Monday, February 20, 2012

Swimsuit models and QB ratings

Each year, the Madden game hits shelves with new tweaks, iterations, ideas, beeps and buzzes, and of course, a cover shot to supplant the last. Is there a cover outside of the Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue more hotly anticipated?

Once the new product adorns store fronts, congests blog forums and splashes across gaming magazines, we're regaled of graphical tales about EA labs where Madden's mad scientists whiteboarded new angles, conjured impossible moves, and acted out scenarios while hooked up to motion sensor devices. There are made-for-press-release subtleties like the addition of delicate shadows, artificial intelligence to replicate player tendencies, and generally more layers than a Chicago Bears punter in December. In the end, it's all about increasing the complexity and diversity of the experience so that what is essentially the same game, appears slightly different every summer. It's a well considered project, and with the exception of last year's delayed release, superbly executed.

But there is one aspect of the whole Madden saga that seems overlooked, and which I believe in this age of celebrity and news indulgence makes complete sense: the rate at which a player is distracted off-field. In other words, how much energy is he using, shall we say, between the sheets.

Now on the surface this seems a rather superficial concern, and perhaps not entirely appropriate for a video game enjoyed by kids. But this rating could easily be couched as "game day focus" or "mental preparedness" because such elements are very real considerations in any sporting endeavor. After all, pro football offers some stiff competition - pun intended.

So perhaps the fine people at EA could standardize this statistic for us Madden gamers in their next edition. They could call it the WAG (Wives And Girlfriends) Factor, and score the level of influence or distraction caused by partners of prominent players. Quarterbacks, as the highest profile stars, would be the most suitable category to trial this formula. For example, Tom Brady might score 75 points on the WAG Factor (as opposed to his "Awareness" score of 98 in Madden 12), because if popular media teaches us anything, it's that New England's favorite son hasn't performed to his optimum since dating Gisele Bundchen.

Or how about Tony Romo, who now as a married man might score 83, but surely would have been penalized in 2007 for dating pop music bombshell, Jessica Simpson - the ideal distraction. I'd suggest the former Romo - an 88 scorer overall in Madden 12 - might have tallied 54 in the WAG Factor. Then there's Jets signal-caller Mark Sanchez, who has the enviable task of dating swimsuit model, Kate Upton, but the unenviable delegation of explaining every lackluster performance to the New York media.

After The Sanchize's three-interception stunner against Miami last season, we could possibly deduce a significant level of "distraction". Sanchez may not even notch 50% on Madden's WAG Factor: I'd propose 47. And do we dare imagine the focus of an Upton-smitten Sanchez next season? It's challenging enough for those on the sideline to ignore the comeliness of Sports Illustrated's latest cover model, let alone someone commanding a pro football huddle.

1 comment:

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