What's a grudge match without a little smack-talking? One where you might actually win, NFL Pro Bowl wide receiver A.J. Green of the Cincinnati Bengals told Complex.
Green had just been creamed by Pro Bowl running Back LeSean McCoy of the Philadelphia Eagles in a series of Call of Duty matches played at Microsoft's event space in Venice, Calif. McCoy was relentless, both in the game and out of it.
"I definitely think the smack-talking is part of his game," Infinity Ward's Call of Duty Community Manager Tina Palacios told Complex. "He got in A.J.'s head pretty good."
"I got caught up in the moment trash-talking instead of sticking to my game," Green admitted. "That's the key: I wasn't playing the game. I was thinking about myself instead of the team half the time."
The rivals played several matches across the new maps released in the latest expansion to Call of Duty: Ghosts, called "Devastation." The new maps are Unearthed, a remake of Dome from Modern Warfare 3; Ruins, which Palacios said will soon be a fan favorite; Behemoth, an elongated map with long sight lines; and Collision, a boat that crashed into a bridge to create "a fun play space," Palacios described.
Green showed up early to get a feel for the new maps, but McCoy was all confidence as he entered the room, despite his opponent's head start. He swaggered in like a prize fighter, crowing his introduction in lieu of an actual announcer. Thankfully he backed that cocky display up in the game, demolishing Green in every round.
"We got some cheaters round here, but I'm not gonna say no names," Green joked later. "It was fun though."
This was the second time McCoy had out-gamed Green publicly, after February's Madden Bowl XX. So how did McCoy explain his win? "I play in Philly, man," he said. "We're not scared of gunshots."
The "Devastation" DLC for Call of Duty: Ghosts just came out, but Infinity Ward is, of course, already planning its next big thing. In fact, the studio recently invited the members of CompLexity, the pro team that won last month's 2014 Call of Duty world championship, out to the office to preview something brand new, though Palacios wouldn't say what.
"It was a real treat for us to have CompLexity out to our office the other day, because we just got all of their feedback in one sitting instead of going back and forth online on Twitter or Facebook or something," she said. "They played something new and we got a lot of feedback from them. So they're going to help us shape that new thing."
Whatever it is, we'll likely hear about it soon—maybe when the next Call of Duty grudge match arrives. Palacios said McCoy and Green could play against one another again. "A.J. said he wanted to trade gamertags, so I'm going to hold him to it," she said.
"I think it's cool that our fans can sort of get a glimpse at what the athletes play and how they play and who's the better player," she continued. "It's all in good fun."
It seems both players—even Green, who likely spent the rest of the day licking his wounds—agreed on that.