In the early days of PlayStation and Xbox, both Sony and Microsoft boasted a robust lineup of their own sports games, including hockey, American football, and basketball. However, one sport they did not delve into was football. The rationale for this is quite fascinating.
Apparently, Microsoft had been developing a football game as well, but it was axed due to pressure from EA, who didn't want any competition. One key element often cited in the commercial failure of Dreamcast is the lack of support from EA. This resulted in the absence of significant sports games that could have attracted casual gamers.
Garrett Young, a former Microsoft developer, revealed to the Kiwi Talkz podcast that Microsoft was desperate for EA's endorsement. Consequently, they signed an agreement that barred them from creating soccer games for Xbox. The in-house football game under development was eventually canceled and has never been showcased publicly, meaning we don't know how far into its development it got.
It's worth noting that even today, EA continues with this strategy by buying exclusive rights to all major sports organizations to ensure there are no threats to its sports empire. This tactic allows EA a quasi-monopoly, enabling them to release new full-priced titles annually with minimal changes due to a lack of real competition.