For a lark, we bought the original Madden 05 (the first DS version of Madden) to play between my sons and I. We have Madden on the consoles and play that when we have it out. But for some quick pick up and play, Madden 05 fit the bill. It is certainly not "next gen"; more like playing with crudely drawn robots who can only move in four directions (up, down, left, right). But it can still be a lot of fun.
Anyway, the game has been through several iterations since that original release and one of my sons mentioned not having certain new players available in the roster, so I suggested trying the latest version, Madden 08 for DS. After an hour of play, his assessment was that the newest game "tries to do too much."
He explained that in an effort to make the game playable, they put up controls indicators, messages, and touch screen options all over the place before the play. It is not that these markers interfere with the play but, in my son's words, "it doesn't feel like football."
So, I expect they will play it to use the latest players. But I also expect they will switch off with Madden 05 when they want some basic robot head-smashing fun.