Monday, July 28, 2008

John Madden Time magazine interview - Talks about Madden 09, Frank Caliendo, and Brett Favre

The current issue of Time magazine (LeBron James on the cover) has John Madden taking questions from readers...

Do you believe in the Madden NFL cover curse? —Martin Bennett, Mount Airy, GA.
No, and I don't think players believe in it either. If you go back to the history of the Madden game, I was probably on the cover of it half the time. So if I was to believe there was a curse, I would also have to believe I'd been cursed. And I've never had that feeling.

If there wasn't football, what would your life be like instead? —Corey Minerva, Locust, N.J.
I've been lucky in that that's all my life has been. I've never had a year out of football. I'm sure that had I not been a coach, I would have been some form of a teacher. I'd like to work with kids in special education — younger kids.

Are you good at Madden NFL? —Brian Harrington, Orting, Wash.
No, no. Too old. I have the game on my bus, and I horse around with it, but I get more out of it by watching other people play.

NFL rookies are paid a large sum of money before they even step on the field. Do you think they should be paid that much? — Mitchell Cuff, Las Vegas
When I look at the salaries that these guys are being paid it's just amazing. But, you know, that's the system. I think there will be times a guy will be overpaid, and there will be times a guy will be paid a lot of money and he'll get to a position where he's underpaid. You just try to get a system that is as close to being fair to the players and owners as it can be. And you really can't include the fans in there, because I've never seen them give any money back to the fans.

What would you say is the biggest difference between the game when you coached and football today? —Nate Barton, Raleigh, N.C.
We used to play the same guys on offense and defense just about every down. Now they have these packages — every down, five or six guys come in on offense or defense. Every play, you have to locate who's in the game and what they're doing.

What do you think of Frank Caliendo's Madden impression? —Alan Tucker, Charlotte, N.C.
It's always said that I don't like him. I've never said that. The guy's making a living. That's his job, and he's a good little comedian.

What advice would you give Brett Favre on his current retirement flip-flop? —Nathan Henneka, Salt Lake City
Once he leaves and doesn't come back, he's never, ever, ever, ever going to be able to come back. So this is a big decision for him. I say, Do what you want to do, and do what your heart tells you to do, and enjoy it. If I were the Packers general manager, I would take him back and play him. And anyone who says bring him back as a backup doesn't know what they're talking about.

As a player who suffered a career-ending injury, do you have ideas as to how to better protect players? —Raymond Gambel, New Orleans
Just keep improving the equipment. That's the only thing you can do. Football's a violent game — always will be, always has been. You keep improving the rules to make it safer, and you keep working on the equipment. But you're not going to eliminate injuries.

Do you think professional football players should be considered role models? —Owen Murphy, Philadelphia
Yes, I do, and I think it ought to even be written in their contracts. I don't think they have the right to say they are or they're not, because they are. And they ought to accept that.

What do you think are some traits of leadership? —Lee Reese, Tampa, Fla.
Just being a hard worker and a good player. Some people think that it's about talking. If a guy doesn't work hard and doesn't play well, he can't lead anything. All he is, is a talker.

Twenty years ago did you think for a moment that the video game would have the success that it had? — Farrel Allan, New York City
No and not only did I not think that, nobody else thought that. We didn’t know what we doing video-game wise because there weren’t any video games when we started 20 years ago. And it started as a computer game. And it was going to be part teaching tool, part computer game.

And then all these video games came around and different hardware and we were the first game so we adjusted and adapted to it, but to say that we knew that this was going to be or that we were ahead. We didn’t know. We just started at a time and happened to be the first one that started.

What was it about this game that helped you decide you wanted to be apart of it? — Matthew Donelan, Seattle
The first part of it was I wanted 11 guys on offense and 11 guys on defense. Now 20 some years later that sounds simple—yeah, it’s football—but everything up till then had three or four guys. So that took three years to develop—to get 11 on 11.

So that was the most important part. When I knew that we could get 11 guys on offense and 11 guys on defense then we could play a game. We could do everything in the video game that is done in the regular game. But until we could get to that we couldn’t do it. So it took three years just to get there.

What do you think the Madden football game has brought to the game of football—to fans or even to players? — Oliver Beqaj, Los Angeles
I think it’s brought a new way to learn the game to fans and to players. They’re the same people. When you think that we’ve been doing this for 20 years and guys that are playing now in the NFL, they started playing Madden in grammar school, and then they played in high school, then they played in college, and now they play in the NFL and they’re part of the game.

I think there was a generation years ago when I was growing up where you would learn the game by going out into an empty yard and playing. Now I think this is a way they learn the game—they learn the game through video games.

It’s a good thing, because that’s today. The things we could do when I was a kid or even why my kids were kids, you can’t do today. It’s easy to say "Oh heck, yeah I remember, I used to walk two miles, both of them uphill to go play and we’d play out on a field and the guys would come." Well, you couldn’t do that today. I think people who say that’s the way it used to be—well it did used to be, but it’s not that way anymore and this is the way young people learn today.

Who’s the best team in the 09 version? Who do you recommend suiting up with? Well you’re always going to get the best from the best teams. I think it’s fun to play as the New England Patriots and as the Indianapolis Colts. You know that’s the way you can spread it out and change and be a great quarterback. You can air it out a lot. You can air it out a lot more. You don’t even worry about running.

