Drew Brees Talks 'Madden' Simulation, Video Games and Super Bowl Memories (Q&A)
NEW ORLEANS – New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees is serving as an ambassador for EA Sports during events surrounding the New Orleans Super Bowl XLVII to promote the company's Madden NFL football-simulation video-game series.
The Super Bowl XLIV MVP, who earns a record $20 million a year, defended his video-game title at the EA Sports Madden Bowl XIX at the Bud Light Hotel. Brees, along with Saints tight end Jimmy Graham and running back Mark Ingram, ultimately lost to a trio of college players (Florida State quarterback EJ Manuel, Oregon running back Kenjon Barner and Michigan quarterback Denard Robinson) in a nail-biter that came down to the last play. (That trio of 2013 NFL draftees ended up winning the Madden Bowl two games later.)
Brees, who was on the cover of Madden NFL 11, has been involved in a couple of different video-game events Super Bowl week. He worked with Visa on their new Financial Football video game, which is being distributed throughout New Orleans schools. And he spent a day with EA Sports talking everything Madden, which will be celebrating its 25th anniversary on Aug. 27 with the launch of Madden NFL 25. The franchise has sold 99 million copies and generated $3.7 billion in net revenue since launching in 1989. Brees gets his game on in this exclusive interview.
The Hollywood Reporter: What are your thoughts on the accuracy of the Madden Super Bowl simulation prediction EA does every year?
Drew Brees: All I can say is that they predicted seven of the last nine. They’re pretty good odds, pretty good percentage. They even predicted the upset win when the Saints beat the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV. It’s pretty scary how accurate they’ve been, not only with the simulation but the game itself. The fact that they’re using the actual offensive playbooks from each team and just how accurately they’re able to display each play on their strengths, it’s pretty uncanny. There’s a reason that it’s the most popular game there is. That’s why people rush out to get the new game every time it comes out, because there’s always new features and great things about the game.
[Ed. Note: This year, the Madden simulation has the Baltimore Ravens beating the San Francisco 49ers 27-24.]
THR: What do you think of your own personal player ratings when it comes to Madden NFL 13?
Brees: I think they’re pretty good. They probably actually have me souped up a little bit too much, but that’s okay. It can never be enough. It’s all good.
THR: How might NFL rookies coming into the league be able to use Madden to help them, based on the realism and the playbooks that you mentioned?
Brees: 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.
THR: How popular is Madden on your Saint’s team?
Brees: Oh, pretty popular. There’s healthy trash talk. Guys are talking about it all the time -- “I beat you, this and that, we need a rematch.” There’s plenty of that that goes on in the locker room.
THR: Can you share a favorite Madden NFL football memory with us?
Brees: Winning the Madden Bowl actually was really cool, especially since we had to drive down, and I think we scored with about 16 seconds left. The RG III team had all the young guys, and we were kind of the old guys taking them on, and we beat them right at the end.
THR: What do you think about how far video games have come since you were a kid playing football video games?
Brees: It’s unbelievable. I remember the Tecmo Bowl days, when you would just be Bo Jackson and nobody could ever tackle you, ever. It was the greatest thing ever, but that obviously wasn’t realistic. Now they do facial scans, so you’re actually getting your facial features in the game, and they are grading and measuring guys’ strengths based upon statistical analysis and just kind of their observation and the analysis itself. It makes the game as accurate as it could possibly be and as realistic as it could possibly be.
THR: What do you think about the role serious video games like Financial Football play in helping kids learn?
Brees: I think it’s awesome. I think programs like Visa’s Financial Football and Financial Literacy are imperative. I’ve been part of the program for seven years now and really wish there was a program like it when I was a kid. The interactive way they teach kids now it’s not like you’re just getting up and preaching to them. You actually have a Financial Football game where it’s competitive, you’re able to do it with your friends, with your family, in class, or just on the computer. You’re just adding this competitive element to it where you’re having to answer these questions in order to move the ball down the field in order to score touchdowns, and it’s just a great way to learn. It’s a fun way to learn, and it’s allowing us to connect with kids at a much younger age to help start teaching them financial literacy and fiscal responsibility.
THR: What impact do you hope your new game company Wedgebuster has on social video games?
Brees: I think social gaming is an awesome platform and an awesome space and we’re excited to be involved with Wedgebusters. I think it’s ever-evolving, so to be on the forefront of it is really neat.