
The problem was, he still didn't care or know about football. He just reduced the game to button prompts, and used his superior gaming skills. He generally called passing plays with 5 receivers, because he could ALWAYS get the ball to an open guy. This was the first year the "passing cone" was introduced, and if you remember it was very complicated and generally awful. On defense he pretty much let the computer run it. I don't know if he even liked playing the game, outside of that we often bet beer on the outcomes and he rarely lost. Too this day he still is the worst person to watch a game with, because he still has no concept of the flow of the game.