John Madden's coaching days ended in 1978, but today's rookie quarterbacks are still learning from him…or the game that bears his name, at least.
Teddy Bridgewater, rookie quarterback with the Minnesota Vikings, has a bit of downtime these days. Minicamp is over and it'll be another month before the team converges on training camp. So to keep sharp, he's playing a lot of EA's best-known franchise.
Bridgewater tells ESPN he has imported the Vikings playbook into his game, letting him 'practice' against other teams to get a sense of how the defense will react.
"It helps because you get one more rep than you had in practice, actual practice," he said. "Any chance you get to take an extra rep or go the extra step, extra mile, it's going to be very beneficial transferring it to the field."
The habit isn't a new one for Bridgewater. He started doing this in college at Louisville, he says, using the now defunct NCAA game franchise. And the plan seems to have worked, seeing as he was drafted in the first round this year.
Bridgewater's not the first NFL player to swear by the Madden franchise. Last fall, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees talked up the game, saying "Madden has a lot of the actual plays that teams are running within their offenses, so it’s about as accurate as you can get."
The endorsement of the game by real NFL players is a good bragging right for Madden, but it hasn't been a tremendous help with sales. Last year's game sold notably fewer copies than the 2012 game, despite a big push for its 25th anniversary.
Expect Bridgewater to be one of the first to pick up this year's version, though, assuming he's not too busy.
"I try to take as many reps as I can, whether it's on a video game, playing EA Madden Football or in the playbook, just drawing it or just visualizing it in my head," he says. "I try to just maximize every rep I can get and every opportunity that I can take."
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