Who do you enjoy watching most play football today? — Stacy Healy, Newport Beach
I jump from year to year. And it’s always kind of being a frontrunner — you can say that — but I enjoy the best teams that year. Because you’re going in broadcasting and watching, you’re always going in search of excellence. That’s what I’ve always been, because I have a passion for the game, I want see great games, I want to see great players and I want to see them do well. I don’t go looking for negative stuff and that.

Like the patriots last year being undefeated, Tom Brady doing what he does, Peyton Manning and the Colts, San Diego Chargers coming along under Norv Turner, Dallas Cowboys last year I can see that they’re going in the right direction.

I thought what the Giants did last season was amazing and that makes me appreciate them because no one picked them to be in the playoffs. And then they get in as a wild card. They beat Tampa Bay. Then they go to Dallas, beat Dallas. Go to Green Bay, beat Green Bay. And then go to the Super Bowl, play an undefeated team and beat them.

I think that is so good for football, because if we ever got to the point where we knew what was going to happen, and it happened all the time, we wouldn’t have to play the game. And the fact that we don’t know what’s going to happen—and it was proven and it was proven in the biggest game of the year—I think just stamps this game as the great game that it is.

If you were the Packers GM what would you do in this situation? — Nathan Henneka, Salt Lake City
I would take him back and play him and anyone that says bringing him back as a back-up doesn’t know what they’re talking about. I would argue that with anyone and I would tell them they don’t know what they’re talking about. Because this is football and football is competitive and its competitive team against team but its also competitive for a position and playing time.

And it’s not like a corporation where you can say you’re the CEO, you’re the CFO, you’re the whatever, you don’t name people and I don’t think you give a guy a position of back-up quarterback. Or even in Aaron Rodgers case—a starting quarterback. If he earns it then he should be the starting quarterback.

Obviously, hell, if he doesn’t earn it then he can’t be the starting quarterback. So you can’t say, Brett Favre has to come back as a back-up. Anyone who says that doesn’t know what the hell they’re talking about.

What I’m saying is if Aaron Rodgers is better than Brett Favre then he should be the starter. But if I was the general manager I would bring him back and I’d start him. It used to be years ago where you could have a five year plan and now it’s year to year man, you better do it this year.

If you have a chance now, do it now, because you may not get another chance for 15 years. And that’s another way it’s changed, with free agency and everything. If you get a good team you’re not going to be able to keep them. And if you have a chance you better make hay.

How much of an impact do you feel the 2007 Giants-Dolphins game in London had on European fans and do you think the popularity of American football in Europe will equal that of what it is in the U.S.? — Geoffrey Wowk, New York City
No, no, it’s not going to equal that of what it is in the US. Just like soccer in this country isn’t going to equal what it is in Europe. They’ve always wanted a real game in Europe. We tried over the years, the NFL has had pre-season games there and that wasn’t what they wanted.

And then they had NFL Europe which was a form of a minor league and that wasn’t what they wanted. They wanted a real NFL game, so you give them a real NFL game. And it has an impact but the true impact is going to be when they have their own team in the NFL and the NFL expands to Europe.

And there’s going to be a day when that’s going to happen, I don’t know when it will be. The regular season game had more impact than pre-season, and when they get a team it’ll have a lot more impact when they have their own team.

What is the one greatest sports moment of all time in your opinion? — Margie Furbush in Parlin, NJ
Oh boy. You know it all depends. If it’s personal, my greatest moment was winning the Super Bowl. So that would be mine. I don’t know. You just see them all the time. I think what Tiger Woods did in the Masters just a month ago I thought that was amazing. That tennis match—Federer and Nadal—I thought was amazing.

I’m a big fight fan, so what some of those guys over the years have done are amazing. I don’t know. I don’t even know what the heck would be considered there.

What is your favorite NFL city to visit? — Marc McNally in Overland Park, KS
I’m a big guy of games and players and where the good game is or the best game is, but I also like history. I get a certain feeling when I go to Lambeau field in Green Bay. Soldier field in Chicago is special to me. Those are the places that I really like. The stadiums.

And then there are some stadiums that are good to broadcast from, like Giants stadium in New York, that they’re tearing down. And Cowboys Stadium in Dallas is a great place to broadcast from. But to me it’s still about the players and the game and the best place to be is where the best players are playing the best game.

How close have you come to returning to the sidelines? — James Brewer, Detroit
I never really wanted to. I came close once and it was a time when I was working at Fox and Jimmie Johnson was also at Fox and he’d left the Dallas Cowboys and was doing a studio show and had just accepted the job at the Miami Dolphis. And we were having dinner and he and I had started talking about it—like what you’d learn by being in television that you would use if you went back as a coach. And I’m getting excited about it. And he’s getting—I’m going to do this, I’m going to do that, I learned this, I’m going to change this. And I’m saying yeah, I’d do this. And boom, boom, boom.

And then I’m walking from dinner back to the hotel and I was with Matt Millen. And I said Matt, this is the first time since I’ve retired that I feel like I want to go back and coach again, and I said I hope when I wake up in the morning the feeling goes away. And I woke up the next morning and the feeling went away.


GMoney said...

Cowboys Stadium? Tiger Woods in The Masters this year? Does he have Alzheimer's?

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