Football fans and some of hip-hop and the NFL's finest convened on the Bud Light Hotel in New Orleans, to witness the spectacle that is Madden Bowl XIX. As they have been doing for the last 18 years, EA Sports picked some of the best Madden players the NFL and college has to offer and pitted them in three-on-three matches. The four teams battled in three-minute quarters with the NFL squad of their choice to determine the winner.
"I do it all. I actually have a Nintendo also, the old school one with the two-button controller. My wife got it for me for Christmas."
The first round match-up pitted Hometown Heroes New Orleans Saints players, Drew Brees, Jimmy Graham and Mark Ingram vs. NFL Draftees Team, Denard Robinson (University of Michigan), Kenjon Barner (University of Oregon) and EJ Manuel (Florida State University) and NFL All-Stars Team of Arian Foster (Houston Texans), Victor Cruz (New York Giants) and Rob Gronkowski (New England Patriots) vs. Young Guns Team of Doug Martin (Tampa Bay Buccaneers), Trent Richardson (Cleveland Browns) and AJ Green (Cincinnati Bengals).
The NFL Draftees would dominate the night using the Atlanta Falcons with a tight victory over the Hometown Heroes--who played with the Saints (of course) and a final round route of the Young Guns--who also played with the Falcons (insert side eye here)--on their way to the championship.
Much like the Super Bowl, the actual game is just one part of Madden Bowl. There were performances by Lil Wayne and Big Boi in addition to a wealth of celebrity attendees, Hall of Fame players and perennial pro bowlers. Complex was granted exclusive access to hang out with hardcore gamer, three-time Pro Bowler and one-time First-Team All-Pro running back Arian Foster as he prepped for his second Madden Bowl.
Check out the conversation we had with the player that the Sporting News called the most interesting man in the NFL:
(Arian sits down, picks up Xbox 360 controller and selects the Houston Texans)
Arian Foster: Don't be screening, watching my plays either.
We know you play Call of Duty a lot. How big of a Madden player are you?
You know I play football in real life, so it comes naturally that I'm a good Madden player.
Playing Madden with two other players is very different from playing one-on-one. With all of the competitors in Madden Bowl being guys from team sports, what kind of chemistry will we see in the game?
I think you will see a lot of communication. We know the plays; we know what kind of offensive style we want to run. We'll effectively communicate and do what we have to do to get a victory.
There are major advances in passing on Madden NFL 13, as a running back, would you like to see the developers put that same emphasis on running the ball the next go round?
Absolutely, but I think that’s the good thing about Madden. It evolves every year with some kind of new element every year. They got playbooks that have plays that we actually do run. It's very authentic. The game can only go forward because it adds new elements every year.
When you get time to play, what mode do you normally play?
I usually go online. That’s been going on since we've been able to have the Internet on Madden. I play MJD (Maurice Jones-Drew) all the time. We always go back and forth.
You guys play Call of Duty too, right?
We play it all, Pong, Tetris. Nah, I'm just playing (laughs).
When you play online, do people know that they are playing you?
Nah, for the most part, you'll get people online talking trash and I'll talk trash back but sometimes you'll have no talking at all and you'll hear something funny in the background and laugh and someone will ask, 'what's going on, where you from?' That kind of conversation goes on and it'll end up coming out, but they don't ever really believe me though.
Last year you did the Madden Cover campaign video with the duck and you beat Tim Tebow. Were you expecting to beat him?
Yeah, I was expecting to beat him. What you mean?
But you lost to Calvin Johnson.
That's Calvin Johnson man. He's probably going to go down as one of the great receivers in NFL history.
Whose idea was it to do "the duck," viral video?
The people at EA encouraged all of us to promote ourselves through those videos.
Yeah but yours weren't the regular videos. You put some time and energy into those.
I just try to put a little creative twist on everything I do.
At any point during the competition, were you worried that you'd start hearing chatter about the Madden curse?
Yeah, matter of fact. The local radio station in Houston was getting people to vote against me. People are really superstitious. But then Calvin Johnson goes out and has the best year he's ever had.
You're rated as a top running back on Madden NFL 13. When you go to a game like the Pro Bowl where all the top players are, is there bragging on whose rated better?
You kind of go back and forth with banter as far as the ratings are concerned.
What's your preferred console?
I do it all. I actually have a Nintendo also, the old school one with the two-button controller. My wife got it for me for Christmas.
Do you still blow into the cartridges?
Has your little girl got into gaming yet?
Nah, she can't touch the console yet, she's to young, and she’ll break it.